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Solitaire Chess / Instruction ABCs of Chess


These problems are all related to key positions in this month’s game. In each case, Black is to move. The answers can be found in Solutions on page 71.


March Exercise: Find a collection of real-game mating positions, with all the pieces and pawns in place. Try to solve the problems without mov - ing the pieces. After working on each puzzle, try to remove all the superfluous forces from the board, for both sides. Make sure the mate still works with the units that remain. Once you’re sure you can’t reduce the situation any further, make a diagram of it, affixing it to a an index card or in an electronic file. As you regularly review this growing stock - pile of core material, you will be - come more adept at finding such tactics in your own games.


move for Black, and not for White, award yourself 1 bonus point if you had so analyzed the possibility.**


12. Nb2 Par Score 5 Add 1 bonus point if you saw the threat before


playing 12. Nb2. That’s what a lot of chess reduces to: doing one thing so that you can do another.


12. … b5 Black takes away the potential post at c4.


But truly, Lasker’s b2-knight stinks. If only it were a bishop.**


13. a4 Par Score 5 This move tries to induce 13. ... b4?, which


would then allow 14. Nc4, gaining the e5-pawn. Fat chance that Bogolyubow would miss it (he didn’t), but give yourself 1 bonus point if you analyzed it.


13. … Nd4


So the black knight assumes a strong post. Doubled pawns and all, Bogolyubow is doing fine.**


14. axb5 Par Score 5 Rather than sitting on the position, which


is hard to do, Lasker tries to ease the pressure on his game with a few exchanges.


14. … axb5


This is the best way for Black to take back, opening the a-file and keeping his pawns fluid.**


PROBLEM I Desperado


PROBLEM II Trapping


Problem III Driving off


PROBLEM IV Double threat


PROBLEM V Fork


PROBLEM VI Mating net


15. Rxa8


Par Score 5 By trading rooks, Lasker diverts Bogolyubow’s


rook from the half open f-file, but that allows it to assume the open a-file. Many players would rather have black here than white?


15. … 16. 0-0 Rxa8** Par Score 5 Finally, White can castle. Doesn’t everyone


castle on move 16? Clearly, Lasker’s having some fun here.


16. … Ra2 This appears to be a powerful invasion. But


it’s likely that by now Lasker has seen the chance for Black to go wrong. One question is, will the rook be able to stay there?**


17. Qb1 Par Score 6 Go away rook! Now, of course, the rook can


go away, even profitably. It could go back to a8, for instance, with the idea of shifting to f8. But first, Black inflicts a kingside pawn weak ness.


17. … 18. gxf3 Nxf3+** Par Score 4 Now Black should probably just retreat the


rook to a8, hoping to deploy to f8 and beyond. 18.


… Qa6


Here, Black gets too comfortable, and that situation of relaxing into mechanical play was always a mistake against Lasker.**


19. Na4!


Par Score 7 The knight is momentarily immune, since


the rook is hanging. Black has very little choice. His next move is essentially forced.


19. … 20. Nxc5 Ra3** Par Score 5


So Lasker plunders a pawn. But Black is still in the game, with decent counterplay.


20. … 21. b4 Qc6


The black queen is saved with a gain of time.** Par Score 6


Another practically forced move. Deduct 3


points for the blunder 21. Qb2, when 21. ... Qxc5 also defends the rook.


21. … Nh5 This is an inaccuracy. Much wiser was the


retreat 21. ... Ra3-a8, with the idea of shifting the rook back to f8 for attack.**


22. Qb2 Par Score 6 Black’s forces are not working well together.


Both the rook and e-pawn are hanging. If 22. ... Ra8 (or 22. ... Qa8), 23. Qxe5 is fairly ominous. Since it’s going to get worse, Black decided it was time to take a stroll on the deck.


22. … Black resigned. www.uschess.org 47


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