Step 2 - Improver Puzzles

If a puzzle is taking you more than a few seconds to solve, set it up on a board - you'll learn more that way!

Black to play

White’s king is not yet castled.  How can black exploits this?  Try to work out what to do for each of white’s most likely responses.

Solution 

Black to play

Given time white will play Qe8 followed by c7 and c8=Q.  What should black do?

Solution

Black to play.

How does black gain an advantage?

Solution

White to play.

White can force a win here.

Solution

Black to play.

How does black gain a winning advantage?

Solution

White to play.

Wihte has powerful mating threats

Solution

White to play.

White can win in a lot of ways but one is much more efficient than the others.

Solution

Black to play.

No prizes for the first move – you need to see the follow up here!

Solution

Black to move

Black has a strong attack going.   How does she increase the pressure to force a quick win?

Solution

White to move

Black is forking the white knight and bishop.   How does white avoid losing a piece?

Solution

Black to move

White is forking the knight on e5 and the pawn on g7.   How does black deal with this?

Solution

Black to move

Black has one move that is much stronger than the rest.

Solution

White to move

Everything is set for an attack on the black king.   How should white proceed?

Solution

White to move

How does white win a pawn?

Solution

White to move

Wihte has a sneaky idea in this position.   Can you see it?

Solution

White to move

The bishop pair is normally worth more than a rook and a pawn (this is an important exception to the rough values – the bishop pair is often worth more than 6, especially when playing against a rook).

How does white capitalise on his advantage to win quickly?

Solution

White to move

How does white set up a deadly pin?

Solution

White to move

White has an idea to give checkmate.   How does she use this to win material?

Solution

Black to move

Notice the bishop on f6 controls b2, so white has to be careful of his back rank.  How does black exploit this to win material?

Solution

Black to move

White has ideas like cxd6 followed by Rc7 when his queenside pawns look menacing.  But black’s has his own ideas.   Can you see the best way for black to proceed?

Solution

White to move

What is white’s most accurate move here?

Solution

White to move

Mate in 2 moves

Solution