This position occured in an OTB game which I played in 1995 in a regional team competition match.

Back then I was a total newbie to (rated) tournament chess.

My opponent had just played 21...Qc8, and obviously his hope was that I would exchange queens.

Luckily, I managed to find a refutation for Black's last move and could surprise him and a few spectators with a very spectacular move.

Till today I consider this game to be my very personal 'Immortal Game', and I'm still somewhat proud of having seen this combination.

Guess White's move:)


Puzzle #2

Here's one more example of a 'Move out of nowhere' which I found in a game under long time controls and it definitely surprised my opponent who thought that after his last move, 24.Nc4(?), White's position is superior because of their heavily centralized pieces.

However, luckily for me, I found a move which can be categorized as 'Chess Magic', because at first sight it looks like a severe blunder and absolutely ridiculous.

What makes this move so unique for me, personally, is the fact that it combines so many tactical ideas in only one move: Overloading, Deflection, Skewer, X-Ray etc.., in 18 years of (rated) tournament chess under long time controls I've hardly ever got another chance of playing a similar move.

Guess Black's move:)


Puzzle #3

One more example from my youth, when I was way more ambitious than I am today (well today for me 2 out of 3 games end in a quick draw), this one was played in some local U16 championship, and one of my very first (rated) games under tournament time controls (2hrs/40 + 30min).

For a queen Black, my opponent, has a knight, a rook and a pawn, and in general this is supposed to be equally strong as a queen.

It's in situations like this when the player with the queen hopefully finds some tactical mating attack, or otherwise they may even lose the endgame (in case their opponent manages to consolidate their position).

Luckily for me here I had some obvious attacking chances on the kingside, but nevertheless White should play accurately, because 1-2 weak moves by White may be enough for Black to consolidate their position, and then it's only Black who plays for the win.

So here I took my time and tried to find the quickest way to mate Black, and luckily I succeeded in solving this puzzle before I got into serious time trouble.

Here's a hint:

Mate in 3 (against 'human' defence / the moves used in the solution)

{Mate in 4 (against cpu defence)}


Puzzle #4

Here's a composition: Black is up a full rook, and hence their last move (1...Qc3) is a very logical decision, because they want to simplify the position and then they could win easily with their extra rook.

However, in this position it turns out that White's positional advantage of having the bishop pair is worth even more than a full rook (!), and instead of winning easily Black gets mated. How?

Guess White's move (Mate_In_5)


Great chess play !!!


Puzzle #5

One more composition.

The White player thought, that their previous move (1.Nh6-f7) was the move of a genius, because the knight forks both of Black's rooks and on top of that also Black's knight (g5) is hanging, because if it captures White's cheeky f7-knight Black's queen is lost.

Seems like White's 1.Nh6-f7 was indeed a great move.

Unfortunately, it's only great for Black ... Why?

Hint (Mate _ in _ 2)


Puzzle #6

(Composition and also a typical example for what can happen, if you want 'too much' 'too quickly', especially when in time trouble or in a blitzgame)

With their last move, 1.Kf4-g5!(?), White hoped to win quickly, not only because Black seems to lose a rook for a bishop, but also because White's king on g5 seems to be on a very active and dominant square - and generally this is supposed to be a good thing in an endgame. 

Unfortunately, it turned out that White should've played their king to a not-so-active square instead, because sometimes an 'active' king is also a king in danger ...

Hint _ mate_in_3 #3


Puzzle #7

White seems to lose here, because of Black's dangerous passed pawns.

Is White doomed?

Hint _ Mate_In_4 (#4)


Puzzle #8


This time it's a really difficult puzzle, although it's 'only' a mate-in-5 (#5).

A  plausible theory how this position could have occured in a game: Black had just played 1...g3! in hope of getting a second queen with their next move.

White's position looks totally lost, but luckily now White has a way of performing some 'chess magic'.

Mate_In_Five #5


Puzzle #9


The player of the Black pieces seems to win easily, his material advantage is enourmous.

Now Black also threatens to get a second queen with their next move, and then the White King will be mated quickly.

At least that's what the Black player hoped, when they played 1...h2 (this was their previous move)

However - although this seems to be really unlikely (!) - it is in fact the Black king who gets mated first, because White can play some surprising chess magics.

Hint: Mate_in_4 (#4)


Puzzle #10


In this game (Composition) Black had just played 1...Qg8, with the obvious threat of playing 2...Qxg2 mate. Black is up a rook and several pawns anyways, so who has any doubts that Black will win this game?

Unfortunately for Black, 1...Qg8?? was actually a very bad move, and now White has a chance to perform some 'chess magics' and can mate the Black king. So, are you a 'chess magician', too?


Good stuff!

But isn't your puzzle #3 a mate in three, not a mate in four?

benws wrote:

Good stuff!

But isn't your puzzle #3 a mate in three, not a mate in four?

Yeah, against 'plausible'/'human' defence it's actually a mate_in_3 (that's what my opponent played back then).

 Against a computer's defence it's a mate_in_4 (it blunders a knight on top of getting mated). Thanks for the tip.


These are great.


Very nice puzzles and great real game examples. I commend you on your tactical vision during an early part of your career. Thank you.


Your puzzles are great fun; one or two held me up for some time. Really impressed with the first of them - amazing that you saw that in a real game.