Tactics from the Old Masters

Tactics from the Old Masters

Are you ready for some touch tactics?

Are you an advanced player looking to improve their tactical skills? Have you ever wanted a more structured way of learning advanced tactics? Then this course is for you! This module contains tactical problems conducted by masters from the past that will challenge a player rated around 1700 or higher if attempted without using any of the hints. Improve your tactical vision today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Close the mating net on your opponents' kings.
  • Win material.
  • Learn from the great games of past masters, including world champions!
Bellon-Garcia

Bellon-Garcia

Black's pieces are well coordinated, but Black must be careful that the pieces don't become targets for White's queen. The queen loves double attacks on an open board, however White's king is not protected by a pawn wedge and looks somewhat vulnerable at the edge of the board. The key to this problem is to maximize the interaction of the Black rook and Black knight, utilizing both the position of White's king and White's queen.
3 Challenges
Tal-N.N., Tbilisi Simultaneous 1965

Tal-N.N., Tbilisi Simultaneous 1965

Mikhail Tal was born in Riga, Latvia in 1936. He learned to play chess at the age of eight.
3 Challenges
The Weak Back Rank

The Weak Back Rank

White has hidden tactical possibilities in this position that could postpone any necessary positional concerns!
3 Challenges
Alenius-Droet

Alenius-Droet

This position is a good example of the artificial back rank mate. It occurs when fellow pieces near the king block its escape route (usually, but not necessarily pawns), and/or when opponent's pieces take away potential flight squares of the king when the king is checked along the back rank. The second condition is already given. The White pawn on f6 and the White bishop on h3 control all of the king's potential flight squares from the back rank (g7, e7, d7). Yet, this by itself is not enough as the Black queen is currently well positioned to protect against potential back rank mates. How can White achieve the desired result?
3 Challenges
Klyatskin - Yudovich: A Powerful Bishop

Klyatskin - Yudovich: A Powerful Bishop

Material is even with Black having a dark-squared bishop for the White knight. When a bishop has no counterpart that acts on the squares of the same color, it can exert tremendous pressure. In middlegame positions with a knight against a bishop, it is therefore common for someone playing against the bishop to place all of his pieces (the queen, rooks, the king, and even knights) on squares of the opposite color of the bishop to reduce its influence. In this position, however, White has four of his five pieces on dark squares, the king on c1, the queen on f4, the rook on h4, and the knight on c3. Can Black take advantage of the "lineup" of the White pieces of dark squares?
3 Challenges
Minor Pieces Against Rooks in a Closed Position

Minor Pieces Against Rooks in a Closed Position

In this ending, Black's pieces occupy good squares and he has a knight and a bishop for the rook. The position is still quite closed with six pawns on each side, and White's rooks have no useful entry points in the Black camp. That's why the Black minor pieces are much stronger than the White rooks. Therefore, Black is in essence a piece up. Black's knight at c5 is especially well placed and pressures the backward e4-pawn. How can Black most effectively convert his positional advantage?
3 Challenges
Deadly Pin on the h-file

Deadly Pin on the h-file

If the center is closed, the player who has better control of the wings, the kingside or the queenside, will try to move most of his pieces there in order to ?out man? the defending side. All the action in this position is on the kingside and there is no play on the queenside. If White had to castle, he would certainly castle queenside to find shelter behind the pawns.
3 Challenges
Tactical Pawn Promotion

Tactical Pawn Promotion

White has achieved an overwhelming advantage against a world class player, Grandmaster Geller. White is especially proud of the passed pawn at d6 which is currently blockaded by the Black bishop at d7. This problem illustrates how the power of a passed pawn can greatly be enhanced if it is properly supported by a few pieces.
3 Challenges
Makagonov-Chekhover

Makagonov-Chekhover

In this late middlegame position, White is up a pawn, and looks to have some positional advantages. His pieces are nicely centralized and are currently attacking the Black g6-pawn. The Black e4- and c5-pawns are also quite vulnerable as they are both isolated, and both sides have an outside passed pawn at the third rank. Yet White's king position is not very secure. The White king would be quite happy at e1, where the doubled pawns would provide a good shield. White also controls both the d- and f-files which would add additional control to a White king on e1, as those are the closest access routes to e1. In view of White's plan to improve his position quickly, Black must find an effective plan to stop White from reaching his ideal set-up.
3 Challenges
A Najdorf Knight's Dream

A Najdorf Knight's Dream

What started as a regular Najdorf defense quickly become a sharp game when Black, not having castled yet, chose to intimidate the knight on g3 with the h5-pawn push. After a few inaccuracies, we reached the following position. It presented a unique situation that I could actually attack the White King at such an early stage when the Najdorf is mostly known for its ability to give White attacking chances.
3 Challenges
A French Nightmare

A French Nightmare

Material is even, yet White enjoys a clear advantage. The two rooks dominate the open c-file while White's knight is well placed at b5. Black, on the other hand, has maneuvered the knight to the perfect square against a passed pawn (e6), directly ahead of it. Is Black successful in erecting a permanent blockade or does White have some means to break through?
3 Challenges
A Stalemate Riddle

A Stalemate Riddle

In this ending White's chances to survive are slim in spite of the opposite colored-bishops as Black has too many extra pawns. Endings with queens on the board can be some of the most complicated as it is often hard to find a safe haven for the king once a lot of pawns are off the board. Luckily, there are sometimes opportunities to find another way to fend off defeat; stalemate. Stalemate is achieved when none of one's remaining pieces or pawns can move legally. When one cannot make any legal move, no matter how many pieces one may have left on the board, the game ends abruptly in a draw. Can White engineer a unique rescue?
3 Challenges
Danger in the Opening

Danger in the Opening

White has chosen a hypermodern opening along Reti's ideas. This is exemplified by fianchettoing both bishops along the long diagonals while restraining from occupying the center with the d-or e-pawns. Only when Black has made attempts to occupy the center with his or her pawns, White will begin to fight for the center with the central pawns. Here White chose to mix positional play with some tactical spice in order to make it harder for Black to choose the correct plan.
3 Challenges
The Benko Gambit Pawn

The Benko Gambit Pawn

This position can arise out of the Benko Gambit Opening (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6) where Black sacrifices a pawn for open files on the queenside against White's extra pawn. While this gambit has lost a bit of its original popularity, it is still quite unpleasant to play for White as Black obtains a lot of pressure for the pawn down the open a- and b-files. The fianchettoed bishop at g7 is also a very important piece for Black as it pressures the knight on c3 and possibly the pawn on b2. That's why White sometimes play b2-b3 and Bc1b2 or Bc1-d2-c3 to neutralize or exchange the strong Black bishop. In this example, White has not played very alertly and allowed Black an opportunity to reach a favorable position. How can Black utilize the pressure of the active pieces best?
3 Challenges
End of the Line

End of the Line

This problem stems from the romantic age of chess. It was very common in the 19th century to sacrifice many pieces in order to exploit a lead in development and find a direct way to the opponent's king. Since opening theory began advancing to unforeseen heights in the 20th century, romantic king hunts have occurred less frequently due to the great amount of literature that has revealed new defenses and has emphasized the need for positional play and king safety. Siegbert Tarrasch, one of the best players of his time, played the White pieces in this example and found a way to justify the material deficit. Black is currently ahead a rook and three pieces for two pawns, but the Black king is in a precarious position, and Black's queenside is still dormant. Material is not always the decisive factor. It matters more who has the initiative and how many pieces are involved in the mating attack vs. mating defense.
3 Challenges
Hort - G.Garcia: Converting an Advantage in the Endgame

Hort - G.Garcia: Converting an Advantage in the Endgame

White has a structural advantage in that all his pieces are on more active squares than Black's. Material is even, though, and after the last move pair b6 axb6, White gave away his extra pawn. Strong players often trade one advantage for another one, but here it seems that Black may be able to hold the position now. Did Grandmaster Vlastimil Hort, a world class player in the 1970's from former Czechoslovakia, make a miscalculation, or did he spot a way to convert the structural advantage into a material one?
3 Challenges
The Knight Fork in the Opening

The Knight Fork in the Opening

Black didn't see your threat. How can you pounce?
3 Challenges
Connected Passed pawns

Connected Passed pawns

In this ending, White has a rook and four pawns against Black's five pawns. Yet Black has two connected passed pawns on the sixth rank which are quite difficult to stop for White. How shall Black continue to maximize the power of the passed pawns?
3 Challenges
Weaving a Mating Net

Weaving a Mating Net

In this position White's active pieces more than compensate for Black's extra pawn. White has a strong attack against Black's king along the h- file, but White must play accurately to reach the desired goal. Black would like to exchange a few pieces as the ending would certainly be in his favor, yet White needs only one more piece in the mating attack.
3 Challenges
Passed Pawns of Different Strengths

Passed Pawns of Different Strengths

White has achieved an active position with all of his three pieces eyeing the f8-square. Yet, while White is trying to get to Black's king and/or promote his e-pawn, both of his passed central pawns are currently hanging. White must continue actively or his piece activity is going to evaporate.
3 Challenges
Queen Trade Quest Quenched

Queen Trade Quest Quenched

White has grabbed the initiative early in the game and has opened the h-file before castling. It is instructive to see that strong masters often know when they can delay castling in order to exploit a slight inaccuracy in their opponent's opening play. The White king is in no immediate danger, but the White rook on h1 already exerts some uncomfortable pressure on the castled Black king. Especially noteworthy is the fact that Black has had to exchange dark-squared bishops which has left some weaknesses around his king. All of this sets the stage for a beautiful combination that wins material for White.
3 Challenges
A Fragile Center

A Fragile Center

Material is even in this early middlegame position, yet the placement of White's and Black pieces differ in their effectiveness. White's bishop on b2 is biting granite on c3 while both Black's bishop at b7 and the queen on a8 are blocked by their own pawn at c6. Both sides will make it a priority to advance their respective c-pawns in order to give their pieces more scope. Yet one always needs to take a close look at the situation in the center of the board. White's e4-pawn and Black's d5-pawn are opposing each other, yet their strength is relative to their support. White's pawn is only protected by the queen, while Black's pawn is protected by the c6-pawn, and by the bishop and queen on the long diagonal. Can Black take advantage of White's loose center.
3 Challenges
The Pinned Knight on the d-file

The Pinned Knight on the d-file

This position arose in a last round game at the National Open between myself (playing White) and Arizona master Spencer Lower (playing Black). Material is equal and a lot of features in this position are symmetrical. The pawns are exactly on the opposite squares while both side have only traded the dark- squared bishop and three pawns. Yet there is one dominating theme in this position. The knight on d4 cannot move without uncovering the queen at d1 to the power of the rook at d8. Thus the knight is effectively pinned, and as you have probably heard before, one wins a pinned piece by attacking it. In this case, there are a few tactical tricks that make the win of the piece a bit more complicated, yet Black has a move order that allows him to attain a very strong position.
3 Challenges
Passed Pawns against a Piece

Passed Pawns against a Piece

In this ending, Black only has a pawn for a rook. At first glance, one may think that it cannot be sufficient compensation, especially since the two passed c-pawns are doubled. There are some unique tactical resources in this position, however, that allow Black to stay in the game rather than throwing in the towel.
3 Challenges
Impatient Mating Attack

Impatient Mating Attack

Black, who had just taken a rook on f1 with the bishop and was confident that that defense was sufficient. How should Black best react to the queen check at h5?
3 Challenges
Strike While the Iron is Hot

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Rook endings are notorious for their tactical tricks. This is especially true when there are many pawns remaining on the board. Rooks are often very slow to move from square x to square y if there are a lot of closed lines in the way. In the following example, White must use imagination to avoid simplifications that may result in a good position for Black.
3 Challenges
Pawn Push Propels Penetration

Pawn Push Propels Penetration

This position occurred in a recent tournament in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Zapata, an experienced grandmaster playing Black, has successfully placed his pieces on nearly ideal squares after White too hastily exchanged bishops at g7 and queens at g5. All of his three minor pieces are much superior to their counterparts, yet how can Black exploit White's passive and somewhat awkward piece coordination?
3 Challenges
Capablanca-Fonaroff, New York 1904

Capablanca-Fonaroff, New York 1904

In this position Capablanca demonstrates several important tactical themes. Some strong masters have suggested that with a knight on f5 one always wins an attack. While this is a gross simplification, the f5-square is certainly a very nice attacking square for the knight.
5 Challenges
Capablanca-Jaffe, New York 1910

Capablanca-Jaffe, New York 1910

White has a lot of pressure on the kingside. This position illustrates the combinational theme of removing a defender.
3 Challenges
Capablanca-Raubitscheck, New York 1909

Capablanca-Raubitscheck, New York 1909

As well as being a chess genius, Capablanca was very well-rounded. Fluent in several languages, he even found time to play on the baseball team while studying at Columbia University.
3 Challenges
Alatortzev-Capablanca, Moscow 1935

Alatortzev-Capablanca, Moscow 1935

This is another nice combination by Capablanca. The great Cuban once said that you must lose 100 times before you become a strong player. So take your losses as lessons.
9 Challenges
Raubitscheck-Capablanca, New York 1906

Raubitscheck-Capablanca, New York 1906

Black has sacrificed a piece to get this position. Another sacrifice is coming up.
4 Challenges
Capablanca-Yates, Barcelona 1929

Capablanca-Yates, Barcelona 1929

Capablanca's advice is always worth remembering. He once wrote: "When you have the advantage and your opponent has a passive piece set-up, one should not hurry matters. With each move the likelihood of an error from the defending side increases." However, this position is very sharp and White must strike immediately.
3 Challenges
Corzo-Capablanca, Havana 1900

Corzo-Capablanca, Havana 1900

Capablanca learned how to play chess at the age of 4 after watching his father play with a friend. The next time the two adults played, the youngster told his father that he made an illegal move. He then challenged his father and beat him! The rest is history.
5 Challenges
Spielmann-Capablanca, Bad Kissingen 1928

Spielmann-Capablanca, Bad Kissingen 1928

Both sides attack each other's queen. Black is able to take advantage of this.
5 Challenges
Capablanca-Steiner, Los Angeles 1933

Capablanca-Steiner, Los Angeles 1933

This game features a king hunt. Capablanca once wrote: "Direct and violent attacks against the king must be carried out en masse, with full force, to ensure their success. The opposition must be overcome at all cost; the attack cannot be broken off, since in all such cases that means defeat.
9 Challenges
Nimzovitch-Capablanca, New York 1927

Nimzovitch-Capablanca, New York 1927

Capablanca said: "The main thing is the coordination of the pieces, and this is where most players are weak. Many try to attack with one piece here and another there without any concerted action. You must coordinate the action of your pieces, and this is the main principle which runs throughout." This combination is a good illustration of coordinating your pieces.
8 Challenges
Capablanca-Souza Campos, Sao Paulo Simul 1927

Capablanca-Souza Campos, Sao Paulo Simul 1927

White checkmates Black in 9 moves, but you can find each move if you think logically.
9 Challenges
Capablanca-Lasker, Berlin 1914

Capablanca-Lasker, Berlin 1914

This is a study based on a skittles game played between the two chess greats, Lasker and Capablanca, on the eve of World War 1. They played an informal ten game match at a cafe in which each move had to be played within 5 seconds. Capablanca won that match 6.5-3.5.
6 Challenges
Capablanca-Lasker, Havana 1921

Capablanca-Lasker, Havana 1921

This game is from the 1921 world championship match between Lasker and Capablanca. It is essential that every chess player who wishes to improve study the games of Capablanca. He also wrote some very good books from which much can be learned. For example, in Chess Fundamentals, he wrote: "When the opponent has a bishop, keep your pawns on the same color as your opponent's bishop. Whenever you have a bishop, whether the opponent has also one or not, keep your pawns on squares the opposite color to that of your own bishop."
2 Challenges
Lasker-Euwe, Nottingham 1936

Lasker-Euwe, Nottingham 1936

Euwe, who was World Champion at the time, has just blundered in a slightly superior position. How does Lasker take advantage of the oversight?
2 Challenges
Lasker-Delmar, Cambridge Springs 1907

Lasker-Delmar, Cambridge Springs 1907

This problem illustrates the combinational theme of deflection. Lasker once wrote: "By some ardent enthusiasts chess has been elevated into a science or an art. It is neither; but its principal characteristic seems to be - what human nature mostly delights in - a fight."
2 Challenges
Chigorin-Lasker, St.Petersburg 1895/96

Chigorin-Lasker, St.Petersburg 1895/96

Chigorin was the top Russian player before the communist revolution.
2 Challenges
Lasker-Henneberger and Rivier, Bern 1919

Lasker-Henneberger and Rivier, Bern 1919

Emanuel Lasker was born in 1868 and lived most of his life in Berlin. The rise of Hitler forced him to leave his homeland. Lasker moved to Moscow in 1935 and two years later to New York. He died there in 1941.
4 Challenges
Lasker-Mieses, Paris 1900

Lasker-Mieses, Paris 1900

The great chess master Rudolf Spielmann wrote of Lasker: "Lasker is always unafraid, always ready for the struggle. To me, this is a sign of true greatness."
2 Challenges
Marshall-Lasker, New York 1907

Marshall-Lasker, New York 1907

Black has sacrificed a rook for a mating attack on the White king. Frank Marshall was the United States Champion for several decades.
3 Challenges
Lasker-Tarrasch, Nuremberg 1896

Lasker-Tarrasch, Nuremberg 1896

"Einstein, who once met Lasker through a good friend of mine, told me he considered him the finest mind with whom he had come in contact in his later years. The only thing that he found a bit strange was that Lasker, no matter what they happened to be talking about, modulated back to chess."-Edward Lasker
3 Challenges
Lasker-Reti, New York 1924

Lasker-Reti, New York 1924

Lasker looked to be past his prime when he lost the World Championship to Capablanca in 1921, but he rebounded and took first place at New York 1924 - one of the strongest tournaments of all times.
3 Challenges
Lasker-Steinitz, St.Petersburg 1895

Lasker-Steinitz, St.Petersburg 1895

Black seems to have a solid position, but White's pieces are more centralized and only need some extra scope. Lasker finds an amazing way to break through. A master of all phases of the game, Lasker was adept at both tactics and positional play. He often liked to try to throw his opponents on their own resources, deviating from theory at an early stage. This often brought him close to the precipice, but Lasker was unequaled in judging just how much to risk.
6 Challenges
Wolf-Lasker, Maerisch-Ostrau 1923

Wolf-Lasker, Maerisch-Ostrau 1923

Black's pieces exert a great deal of pressure on White's weakened kingside. All of White's pieces are very passive. Especially the bishop on g2 could be mistaken for a pawn!
5 Challenges
Study by Lasker

Study by Lasker

White wins by a clever stroke in which the power of the passed pawn on b7 is demonstrated.
3 Challenges
Steinitz-Lasker, St.Petersburg 1895

Steinitz-Lasker, St.Petersburg 1895

The pin and double attack will be the key combinational themes of this problem. White's pieces are placed rather awkwardly.
5 Challenges
Chigorin-Lasker, London 1899

Chigorin-Lasker, London 1899

Black has sacrificed the exchange for a ferocious attack on the White king. Lasker has more than enough compensation in the form of a powerful bishop pair, pressure on the a-file, the safer king, and an extra pawn. Now he needs to put on the final touches. Chigorin was Russia's top player at the time.
5 Challenges
Pillsbury-Lasker, St.Petersburg 1896

Pillsbury-Lasker, St.Petersburg 1896

This is the conclusion of one of the most famous combinations of all time.
7 Challenges
Steinitz-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896

Steinitz-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896

Lasker is down a pawn, but all of his pieces are aimed at the White king. White, on the other hand, hopes that his kingside holds together, while the lone queen goes cherry picking on the queenside. Show why it wasn't harvest season yet!
8 Challenges
Lasker-Steinitz, Moscow 1896/97

Lasker-Steinitz, Moscow 1896/97

All of White's pieces are aggressively placed. A combination looms on the horizon.
7 Challenges
Lasker-Bauer, USA 1908

Lasker-Bauer, USA 1908

Black's major pieces are out of play off on the side of the board. White takes advantage of this with a direct assault on the Black king.
8 Challenges
Porges-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896

Porges-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896

Black has pressure on the kingside, but White wants to exchange Black's strong knight. What is the best way to keep the initiative?
8 Challenges
Janowski-Lasker, Paris 1909

Janowski-Lasker, Paris 1909

Black has strong pressure on the kingside and needs to find a way to continue his attack. In this position, Janowski's split kingside pawns should spur your creativity.
4 Challenges
Lasker-Bauer, Amsterdam 1889

Lasker-Bauer, Amsterdam 1889

When you play chess and try to improve, always remember what Lasker wrote: "In the beginning of the game, ignore the search for combinations, abstain from violent moves, aim for small advantages, accumulate them, and only after having attained these ends search for the combination -- and then with all the power of will and intellect, because then the combination must exist, however deeply hidden."
8 Challenges
Bernstein-Capablanca, Moscow 1914

Bernstein-Capablanca, Moscow 1914

Capablanca combines the combinational themes of double attack and deflection of defender.
3 Challenges
Capablanca-Rossolimo, Paris 1938

Capablanca-Rossolimo, Paris 1938

This problem illustrates the theme of discovered attack. All of the pieces are hanging, but it's White to move.
3 Challenges
Bogoljubov-Capablanca, Bad Kissingen 1928

Bogoljubov-Capablanca, Bad Kissingen 1928

Capablanca illustrates the theme of clearing space.
2 Challenges
Capablanca-Vassaux, Buenos Aires Olympiad 1939

Capablanca-Vassaux, Buenos Aires Olympiad 1939

White's pieces are aiming at Black's king, while Black's queen is out of play. Capablanca shows how to use a tempo in order to gain time for the attack.
3 Challenges
Capablanca-Mieses, Berlin 1931

Capablanca-Mieses, Berlin 1931

Capablanca combines the combinational themes of double attack and pin. When attacking the king, don't forget about the possibility of reaching a winning ending.
2 Challenges
Capablanca-Ribera, Barcelona 1935

Capablanca-Ribera, Barcelona 1935

White has sacrificed a whole rook and now needs to put on the finishing touches of the combination.
3 Challenges
Lasker-Steinitz, Moscow 1896

Lasker-Steinitz, Moscow 1896

White's pieces are on the back rank and in disharmony. This will often spell trouble.
1 Challenge
Steinitz-Hirschfeld, London 1871

Steinitz-Hirschfeld, London 1871

Black is up two pieces for a rook, but his pieces are somewhat loose. The theme of this combination will be removal of the defender. One piece is protecting another piece. If the first piece can be removed, then the piece needing protection will fall.
1 Challenge
Steinitz-Schlesser, London 1863

Steinitz-Schlesser, London 1863

The theme of this combination is to deflect a Black piece away from a key square. This piece is the key to Black's defense. Remove that piece and the defense collapses. Black's problems are caused by the exposed position of his king.
3 Challenges
Hanham-Steinitz, New York 1894

Hanham-Steinitz, New York 1894

White seems to be in good shape as Black's queen is attacked. If the queen moves, then 2.Rxf8+ wins.
2 Challenges
Reiner-Steinitz, Viden 1860

Reiner-Steinitz, Viden 1860

White is seriously underdeveloped and is barely holding on. The winning theme is deflection. One hard working piece makes the defense possible for White. Remove that piece, and the defense falls apart.
3 Challenges
Steinitz-N.N., London 1868

Steinitz-N.N., London 1868

Black's king is in a very exposed position, while his development lags a lot. Steinitz finds a magnificent way to take advantage of this.
3 Challenges
Murphy-Steinitz, London 1866

Murphy-Steinitz, London 1866

White currently has four pawns for a piece. But this is not a good trade for White as his pawns are not of much importance in this middlegame position. More importantly, White's king is stuck in the center and very exposed, yet the center pawns seem to protect him.
5 Challenges
Steinitz-N.N

Steinitz-N.N

Steinitz played this game at rook odds. Nowadays it is very uncommon for anyone to start a game with less material. Black has done little with his extra rook on a8. Instead of developing his pieces, the king was already forced to move and is not safe.
4 Challenges
Steinitz-Ware

Steinitz-Ware

This position demonstrates the disadvantage of bringing the queen out too early, as it can be harassed by the minor pieces.
2 Challenges
Steinitz-N.N., 1861

Steinitz-N.N., 1861

This is a short, but very tricky combination. White has a decisive advantage as Black's rooks are dormant while White's can be used against Black's king.
4 Challenges
Zukertort-Steinitz, St.Louis 1886

Zukertort-Steinitz, St.Louis 1886

Black's queen and bishops combine for a deadly attack on White's exposed king.
3 Challenges
Steinitz-Blackburne, London 1876

Steinitz-Blackburne, London 1876

White's queen and bishop are very strongly placed on the kingside, but another piece needs to be activated to make the attack effective.
3 Challenges
N.N.-Steinitz, USA 1890

N.N.-Steinitz, USA 1890

This game features a king hunt. Black is down a rook and a knight for a couple of pawns, but White's kingside is not very safe.
6 Challenges
Steinitz-Chigorin, Hastings 1895

Steinitz-Chigorin, Hastings 1895

Black is up a pawn, but his king is very exposed. Note that all of Black's heavy pieces are far off on the queenside. Can White take advantage of this?
6 Challenges
Dubois-Steinitz, London 1862

Dubois-Steinitz, London 1862

Black is down a piece, but he has a very strong attack with the doubled rooks on the h-file. However, he must work out a concrete winning variation, else White may escape.
6 Challenges
Steinitz-Mongredien, London 1863

Steinitz-Mongredien, London 1863

The pawn structure in the center favors White, whereas the open h-file and White's active pieces also give White an attack on the kingside.
8 Challenges
Spassky-Averkin, USSR Championship 1973

Spassky-Averkin, USSR Championship 1973

Spassky demonstrates two themes in the following combination, including double attack.
2 Challenges
Opocensky-Alekhine, Paris 1925

Opocensky-Alekhine, Paris 1925

Alekhine was playing in a tournament in Mannheim, Germany when the First World War broke out. He was interned as a citizen of hostile powers. Rumor has it that he escaped from the Germans and made his way back to Russia. He joined the Russian army, was twice wounded and twice decorated.
3 Challenges
Petrosian-Ivkov, USSR-Yugoslav match 1979

Petrosian-Ivkov, USSR-Yugoslav match 1979

Petrosian was born of Armenian parents in 1929 in Tbilisi, USSR. He was orphaned during the war and had to sweep streets in order to live.
3 Challenges
Potunno-Alekhine, Montevideo 1938

Potunno-Alekhine, Montevideo 1938

Alekhine died in 1946 in a hotel room in Lisbon. Many denounced him as a Nazi sympathizer. He died in poverty after years of using his genius to become rich.
2 Challenges
Euwe-Thomas, Hastings 1934

Euwe-Thomas, Hastings 1934

"...in chess, as in any conflict, success lies in attack."
2 Challenges
Timman-Karpov, London 1984

Timman-Karpov, London 1984

Karpov was born in 1951 in a small town in the Ural Mountains where he, like Capablanca, learned chess at the age of four.
6 Challenges