15-year-old Simona Nayberg is currently competing at the World Youth in Haldiki, Greece. Simona, who hails from San Francisco, California created ChessBrainGames, a tactics website. Jennifer Shahade talked to the young player and entrepreneur about how to get better at puzzle solving, and why she created her own tactics website.
Jennifer Shahade (JS)-Why did you start Chess Brain Games?
Simona Nayberg (SN)- I wanted to create a unique tactics website where people could practice solving chess puzzles that were collected from strong chess players around the world.It would be amazing to see chess players around the world connect because of a passion they share and motivate people to get more involved with chess because of my website.
JS- As the author of Play Like A Girl, I’ve also combed over tons of games to find fresh tactical gems. I was thrilled to see so many games from girls and women in your collection. What are some of your favorite puzzles on the site?
SN-My favorite puzzles are from Kirill Chukavin from Estonia (“Beginner” category), Kenneth Solomon from South Africa (“Intermediate” category), and Olga Badelka from Belarus (“Advanced” category).
White to Move
- Rxe3! Bxe3 2.Bg2+ Bxg2 3. Qxg2+ mating
White to Move
- Rc7 Rxc7 2. Rxc7 Rg8 3.Qh5+ gxh5 4. Rh7#
Black to Move
1… Re1+ 2. Rxe1 Qxc2+ 3. Kxc2 Nd4+ 4. Kb1 Nc3+ 5. bxc3 Rb8+ 6. Ka1 Nc2#
JS- Tell us about playing in the World Youth Championship, currently underway in Haldiki, Greece. How are you preparing? What are you most looking forward to?
SN-This is going to be my fourth World Youth and to prepare, I played in more tournaments and analyzed my own games in depth. I am looking forward to seeing all my international friends again, as this will be the first time I’ll get to see them this year!
JS- In the all girls US Chess School camp I ran with my brother in the summer, we ran a very difficult problem solving contest, except instead of a “competition” it was a cooperation, meaning that girls had to solve positions as a team, with the stronger solver working on the tougher problems, etc. Do you think this is a challenge girls may be particularly adept at?
SN-Regardless of being a boy or girl, I think that a challenge like this is a good idea because it motivates you to solve your share of tactics and continue solving even harder ones. Without challenging yourself, you will not improve.
JS-How do you recommend people use your website to improve most rapidly?
SN-Don’t rush before you move a piece and look at the entire board before choosing the most precise move. Since the answer appears after three incorrect attempts, try to solve the puzzle by yourself and don’t try to unlock the answer as soon as possible.
To contribute to Chess Brain Games and see your tactics on the site, please email Simona at [email protected]. To follow Simona’s progress at the World Youth check out the official site or her tournament profile on chessresults.com.