Luke McShane

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…

Dead brain cells

8 May 2021 9:00 am

As round 14 of the Candidates tournament unfolded, I had the feeling of watching an anti-climactic post-exam bender. Ian Nepomniachtchi…

Immovable object meets irresistible force

1 May 2021 9:00 am

The Candidates tournament resumed on 19 April in Yekaterinburg. Eight players competed for a €500,000 prize fund, but only one…

No. 651

1 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Henry William Butler. Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk by…

The Polgar Challenge

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, at 15 years old one of India’s most exceptional young players, emerged as the winner of the Polgar…

No. 650

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Praggnanandhaa–Salimova, April 2021. White’s last move, Bg2-f3, was a blunder. Which move should Black play to exploit…

No. 649

17 April 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Van Wely–Shimanov, March 2021. White has several tempting options here, but one move is much stronger than…

European Online Club Cup

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Since the start of the pandemic, opportunities for serious competition between players ranked outside the world’s top 20 have been…

No. 648

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Livaic-–Oparin, Fide World University Online Championship, March 2021. After 1…Rxc5 2 Rxb4, a draw was soon agreed.…

Unfair play

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Twenty players were disqualified from the Fide World University Online Championships, out of almost 900. Does that call for moral…

Fortune favours the brave

3 April 2021 9:00 am

If you wish to unsettle your opponents, first attack them and second, play the moves quickly. It’s far from easy…

No. 647

3 April 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by B.P. Barnes, Skakbladet 1961. Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk…

No. 646

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Black to play… and lose! Aronian–Van Foreest, March 2021. Van Foreest’s next move didn’t blunder his queen but was nonetheless…

Everybody must get stoned

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Have you ever played the Frankenstein-Dracula variation? The Monkey’s Bum? The Nescafé Frappé Attack? These are all real chess openings,…

No. 645

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Kosteniuk–Koneru, Skolkovo Grand Prix, 2019. The obvious 1…Kg3 fails to 2 Rg5+ Kf4 3 Rg4+. Losing the…