Chess Puzzle of the Week (58)


Last week, in the spirit of A Question of Sport, I asked you what happened next in this game between Jonathan Rowson and John Richardson.

The answer is that Black carelessly played cxd4, not thinking that White might do anything other than make the obvious recapture.

He’d missed that, by opening the a3-f8 diagonal, Jonathan had the chance to play a familiar queen sacrifice: Qxe6 followed by Bg6# or Qxe7#, depending on Black’s reply.

It’s fatally easy to make an automatic recapture, or to assume your opponent will make an automatic recapture. We’ve all done it.

I teach my pupils to look at the board using a CCTV: look for Checks, Captures, Threats and Violent moves (in that order), both for yourself and your opponent, before you play a move.

At present I’m marking the recent publication of my former neighbour and three times British Champion Jonathan Rowson’s wonderful new book on chess and philosophy, The Moves That Matter, by presenting puzzles taken from his games.


This position comes from the game between Andrew Ledger and Jonathan Rowson, played in the 4NCL in 2000. How did Jonathan, playing Black, continue?