Chess Lesson # 49: Exercises From Former Soviet Union Talent Schools

Try to solve these 3 Chess exercises! I chose them specifically because regardless of your skill level, you can get an idea of your natural aptitude for Chess. They were used by talent schools in the former Soviet Union. Have fun with them, and try to find them in the amount of time provided.

However, even if you need more time, keep going until you solve them. The fact that you are calculating and visualizing helps your practice and improve on fundamental skills that you need in order to become a better Chess player. In one of the exercises, you have to look at a specific Chess position for 10 seconds and then reconstruct it from memory. This same exercise was also used by a Dutch researcher in the following experiment: He showed it to:

– Max Euwe – former Chess world champion … who did it perfect
– Adriaan de Groot – Chess master and psychologist …. who added an extra pawn
– Unknown – local champion … who forgot the bishop and misplaced a rook
– Unknown – club player … who got only 6 pieces right

Euwe said he always sees pieces in groups with their correlation instead of independent from each other. In this position he saw the black king and its defenders as a group. That makes a huge difference

00:00 Intro
01:16 1st exercise
02:55 2nd exercise
05:07 3rd exercise
07:00 Solutions

Join to access members-only content and perks:

You can practice and play Chess for free here (affiliate link):

My Book Recommendations:
First tactics book:
Mixed tactics book:
Advanced tactics book:
Advanced tactics book (II):
Carlsen’s book (excellent):
Kramnik’s book (excellent):
Pirc Defense book:
Endgames book:

Learn how to play Chess the right way from beginner to master level. National Master Robert Ramirez will take you up the pyramid by following a proven Chess training program he has been improving and implementing for over 10 years.

Benefits of Playing Chess:
​- Promotes brain growth
– Increases problem-solving skills
– It exercises both sides of the brain
– Raises your IQ
– Sparks your creativity
– Teaches planning and foresight
– Teaches patience and concentration
– Optimizes memory improvement
– Improves recovery from stroke or disability
– Helps treat ADHD
Chess is an intellectual battle where players are exposed to numerous mental processes such as analysis, attention to detail, synthesis, concentration, planning and foresight. Psychological factors are also present on and off the board; playing Chess stimulates our imagination and creativity. Every single move a player makes is the result of a deep analysis based on the elements presented on the battlefield.

Chess in its essence teaches us psychological, sociological and even moral values. In a Chess game, both players start with the same amount of material and time. The fact that the white pieces move first is considered to be practically irrelevant —especially because a player typically plays one game as white and one game as black. Consequently, the final result of the battle solely depends on each player. It doesn’t matter if you win by taking advantage of your opponent’s mistakes or by simply avoiding mistakes yourself. Truth is that Chess is an extremely individual sport and our defeats can only be blamed on ourselves and no one else. And this, in the end, only benefits us because we learn to be and feel responsible for our actions and never come up with excuses to justify ourselves.

We also learn that when it comes to our victories on the board, our opponent’s mistakes play a more significant role than our own skills. Let’s not forget that a Chess game without any mistakes would be a draw. This way, Chess provides us with another valuable life lesson: be humble at all times.

About NM Robert Ramirez:

With an outstanding background as a professional Chess player and over 8 years of teaching experience, Robert Ramirez brings both his passion and his expertise to the board, helping you believe & achieve!

Robert Ramirez was introduced to the fascinating world of Chess when he was 5 years old and has participated in prestigious tournaments such as the World Open Chess Tournament and the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Championships. Thanks to his performance, he has earned his National Master title from the United States Chess Federation.

Currently, NM Ramirez and his carefully selected team teach at several private schools in the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward and they also offer private lessons. He says the key to their success as Chess coaches is their ability to adapt to every student and to make lessons fun and interesting for students and their family members.

115 Comments

  1. Where are you located? I’m on my way!

  2. haha I followed a different route by the knight:-a3,b5,a7,c6,e7,f5,g3,e2 and finally c1. 9 moves perfect.

  3. 1st one, alternative way
    na3, nb5, nc7, na6, nb8, nc6, na5, nb3, nc1

  4. Very interesting video. I found the knight move challenges straightforward clocking in at 58 seconds for the first one and 2:11 for the last one, including some non-optimal routes obviously, but it got the job done. The 10 second challenge was difficult. I got all the white pieces correct except I forgot the queen(!). The black pieces were a disaster in which I managed to place only the queen and two pawns on the board and couldn't remember anything else.

    Do you think doing this 10-second memory challenge as a repeated exercise (with positional diagrams from books for example) would help improve chess playing strength?

  5. 5 mistakes or 7 if swapped pieces count as 2 mistakes

  6. For the first excercise are we supposed to get the entire board in 3 mins or each step 3 minutes
    Also the 3rd excercise 3 mins for the whole rank and 6 mins for the whole board?

  7. I'm ranked about 900 on rapid 30 minutes today when I tried.

    1) Was tricky for me, and took maybe 10-15 minutes of trying to figure it out. At first, could not figure out how to get the knight off the same circle of squares, if I was rotating around the queen.
    2) I could only begin to memorize white's first 2 ranks before time ran out. Maybe got about 8 pieces right.
    3) This was much easier to do quickly, now that I figured out the trick to the first puzzle with the queen.

    Thanks for these exercises.

  8. lesson 1 : a3,c2,e1,f3,g5,f7,h6,f5,g3,e2,c1.. 😆
    another variation
    a3,b5,c7,e6,g5,f7,h6,f5,g3,e2,c1..

  9. 3rd lesson :
    -c2, a3,b1
    -a3, c2, b4, d3, c1
    -d3, f2, d1
    -e3,c2,e1
    -c2,e3,f1
    -g3, h5, f4, h3,g1
    -h3, f2,h1

  10. Just got a phone call from the Soviet Union talentless school saying I've got accepted.

  11. I just started looking at this and wondering if there's something I am not seeing, don't understand, or not correct in your explanation, regarding the first puzzle.

    The first move has to be a3, I think. (d2 and c3 can be captured by the Q)
    But, on the next move, b5 would capture the Q, c4 you'd get captured, c2 captures the Q again. But that only leaves b2, where you started.

    Maybe I need to play checkers instead? 🙂

  12. This is stuff I can't do, sadly, I don't have any ability to visualize which also means no visual memory, which does make learning and playing chess a lot more challenging but it's a challenge I enjoy and I'm particularly enjoying the videos on here overall.

  13. I think chess is mostly about visualization and memorizing. In am bad in both areas. Cant solve those puzzles 😟

  14. Yet another flawless video mate ! The exercises are really helpful. Thank you ☺️ #100K incoming 💥💪

  15. I got 8 mistake on exercise 2 on the second try.

  16. I enjoyed the exercises a lot,the exercises are very nice challenges.

  17. My results aren't that great I guess but here it goes:
    #1. 1 minute 38 seconds
    #2. 10 pieces correct
    #3. 6 minute and 45 seconds. Got stuck moving from f1 to g1😅
    Thanks a lot for these exercises Sensei♥️

  18. Thank you Robert for this exercise. I have 7 mistakes: I forgot 6 pieces and misplace the bishop.

  19. Great videoes. Have been watching from around nr. 15 to 49 now.

    A: 40
    B: 14 pieces correct
    C: 2:40

  20. For me the 10s chess visualization was extremely difficult but I enjoyed all the challeges none the less

  21. Thank you so much, coach! ❤️ I started playing chess not more than a month ago and I really appreciate your lessons which have sparked my interest in chess. I attribute all of my improvement to you. 🌼 (Although, I am still 400 currently)
    Here are my results:
    1) 2 mins. (I solved by different moves)
    2) I was able to memorise only the white pieces on bottom two ranks which are 8 pieces.
    3) 1 min and 15 seconds (only 1st rank)

    Here are the moves I played in the 1st exercise with knight:
    1.a3 2.b5 3.c7 4.e6 5.g7 6.h5 7.g3 8.e2 9.c1

  22. From exercise #2, am I going to move the chess pieces from the starting point to their specific positions or do I just need to memorize their specific positions and just put the chess pieces there?

  23. I got all the white pieces correct but and only the black king correct 😃

  24. I had a different answer at the 1 st exercise. The moves are : a3-b5-c7-e6-g5-f7-h6-f5-g3-e2-c1.
    I hope it is correct 😊

  25. I got it perfect . But I had to see it for 16 secs

  26. It took around 13 move and 20 minutes to complete first ….now i think instead of shortest i found the longest one 😂
    ….
    And in second one i put all correct except the pawns on black side
    And again found the longest route in third one …

  27. Great exercises. Thank you. Had 4 mistakes on the memorization. Is it ok if you found alternate pattern for moving the knights vs queen? I did A3, B5, C7, E6, F8, G6, E7,F5, G3, E2, C1, working backwards 😂 in 1 min 8 seconds

  28. 12 correct others i misplaced and missed some pawns

  29. I don't know how long it will take me to be able to remember the positions of the pieces. It seems like an important skill to have.

  30. The K moves were fairly easy. I got them within the minute. The visualisation was a disaster, I only got 6 pieces correct. I'm glad I've come this far already (lesson 50!) and I am very lucky to have found your lessons. Thank you very much for the effort and congrats with the quality!

  31. it took me about 20s wth for 1st exercise

  32. Coach I'm really close to complete first 50 videos

  33. I love this exercises. I will definitely keep practising moving my knights. I seem to have troubles with moving them safely around the board. Thanks again!

  34. For exercise 2, I got everything right but misplaced the rook and accidentally placed him on b8 instead of on b4, I "spent time" (in the ten seconds) remembering every grouping of pieces but forgot to look at the rook for some reason. I am good at memorizing short term things though so it was kind of easy especially with the unique grouping of these pieces (the castled king with the 3 pawns, the semi fiancetto of the black pawns, the queen with a knight in front of it a knights move from the pawn in front of the pawn in front of the black king "fortress" and the two deserted pawns on a1+a2, and the unprotected pawn on a7). I wanted to test if I still remembered their positions after 10 minutes from the first time without looking at the position again (I watched the rest of the video while I waited) and then set up the position right once my 10 minute time went off. Thank you for the lessons, they are very helpful and informative (best on youtube)! I am loving the Pirc at the moment and your lessons are helping me improve my ELO!

  35. Im a begginer and I had 5 mistakes. Kinda proud of myself.

  36. I made 1 mistake which was a missing pawn on e5 in front of the black pawn on e6

  37. My memory is trash. I forgot everything when board went black.

  38. These were really fun exercises! I'm not very good at memorization or quick thinking (9 mistakes on the second exercise, barely solved the other two in time). But I think I'm good at figuring out how these problems work.

    In the last problem, for example, I found that you can always get to the next square in 3 moves, except when:
    – The next square/current square (for left/right sides of the board respectively) is 2 squares ahead of a pawn. In this case, it's 5 moves and you can easily see the pattern by hugging your knight around the nearest pawn while avoiding the capture squares.
    – The next square/current square (for left/right sides of the board respectively) is 1 square ahead of a pawn. This one's a simple 2-mover if you're moving from (or to) a corner, and a 3-mover if you're moving from beneath one pawn to another.
    – You got to the right edge of the board and next square is on the left edge. In this case, it's 4 moves with 3 horizontal L's and one vertical L.

    I feel like once you understand the innards of a problem, the quick thinking comes more easily, and you don't have to memorize anything because you can backtrack through your reasoning.

  39. 1) 36 seconds
    2) 4 mistakes/18 pieces correct
    3) 2min 46seconds
    feels good

  40. i succese with frist and thrid but second one i failld

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *