14 Chess Puzzles for Intermediate Players

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Here’s 14 intermediate level chess puzzles. Use it to practice the tactical patterns you learnt on the page–chess tactics for intermediate players. Be sure to study the solutions too!

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #1

intermediate chess puzzle attracion 2
Can you find a tactic for white?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle attracion 2 solution
1.Rxf7! wins the bishop. The point is that 1… Kxf7 attracts the king to a square that allows white to play 2.Qb7+ followed by Qxa8.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #2

intermediate chess puzzles weak back rank 1
White is threatening Qxg7#. Is it time to panic?

The Solution

No need to panic. Black takes advantage of white’s back-rank weakness. 1… Qxh5 wins the knight and stops the checkmate threat at the same time.
(1… Qxh5 2.Rxh5 Rc1#)

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #3

intermediate chess puzzle double check 1
Black is threatening Qxc1+. What would you do?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle double check 1 solution
1.Nb6+ Kb8 2.Rc8# is a forced checkmate. 1.Nb6+ is a double check, which means the king must move. There is no way to block a double check. Black also can’t capture either the knight or rook–else the king would still be in check. (1.Nd6+ allows 1… Kd7, and the king escapes.)

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #4

intermediate chess puzzle pawn tactics 1
Black to move. Can you spot a tactic?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle pawn tactics 1 solution
1… d5! 2.Bb3 d4 is a pawn tactic that forks the white knight and bishop.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #5

intermediate chess puzzle trapped piece 1
Can you spot a tactical idea for white?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle trapped piece 1 solution
White realised the black rook on d4 is trapped and found 1.Rxe6+ Kxe6 2.Ke3! White will win the trapped rook. (If 2… Rf4, then 3.Nxf4 also wins for white.)

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #6

intermediate chess puzzle advanced pawn 1
White to play. What would you do?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle advanced pawn 1 solution
1.Rxf5! wins the knight. If black captures your rook, 1… Kxf5, then 2.f7! and the advanced pawn will promote.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #7

intermediate chess puzzles zwichenzug 1
Black wants to play fxg2, but the f3-pawn is pinned by the rook on f2. What would you do?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzles zwichenzug 1 solution
1… Qe5+ uses a zwichenzug to unpin the black pawn on f3. White must get their king out of check, then black can capture the bishop on g2.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #8

intermediate chess puzzle trapped piece 2
White is threatening to capture your knight on c5. Before you try save the knight, isn’t there a better idea?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle trapped piece 2 solution
1.Qh4! is a neat double attack that threatens 1) Qxh2# as well as 2) Qc4, trapping the undefended rook on a2.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #9

intermediate chess puzzle advanced pawn 2
Black to move. Can you find the key that opens the door to a tactic?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle advanced pawn 2 solution
1… Bb2 is a tactical idea based on the presence of the advanced pawn on c2. Black is willing to sacrifice the bishop because there will be nothing white can do to stop the promotion.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #10

intermediate chess puzzles zwichenzug 2
Black can play 1… Bxf1 and win some material in the process. But is there something even better?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzles zwichenzug 2 solution
1… Bc4! 2.Qc3 Bxf1 3.Qd2 Ba6 wins a whole rook. Note how 1… Bc4! is a beautiful zwichenzug against the white queen. If the queen goes to c2 or c3 (where else?) then black plays 2… Bxf1! with a discovered attack on white’s queen by the rook on c8, followed by retreating the bishop back to safety on the next move.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #11

intermediate chess puzzle pawn tactics 2
Black is threatening to play Qh1# How will you deal with this threat?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle pawn tactics 2 solution
1.Rd8+ Kg7 2.h6# is a checkmate that serves as a reminder that you should never underestimate the tactical potential of a pawn!

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #12

intermediate chess puzzle attracion 1
White to play. Black’s attack looks menacing. What would you do?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle attracion 1 solution
1.Nxa6 wins the bishop. White attracts the black rook to a6, since 1… Rxa6 allows 2.Bxc4+ followed by Bxa6. Note how 2.Bxc4+ at the same time clears the 2nd rank so that your queen defends the pawn on f2.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #13

intermediate chess puzzle double check 2
Black’s queen is threatening to capture your rook on a7. How will you respond?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzle double check 2 solution
1.Ng5+ is a double check. That implies the black king is forced to move. 1… Kh8 2.Rh7# is a forced checkmate. Any other knight-move would allow the black queen to capture your rook.

Intermediate Chess Puzzle #14

intermediate chess puzzles weak back rank 2
Black is threatening to capture your queen. Is Bxe4 the best response?

The Solution

intermediate chess puzzles weak back rank 2 solution
Indeed. 1.Bxe4 wins the black knight because 1… fxe4 allows white to take advantage of black’s weak back-rank with the moves 2.Qf7+ Kh8 2.Qf8+ Rxf8 3.Rxf8#

You’ve learnt a few valuable lessons from these intermediate chess puzzles. I hope you will soon get the chance to surprise your opponents with these tactics! Once you feel you’ve mastered the intermediate level puzzles, you can try the chess puzzles for advanced players.