Back in 1994 Eric Schiller published a set of 1,000 chess problems along with the first move of the solution. The book was ‘The Big Book of Combinations‘. Most of the problems in the book prove to be trivial for computer chess programs. At the time all the problems were analysed using Zarkov 3.0 running on a 90 MHz Pentium (bleeding edge for 1994!!). Zarkov managed to solve all but 190 of the problems. It is these 190 positions that are of interest and are contained in the database along with analysis from most of the current ChessBase programs [Ed of 2000]. I have added the principal variation of the solution, something that was not included in the original book. This analysis is far from perfect and if it can be improved then I would appreciate a copy. I plan to keep the databases up to date. The analysis was carried out on a 450 MHz Pentium II with 256 Mb of RAM. Most of the programs solve about 120 of the 190 positions. As one would expect some errors were found in the book – these are highlighted in the database.

You can download the Big Book of Combinations in CBF, CBH or PGN format.


I originally analyzed these positions back in 2000. I remember in the summer of 2000 when Ed Schroder turned up at the World Championship in London with a super cooled 1 GHz PC) – so both software and hardware have come a long way since  those days.  Yet The Big Book of Combination is still one of my favorite sets of test positions and many of today’s top programs still take time to find the right move.

If you like the Big Book of Combinations you may also like the Arasan test suite.  This is another one of my favorites and Jon Dart, the author of Arasan integrated some of the positions from BBC into Arasan a couple years ago.