Galen's Chess Problems

This digital chess book contains 106 of Galen's unique brand of chess problems. Each problem is assigned one of seven possible difficulty ratings, from C-Class (1400 - 1599) to grandmaster. The first two chapters contain some easier problems but they become progressively difficult, with several problems rated in the International Master and Grandmaster categories in the later chapters.

Chapter 1: Instructional Positions (16)
This chapter contains the easiest problems in the book and are similar in difficulty to problems found in a tactical trainer. Some of the later ones are not trivial and should give strong players pause for thought.
Chapter 2: Checkmates in 2 moves (12)
Galen does not compose many mates in 2 but they are a favorite category of problem for many solvers. Most of Galen's are not orthodox and not especially difficult but there are some challenging ones at the end.
Chapter 3: Checkmates in 3 moves (25)
Over the years, Galen has composed more mates in 3 than any other type of problem. Mates in 3 can be challenging without having to be convoluted or unrealistic. Many of the positions in this chapter are game-like which should appeal to the typical chess player.
Chapter 4: Checkmates in 4+ moves (16)
Do not be deterred from trying these longer checkmates. Galen strives for beauty and entertainment value rather than sheer difficulty when composing longer mates. No doubt there are some hard problems in this chapter but there are often clues in the position to help the solver.
Chapter 5: Tactics (18)
Some of the toughest problems of this book are in this chapter. Most tournament chess players are drawn to these positions since they simulate games. Even when you don't see the solution, the positions are designed such that many of the inferior lines are interesting.
Chapter 6: Studies (14)
There are many dazzling and wickedly hard chess problems in this chapter including some with a difficulty rating of grandmaster.
Chapter 7: Extras (5)
The five problems in this chapter are late additions.

Difficulty Ratings

International Master
National Master

To see all the problems categorized by by their difficulty rating, click here

Visit Steven Galen's website

Click on the navigation bar above for info on the interactive features.

Alexander Grischuk
Crush a relaxed king
Click on Alexander to visit the Chess Anagram page at


Direct questions or comments to