Pontresina Puzzles

On this page you can test your chess IQ on eight chess puzzles, all but one are from my own games at the swiss chess championship in Pontresina. Be warned: they are rather tough...

1. Fierz - P. Tesar

My first-round game: White to move. Black's bishop is bad. Find a plan for white to win the game and answer the question: is this position winning for white?
In the game, I found the plan and my opponent lost without much fight.

Click here for a hint!

2. O.Noyer - N. Giertz, slightly adapted

A cool (and very instructive) position which occurred in round 5: black to move and win! This one is harder than you think :-)
The position in the game had pawns on g2 and h3 instead of g3 and h2. What's the difference?

Click here for a hint!

3. G. Nüesch - Fierz (I)

In round 6 the weather was beautiful, so I put on my trekking shoes and offered a draw on move 16. Fortunately for this puzzle page, white declined. 3 moves later, he played 19.Bd2-e3. What did he miss?
(On my 600MHz AMD K7 Fritz 5.00 needs 15 seconds for this)

Click here for a hint!

4. G. Nüesch - Fierz (II)

My draw offer had been based on the variation 16. ...Be7-b4 17.Be3-d2 Bb4-d6 18. Bd2-e3 (Diagram) Bd6-b4 repeating moves. Gerard decided to play on with 18. a2-a3 Nf6-e4 19. Bd2-e3, which is the puzzle above. My next question: Could black do better than repeat moves with Bd6-b4?
(Fritz needs 2:50 for this!)

Click here for a hint!

5. Fierz - O. Moor

In round 7 I played against the strongest player of my chess club, Wollishofen. I got a great attacking position after two careless moves by black. The last moves before the diagram were 18. ...Ra8-d8 19. Bc1-f4 Qc7-c8. This is a visualization puzzle: do not play the following moves over on a chess board, just try to visualize what's going on: My first instinct was of course to play 20.Nh5xf6+ Be7xf6 21.Qe2-c2 threatening 22.Qh7+ Kf8 23. Qh8+ Ke7 24. Nf5 mate. Since Olivier is a strong player and had thought for a long time before playing Ra8-d8 I wondered what he had seen and came up with the following defence: 20.Nh5xf6+ Be7xf6 21.Qe2-c2 Bb7-e4! 22.Re1xe4 Nc5xe4 23.Qc2xe4 e6-e5 winning the knight because of the pin on the e-file. I calculated further trying to find a win: 24.Qe4-h7+ Kg8-f8 25.Qh7-h8+ Kf8-e7 26.Nd4-f5+ Ke7-e6 the second point of e6-e5: the black king has a square to go to. In this position the white queen on h8 is en prise, and the rook on e1 too, with the threat of mate. So I still looked at 27.Nf5xg7+ but after Bf6xg7 I still have the two problems and am hopelessly lost.
How many mistakes are there in the bold-faced variation?
By the way, I lost this game after 20.Nh5xf6+ Be7xf6 21.Qe2-c2 g7-g6 22.Bf4xh6...

Click here for a hint!

6. IM N.Kelecevic - M. Fierz (I)

Black to move. In round 8 I got this position after a long defence. The game is in it's rapid-play phase and I had about 10 minutes left for the remainder of the game. I came up with 56. ...h5-h4 and lost after 57.g3xh4 Kg4xh4 58.Ra3-a1! I missed that one... g6-g5 59.Ra1-h1+ Kh4-g4 60. Rh1-g1+ Kg4-h4 61.f4xg5 Ra5xa4+ 62.Ke4-f5. Where did I go wrong?

Click here for a hint!

7. IM N.Kelecevic - M. Fierz (II)

I was showing this endgame to Martin Ballmann and Florian Jenni who stopped me when I played 59....Kh4-g4. What was his idea and does it work?

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8. Fierz - J.P. Z'Berg

My last round game - early in the morning I played a rather terrible opening but after the last moves 14....Nb3xc1? giving up the blockade of the queenside 15. Qd1xc1 h7-h5? (Diagram) I pounced on my chance to play 16.b2-b3! Qb6-a6 17.b3xc4 d5xc4 next diagram...
...and now white has many options. I calculated for 20 minutes before I played... what?

Click here for a hint!

last modified on Monday, October 02, 2000