Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Imagination in Chess

is a fantastic book. I'm enjoying it a lot this afternoon. Here are some puzzles for your enjoyment.
Answers will be up tomorrow, but perhaps some geniuses will post solutions in comments?

I hope everyone's enjoying the manic posting pace of the last couple days, but I should mention that it will dry up shortly. I'm going away for a week's vacation on Friday. Then I'm back for just a couple days before going off to play in Edmonton and Dallas (US Open). After that its directly to Greg's next US Chess School session. So expect only sporadic posting for the next month or so. I'm just letting you know in case you think I died.

White to move

Black to move

White to move

White to move

White to move


likesforests said...

What tactics books are most useful at the 1600-1800 level? I'm almost finished with my first pass through Chess Tactics for Champions, which is aimed at the 1400-1600 level.

Anonymous said...

Four of the five felt trivially easy. But I had a lot of trouble with #3, and I'm still not certain my solution is optimal. If the solution to that one is as brief and forced as the others, I must have missed it.

For #1, 1.Qd4 (or even Qd3) followed by 2.c7 seems to do the trick. Black will get 2 pawns for his knight, but I suppose White should win that ending.

#2 is 1...Nd1 2.Bxd1 (if the R moves then ...Qe1#) Qxc3-+

For #3, the best I came up with is 1.dxe5 Qxe5 2.Qf3 Rf8 (2...Qe6 3.e5!+-) 3.Qh3 with idea 4.Qh6 followed by Rh8+. If Black prevents 4.Qh6 by taking his queen off the long diagonal (say, with 4...Qf4 or first 4...Qxe4+ and then 5...Qf4), White wins via 5.Rh8+ Kg7 6.Qc3+.

#4 White wins by 1.Ne7 followed by Qxe4 and Rxf7+

#5 is 1.c3 Rxc3 2.Rxe5+ and 3.Bxd4+

Anonymous said...

There is nothing "trivially easy" about Imagination in Chess - my favorite chess training book. Although it has almost zero writing, and is just a collection of diagrams, the quality of problems are unmatched. I like how the problems are well beyond your standard "White to play and mate in X" or "Tactic: Pin" examples - these are (for the most part) actual game situations between 2400+ players.
I would say if you are under 1800, you might not get much out of the book. And if you find the problems too easy, I recommend you petition FIDE to replace Kramnik in the championship cycle.

Anonymous said...

On a public forum with players of varying strength, nothing is trivially easy.

In fact the only reason to say something like that is to show off, because if you can't understand that there are tons of people reading this that would have a very difficult time solving those problems, you are clearly deluded.

If you can understand that there are tons of people reading this blog that would have trouble solving the problems, then you are just obnoxious for your comments.

That is all.

- Greg

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Answers 1,2,4 and 5 of anon 10:25 are correct.

Answer 3 is
1. Qf2 (1. Rh8? Kg7 2. R1h7 Kf6 3. Qf2+ Qf4 4. dxe5 Kxe5)
1... Qf4
2. dxe5!! (2. Qxf4? exf4 3. e5 g5! 4. R7h5 (4. e6 Rxe6!) 4...f6 5. exf6 Kf7)

likesforests-- I'd recommend Martin Weteschnik's (sp?) recent book, Understanding Chess Tactics

Tom Panelas said...

However: If one shows off anonymously, has one truly shown off? (Tree falls in the forest, etc....)

For the record I found all of the problems beyond my ability, but I'll enjoy playing through them now that I have the answers. Thanks for the tip, anon 11:07. Maybe I'll wait on this book till I'm Class A. Long-overdue reforms to the ratings system would help.

likesforests said...

Thanks, the reviews look good... I ordered a copy. :)

Anonymous said...

Sheesh! Such sensitive people! I meant neither to offend anyone, nor to brag, nor to put down the "Imagination in Chess" book - which I haven't even seen, as should be clear from my comment.

Puzzles usually bore me, and I normally avoid posting solutions since that can be inconsiderate to other readers who are trying to figure it out for themselves. (For instance, Dennis Monokroussos always asks readers working on positions he posts, to send their answers in a private message to him rather than posting solutions in comments on his blog.)

In this case I made an exception since Liz explicitly solicited readers to post solutions.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Greg's not objecting to you posting the solutions, Jon, he's objecting to you saying the problems are trivially easy.

Anonymous said...

I know, Liz, but hey - it is what it is. I had no clue that calling it that would offend anyone. I didn't even mean it as a put-down (against the book or the specific puzzles) - let alone imagine that some hypersensitive would-be solver might read into the phrase some implied criticism of himself or herself.

Then again, before tossing off my frank impression, I suppose I should have considered how all the hyperventilation of chessic self-doubt emanating from the recent "I suck" threads, might be making a lot of us extra-sensitive about our chess ability, and its central role in our lives, our relationships with loved ones and with G-d.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

It's easy to write something flip without thinking about how people will respond, I've defintely been there and think it's understandable. However, the Greg who objected in this case is clearly Greg Shahade, so I doubt he's speaking out his his own chess insecurity.

And really, "trivial"? I have to agree with him that you're going way too far there. I solved some of the problems I posted (maybe half, depending on how much partial credit we're giving) after 10 minutes of thought on each. But trivial to me means solving in under a minute or two.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I say "clearly" it's Greg Shahade because of the characteristic phrase "That is all." If you watch his videos or read his blog, that's a big giveaway.

es_trick said...

Let's have a real contest between Jon and Greg, mano-a-mano!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, sorry that this is off-topic but I'd love to get your reaction to this:


What a hoot! And, no, this is NOT from The Onion.

As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, this is a tough world to be ludicrous in.


Anonymous said...

Everybody says "that is all". It's quite the cliche, the tiredest. Thing. Ever.

--Granny O'Doul

Anonymous said...

Granny, that is because everyone tries to emulate Greg Shahade. But there's only One. Greg. Shah-hottie.

Anonymous said...

Oooh! Would you please post a belly button photo of Greg?

chessloser said...

amazing how one comment can spark such discussion and it isn't even directly about the post. i like the book, i've had it for some time now and like to look at the problems right before bed so i can think about them while i fall asleep.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Vicary,

There is a picture of you I took at the WO

WO 2008

Getting to 2000

Anonymous said...

O.K., that's...a little creepy.

Just saying.

likesforests said...


Nah, it was very nice of Ivan to take some pictures while we were deep in concentration so I have something to show my folks. :)

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I agree. Creepy stuff occurs, but taking nice pic of me ... not creepy!?

Anonymous said...

it's been now several days without controversy-- this blog is starting to disappoint. please say somth to provoke Howard-G and JJacobs soon. thanks in advance.

Bill Brock said...

No one's mentioned the greatest thing about _Imagination_: the organizational structure is not tactical theme, but thinking technique.

I do find it a bit too hard for me...Beim's _How to Calculate Chess Tactics_ covers some of the same ground and is a bit more accessible.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Anon 9:07-- how's that? Sorry for the delay--I'm away.