Tactical Puzzles From Chess Books

We’ll look at three chess puzzles now, one from each of the following books. Solutions to these problems are found at the bottom of this post.

  1. 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations, by Fred Reinfeld
  2. Beat That Kid in Chess, by Jonathan Whitcomb
  3. Chess Endgame Training, by Bernd Rosen

When used wisely, chess problems can develop a player’s tactical abilities, including the ability to calculate in looking ahead. But aside from gaining a greater ability to imagine future variation moves, chess puzzles can help us to see basic patterns in tactics.

1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations

The following is one of the simpler of the many hundreds of puzzles found in this chess book. Most of the problems are much more difficult.

double attack

Puzzle-1: White to move (problem #181 in the book by Reinfeld)

The book 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations has 20 chapters of tactical themes, not all of which would be considered as tactics in the strictest sense.


Beat That Kid in Chess

very simple pawn end game of chess

Puzzle-2:  White to move (page 185 in the book by Whitcomb)

Many experienced players would find the above problem too easy, yet many beginners would have no idea how important it is for White to make the right move here. This is from the book Beat That Kid in Chess, which is for the “raw” beginner who knows the rules of the game but not much more. It’s “Advanced Exercise 17.”


Chess Endgame Training

White to move: avoid the draw and win

Puzzle-3:  White to move and win (problem 6.3 in the book by Rosen)

This book can be an excellent help for intermediate-level players and even for those with more-advanced tournament experience. Chess Endgame Training, however, is not for the average beginner, for the puzzles are too challenging.

Solutions to the Three Tactical Puzzles

Solution to Puzzle-1:

WQ threatens mate and the BN at a7

The queen moved up to the center of the board. It now threatens two things, and Black cannot defend against both of them:

  • Checkmate by moving the queen next to the black king
  • The queen threatens to capture the knight that’s on a dark square at the upper-left

The tactic shown above is called the double attack.

Solution to Puzzle-2:

Black to move will lose

The white king moves straight up to gain the opposition in this end game. This move wins. If the white king had instead moved up to the right, to the light-colored square next to the pawn, it would have allowed Black to get a draw.

Solution to Puzzle-3:

White wisely avoided the blunder b6+??

White wins by moving the king up the board, forcing the black king into the corner. White will then move to the dark-colored square in front of the pawn and then to the square that is shown by the red star. After the white king gets to the starred-square, the pawn can be advanced to become a queen.

Be aware of whose turn it is to move in this kind of pawn endgame, however. If it were White’s move, in the above diagramed position, the pawn could simply be advanced forward until it becomes a queen.



Best Chess Book for Beginners

My new paperback book Beat That Kid in Chess is for the early beginner, the player who knows the rules of chess but almost nothing else about the royal game.

Tournament Chess – an Average Game

I’d been away from official chess competition for over 20 years, when I walked into the Chess Palace, in Lakewood, California, in the spring of 1993, to play in a three-round one-day tournament. There’s no consulting a chess book when you’re over the board . . .


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