Chess Puzzle of the Week (21)


It’s White to move in this position. The black knight has just landed menacingly on c4. What would you play now?

Last week I left you with this:


White won by playing 1. Nxd5 exd5 2. Qxh6+ and Black resigned because of 2… gxh6 3. Rg8+ Kh7 4. Bf5#. 2… Kg8 3. Rxg7+ Rxg7 4. Be6+ Kf8 5. Qh8+ is also mating.

Surbiton B v Richmond B 13-02-19

Surbiton B have made their intentions of winning Division 2 and returning to the top flight clear, so it wasn’t surprising that they fielded a very strong team for this match. Their boards 1, 3 and 4 were on boards 3, 4 and 5 for their A team the following evening.

It was good to see Chris Baker making a rare appearance for us, and even better to see him scoring a fine win against a formidable adversary. Congratulations to him, and also to Ian, Richard and Maks, who all held their opponents to a draw.

Surbiton  B Richmond B
1 Altaf Chaudhry 190 0:1 Chris Baker 165
2 Tony Stewart 185 1:0 Bertie Barlow 162
3 Paul Shepherd 183 1:0 Sampson Low 160
4 Angus James 180 ½:½ Ian McLeod 159
5 Stefano Bruzzi 161 ½:½ Richard Thursby 152
6 Malcolm Groom 160 ½:½ Maks Gajowniczek 135
7 Graham Alcock 152 1:0 Masoud Molazadeh 136


Richmond A v Surbiton A 14-02-19

Playing the mighty Surbiton we’d half expected a St Valentine’s Day Massacre, but were encouraged to find that our opponents were some way short of full strength. I was reliably informed that this was to do with the day of the match. Apparently, Surbiton chess players are more romantically inclined than their opposite numbers from Richmond.

With Gavin and Mike on the top two boards anything is possible. We always have to hope that they win their games and we can scrape a couple of points together elsewhere. We managed to do just that, but it could have been even better. Chris had a choice of two pawn captures, but, in a time scramble, chose the losing rather than the winning option. I also missed a win in my game.

In the two unfinished games, Masoud is a piece down and will probably resign. Maks has an equal position with chances for both sides. His opponent is considering offering a draw but wanted to look at the position first.

All in all, though, an excellent result and an important half (and possibly full) point. Congratulations to Gavin, Mike and Bertie, and thanks to all who played.

Richmond A Surbiton A
1 Gavin Wall 223 1:0 Jasper Tambini 199
2 Mike Healey 212 1:0 Oliver Gill 198
3 Chris White 177 0:1 Altaf Chaudhry 190
4 Richard James 167 ½:½ Paul Shepherd 183
5 Raghu Kamath 169 ½:½ Angus James 180
6 Bertie Barlow 162 1:0 Nick Faulks 172
7 Maks Gajowniczek 135 Adj Heiko Cassens 159
8 Masoud Molazadeh 136 Adj Liam Bayly –

It was good to meet up with former RJCC member Liam Bayly again, returning to chess after an absence of more than 20 years. He was one of five RJCC alumni in the match (Gavin, Mike, Bertie and Jasper were the others). I note that several other former RJCC stars have started playing again after long absences in the past year or so.

Chess Club 2019

Some of you will be aware that I write a weekly column, covering a wide range of topics, for GM Nigel Davies’s Chess Improver blog.

I’ve recently written a series of articles about what services chess clubs should be offering. The three articles look at chess instruction, social chess and competitive chess.

Promoting Chess Instruction

Promoting Social Chess

Promoting Competitive Chess

Many clubs only offer the third of these. These clubs, by and large, are suffering a slow decline as their members get older. This season we’ve done more to encourage social chess, and have seen an influx of new members, some of whom are now playing for our Thames Valley League teams.

The ambitious clubs, such as Hammersmith and Battersea, are now offering chess instruction as well as more options for social chess and innovative competitions played at faster time limits in a more social environment. These are all things we’d like to do, but the size of our current venue is restrictive. The alternative venues we’ve looked at are prohibitively expensive, though.

Please read these articles and let me, or another committee member, know how we might improve our services. Replies saying “This is what I could do” are even better than those saying “This is what you should do”.



We Were the Champions (8)


On this day in 1976 we played a London League Division 1 match against Mitcham, a once strong club which, sadly, closed its doors some years ago.

This time Mr DE Fault made an appearance for our opponents. Defaults in individual games seem to have been much more common back in the 1970s. Perhaps it’s easier to communicate in these days of email. On the other hand, defaulted matches seem more prevalent today: witness Drunken Knights’ current venue problems which have caused them to concede several recent matches.

Here’s what happened:

11 February 1976 St Bride’s Institute
Richmond & Twickenham 1 Mitcham
1 MF Stean 233 1:0 G Speed 193
2 AP Law 225 1:0 B Kooiman 191
3 GH James 211 ½:½ JE O’Dell 184
4 MJ Franklin 192 1:0 Default
5 KI Norman 191 1:0 RC Lynn 184
6 MJ Lightfoot 183 1:0 D Lamb 181
7 JC Benjamin 183 ½:½ RC Picot 189
8 DM Andrew 182 ½:½ CD Gilliam 180
9 JM Hodgson 166 0:1 TD Baldwin –
10 PJ Sowray 170 1:0 T Ashby 171
11 AA Thomson 181 1:0 M Young 164
12 A Neviazsky 171 1:0 R Kearsley –

Another crushing victory against opponents who, apart from the top three boards, were pretty closely matched. With three matches still to play, we were now on a healthy 6/8.

I note Russell Picot, now of Wimbledon, was one of our opponents. Currently graded 195, Russell has improved 6 points in 43 years.

Chess Puzzle of the week (20)

The excellent magazine New In Chess features a regular column called MAXIMise Your Tactics, compiled by Maxim Notkin, who sounds like a Beatrix Potter character. Readers are invited to solve nine tactical puzzles taken from recent events.

This week’s puzzle is taken from the latest issue. It’s White to play in Kovchan-Korobov, Kiev 2018. Go for it!


Last week I left you with this helpmate in 4 moves composed by John Rice.


The solution (with Black moving first): 1. Kd1 Rf2 2. Re2 Rxg2 3. Bd2 Rf2 4. Ke1 Rf1. The black pieces swap squares while the white rook takes four short steps to eliminate the g2 pawn and return to where it started.


Richmond D v Wimbledon D 07-02-19

This was a top of the table clash against our closest rivals, a point behind us in the league but with a match in hand.

At the end of a nail-biting encounter the scores were level so we maintained our lead in Division 4 of the Thames Valley League.

Our captain, Julian Bedale, reports:

“Further excellent wins for Adam (who now has 2 wins in his first 2
games for us, & whose opponent apparently had a ranking of 150 in the
fairly recent past), & Colin, who continues to have a great season.
Eamon was (for once) pinned back to a draw, as was Max, who kindly
stepped into the breach when Huw found he couldn’t play at short
notice.The overall 3 – 3 result means that at least Wimbledon did not
make up any ground on us – so we remain top of Division 4 after 7 / 10
games. Our next match is at home on Thursday, 28th February vs Ealing
C – Huw will be acting captain for this & the following match on 14th
March, as I will be away.”

Well played Adam, still with a 100% score in competitive chess and Colin, who scored a vital win. Well done also to Eamon and Max for their important draws and thanks to all who played.

Richmond D Wimbledon D
1 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 143 ½:½ Angel Silva Pena –
2 Masoud Molazadeh 136 0:1 Pawel Slonczuk 126
3 Adam Naglik – 1:0 Maciek Psyk –
4 Omar Anbagi 108 0:1 Robbie McCarthy 128
5 Colin Dailley 103 1:0 Alex Brett 108
6 Max Brindley – ½:½ Omar Selim 74

Wimbledon had White on the odd numbered boards, so the black pieces prevailed by 5 points to 1.

In other news, the unfinished game in our match against Surbiton C was agreed a draw, giving us a win 4½:1½ and Rob a draw in his first competitive game.