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. Somehow I managed to solve it rather quickly haha but I was probably lucky. It's just within the variations that right most pawn take was just the best move. But I don't have talent haha I'm only 1000 rank. Every step you went through is exactly how I did it ahha good puzzle.

  2. 1. Qxd3 c2
    2. Qc3! a2
    3. Qa2!! a1=Q 4.Qxa1
    c1=Q 4. Qxc1

    My solution.
    It took me 2 minutes

    First feeling: center pawns promotes more easily than corner pawns, and I want to get the total area from 4×3 to 3×3 to increase chance of finding a solution, so I disregard 1. Qxb3 immediately and start calculating 1. Qxd3

  3. How are adults struggling here like I'm 10 and i solved this

  4. This puzzle resembes the Horde game variation on lichess. Interestingly enough I solved this puzzle pretty quickly even though I'm so bad at Horde variation.

  5. I solved in 90 second (UpTo last configuration) but still a 1800 player.

  6. I never took chess seriously but using the sunken cost fallacy by counting how deep in a strategy and what movement would work to completely sabotage as many of their current strategies as possible. So many times I'd just let them take my queen because they actually don't want to do that and never anticipated that they'd be forced to do something and play into your strategy while they are set back however many moves.

    When your opponent locks your piece they are reliant on that strategy being a deterrent. Depending on how many moves deep you are versus theirs it's often a death sentence to force them to have to take a piece they never anticipated you'd sacrifice and you are now playing offensively while they are playing defensively.

    It's surprising how much it destroys your opponents strategy when you force them to move no matter what even if it means they'll take your queen. If you're playing for a check mate forcing them to take your sacrifice is a trap that from then on they have no solid strategy anymore and you just set them behind however moves youve been tracking their strategy. From the point you force them to trade even a pawn for a queen you destroyed their strategy and they have no idea what you have planned if you have been playing wide and versatile for long enough to force them into a position they wouldn't have anticipated and now they have a knight where they don't want it etc. And they're playing on your terms since you've always been willing to sacrifice your queen. Often these moves alone set them so off that they have to recalculate everything from scratch while you already knew you were willing to force their move. Having them suddenly forced to say move their knight to take your queen, now the board just flipped and you just cleared so much real estate that you can often just force their moves into end game.

    This probably doesn't work on those who study moves. Once you have them forced into trading a low value piece for a high value piece the rest of the game is a lot easier because you just simplified the board in your favor while they have to reset and resolve what the hell just happened.

  7. As soon as i see puzzle i fix it and i am not even a some che

  8. The only way you can't solve this puzzle if it's you think you can't let them reach the end of the board and eating the queen the turn after. It's a dumb puzzle for sure.

  9. i got this within 10 seconds of first seeing this puzzle and im only 600 rated

  10. I immediately paused the video and started to plan moves thinking that the Queen is a King, so I was like, how is it this even possible? Do I really not have a talent in chess? So I played the video and I found out that I need to sleep na coz I've been awake for 24 hours.

  11. He didn't explain the problem properly, as he suggested to stop promotion rather than purely to capture all of blacks pieces even if they get promoted…

  12. I got the correct pawn, but in a different way. Don't know how to feel about that

  13. Well I'm an idiot.
    For a minute or two I assumed all the pawns would be moving together in a single turn.
    But after that…

    I assumed I wanted to take out one in the first turn which left two options.
    Taking the right most one out is… bad.
    Lets say the pawn next to it moves down. It's protected by the only one we can attack.
    But if we attack that one, the protected pawn can turn into a queen and it'd go down hill from there.
    And after that discovery, it turned into a maze of probability. "What if they moved this instead?"
    Which is banking on the opponent making the wrong move when there is a guaranteed path to victory.

    Moving to take the other pawn on the white space made room for more possibility.
    While there is more possible moves for the white piece… I can still guarantee black could get two queens and win. (in my head at least) That's where I give up.

    Time to see the answer.

    Lmao I was incredibly wrong.
    I assumed I should at least take one piece out each turn. That was my mistake.
    My moves were as limited as my way of thinking.
    and that's why I couldn't solve it.

  14. I figured it out but it took me around 10 minutes so preety bad

  15. You can also move the queen up one and capture any pawn that moves forward and win without any pawn getting promoted

  16. This is a stupid easy puzzle
    It doesn't matter how you start but you capture then block you capture then block you capture then block.

  17. I think I solved it in a diffrent way

    Hiding answer incase someone does not wanna be spoiled!:

    if Pxc2
    If B or C pawn moves I can capture
    if PxA2
    I can still capture all if they move
    Or am I wrong?

  18. i solved it but my problem is that as I become older I need more and more time to figure these puzzles out. I had a game vs a 11 y/o kid (im in my 50s) and I gained a 4-pawn lead into the middle game and ended up becoming short on time and I eventually lost, it was a G30 time frame.

  19. It took me 3 minutes give or take to solve this

  20. Idk but took me a sec to solve this maybe luck

  21. Is it a real cat behind you he look real ! but asleep !

  22. That b2 variation took me some time to make sure it works, but I was absolutely certain the queen must be able to stop 3 connected pawns

  23. I thought the queen was a king and thought it was impossible, and i skip to the solution to find out it was actually a queen 😮

  24. I'm not sure if I did do it or not. I correctly assumed D3 was the correct move but if I was also made to move the black pawns then I'd be screwed since I didn't think that far ahead lol but if the person who knows the solution choses the best moves for black then I would have solved this in likely around a minute. Does it count? I dunno

  25. 5:38 after pawn d2 i belive after queen c 2 white wins the only problem is when its pawn c2 cause then we get Qc4 a2 Qc3 a1promote to a queen queen takes a1 and after d2 there is no way to stop pawns from promoting

  26. How is this a high level puzzle? A simple trial in error is enough to solve it. There isn't even that many possible combinations you can try out. I definitely don't have any chess talent but I've been playing chess for a while, that's the only reason it was easy for me, your talent theory is wrong in my opinion.

  27. For some reason i thought that the white piece was a king not a queen…
    Well, with that not being the case, this puzzle is more solvable for me lol

  28. My guess (after 3 mins of thought) :
    Qxd3. On c2, Qc3 (if a2, Qb2, and capture the newly promoted pawns. If b2, Qxc2). On b2, Qc1, and you win all the pawns in 3 turns. On a2, Qxc3

  29. There's only 2 moves you can make that immediately takes out a pawn
    Taking the second or the fourth
    By taking the second black can move pawn 1 or 3
    If black moves 1 you'll be forced to take it and then black is gonna move 3 and you can't take it because of the fourth pawn so you will have to move the Queen from 2A to 4C
    Black could move pawn 3 or pawn 1
    By moving pawn 3 it'll promote but The Queen can take em blacks gonna move the last piece and done or black moves pawn 4
    Still take out pawn 3 and then 4 after it promotes
    Or you go for Route 4
    Any move can be made
    If pawn 2 block it by going back with the Queen
    If pawn 3 moves take it
    Black will either Promote pawn 2 which will be taken away and then take pawn 3 or black will move pawn 1 take pawn 2 and finally pawn 1 after it promotes
    Now if Pawn 1 moves as the starter take pawn 3
    Black won't promote cause its gonna be taken away so blacks probably gonna move pawn 2 to block take it out and then take out pawn 1 after it promotes
    If pawn 3 is the starter
    Move the Queen to 2D black will either promote pawn 3 or move pawn 1
    Block pawn 3 black will be forced to move pawn 2
    Take him out
    If black promotes 1 or 3
    Take em out and then finally the last pawn
    Done Easy
    P.S if i ever made a mistake its because im better with a board in front of me then not
    I sometimes forget where the pieces are if i try to do it completely with memory

  30. i solved this within' 2-3 minutes and by every possible combination 🙂

  31. After watching the video, I'd say it's a very simple puzzle. But I failed the test before it even started, because I misunderstood the conditions of the scenario xD

  32. Anyone gonna point out that his eyes are creepy af in the thumbnail?

  33. It was pretty fast to figure out QxB3 was a loser, so I could prety fast pick the first move of QxD3. There are a variety of options after that point, so I got tired out on working out the next move in my head. I wouldn't say I solved the puzzle, but I did pick the correct first move, which is about as good when playing a game.

  34. Well I first learned I didn't have the talent when I mistook the Queen for a King and got stuck there

  35. the final way is what i was thinking but i thought the question was to avoid them getting promoted so i was second guessing my self

  36. i got it bascilly instantly but im a low 200 on chess online

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