Luke McShane

The king of no castling

31 July 2021 9:00 am

In the body of chess rules, castling is a clumsy protuberance. Once per game, you get to move king and…

No. 664

31 July 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Greco–NN, 1620. The centre is a dangerous place for the king. Which move does White play to…

No. 663

24 July 2021 9:00 am

White to play. A variation from Grandelius – Xiong, Fide World Cup, Sochi 2021. With an accurate queen check,White can…

Kasparov’s tailspin

24 July 2021 9:00 am

In a game between top players, the opening moves signify not only the battleground they have embraced, but also the…

Lock-picking

17 July 2021 9:00 am

In his autobiographical book Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman! the late American physicist Richard Feynman described how he amused himself…

No. 662

17 July 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two. Composed by Sam Loyd, Sunny South, 1885. Nearly all Black’s legal moves can…

The world has a new youngest grandmaster

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Abhimanyu Mishra became the world’s youngest grandmaster last month, at 12 years and 4 months old. The boy from New…

No. 661

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Daggupati–Mishra, Charlotte 2020. 1…Rf1+ 2 Kg2 is a dead end, as White’s queen covers the f2 square.…

Firestarter

3 July 2021 9:00 am

It’s a joy to watch a player like Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who can light a fire with his bare hands. Where…

No. 660

3 July 2021 9:00 am

White to play. So–Vachier-Lagrave, Paris, June 2021. The queen on e7 can be taken, but Black’s last move was …Rd8,…

How to lose

26 June 2021 9:00 am

Millions of people would see losing to Anand as a privilege rather than a disgrace. So it is simply astonishing…

No. 659

26 June 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Gukesh–Yip, Gelfand Challenge, June 2021. White has strong pressure on the f-file, but which move forces a…

No. 658

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Mammadzada — M. Muzychuk, May 2021. In this messy position, Black’s next move prompted instant resignation. What did she play?…

Macaques and defence

19 June 2021 9:00 am

January normally brings cheerful photos from the Gibraltar Chess Festival, where visiting chess-players get an impromptu snap with the Barbary…

The back-rank mate

12 June 2021 9:00 am

Compared with Anastasia’s mate, or an epaulette mate, the humble back-rank mate is named without imagination or whimsy. It is…

No. 657

12 June 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Vodopyanov–Kantsyn, 1974. Two bishops up, White appears to have everything covered. Which move allows Black to force…

Hybrid chess

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Chess was played by cable in the 19th century because… well, why not? And because everything old is new again,…

No. 656

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Vocaturo–Gokerkan, May 2021. After a long defence, White’s last move 101 Nf1-e3 was a decisive error. Which…

Daredevil kings

29 May 2021 9:00 am

The fifth match game between Potter and Zukertort, played in London in 1875, saw a dogged struggle. The final position…

No. 655

29 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play, Kharlov–Ernst, Haninge 1992. Black’s last move, g6-g5 was a decisive mistake. Which move did White play to…

No. 654

22 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Cochrane–Bonnerjee, 1852. Out of eight discovered checks with the knight on e6, Cochrane found the only one…

Indian variant

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Modern chess includes a panoply of ‘Indian’ openings, which share a common root in the starting moves 1 d4 Nf6…

What’s it worth?

15 May 2021 9:00 am

The rule of thumb for weighing up piece exchanges says that pawns are worth one, knights and bishops three, rooks…

No. 653

15 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play, Jones–Dominguez, New in Chess Classic, April 2021. Gawain Jones was hoping that his rook and pawn would…

No. 652

8 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Revd Ernest Clement Mortimer, The Problemist, 1942. Answers should be…