Chess 2022 – January Top Pics

American Chess Magazine has been launched in November 2016 to help readers keep in touch with all the most significant happenings in the exciting world of present-day chess, both at home and abroad.

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.

First puzzle
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!

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app: I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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