Chess Puzzle of the Week (237)

A quick Bank Holiday question for you today.

Black to move. How would you assess this position? What would you play next?

Have fun!

Results Roundup 2223/32 26 May 2023

It’s pleasing to report that we concluded the season with two wins.

It’s been a torrid experience for our TVB team in Division 1, but in our last match on Tuesday Hammersmith again chose to field a mostly young and less experienced team against us. I guess we were happy with the points, while they were happy to give some of their talented juniors some Division 1 experience.

Here’s what happened.

  1. Bajrush Kelmendi (2088) 1:0 Julien Shepley (1943)
  2. Kai Hanache (1920) 1:0 Andrew Hebron (1958)
  3. Cian Ward (1707) 0:1 Jon Eckert (1854)
  4. Anastasija Royce (1525) 0:1 Pablo Soriano (1775)
  5. Thomas Ewart (-) 0:1 Simon Illsley (1786)
  6. Alex Royce (1161) 0:1 Victor Bluett (1710)

Well done to all the winners, thanks to all for playing, and especially to Sampson for captaining the team so well over the season.

Our season concluded on Wednesday with a London League match against Mushrooms, which we won 5:3

  1. Simon WIlks (2195) 0:1 Conor Murphy (2537)
  2. Ilya Iyengar (2097) 1:0 Iain Gourlay (2353)
  3. Peter Sullivan (2114) 0:1 Gavin Wall (2311)
  4. David Wilson (2024) ½:½ Liam Varnam (2188)
  5. Nick Faulks (1956) 0:1 Caspar Bates (2133)
  6. Graham Alcock (1825) ½:½ John Bass (1961)
  7. Richard Nash (1885) 0:1 Sampson Low (1827)
  8. Hugh Fenwick (1890) 1:0 Maks Gajowniczek (1800)

I note that we won all four games with the white pieces on the even boards, but our odd board players only managed two draws.

Well done again to all the winners, and thanks to Gavin for, as always, doing a great job captaining the team.

I’ll be writing more about the season as a whole over the next week or so.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (236): Solution

Monday’s mate in 2 problem, composed by the late Michael Lipton ((Sp. HM., diagrammes, 1997), requires a waiting move. The only move to meet the stipulation is 1. Ba8!

Congratulations to everyone who found the solution.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (236)

One of England’s leading chess problemists over many years, Michael Lipton, sadly died recently. Some of his problems were miniatures which are accessible to practical players.

I’ll be paying tribute to him by posting some of his problems here over the next few months.

Many experts now agree that solving problems of this nature is a very useful training tool, developing your calculation and visualisation skills as well as your chess creativity.

Here it’s White to play and force mate in 2 moves (Sp. HM., diagrammes, 1997)

If you think you’ve found the solution, post a 👍to let me know.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (235): Solution

On Monday I left you with this position from an 1868 tournament game between two of the most brilliant players of the 19th century, Adolf Anderssen and Johannes Zukertort.

You will have spotted that the bishop on g5 prevents the juicy fork Ne7+, with another fork after you’ve captured the queen. It’s natural to look for ways of deflecting the bishop, so you may well have found the correct solution Qd2!! (not Qe3, met by Qxd5), winning the exchange as Bh4 runs into Qh6.

Anderssen, famous for his Immortal and Evergreen games, failed to find this tactic, preferring instead the wild b4, which Zukertort should have taken. If you found Qd2, and can honestly say you’d have found it in a game, I guess that makes you a better tactician than Anderssen.

I took this position from The Ink War: Romanticism versus Modernity in Chess by Willy Hendriks, which I’ll be reviewing very shortly. Hendriks comments: “Moves that do not depend on many or complicated variations but are nevertheless almost impossible to find, are the most beautiful!”

But is Qd2 almost impossible to find (if you’re not presented with it as a puzzle)? Perhaps it was for Anderssen and Zukertort, but probably not now, when ambitious players spend time every day solving puzzles and honing their tactical skills. What do you think?

If you’re interested in how chess was played almost 150 years ago, you can play through the moves, at least as far as they were published, here. Click on any more for a pop-up window.

Results Roundup 2223/31 17 May 2023

Unfortunately our friends at the Twickenham Club were unable to raise a team for their home match against Maidenhead B, so were forced to concede what would have been their last match of the season.

In our last match this season at the Adelaide, Hammersmith, with nothing at stake, fielded only two of their regular squad against our B team, along with four newer and lower rated players. We were therefore able to record a welcome victory in what has been a tough season in Division 1. Our B team players fought bravely against mostly much higher rated opponents all season and will be looking forward to calmer waters in Division 2 in the autumn.

  1. Julien Shepley (1943) 0:1 Bajrush Kelmendi (2088)
  2. Bertie Barlow (1899) ½:½ Christof Brixel (2050)
  3. Jon Eckert (1854) 1:0 Frank Valle (1606)
  4. Pablo Soriano (1775) 1:0 Anastasija Royce (1525)
  5. Andrii Boiechko (-) 1:0 JJ McNamara (-)
  6. Victor Bluett (1710) 1:0 Thomas Ewart (-)

Well done to all and thanks for playing.

It’s not quite the end of the season: we visit Hammersmith for the return fixture next Tuesday. Will they have their regular star players back in action? We’ll find out soon enough. There’s also a London League match against Mushrooms next Wednesday to conclude our match programme for the 2022-23 season.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (235)

A very quick question for you this week.

White to play: what’s the best move.

👍when you’ve found the answer!

You’ll find out on Friday if you’ve got it right!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (234): Solution

On Monday I offered you this endgame study (Ernest Pogosyants 1 Pr Leninskoye Znamya 1967) which I found in a review of Anthology of Miniature Endgame Studies by Yochanan Afek in the May 2023 issue of The Problemist.

The solution is short but eventful.

The main line runs like this:

1. Qh5+! Ka4! 2. Qh4+! Qg4! (a Mitrofanov Deflection) 3. axb3+! Kb3 4. Qg3 Qxg3, or 4. Qh3 Qxh3, in each case with stalemate.

Click on any move to play through the solution here.

Results Roundup 2223/30 10 May 2023

Our final TVA match of the season found us facing a very strong team from Hammersmith who outgraded us on every board (150 points or more on boards 3-6) we managed to score a remarkable win.

  1. Gavin Wall (2281) ½:½ Marco Gallana (2375)
  2. Mike Healey (2205) 1:0 Ali Hill (2230)
  3. Andrew Hebron (1958) 0:1 Carsten Pedersen (2214)
  4. Julien Shepley (1943) ½:½ Gaston Franco (2096)
  5. Maks Gajowniczek (1821) ½:½ Bajrush Kelmendi (2088)
  6. Sampson Low (1828) 1:0 Christof Brixel (2050)

Maks reports on the two wins:

“Mike won with an enterprising knight sacrifice against a French Defence, eventually getting 3 pawns and a rook in exchange for a knight and bishop. Nice technique was shown at the end pinning his opponent’s queen with a rook. On board 6, Sampson outgrinded his opponent playing against an IQP position that came from playing the Alapin Sicilian. His opponent had a good defensive try by finally transposing into a queen and pawn ending and at points it was a little bit of a comedy of errors due to it being a blitz finish, but eventually Sampson’s opponent slipped up into a lost K+P ending.”

Great wins from Mike and Sampson, then, our Secretary overturning a 222 point defecit, and excellent draws as well from Gavin, Julien and Maks.

This win guarantees second place behind Kingston in the league. Thanks to all who played during the season, and especially to Maks for captaining the team.

Meanwhile, our TVE team were outrated by their opponents from Surbiton D, with only Barry managing to avoid defeat.

  1. Alexey Markov (1698) ½:½ Barry Sutton (1620)
  2. Oleksiy Podolyan (1642) 1:0 Dan Donohoe (1489)
  3. Phil Goodings (1489) 1:0 Julian Bedale (1128)
  4. David Morant (1469) 1:0 Ken Broadley (1038)

This was our last match of the season in Division X, a friendly, low-stakes division with no promotion or relegation. We managed to win two of our six matches. Thanks to all for playing, and to Ken for captaining the team.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (234)

Here’s a prizewinning endgame study (Ernest Pogosyants 1 Pr Leninskoye Znamya 1967) which I found in a review of Anthology of Miniature Endgame Studies by Yochanan Afek in the May 2023 issue of The Problemist.

It’s White to play and draw. You’ll need to find Black’s best try on move 2 for a complete solution.