Chess Puzzle of the Week (42)


Last week I asked you to consider this complicated position from the RJCC database. It’s Black’s move.

It’s obvious that if you capture either the rook or the queen you lose at once. So you have to meet the threat of Rxc8#.

You might try the clever 1… Qe1+ 2. Rxe1 Rxh5 but White is better in this double rook ending after Re7 or Rh7 as it will take Black some time to get the rook on h5 back into play.

White also has a secondary threat of Qf7, followed by Qd7. For example, after 1… Rf8 White plays 2. Qf7 Rh8 3. Qg7 Rd8 4. Qd7 and wins.

We now know that if Black doesn’t fancy Qe1+ he must move the rook to a square that won’t be hit by Qf7. That gives two options: Rh8 and Rd8.

1… Rh8 2. Qf7 Re4 3. Kf1 a6 4. Qxe6+ wins at least a pawn.

1… Rd8 is an improvement, meeting 2. Qf7 with 2… Rhd4, with Qxb3, defending e6, to follow.

Instead, White could continue the back rank tactics with 2. Rd7 Qb6 3. Qf7 Rxd7 4. Qxd7 a6 which, according to Stockfish 10, is about equal.

Full marks, then, if you chose 1… Rd8 here. A consolation prize for Qe1+ or Rh8, both of which lead to inferior endings. Anything else loses.


In 1966 Yoko Ono first displayed a white chess set designed to represent peace rather than war between two armies.

Here’s a Yoko Ono chess position: can you work out the real colours of each piece? It shouldn’t take you too long to solve. (A Frolkin and A Kornilov 1989: I took it from Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids Volume 2 by Jeff Coakley)

AGM 2019

The AGM of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club will take place on Thursday 18 July 2019.

The Roebuck
72 Hampton Road
Hampton Hill
TW12 1JN

Start time: 19:45

There’s much to discuss about the future direction of the club. All members are welcome. Please do your best to be there and air your views about how you think the club could move forward. It will be good to see you there – and offers of help will be even better.

Richard James
President: Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club

Chess Puzzle of the Week (41)


Last week I left you with this position. Were you tempted by the obvious 1. Nxg5 hxg5 2. Bxg5? It looks like you’re going to capture the pinned knight next move with a winning advantage.

A sign of growing maturity as a chess player is a realisation that you will reject most tactics you look at because you discover they don’t work.

This is case in point. Black can play 2… Qa5 (or 2… Bxc3+ 3. bxc3 Qa5). The e-pawn is pinned and 3. Bxf6 is answered by 3… Bxc3+ 4. bxc3 Qxc3+ and next move Black will make another capture with check followed by Nxf6.

So the answer to my question is that White’s best move is the simple Bg3 with advantage.

Some of you will know that I have a database of nearly 17000 games played at Richmond Junior Club over a period of 30 years. You might also know that I’m currently working on the Chess Heroes project: a series of books (watch this space for further announcements) designed to provide coaching materials for players who know the basics and want to reach the level where they can play serious competitive chess.

This position is one I’ll be using for the Chess Puzzles for Heroes book. The book will include positions like the one above where you’ll have to work out whether or not a tactic works, as well as defensive positions like this week’s puzzle.


It’s Black to play in this complicated position. What move would you recommend? How would you assess the position?

Chess Puzzle of the Week (40)


Last week I asked you to tell me how White could force mate in two moved in this position composed by H D’O Bernard.

If it was Black’s move White would be able to mate whatever Black played. 1… e6 or e5 would allow Nxd6#, 1… d5 would be met by 2. Bd3# and 1… Kf5 would give 2. e4#. White has no waiting move to keep all these mates intact so has to think of something different.

The solution is 1. Ra1. Now 1… Kf5 will be met by Qb1, a changed mate, while the other mates remain the same.

This problem is a mutate (a block problem in which at least one mate in the set play is changed following the key).


This week, as it’s too hot to do anything too strenuous, I have a very simple question for you.


It’s White’s move in this position taken from the RJCC database. What would you play here?

Chess Puzzle of the Week (39)


Last week Richard Thursby asked you to mate in 3 moves using the bishop on b1. You have to think outside, or perhaps, inside, the box to solve this.

1. Bxf5 gxf5 (now the bishop is back in the box.)
2. b8=B (now the bishop is outside the box again, but on a black square. It must be the bishop that has just been captured as the other one is still on the board.)
2… f4
3. Be5#

The latest issue of The Problemist features an article by David Shire on the problems of  Henry D’Oyly Bernard (1878-1954).

This example shouldn’t detain you long. It was published in the Western Morning News in 1904.

White to play and force mate in 2 moves.




Hammersmith v Richmond TVKO 17-06-19

Time was when the season finished promptly at the end of April, but these days matches continue to the end of May and sometimes beyond.

So it was not until the second half of June (although you wouldn’t think so from the weather) that our season reached its conclusion with the final of the Thames Valley KO Cup away to league champions Hammersmith.

Over six boards we like to think we always have a chance but this time it wasn’t to be. We lost the bottom three boards pretty quickly and never looked likely to win all the top three boards. Chris might have won an exciting game, but by that time Mike had already gone down in a tight ending.

Many congratulations to Hammersmith on a richly deserved victory and on completing the league and cup double. Other clubs can learn a lot from their recent successes.

Hammersmith Richmond
1 Ryszard Maciol 212 0:1 Gavin Wall 223
2 Thomas Bonn 199 1:0 Mike Healey 212
3 Carsten Pedersen 196 ½:½ Chris White 177
4 Bajrush Kelmendi 186 1:0 Raghu Kamath 169
5 Sylvain Eche 195 1:0 Bertie Barlow 162
6 Jim Stevenson 182 1:0 Max Wood-Robinson 176

My thanks to everyone who supported the team during the season, especially to Gavin and Mike for their outstanding results.

I’ll post some views on the Thames Valley League results within the next week or so.



Chess Puzzle of the Week (38)


Last week I left you with this position from the RJCC database. Black wins as follows:

1… Bxe4+ 2. Bxe4 Qa7 3. Rc1 (3. Kc1 Ra2 4. Bc2 Rxc2+ 5. Kxc2 Qa2+ 6. Kc1 Qa1+ 7. Kc2 Qc3+ 8. Kb1 Qxb3+ 9. Ka1 Qc3+ 10. Kb1 b3 11. Rc1 Qd2) 3… Ra1+ 4. Kc2 Qa2+ 5. Kd1 Qxb3+ 6. Bc2 Qf3+ 7. Kd2 Qc3+ 8. Kd1 Qd4+

This week something a bit different: a puzzle composed by RTCC member Richard Thursby.


It’s not difficult for White to mate in 1 move, but Richard asks you to force mate in 3 moves using the bishop on b1. You’ll have to think outside the box to solve it.

I always welcome contributions from readers of this blog, whether or not they’re RTCC members.