Chess Puzzle of the Week (61)


Last week I left you with this position where Jonathan Rowson had the black pieces against M Kavanagh (Dundee Open 1996)

Jonathan found the best move: 28… Rc8. The first point is that after 29. Bxc8 Bb5 the white queen is trapped. The second point is that 29. Qxa4 is met by 29… Rxc3 30. bxc3 Qxa6 and Black keeps his extra piece safely.

So the game continued 29. Qxc8+ Rxc8 30. Rxc8+ Ka7 when Black had a material advantage. It was far from the end of the game, though. Perhaps due to time trouble inaccuracies, Jonathan lost control of the position and eventually this position was reached with White to play.

puzzle60aNow White has several ways to draw. Simply 42. Rc2 Qd1+ 43. Rc1 Qd2 is a repetition. Also 42. Be8 Nd3 43. Rb5+ Ka6 44. Rc6+ leads to a perpetual check as 44… Kxb5 45. Rc2+ costs Black his queen.

But instead White erred: 42. Bc6 Nd3, and, as the c6 square was no longer available to the rook he had no way to prevent mate.

Chess tactics is mostly about spotting tactical points, not, as you might think from most books and YouTube videos, about brilliant sacrifices.


This week’s puzzle features another two distinguished RJCC alumni. Our position comes from a Gavin Wall simul back in 1987, where he took the black pieces against a very young Richard Bates. Both players, of course, are now IMs.

Gavin, a rook and pawn behind, played the obvious Rxh8. He eventually managed to overcome his material disadvantage and beat his inexperienced opponent, but did he have anything better here?

You tell me. Answers on a Christmas Card…


Kingston 2 v Richmond (Surrey League) 09-12-19

Our second Surrey League match in quick succession involved a visit to local rivals Kingston, who, as expected, fielded a strong team.

Huw Williams reports:

Eamon had a good win as did Rob (won in double quick time). Other matches were close, but to no avail. Conor played his first league match.

Kingston 2 Richmond
1 Vladimirs Bovtraovics 157 0:1 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 144
2 Nick Grey 149 1:0 Paul Evans –
3 Stephen Moss 142 1:0 Andreas Maroulis –
4 Ljubica Lazarevic 134 0:1 Rob Hunter –
5 Ken Inwood 134 1:0 Conor Murray-Playfair –
6 Adam Nakar 126 1:0 Huw Williams 97

Good to see former RJCC member Conor playing his first match in the Thames Valley League – against the 1953 British U18 Champion!

Staines v Richmond TVKO 09-12-19

Our first round match (otherwise known as the quarter-final) in the Thames Valley League Cup pitted us against struggling second division outfit Staines.

Mike Healey reports:

The match (and ratings) belie a worryingly close match.

Gavin got into a typically fiddly and messy position where his opponent perhaps missed a chance to open up scary lines of attack. A very good performance from their board one.

I came up against my personal kryptonite (a <160 rated player), and worse was two pawns up after nine moves. Seduced by the prospect of mating my opponent in the middle of the board, I had to pull out one of my usual cheap tricks for the win.

Chris had possibly the most entertaining game – an utter mess, where white doubled rooks behind an h3 pawn (?!) with most of the pieces on in an open position..

Bertie did well to convert a knight, rook and pawns v rook and more pawns endgame.

Sampson was under a little pressure earlier on, but decided to chop in a probably drawn position.

Adrian overcame his temptation to offer a draw to his young opponent, and converted with some lovely bishops.

With train strikes and a late withdrawal I was quite expecting less than six players for this match – amazingly we had seven! Well done to everyone who made it out to Egham, especially Adrian for very kindly driving some of us back, and to our cheerleader Ian!

Fingers crossed our most difficult match of the season (logistically) done! (Depending on who we get next in the cup..)


Staines Richmond
1 Derek McGovern 165 0:1 Gavin Wall 224
2 Jack Sheard 153 0:1 Mike Healey 217
3 Shahannah Schmid 148 0:1 Chris White 180
4 Paul Seymour 130 0:1 Bertie Barlow 167
5 Andrew Wilson 117 ½:½ Sampson Low 155
6 Ianto Naef Schmid – 0:1 Adrian Waldock 146

I notice that B3 matched up probably the two strongest chess players living in Englefield Green. I wonder if they knew each other before the match.

Thanks and congratulations to all who played.

Richmond v South Norwood 2 (Surrey League) 05-12-19

Our Surrey League team welcomed visitors from South Norwood to the Roebuck.

Although three of our newer members managed to draw with more experienced opposition it wasn’t our night and our South London rivals returned home with the match points.

Richmond South Norwood 2
1 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 144 0:1 Phillip Mwondha 138
2 Marcel Holowienko – 0:1 Mohammad Sameer-Had 138
3 Adam Naglik – ½:½ Ken Chamberlain 128
4 Paul Evans – ½:½ Kaddu Mukasa 120
5 Ron Bilkhu – ½:½ David Howes 108
6 Huw Williams 97 0:1 Ibrahim Abouchakra –

Well done to Adam, Paul and Ron, thanks to all who played, and good luck for the tough match at Kingston on Monday.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (60)

puzzle59Last week I asked you what White should do about his threatened queen in this 1978 RJCC game.

The answer is: nothing! Instead he can win by playing 1. Bc4.

A few variations (in Chess Puzzles for Heroes you’ll get points for each one you find):

1… fxg5 gives White a choice of double checks: 2. Nf6+ Kh8 3. Rxh7# (an Arabian mate) or 2. Ne7+ Kh8 3. Ng6# (a pin mate).

Black can defend by moving his king: 1… Kh8 when the quickest win is 2. Rxh7+ Kxh7 3. Qh5+ Kg8 4. Ne7# or 4. Nxf6#

So Black’s only defence is to block the diagonal: 1… Be6. Now White has to find 2. Qg4, offering his queen again. Black still can’t capture: his best try is 2… f5 when White has 3. Qh5 (Ne7+ is also good) h6 4. Qg6 Kh8. White is winning but the best moves may not be so easy to find: my silicon friend tells me Rxh6+, Rd3 and Rd2 (so that RxR isn’t check after a future knight move) will all bring home the point with best play. I’ll leave it to you (or your computer) to analyse this further.


Returning to Jonathan Rowson (his new book The Moves that Matter is highly recommended here at the Chess Palace), this week’s puzzle comes from M Cavanagh – J Rowson Dundee Open 1996. Black is a piece up but his king is not at all safe. How should he resolve this complex position?

Richmond E v Hounslow C 03-12-19

Richmond E entertained our neighbours from Hounslow C: another close match resulted in a narrow defeat.

Richmond E Hounslow C
1 Dan Donohoe 109 ½:½ Calum Kinloch 131
2 Barry Sutton 109 ½:½ Pavan Kumar Kota 103
3 George Dokic 87 ½:½ Andrew Cleminson 81
4 Ken Broadley 51 0:1 Michael Blake –

Congratulations to Dan on a draw against a strong opponent, and to Barry and George for their draws as well.


Uxbridge v Richmond B 03-12-19

A visit to Uxbridge, the north western outpost of the Thames Valley League saw an exciting match resulting in the points being shared. This was a potential relegation match, and, while our opponents were almost at full strength, we fielded a weakened team.

Here’s what happened.

Uxbridge Richmond B
1 Peter Walters 166 1:0 Seb Galer 176
2 Colin Hughes 153 1:0 Sampson Low 155
3 Michael Price 145 ½:½ Adrian Waldock 146
4 Peter Lord 145 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek 139
5 David Knight 140 0:1 Paul Evans –
6 Daniel Knight 138 0:1 Lewis Low 94
7 John Woolley 126 1:0 Rob Hunter –

What fantastic results from Paul and Lewis in defeating the Two (much higher graded) Knights! A great win also for Maks against a creative and dangerous opponent, and a customary solid draw from Adrian.

It was good to see Seb in action for us again. I hope he’ll be able to make some A team matches: we really need players of his strength.