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A few weeks ago I shared with you a couple of puzzles with totally unexpected solutions from the “Chess 2022 Day-to-Day Calendar: A Year of Chess Puzzles. You can review the article HERE. It is only fair to share two that I solved and impressed me. What impressed me about was the journey each one of them takes the solver from the first glance to the solution. The twists and turns along the way provide the thrill of discovery. That is an important element that gives them value. Please give them a try before reading the solutions.
So what do you think? Have you enjoyed them? How about solving one or both? If you did congratulations. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
The first thing that came to my mind was cramped Black’s position is. In football terms Black is desperately hanging on with the entire team in the box. The goal feels imminent and can come either from a cross or a pinball deflection. The only Black pieces that can move are the King and Rook. If this gave you a hunch to put Black in zugzwang, the rest was somewhat easy:
The second puzzle
Continuing my football analogy here the goal is coming. Who do you rely on the most in such situations? It is your best players. In chess those are your queen and rooks. Still they have to battle through and outsmart their opposition. In this case all Black pieces are well placed to shut down the two possible double checks. After looking at ways to make either one of them work, you probably saw the beautiful interference that makes the checkmate possible:
All the other puzzles are interesting. My only critique is that in all it is white to move and mate. That could be improved for next year. The other thing I will like to mention is their complexity. These are not puzzles for beginners with a few and far between sprinkled here and there. I would say they could provide a strong challenge to any club player or fan of the game looking for their daily chess fix. I highly recommend it!
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