Mastery: Tactics

Finding Tricky Tactics

Finding Tricky Tactics

This course is intended to stretch your mind so that you can spot unique solutions to chess situations. In most cases you can't find the right move by "normal" means. The positions are drawn from my book "Awesome Chess Moves" (Cardoza). The book contains much more analysis than can be presented here, but the main goal is to get you to consider moves that may seem outrageous and see how they work. 

  • Chigorin vs. Mortimer, 1900

    This is one of those examples where you are inclined to reject the winning move immediately. As such it is very hard to spot the right plan. Note that I often refer to "candidate moves". In tactical situation these are capture-checks, captures, checks...

    • 9 challenges
  • Fox vs. Bauer, 1901

    This is a famous position, but because neither player is famous it is often ignored.

    • 4 challenges
  • Pillsbury vs. Swiderski

    Hannover International 1902

    • 11 challenges
  • Maroczy vs. Chigorin 1903

    To get to a well defended King you need to remove the defenders while bringing as much attacking force as possible. Before the attack you need to build up as much pressure as possible. In this example white's pieces are in optimal positions but it still...

    • 7 challenges
  • Spielmann vs. Eljaschoff, 1904

    You have to be extra careful in a position where both sides have vulnerable kings and major attacks are in progress. Before you begin to analyze you'll need to try to figure out who's attack is faster and what methods of acceleration are available.

    • 7 challenges
  • Janowski vs. Tarrasch, 1905

    In most sharp positions it is critically important to explore all candidate moves, especially captures and checks. It isn't necessary to work out details to their conclusion. If you are confident a king hunt will result, an investment of material is probably...

    • 7 challenges
  • Burn vs. Marshall, 1906

    Below the peace is temporarily affected by its position. Often you can offer up a little bit of material to place a powerful enemy piece in a useless position. That's the main idea here. When you adopt this strategy you don't have to have an immediate...

    • 6 challenges
  • Duras vs. Suechting, 1908

    I'm skipping 1907 because Rotlevi vs. Rubinstein is so famous everyone should know it. As is often the case, the attacking budget of a queen, two rooks and a pawn is much greater than the two defending pawns. So there has to be a forced win somewhere.

    • 6 challenges
  • Forgacs vs. Tartakower, 1909

    Sometimes the opponent's king seems to be defended quite well and cracking open the shell is a challenge. When all attacking forces are mobilized there is usually a way in, you just have to find it.

    • 6 challenges
  • Leonhardt vs. Tarrasch, 1910

    The basic idea is not hard to find, but you need precision. Often you can see the main idea but miss details on the way. This example requires some precise moves.

    • 8 challenges
  • Capablanca vs. Bernstein 1911

    Capablanca is known as a positional and endgame genius but he also produced many splendid attacking games. Here we see him in action in the most important tournament of the year, in San Sebastian, Spain.

    • 7 challenges
  • Schoenmann vs. Johnsen, 1912

    This example comes not from the most famous, but from two lower players who combine to produce a masterpiece.

    • 9 challenges
  • Nimzowitsch vs. Alapin, 1913

    Even strong players get into trouble when they don't castle. Attacks are possible from so many directions: front, side or on the diagonals. Sometimes you need to combine approaches. Nimzowitsch showed us how in this game from a tournament in Riga.

    • 5 challenges
  • Nimzowitsch vs. Tarrasch, 1914

    At the famous tournament in St. Petersburg the world's best chess players assembled to do battle before a distinguished audience. Tarrasch did not disappoint the crowd with this brilliant example of his attacking prowess.

    • 9 challenges
  • Beffie vs. Schelfhout, 1915

    We conclude this course with a little-known gem.

    • 6 challenges
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