20/03/21 COMPETITION: Short Master Games

Short Sharp Shocks No.9

Note that the bottom left corner of the board is ‘a1’. This set is a continuation of the last set of puzzles. These games are real games played by master players. Rather than searching necessarily for a checkmate, you must search for the best continuation. We prefer to receive answers in algebraic notation.

Ah, we have no bishop…

White: Hamlisch Black: Amateur

Vienna, 1902

Pirc Defence

  1. e4, d6

This opening, popularised in the 1950s by Yugoslav player VASJA PIRC (1907-1980), is usually followed by a king’s fianchetto (developing the black bishop at g7, on the side of the board, away from the centre; ‘fianchetto’ means ‘little flank’).

2. d4, Nd7

Position after 2… Nd7 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

This move is not bad in itself, but can presage problems for the black king around the complex of white squares e8, f7 and e6, which the bishop at c8 could have been useful in defending.

3. Bc4, g6
4. Nf3, Bg7

Position after 4… Bg7 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

Black plays according to Pirc’s recipe, fianchettoing his bishop at g7. But now, disaster strikes. Can you see how white reduces black’s position to a pile of rubble in a few moves?

When you think you know the answer, send your solution in to us by submitting the form on this page. We will publish the full solutions, and names of all those who sent us the correct answers, in our blog next week (if you would rather not be named, please say so!).

Everyone who sends in their answers receives at least 1 point. If you correctly guess the best continuation, you will receive 3 points. The puzzler with the highest score after the six week set of puzzles will win a solver badge/solver spots and a free chess lesson with the teacher of their choice!

Good luck!


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Diagram courtesy of www.chess.com


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