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I am curious to know if there are others like this out there. Do you remember the most useful puzzle or position you have ever seen?
For me, it’s this one:
The idea behind this puzzle was eye-opening and has helped me navigate many strategic ideas throughout my games in the five years since I first saw it.
The game is Donner – Smyslov from Havana 1967. This is the first position in the book Strategic Chess Exercises by Emmanuel Bricard.
I will spare you all of the analysis here (buy the book! Seriously, buy it now!) but the idea is that Black would like to own the d file. So how does the former world champion accomplish that?
1…c6 with the idea to take away the b5 square. 2.Rfd1 preparing to double, but wait. 2…Be6 and now the queen must move. 3.Qe2 Bb3! and that’s it. The d file will now belong to Black.
I would imagine that most titled players likely think of ideas like this without much trouble, but to me, this was like a lightning bolt from the blue. The idea that I could use a bishop to hit a square on a file so that I could own the file was not something that instantly sprang to mind until I first read this one.
Have I said that you should buy the book? You should buy this book.
For those who would like to see the entire game, here you are: Jan Hein Donner vs Vasily Smyslov (1967) (chessgames.com)
Til Next Time,