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When I was growing up, my father would give me many chess puzzles to solve every day, and I really looked forward to solving them. This process helped me throughout my career and has done a lot to make me the player I am today. Now, twenty five years later, I still solve chess puzzles every day, and it’s also how I ask my students to practice chess on a daily basis.

Another thing I strongly recommend is to solve the puzzles at least three times. Make a note of how long it takes you solve each one. When you have finished all the puzzles, start over from the beginning and note your times again. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you’ll be the second and third times—a clear indication that practicing these patterns has helped you learn to recognize them. The more patterns you recognize, the better your chess skills will become.

It is important to try to find these solutions quickly. As your game improves, you will want to be able to see these checkmates accurately from a distance of many moves.

Try to solve these puzzles without using a board. In the beginning you may want to set up these positions on a chessboard, but as soon as you get the hang of it, solve them by looking at the book, not the board. This process will help you improve your calculation and visualization skills. These are two very critical skills in chess. Professional chess players can visualize the chessboard in their minds and some can calculate up to a few dozens moves mentally without looking at the board at all.

 

Susan Polgar

World Champion

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Five Points
(Published 09/25/10)

 

The solutions will be published  next month