Tactics Laboratory #1

It is a common adage that tactical mastery is important in improving one’s chess. In critical moments, ending a game in brilliant fashion as opposed to trudging out another 50 moves is both satisfying and asthetically pleasing. Every week, we will feature amazing examples of tactical displays here… for your enjoyment and education!

The position below is an instructive example of using various tactics to attack a king stuck in the center. Try to analyze the variation as deep as possible. No computers!!

correspondence, 1976

White to play and win!


  1. OK… no attempts again. I won’t keep these puzzles up for weeks at a time, so if you want to make a try, please do so. Write as much as you can even if only the first move. The key with combinations (and tactical players know this) is you figure out the tactical motifs and then you try different move orders until you get the right sequence.

    This problem is quite beautiful when one works past the first move. After 1.Nxe6! fxe6 (1…Bxb5 2. Qxf8+ Kd7 3.Qxf7+), white plays 2.Rxd5 (destroying the defender of e7). Now after 2…Qd8, white plays what? This move is not obvious, but it is part of a beautiful geometric pattern.

    White plays the star move in 3.Rf5!!

    On 3…exf5 comes 4.Re1+ mating, or 3…Rxf5 4.Qg8+ Rf8 5.Qe6+! also mates. Nice!

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