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.
What kind of move am I looking for?
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.
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
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?
Occasionally we show a puzzle that we call a "spoiler", in which
there is no clear solution. However, spoilers contain
wrong moves that usually take the form of
unsound sacrifices. You are expected to avoid temptation and settle
on any non-suicidal move. It may be a quiet move, a developing move;
almost anything except the move played!
I give up. How do I find out the answer?
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.
To see the answer, just click on the diagram.
You will not be shown the answer immediately, but instead go to the game and position.
From there, the "next move" button will reveal what was played.
Is there only one move which is correct?
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 might have been played.
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
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.