15 Easy Chess Puzzles For Beginners

Most chess games by beginners are decided by tactical combinations.

No matter how good your strategic and positional understanding is, if you blunder a piece, you’ll probably lose the game.

Similarly, you can save a losing position if you know how to capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes.

If you want to consistently spot tactics in your own games, you’ll have to become familiar with the basic chess tactics by solving a lot of puzzles.

Below you can find 15 simple chess puzzles for beginners that you can try to test your tactical prowess.

These puzzles contain the most important tactical motifs such as double attacks, back-rank mate, skewers, discovered attacks, etc.

The article uses algebraic notation. For more information, read my article on how to write down chess moves.

Chess puzzle #1

White to move and checkmate.

Solution

1. Rd8#

The rook and bishop on g5 take away all the escape squares of the black king.

Chess puzzle #2

Black to move and win a piece.

Solution

1. … Nc2+

The knight on c2 forks the king on e1 and rook and a1. After the king moves out of the check, the black knight can capture the rook.

Capturing the knight on f3 with Nxf3 doesn’t win a piece, since the g pawn can recapture.

Chess puzzle #3

Black to move and checkmate.

Solution

1. … Qh4#

The white king is vulnerable on the e1-h4 diagonal which can be exploited by the black queen. White has no pieces to block the check and the white king doesn’t have any escape squares.

You want to check for this pattern every time your opponent moves the f pawn in the opening.

Obviously, capturing the pawn on e6 with fxe6 is also possible but not as good as giving checkmate.

Chess puzzle #4

White to move and win a piece.

Solution

1. Qa4+

The white queen performs a double attack on the black king and the bishop on b4. It’s impossible for black to deal with the check and save the bishop at the same time.

This pattern occurs a lot in queen’s pawn openings, so it’s important to remember it as both white and black.

Chess puzzle #5

White to move and win a piece.

Solution

1. Bd4+

The bishop performs a double attack on the black king on g8 and rook on b2. Black can’t save both the king and rook.

Remember that bishops are long-range pieces that can attack two targets on different sides of the board.

The move Bxa7 is not correct, since winning a pawn is inferior to winning a rook.

Chess puzzle #6

White to move and win a piece.

Solution

1. Bxg7

Winning a pawn is nice, but the real idea behind this move is that the bishop on g7 attacks the black rook on h8. Since the black rook is blocked by the h7 pawn and knight on g8, the bishop will be able to capture the h8 rook on the next move.

This pattern where the rook is trapped in a corner by a friendly knight and pawn is very common and is sure to appear in some of your own games.

Chess puzzle #7

White to move and win a piece.

Solution

1. Bh7+

This a discovered attack by the bishop and queen. By moving the bishop on d3, the white and black queen will attack each other. But if you would move the bishop to e2 for example, the black queen can capture your queen first or simply move again.

By playing Bh7+, you force black to deal with the check first, which lets you capture the queen with Qxd4 on the next move.

Black will be able to capture the bishop with Kxh7. But giving the bishop for a queen is a very good trade.

Chess puzzle #8

White to move and checkmate.

Solution

1. Be4+ f6 2. Bxf6#

The black king in the corner doesn’t have a lot of squares to move to, and the white knight and bishop are in the perfect positions to take advantage of it.

It’s pretty rare for a knight and bishop to checkmate the king together, so it might take a while to spot the answer to this puzzle.

Chess puzzle #9

Black to move and checkmate.

Solution

1. … Rd1+ 2. Re1 Rxe1#

The black knight takes away the important escape square f2 from the white king, which creates a pattern similar to a back-rank mate.

Chess puzzle #10

White to move and win a piece.

Solution

1. Bc3+

The check skewers the black king and rook on the long diagonal. After the black king moves out of the check, the white bishop will be able to capture the g7 rook.

Simply playing Bf8 to attack the rook wouldn’t work, because black can simply move the rook to safety.

Chess puzzle #11

White to move.

Solution

1. Ne7+

The knight on e7 gives a royal fork! Which means it attacks the black king, queen, and one of the rooks simultaneously.

Black has to move the king to safety, which lets the white knight capture either the c8 rook or c6 queen on the next move. Of course, capturing the queen would be better.

Chess puzzle #12

White to move.

Solution

1. d6+

This little pawn move both attacks the black queen on c7 and unleashes the b3 bishop’s attack on the black king.

If black moves the king to safety or tries to block the check by moving the knight to c4 or f7, the d6 pawn can simply capture the queen.

And if black tries to block the check with Qf7, you can capture the queen with the bishop.

Chess puzzle #13

White to move.

Solution

1. Bxf7#

The white queen can checkmate the black king on f7 because it’s defended by the white bishop on c4.

If you had trouble finding this checkmate, you should check out the famous Scholar’s mate.

Pretty much every player has lost to this simple opening trap at one point in their chess journey.

Chess puzzle #14

Black to move.

Solution

1. … c4

The pawn attacks the bishop on b3. The bishop can’t move backwards because friendly pawns are blocking the way, and it can’t move forwards because all the squares are attacked by black’s pawns.

On the next move, you’ll be able to capture the bishop with your pawn.

Trapping a bishop on the side of the board with a pawn chain is a common pattern in many chess openings, so you should try to remember it.

Chess puzzle #15

White to move.

Solution

1. Nxd6+

Winning a pawn is nice, but the real idea behind this move is to fork the king on e8 and bishop on f5.

After the black king moves to safety, the white knight will be able to capture the f5 bishop on the next move.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed solving all the puzzles above.

If you were able to solve most of them, you can start practicing with chess puzzles for intermediate players.

But if you had a hard time solving these puzzles, you might want to take another look at these basic chess tactics.

Developing a keen eye for spotting tactics is a key part of becoming a better chess player. So try to incorporate a regular dose of chess tactics into your training routine.