Lessons

Critical Challenges

Critical Challenges

Are you ready for a tactical workout?

This module contains a sampling of challenges produced by various members of Aficionado's staff, shareholders, and endorsers including GM Walter Browne, GM Nick de Firmian, IM John Donaldson, FM Mike Arne, and NM Art Wang. Take this challenge today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Practice tactics from the games of strong American players!
  • Learn from some of the studies that helped make these players great!
  • Improve your tactical abilities in multiple situations!
Deep Blue - Kasparov, Game 1 of 1996 Match

Deep Blue - Kasparov, Game 1 of 1996 Match

IBM's Deep Blue (White) plays against World Champion Garry Kasparov (Black). This match, and particularly this game, made chess and computer history. Millions of people worldwide followed the match live via the Internet. For the first time ever, a computer beat the reigning World Champion in a chess game at normal (slow) time controls. Now -- play for White and discover for yourself how Deep Blue beat the Champ. (OPTIONAL) BACKGROUND READING: Computers have performed progressively better in recent years and have taken many world class grandmaster scalps at fast time limits. This is due to the fact that humans make many errors when they have to move quickly, while computers are brutally accurate even when moving within a fraction of a second. In the realm of chess knowledge and positional judgment, though, the very best humans remain vastly superior. Despite this, enormous strides have been made in computer chess progress as the result of hardware and software advances combined with grandmaster assistance, and access to encyclopedic opening books and endgame tables. The foremost computer chess program in the world today is IBM's "Deep Blue". A six game Deep Blue - Kasparov match, arranged by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) in Philadelphia in February 1996 with a $500,000 purse, was a test of computer progress (IBM's Deep Blue with parallel processing capable of searching more than 200 million moves per second) against the World Champion under normal match conditions and time controls of 40 moves in 2 hours.
11 Challenges
Browne-Quinteros, Wijk aan Zee 1974

Browne-Quinteros, Wijk aan Zee 1974

In this challenge I will illustrate what can happen if you move your queen too often in the opening and neglect developing your other pieces. The board position arose after the opening moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 (nowadays 4...Nxd7 is considered more ambitious) 5.c4 Qg4?! 6.0-0 Qxe4 7.d4 cxd4 8.Re1 Qc6?! 9.Nxd4 Qxc4?.
10 Challenges
D. Joseph 1922 Endgame Study

D. Joseph 1922 Endgame Study

This is from an endgame study. I hope you will find the "geometry" and artistry to be as beautiful as I found it to be. It should be noted that without the queens on the board, this position is a draw. White has an obvious advantage that his pawn is advanced, but without queens, the black king can never be driven away from a8 and b8.
6 Challenges
Variation D. Joseph 1922 Endgame Study

Variation D. Joseph 1922 Endgame Study

As Black, you are "on the ropes" -- threatened with an immediate knock-out. Do you have any recourse?
1 Challenge
A. A. Troitsky 1896 Endgame Study

A. A. Troitsky 1896 Endgame Study

An endgame study by one of the most famous and prolific of composers, A. A. Troitsky. White has a bishop and pawn to the good, but if Black can manage to ensconce himself on h8, White's light squared bishop will never be able to oust him. Although this study is not ALL that difficult, its sparse elegance is both aesthetically pleasing, and extremely instructive in showing the precise coordination between the white pawn, bishop and king.
5 Challenges
Blatny-Donaldson, US Olympiad Captain IM Donaldson

Blatny-Donaldson, US Olympiad Captain IM Donaldson

PAVEL RINGS DONALDSON'S BELL This game was played at the Marshall Chess Club as part of the 'Enhance' Grandmaster International in March 1996.
15 Challenges
Marc Leski - Art Wang, Long Beach 1995

Marc Leski - Art Wang, Long Beach 1995

IM Marc Leski has outmaneuvered NM Art Wang on the queenside and has nullified Black's pressure on the b-file with the knight on c1. On the other hand, Black's pawn on a6 is vulnerable and White threatens to wreak havoc by re-deploying his dark square bishop to a5 via d2. The theme here is that active defense often gives the inferior side better practical chances than mere passive resistance. If you are going down, you might as well go down swinging.
17 Challenges
Art Wang - Zsuzsa Polgar (1), Long Beach 1995

Art Wang - Zsuzsa Polgar (1), Long Beach 1995

NM and Aficionado's Managing Director Art Wang is a heavy underdog against GM Zsuzsa Polgar in the first round of the 16th Annual Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic. White's ambitions in the opening are modest. He merely wants to survive and avoid any sharp topical lines where his GM opponent would be much more knowledgeable and prepared. Accordingly, White chooses a Stonewall type setup, and surprisingly, he actually achieves an advantage from the opening against a much stronger opponent.
12 Challenges
Art Wang - Zsuzsa Polgar (2), Long Beach 1995

Art Wang - Zsuzsa Polgar (2), Long Beach 1995

NM and Aficionado's Managing Director Art Wang has survived the opening with GM Zsuzsa Polgar in the first round of the 16th Annual Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic. From an earlier challenge, we have arrived at the end of the opening with a plus for White. The current challenge involves transforming the edge from the opening into a positional advantage in the middle game followed by a further transition into a very favorable endgame.
22 Challenges
A Tal Tale by US Co-Champion GM Nick de Firmian

A Tal Tale by US Co-Champion GM Nick de Firmian

The ex-World Champion Mikhail Tal played with imaginative flair and unmatched brilliance in attacking games. In this problem you are to find the continuation of his game with Boris Spassky from the Montreal super tournament of 1979.
12 Challenges
Kubbel Ending Study

Kubbel Ending Study

Classic Endgame Study
9 Challenges

Critical Challenges

Misc
12 Lessons
No Videos
123 Challenges
Released November 16, 2007
16,127 Students