Some recent Reader Mail and Feedback

  • Morphy Puzzle correction


    I got a really nice email after the Morphy newsletter that I sent out, which contained this position:

    Paul Morphy Composed Chess Problem

    White to Move

    You can read the newsletter here:

    The Answer I gave was:

       White has a cute mate in two with 1. Ra6 bxa6 2. b7#

     Michael S. writes:

    Hello, Tim. 


    I wanted to reach out to you with a quick introduction, and a comment on the Morphy puzzle below.  FYI, I’ve been a chess player on and off (mostly “off”) for many decades, and I’ve rekindled my love of the game over the last few years.  I’m an avid player of digital correspondence chess on, although I’m still at patzer skill level.  I’ve been absorbing as many chess books, Websites, blogs, tweets, etc. as I can find time for.  (As you’ll see below, I do have a day job, which on occasion gets in the way of my chess career .)  I recently discovered you and your wonderful work.  I bought your e-book, I regularly check your Website, and I follow you on Twitter and wherever else I can find you .  I find your writing delightful and very instructive.  Thank you so much for all of your energy and efforts. 


    A quick comment on the puzzle below.  For the first time ever since I’ve been reading your column, I think I found an omission.  Since Black’s move 1 …bxa6 is not forced, I think that the puzzle answer should include the possibility of 1 … B [any move] 2.Rxa7#.  I would love to hear whether you agree with my comment. 


    Anyway, thanks again for all your fine work, and I look forward to continuing to learn from you and to growing in my chess ability with your help and encouragement. 


    With appreciate and respect,


    Michael S.


    My response:

    Hey thanks Michael!


    Yeah that is a good point – if the bishop moves then Black mates with the Rook.  Good catch!!


    Thanks again for the nice email!!




    I get a lot of readers who are in Michael’s shoes.  They may have played years ago, and now for whatever reason, they are getting back into chess.  Maybe they have some extra time on their hands now that the kids are out of the house, or their kids got involved with it in school, and now they have a new interest as well.

    I discovered that there are two main types of chess players – those that are looking to improve, and those that are not.  Some players are happy just wanting to keep “pushing wood”, and others who have a real thirst for improving their rating and winning games.

    The nice thing about chess is that you can leave, and come back.  You can be really “gung ho” about chess improvement, or not.  You can still enjoy it either way.  I know people who play in tournaments literally every weekend, even if they have to drive hundreds of miles, and some who play once a year at most.

  • Novotny Tactic

    I also got a question about this position from Stephen.

  • White to Move

    Novotny Tactic – White to Move


    This was featured in my postcard from the beach, which you can read here:

    Stephen writes:

    What about 1. d3 and all the threats it poses?  As well as 1. … g3, but I can’t believe someone else didn’t see this over the years…so I must be missing something.

    My response:

    Well d3 isn’t as forcing, but d4 leads to mate….

    1. +-  (#2): 1.d4 hxg6 2.Nd2#
    2. =  (0.09): 1.d3 Rxd3 2.Bxd3 g3 3.Nd6 gxf2 4.Bxh7 Be5 5.Nc4 Bd4 6.Bb1 Bf6 7.Bf5 Bd4 8.Be6 Ke4 9.Nd6+ Ke5 10.Nb5 Kxe6 11.Nxd4+ Ke5 12.Nb5


  • Study Endgames

    I got a lot of feedback about my Study Endgames post.  Most people agreed with me with comments like



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