Chess

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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)…

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…