I want to sacrifice something, but what?

Chess puzzles can sometimes be…? Well eh, very puzzling.

The problem with these puzzles is that it is always something like ‘white to play and win’.

And winning most of the time means: you have to throw some material at your opponents mercy, preferably a queen or at least a rook.

Sorry, I was just joking. It doesn’t have to be the queen or a rook of course. Any piece or even pawn will do. As long as it is a sacrifice. The idea is clear:

A sacrifice seems to be the logic consequence of the statement ‘white (or black) to play and win’. Or is it?

See for instance the first diagram. White to play and win. See solution…

So our mind starts to play tricks on us simply because of how the question is framed.

See the next diagram. The puzzle’s level was rated very high with a rating well over 2.000. So I started frantically looking for sacrifices. And spent the next twenty minutes or so to try to find something convincing. You can give it a try, for instance:

Nxb5+, Qxb5 or Bb6+.

You can save yourself the trouble and lots of time: these moves don’t work. What will? Well imagine you have this position in a regular game. Probably you will look for a couple of minutes to the position and try to find any tactic.

A quick search will probably tell you: I don’t see anything (yet). And you embark on the next best thing: just a strong move.

So put yourself in the normal game frame of mind and you will probalby solve this puzzle within a couple of seconds, some minutes max. Solution….

I found both puzzles on the Chessbase trainer. Here you can find an article about this tactics trainer…

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