Chess Puzzle of the Week (134)

It was good to hear from Roger Scowen recently. We’ve known each other on and off for many decades, and he’s hoping to join us at the Roebuck for some casual chess as soon as it’s considered safe to meet there again. (Watch this space for further details!)

Coincidentally, Roger features in John Saunders’ always entertaining back page article in the latest issue of CHESS.

Regular readers will know that I sometimes set puzzles inviting you to find the plausible losing move rather than the brilliant winning move. That’s the case here. I’ll take you back a move from John’s article.

Roger is White in this game (Derby Premier 1962) against the much stronger Alan Phillips, who had been joint British Champion with Leonard Barden in 1954. He’s just offered a queen trade, but Black, naturally enough, wants to avoid this.

All Black’s pieces are attacking the white king but Stockfish looks at the weak pawn on e5, laughs and offers a draw. You might not expect that in two moves time Roger would be a piece up and eventually win the game.

In the words of A Question of Sport, What Happened Next? It’s Black to play.