A Puzzle That Tells If YOU Have The “Chess Talent”

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Do you have what it takes to become a strong chess player? Do you have the so-called chess talent? In this video lesson, GM Igor Smirnov shows you an interesting chess puzzle which was used by the former Soviet Union chess coaches to determine whether their students have the so-called chess talent or not.

This old Russian chess puzzle (also known as the “Soviet Test of Chess Talent”) consists of a White queen and 4 Black pawns. The task for you, as White, is to capture all the Black pawns before or when they get promoted.

By the way, a question that you would probably have is “Is it true or a myth? Can chess puzzles determine if one has the so-called chess talent or not?” Well, watch the video lesson as GM Igor Smirnov has answered that as well with a nice story.

Feel free to pause the video, try to solve this puzzle, and see if you have the “chess talent”.

► Chapters

00:00 Chess Talent Test
00:12 Soviet/Russian Chess Puzzle
01:03 Can you solve this puzzle?
01:39 Is it true or a myth?
03:38 Which pawn should the queen capture?
06:25 If White plays Qxd3
08:04 Did you solve the puzzle?

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  1. Isnt there a rule that states a pawn may move two squares from its starting position?

  2. This reminds me of something a bit inappropriate, if you know you know.

  3. Sorry i totally disagree its not a high level puzzle at all 😂

  4. Kinda disappointed at this. I'm not that good of a player, even though I like to do puzzles sometimes, but this took me less than a minute to figure out

  5. Tip: you should work on your pronunciation as it’s a little difficult to understand. especially ‘pawn’ which you pronounce like ‘pawng’.

  6. That was more easy than i thought i thought i have to get it without 1 pawn becomes queen.

  7. I failed until I realize it was a queen and not a king. The second I found out, I solved it on my first attempt. Just made sense.

    Edit, I don't play chess, I'm just an intellectual in the truest sense. Well beyond simple chess logics. That's easy, just not gonna practice to get there because I'd rather do something else. No offense.

  8. …this does not determine what he is claiming. It’s an easy puzzle for most people

  9. Me: gets puzzle right 🙂
    Also me: 627 rating on the chess app because my 690 rating opponent are also smart

  10. I've imagined the first full solution you explained.

  11. My first thought was D3 because if you go up there will be a unequal amount of pawns around you meaning the pawns will always win cause you can't trap em

  12. actualy took me about 1 minute tu figure it out, looked hard but there are not too many possibilities that looks good so … easy 😛

  13. I'm 1500 on lichess 10m time format
    It took me a minute
    It's fun challenge and I'll show it to friends thanks for nice puzzle

  14. It took me about 3 minutes I think to figure out a solution to the first puzzle.

  15. This was prob the easiest puzzle in my life… the move foreword I figured out you will lose really quickly… to the side dosnt really make any sense so only the option across made sense

  16. I’m a fucking scrub at chess but I think go diagonally to take the fourth pawn first

  17. I thought I couldn’t let them reach the first rank at all and thats why I couldn’t capture them. I literally thought the solution, but i thought I couldn’t let them even touch the first rank

  18. My initial though process, Queen to b3, you now have full control over every move they can make. if they do c3 to c2 I think their best move (this is where I really realize the mistake) moving to c3 to keep similar control they move a3-a2 now you're in a situation where whatever you do a pawn will promote, take d3 a pawn promotes, take c2 d3 takes queen, can't take a2 unless they promote. Similar issue if instead of going to the empty c3 you take a3 pawn you then won't be able to take a pawn as it promotes and lose. Taking d3 instead c2 just promote and you lose.

    My intitial though process told me queen to b3 is the wrong move and you need to be clearing the pawns out so de would have to be the right move

    That took me about 15 minutes to think through the wrong way to do it, though i haven't played much chess

  19. Everyone does. It’s application of study and experience. The sooner we dispense with the illusion of the effect of talent on someone’s potential success, the more people will be successful.

  20. Not really sure if figuring out the puzzle only meant figuring out which pawn to take in the first move, I did figure that out first but I wasn't sure how I could win next, does that count ? 😛

    After like 3 mins of going over the plays I decided to finish the video and see the answer xd cool stuff thought, didn't know puzzles kike these existed 😀

  21. Kinda disheartened I didn't get it 🙁 got tunnel vision with taking all the pawns as soon as possible so I didn't consider blocking them

  22. Thank goodness I solved the puzzle in well under a minute… or else I’d be bummed! lol

  23. Me: This is impossible. Any smart opponent would chase away the King, and then move the pawn nearest the the edge to promote it.

    "Now, what can you do with a Queen?"

    Me: OOOHHHHH, that makes it MUCH easier.

  24. Is there a second solution?! It feels like if you capture D3 pawn, then enemy C2. Then you can go D2. After A2 you go C1 and it`s gg. Am i wrong?

  25. I got it but I didn’t go through all the possibilities I just thought it would be better

  26. I’m very surprised that I got the correct answer for the puzzle so quickly because I’m pretty new at chess

  27. Took me maybe 4 minutes to find the answer.

  28. I solved it in 30 sec and im 1050 rating

  29. First instinct for me was that take then after calculating quite easy to solve didn't even calculate the other take xd

  30. Took me 5 minutes…. But I guess for a beginner that's ok

  31. Me: It's literally impossible. No matter where I move the King, Blackcan just move the pawn furthest and I have no way to catch up.

    Video: So first you have to move the queen-
    Me: Wait, that's the QUEEN?? …OH.

    (Imediately pauses the video to try and solve the puzzle properly.)

    Here is my answer. It took me 19 minutes and 26 seconds.

    First, Queen to C1. This seems like an odd move ut there is a method to my madness:

    1) Black is likely going to move the pawn furthest from me. If I move to the right, he'll move the pawn on the far left. If I move to the left, he'll move the pawn on the far right.

    2) Moving to the left is obviously a bad idea. I don't want to corner myself.

    3). By going on point 1), If I move to C1, he's probably going to move the pawn furthest from me. So that means A3 –>A2.

    4) I'm setting myself up for next turn.

    With that move done I immediately capture C3. Now, no matter which pawn he moves, I'm in a position to capture it. If he moves A2 to A1. I can immediately grab his newly crowned queen. B3 to B2. I grab that pawn. D3 to D2. Same story.

    My opponent's only real option is to stall. So he moves B3 to B2 to try and block me. I capture B2. Now, if my opponent tries to move A2 to A1, I can IMMEDIATELY capture that Queen.

    But my opponent is a little smarter. He moves D3 to D2.

    Now here's where I got stuck for the longest time. I am on B2. My opponent has a pawn on both A2 and B2. If I capture 1, the other uses that opportunity to grab a promotion. For the longest time, it looked like I was stuck.

    Then it hit me.

    I don't need to CAPTURE on my move. I just need to put HIM in a no win scenario.

    I move to A1. He can't move A2-> A1 now. His only move is D2 to D1. But the second he does that, hs turn ends and I send my Queen to grab D1. My opponent only has the pawn on A2 left. So he moves to A1 for a royal promotion. But it's short lived as on my next turn, my Queen takes his newly crowned Reagent.

    White wins.

    C1–> C3–> B2–> A1–> D1–>A1

    EDIT: EDIT Realised that Black's best move after I move to C3 would be to move to D2. Now if I try to capture D2, A2 will move to A1 and be promoted. I cannot move back to C1, because D2 can just take me. I can grab C3. But then either A2 or D2 will get promoted. Putting me in a no win.

  32. I thought that was a King piece and didn't even hear that's a Queen …

    Thank you YouTube for proving me I am bad at Chess 🤣

  33. Queen takes diagonal pawn. Idc what happens after.

  34. Solved in a few seconds, it's an easy pazzle.

  35. Anyone gonna mention that u kinda win if you stay in first rank,

  36. Queen to D-3. After the explanation of the rules in the challenge. It took me about 15 seconds to run through all the visual options. It's a power position… Against any line of pieces accept a when a rook is involved at least when they are lined up like the pawns in this video.

  37. I got it in about 2 mins. I just treated my Queen like a King.

  38. Was able to solve it though it took me about ten minutes lol. Mostly because it was trying to find a solution on capturing b3 before I realized d3 was the way to go

  39. Well, I have no idea what's going on. I can't guess all puzzles.
    Short answer: No, I don't have chess talent. I'm too retard to play chess.
    Thank you.

  40. Solved in about 45 seconds. QxD3 c2 Qc3

    On a2 there is Qb2 with Zugzwang, and on b2 there is just Qxc2

  41. I already have an intuition that tells me this i sthe right move but I am also not a beginner

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