Chess puzzles can seem an intimidating challenge to those commencing their chess journey. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the complicated patterns of pieces illogically splattered across the checkered board. Often there are many moves to consider, and the most intuitive moves might not lead you to the correct answer.

In this article I will be discussing the simple steps we can follow to help find these tricky checkmates.

### Step 1: Understanding the Position

The first step to solving a puzzle is to become familiar with the board. Ask yourself important questions: Who has more pieces? How do the pieces synergise? What pieces can I capture? Which of my pieces are under threat? Can I give any checks to the opponent's king? How many escape squares does the opponent’s king have? Once you feel like you understand the position and your options a little more clearly, it can be easier to begin deciding which potential moves to consider.

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Consider this chess position from one of our daily puzzles.

How many escape squares does the black king have?

### Step 2: Consider Forcing Moves

Since we know the objective of the puzzle is to force a checkmate, moves which narrow down the number of ways the opponent can respond are typically your best bet to start considering. If a move has 20 ways the opponent can respond then it’s much more likely they have an option that can prevent the checkmate, compared to a move that forces the opponent to respond in one or two ways. They are also much faster to calculate in your mind. Checks are incredibly common in puzzles, so begin with these.

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Consider this chess position another of our daily puzzles.

How many ways can white put the black king in check?

### Step 3: Calculate What Happens Next

Although some puzzles involve checkmating the opponent in just 1 move, many require multiple moves to reach the objective. Try to consider the best responses to each of your candidate forcing moves, and then how you might best respond. Will this lead to a checkmate? If you can prove in your head that a certain sequence of moves will result in the win, then you are certainly on the right track!

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Consider this final chess position from our daily puzzles.

Image you are looking at the move pawn to h4. Where does this force the black king to run?

### Step 4: Play the Moves

Once you’ve proven to yourself you can checkmate using a certain sequence, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, take one final sip of your tea and play your chosen moves. As you finally solve the puzzle, enjoy this special moment of bliss; feel your ego swell and the dopamine rush through your mind.

### Step 5: Why Was I Wrong?

Of course, even the best puzzlers out there occasionally make mistakes. If, to your dismay, the board lights up with red and resets back to the start following a failed move, resist the urge to quickly guess another move. Stay calm, and try to understand why your decision was incorrect. We learn more from our mistakes anyway!

So now you have all the tools to begin solving our crafty checkmate problems. It's time to roll up your sleeves, click the 'play' button below and get puzzling!