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Daily Chess Puzzle
 
What is the Chessgames.com Daily Puzzle?
One of the most popular features of Chessgames.com is our daily chess puzzle. It can be found on the homepage, right underneath the search interface. It is updated every day at 12:00am USA/Eastern time.

In each puzzle, you are given a chess position from actual play, and told which player had the move (White or Black). It's up to you to figure out the best move in that position.

The difficulty of the puzzles increases as the week progresses, with Monday puzzles being very basic, and Sunday puzzles almost impossible.

What kind of move am I looking for?
The goal is to find the best move, or sequence of moves, in the given position.

You do not always have to find a checkmate! Just find the best move.

Usually, this move will lead to a superior position, either by a forced sequence of moves which leads to checkmate, or (more commonly) wins substantial material.

By "substantial material" we mean usually winning at least the exchange (i.e. trading a knight or a bishop for a rook). More commonly the winning move will net a whole piece (bishop/knight/rook) and sometimes will win the queen. Occasionally, the material will be only a single pawn--this usually happens in endgame situations where the extra pawn will surely decide the game.

The first move is not always the most difficult move to see. Sometimes, the initial move in the sequence is somewhat obvious, but the real solution to the position lies in the follow-up moves. In order to solve our puzzles, you must see enough moves to demonstrate that the initial move is correct. Simply guessing the first move, without understanding why it works, is not solving the puzzle.

Sometimes we will present a position where the player who is to move is in a nearly hopeless situation. In these positions you are expected to look for a way to draw the game instead of win it. We don't tell you that you are looking for a draw; you are expected to figure this out by the nature of the position.

What is a spoiler?

We occasionally show a puzzle that we call a spoiler. These are positions where there is no move that clearly wins the game, but instead a variety of solid moves which are all playable. Usually these positions present the lure potential sacrifices which are unsound. You are expected to recognize the unsoundness of the tempting sacrifices and instead conclude that the best move is one of the "quiet" moves, or an obvious move like capturing a pawn. We show spoilers from time to time because it encourages people to think combinations all the way through, instead of simply finding a move which looks like it initiates an attack, without considering the defenses.
I give up. How do I find out the answer?
To see the answer, just click on the diagram. You will not be shown the answer immediately, but instead go to the game from which the puzzle was taken. From there, you can play through the game and when you reach the position from the diagram you can see the move played in the game.

The move played in the actual game is almost always the solution, although every now and then the correct move was not actually played in the game. On these occasions, the notes to the game will explain what should have been played.

Is there only one move which is correct?
It depends on the puzzle. Sometimes, there is only one move which can win the game, and all other moves lose. Other times, there are a variety of good moves and one which is clearly better. Occasionally we may present a puzzle which has a "dual", an alternate solution which is every bit as good, or even better, than the move played in the game. By the end of the day, our kibitzers will figure out the truth behind the position.
I have a question or comment about today's puzzle.
That's what the "Kibitzing" area is for. If you have a free chessgames account, you can post a comment below the game to exchange ideas with other users. If you aren't registered, please see our registration page. It's quick, anonymous, and free.
Will these puzzles really make me stronger at chess?
Absolutely. No matter what your playing strength, a better grasp of tactical concepts will help push you to the next level. Because these positions are taken from real games, they are designed to show you realistic situations which will inevitably be reflected in your own games.
How hard are these puzzles?
It's impossible to satisfy everybody with every puzzle, for what is too easy for one person is too difficult for another. To enable everybody to enjoy the puzzles, we arrange them so that their difficulty increases throughout the week. Monday and Tuesday puzzles are the easiest puzzles of the week; Saturday and Sunday are the most difficult.

Nearly everybody should be able to solve Monday and Tuesday puzzles, although beginners at chess might have to invest some time to see the solution. By Wednesday and Thursday even strong players are occasionally stumped. Friday and Saturday puzzles can be notoriously difficult, and Sunday puzzles are often impossible to solve below the master level.

Note that the concept of "difficulty" with chess puzzles is very subjective. Don't be surprised if some weeks you spend more time on a Tuesday puzzle than on a Friday puzzle--the escalating difficulty is just a rough guideline which cannot possibly apply to everybody. For most people, there are only two or three days a week when the puzzles are easy enough to solve, yet difficult enough to be challenging.

I'm solving the puzzles faster each week. Are they getting easier?

No, you're becoming stronger! Congratulations.

Where can I see an archive of previous daily puzzles?

The Tactics Archive is available to Premium Chessgames members. For more information on upgrading your account, see our Premium Membership page.
How can I put the daily puzzle on my website/blog?
Imagine having the daily chess puzzle from Chessgames.com, on your site, automatically updated every day! All you have to do is include the following HTML in your page:

On your web page, it will occupy a space exactly 296x448 pixels. For a demonstration of this and other cool chess widgets, see our Webmaster Resources Page.

 


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