Luke McShane

When the universe winks

20 March 2021 9:00 am

I write this with a sunny feeling. That’s partly because spring is upon us, but mostly because I have just…

No. 644

13 March 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Philip Hamilton Williams, Birmingham Post, 1890. Answers should be emailed…

Armenian champions

13 March 2021 9:00 am

In the 21st century, which country has won more international chess Olympiads than any other? Russia? USA? China? None of…

Play from home

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Is working from home the future of a productive society, or a fleeting aberration? Nobody knows yet, but a significant…

No. 643

6 March 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Garcia Ramos–Maurizzi, -Barcelona 2021. Black has just played Kg8-h7, to attack White’s queen by unpinning the knight…

Synthetic diamonds

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Diamonds are forever, they say. Likewise, brilliant games of chess have an everlasting sparkle. I will never tire of replaying…

No. 642

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Warakomski-–Korobov, February 2021. White has a pin on the b-file and 1…Bxg2+ 2 Kxg2 Bc5 3 Rb7…

No. 641

20 February 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Carlsen–Vachier-Lagrave, Opera Euro Rapid 2020. Carlsen played 31 Bd4+ Rxd4 32 cxd4 Bxd4 which should be drawn,…

He who hesitates…

20 February 2021 9:00 am

If there was one ingredient which separated the two finalists of the Opera Euro Rapid, it was confidence. The third…

No. 640

13 February 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Theodore Herlin, Schachzeitung 1852. Answers to be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk…

Knights before bishops

13 February 2021 9:00 am

In 2005 Steve Jobs gave a commencement address at Stanford University. The late Apple CEO kicked off with a story…

How chess got cool

13 February 2021 9:00 am

How chess got cool

Double Dutch

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Are you not entertained? The climax of this year’s elite Tata Steel tournament was as riveting as it was vulgar.…

No. 639

6 February 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Giri-Wojtaszek, Wijk aan Zee 2021. On his last move, Black waited with 48… Ba1-b2, yielding White a…

Remembering Kavalek

30 January 2021 9:00 am

‘I began my escape from the communist Czechoslovakia 42 years ago, on Sunday, September 1, 1968. According to Wikipedia, I…

No. 638

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Kokkoris–Kavalek, Athens 1968. Kavalek’s next move initiated a beautiful forced mating sequence. What did he play? Answers should be emailed…

No. 637

23 January 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Howell — Adams, Caplin Hastings Online 2021. Adams’s last move, 35…Ba4-b3, gave Howell the chance for a…

History at Hastings

23 January 2021 9:00 am

The Hastings International Chess Congress hasn’t skipped a year since the second world war, so I was delighted to learn…

No. 636

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Gormally–Turner, Caplin Hastings Online 2021. Black looks safe, but Gormally’s next move forced a win of material. What did he…

Missed opportunities

16 January 2021 9:00 am

In game 1 of his Airthings Masters Final against Radjabov, Aronian’s pawn push 21 e4-e5 (shown in the first diagram)…

No. 635

9 January 2021 9:00 am

Mastrovasilis–Marechal, Cappelle la Grande 2011. Black is a whole rook up, so his last move 34… Nd5-e7, angling for an…

Antiques Roadshow

9 January 2021 9:00 am

It is one of life’s comforts to see a forgotten trinket being dusted off and appreciated afresh. So in chess,…

A puzzling dozen

19 December 2020 9:00 am

This Christmas, government guidance says that board games are out and quizzes are in. Thus, 12 questions for Christmas. Answers…

No. 634

19 December 2020 9:00 am

White to play and mate in five moves. Composed by Kohtz & Kockelkorn, 1875. Be careful — four moves isn’t…

A puzzling dozen - answers

19 December 2020 9:00 am

1. Alexander Grischuk 2. Stephen King 3. Iepe Rubingh 4. Shohreh Bayat 5. Ding Liren vs Magnus Carlsen 6. White…