In a previous lesson we looked at the history of chess up to 1946.

You met the world champions and found, I hope, some of their best moves.

Now it's time to bring the story up to date.

The World Champion Alexander Alekhine had died in 1946, and two years later the International Chess Federation (FIDE) held a tournament to decide the new champion.

The winner was a Russian, Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-95).

Chess had become very popular in the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 30s and Botvinnik was their first leading player.

For more than 50 years Russia and the former Soviet Union have been the leading chess playing countries in the world.

Can you see how Botvinnik, playing Black, found a way to win material in this position?

The move Botvinnik found was Qg6xg2+, forcing White to take the Queen and reaching this position. What happened next?

Botvinnik had cleverly set up a PIN on the long diagonal. So now he could take the Rook for free before capturing the Queen.

The best White can do now is to give up the Queen for the Bishop, leaving Black with an easy win in the ending.

Botvinnik was famous for his scientific study of chess and his games were full of profound strategy.

If you're interested try to get hold of a book of his best games.

Botvinnik lost his title to another Russian player, Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010) in 1957.

But Smyslov's reign as World Champion was short: a year later Botvinnik won the title back in a return match.

Smyslov had a long and successful career, continuing to play chess into his eighties.

In this position Smyslov, playing White, found a clever way to gain the advantage. Can you do as well?

Smyslov's move was Rf1xf6. In fact Black didn't take the Rook, instead playing his Queen to e7, leaving himself a pawn down. But what would have happened if he'd taken the Rook?

Smyslov's intention was to play Qd2-h6+. Now the King has to move back and next move White can SKEWER the Black King and Queen.

The way Black played it he only lost a pawn. But in the hands of a great endgame player like Smyslov just one pawn was enough to win the game.

As well as his excellent endgame play Smyslov's games are notable for their impression of harmony. Not surprising, as Vasily Smyslov was also a fine opera singer.

Botvinnik's next challenge came from a brilliant young Latvian player called Mikhail Tal (1936-92).

Tal had stunned the chess world with his daring sacrifices and in 1960 took the World Championship by winning a match against Botvinnik at his first attempt.

But Tal's reign as World Champion, was, like Smyslov's, short. He suffered from ill health throughout his career and lost the return match the following year.

Do you see how Tal, playing White, gained an advantage in this position. As usual, you'll have to look a few moves ahead to solve it.

Tal's move was Re1xe5 - an EXCHANGE SACRIFICE. Black had nothing better than to take the Rook. Can you work out what Tal played next?

The winning move was Nf3-g5, creating TWO THREATS.

The first threat is to take the Bishop on e6, and the second threat is to play Bh6xg7, meeting Kg8xg7 with Qh4xh7+ which will mate in three more moves. (If you don't see how, play it out on your board.)

Black had to save his King so played Bg7-f6, whereupon Tal took the Bishop on e6 with a winning advantage. (This may not be obvious but if you get a computer to play both sides you'll see.)

If you enjoy games with brilliant sacrifices and violent attacks you've got a treat in store playing through Mikhail Tal's games.

Botvinnik's next, and, as it turned out, final challenger was the Armenian Tigran Petrosian (1929-84).

Petrosian won through to challenge Botvinnik in 1963.

His challenge was successful, and Botvinnik then retired from World Championship chess.

Petrosian was to remain champion for six years, in 1966 winning a match against his first challenger, Boris Spassky.

Can you see how Petrosian, playing White, forced his opponent to resign in this position?

The winning move was Rd2xd4, which, as it happens, wins a Bishop for free. Black, who had seen what was coming, resigned here. Black can take the Rook in three ways, but it makes no difference. Let's say he plays e5xd4. What did Petrosian have in mind?

Yes, Re1-e5+, which forces Black to take the Knight on g4. Now White would have a choice of which pawn had the honor of delivering CHECKMATE.

Petrosian was very much the opposite of Tal. He is remembered for his maneuvering skill in closed positions and for his rather cautious style of play.

If you enjoy playing closed positions you'll learn a lot from the games of Tigran Petrosian.

Petrosian's successor as World Champion was another Russian, Boris Spassky (1937-).

Spassky's first challenge, in 1966, was unsuccessful, but in 1969 he qualified for another shot at the world title.

This time he won, and, as a result, found himself three years later playing the most famous match in chess history.

Spassky, playing White in this position, found a really sneaky way of winning material. Can you do as well? This one's not so easy to see.

Spassky's first move was Bf4-c7, PINNING the Black Rook against the Queen. But Black can - and did - just take the Rook. Can you find the follow-up to that move?

The killer move is Qe1-e5 - a QUEEN FORK (remember them?) White's THREATENING both the Rook on c7 and CHECKMATE on g7.

Black has to stop the mate, so White can just take the Rook next move, leaving him the EXCHANGE (Rook for Minor Piece) ahead.

Everyone remembers what happened to Spassky in 1972, but don't forget that he was a great champion - and a great attacking player - in his own right.

In 1972 Spassky faced a challenge from the American genius Bobby Fischer (1943-2008).

The match proved highly controversial and made headlines all over the world.

Millions of people all over the world took up chess as a result of this match.

Fischer had had a meteoric rise to fame in his teens, but although he was arguably one of the two strongest players of all time he was not always easy to deal with.

Can you guess what Bobby Fischer (White) played in this position?

Fischer's move was Rc6xe6, an EXCHANGE SACRIFICE. Now if Black plays f7xe6 White will reply with Qg4xe6+ followed by Qe6xe5. White then has a winning position, with Bc5-d4 coming up and the Black King in trouble. But instead Black tried Qd8-c8 PINNING the Rook. How did Bobby get out of that one?

The brilliant answer (not easy to find, I guess) was Ba4-d7. Now if Black plays Qc8xd7 his Queen is now UNDEFENDED so White can play the AMBUSH Re6xg6+ winning the Queen. If Black does anything else with his Queen the White Rook will escape.

After winning the World Championship Fischer decided to give up chess, only emerging 20 years later to play another match against Spassky.

Although Fischer's career was short he still played some of the greatest chess - and some of the greatest games - of all time.

Strong players will learn more from his games than from anyone else's.

Bobby Fischer's challenger in 1975 was another young Russian, Anatoly Karpov (1951-).

Fischer was unable to agree terms for the match so the International Chess Federation declared Karpov the new World Champion, a title he was to hold for ten years.

Although the way Karpov became World Champion was unfortunate, he is still considered one of the greatest players of all time, and had a distiguished reign as World Champion, winning first prize in many tournaments.

In this position (from a SIMULTANEOUS DISPLAY) Karpov's Queen is THREATENED, but he found a surprising move. What was it?

Karpov remembered to look for CHECKS, CAPTURES and THREATS, so found the move Bf3-d5+. Now if Black plays Kg8-h8 White forces mate by playing Ng5-f7+ followed by Nf7-d8+. So Black took the Bishop. What happened next?

An easier question this time: Qe7-f7+ is a simple QUEEN FORK winning the Rook.

Now White is also THREATENING mate in 4 (a SMOTHERED MATE using PHILIDOR'S LEGACY, which I hope you remember).

Karpov is perhaps the greatest ever master of POSITIONAL CHESS.

Study his games and see how he always manages to find the best squares for his pieces.

In 1984 Anatoly Karpov faced a challenge from Garry Kasparov (1963-), the big new star of Soviet and world chess.

Kasparov was born in Azerbaijan, but now represents Russia.

Their first match lasted 48 games (and 5 months) before it was abandoned with no decision, and the following year another match was played.

This time Kasparov was successful in his challenge, so he became the 13th official World Chess Champion.

In 1993 Kasparov and his challenger Nigel Short from England broke away from the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and two rival World Championships developed, one based on matches and one, run by FIDE, based on tournaments.

The game's only just started but already Kasparov finds a winning move. Can you do as well as Garry?

Kasparov's played a KNIGHT SACRIFICE: Nd4xe6. Now if f7xg6, Qd1-h5+ gives White a winning attack. (Try it out for yourself!) So Black tried moving his Queen to b6 instead. Can you see Garry's next move?

Kasparov's clever reply was Ne6-c7+. This is a KNIGHT FORK, and if Black takes the Knight with his Queen White plays e5xd6+ - a DISCOVERED CHECK winning the Queen.

Most experts believe that Garry Kasparov is the strongest player of all time.

He is also a very dynamic player whose games are full of attacks and SACRIFICES.

Study his games and learn to play like the best in the world!

In 2000, after 15 years as World Champion, Garry Kasparov faced a challenge from yet another Russian, Vladimir Kramnik (1975-).

Kasparov was not at his best and was surprisingly beaten.

Kramnik remained the Classical World Champion - there were also several FIDE World Champions - until losing a match against India's Vishy Anand in 2007.

For your last puzzle in this lesson, what did Kramnik play with White in this position. You need to look quite a few moves ahead to come up with the right answer.

We finish with a QUEEN SACRIFICE - Qe5xf6 - but the point of it is still several moves ahead. Black in fact resigned here but if he takes the queen the next move should be clear, though. Over to you.

To finish with an easy point, the next move is Re3xe6+, reaching this position. Let's see what happens now. Black has to play Qc6xe6, White plays Re1xe6+ and Black takes again: Kf6xe6.

Now White's in an ending the EXCHANGE down, but - and you had to see this before SACRIFICING the Queen, White has a SKEWER - Bb1-f5+, winning the Rook.

Kramnik can play brilliantly when the occasion arises, but most of all he is a professional sportsman who likes to play safe in his games. He always aims to keep the draw in hand rather than risk losing, and, like all top players, he is very well prepared for every game.

I hope you were successful in solving these puzzles and finding the moves played by the strongest players of all time.

If not, try again in a few days time and see if you remember what happened in the positions.

And if you want to learn to play as well as those guys one very useful thing you could do is spend time every week solving puzzles like this. At some point you'll find some here at chessKIDS academy.

You have now completed the CHESS HISTORY (2) assignment.