Chess Puzzle of the Week (59)


Last week I left you with this position in which Jonathan Rowson had Black against Andrew Ledger (whose brother Dave, entirely coincidentally, features in my previous post).

White has two threats, but Jonathan countered them both by playing 27… Rc2+ 28. Qxc2 Qa6+ 29. Qd3 Rf2+ 30. Kxf2 Qxd3, and Black won a few moves later.

I’ll return to Jonathan and his wonderful new book The Moves That Matter later. Over the past few days I’ve been looking for Chess Puzzles for Heroes content again, this time going through some very old RJCC games from 40 or more years ago.


In this position White’s queen is under attack. What should he do about it? The more variations you give me the more points you’ll score in the quiz.


Hackney 1 v Richmond 27-11-19

We were without our captain for our match against Hackney but still managed to field a pretty strong team against evenly matched opposition.

The results didn’t go in our favour this time and Hackney ran out 6:4 winners.

Hackney 1 Richmond
1 Richard Bates 225 1:0 Iain Gourlay 228
2 John Reid 211 0:1 Callum Kilpatrick 222
3 Dave Ledger 208 0:1 Mike Healey 217
4 Bob Eames 206 ½:½ Mark Josse 214
5 Richard Britton 204 1:0 Andreas Wetscherek 193
6 Rob Willmoth 202 1:0 Caspar Bates 200
7 Kevin Bowmer 188 ½:½ Martin Benjamin 181
8 Piro Balluglo 176 0:1 John Bass 176
9 John Tennyson 175 1:0 John Burke 175
10 Tobias Baumann 175 1:0 Chris White 180

A round of applause to Callum, Mike and John Bass on their wins, and to Mark and Martin for splitting the point.

You can see Mike’s game here.

We wish Hackney all the best for the rest of the season.


Richmond C v Wimbledon D 21-11-19

Our experimental team including four new members found the going tough against Wimbledon D, although they missed a few chances for a better result.

Richmond C Wimbledon D
1 Masoud Molazadeh 129 0:1 Sean Ingle 138
2 Marcel Holowienko – 0:1 Pawel Slonczuk 133
3 Andreas Maroulis – 0:1 Robbie McCarthy 130
4 Rob Hunter – 0:1 Alex Boitier –
5 Paul Evans – ½:½ Alex Brett 103
6 Omar Anbagi 108 ½:½ Omar Selim 68

Paul’s game was unfinished at the end, but he appeared to be just about holding it, so a draw was agreed.

In the Battle of the Omars, our Omar had KN v KQ when his opponent’s flag fell. As it’s not possible to construct a checkmate position for the king and knight the game was declared drawn.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (58)


Last week, in the spirit of A Question of Sport, I asked you what happened next in this game between Jonathan Rowson and John Richardson.

The answer is that Black carelessly played cxd4, not thinking that White might do anything other than make the obvious recapture.

He’d missed that, by opening the a3-f8 diagonal, Jonathan had the chance to play a familiar queen sacrifice: Qxe6 followed by Bg6# or Qxe7#, depending on Black’s reply.

It’s fatally easy to make an automatic recapture, or to assume your opponent will make an automatic recapture. We’ve all done it.

I teach my pupils to look at the board using a CCTV: look for Checks, Captures, Threats and Violent moves (in that order), both for yourself and your opponent, before you play a move.

At present I’m marking the recent publication of my former neighbour and three times British Champion Jonathan Rowson’s wonderful new book on chess and philosophy, The Moves That Matter, by presenting puzzles taken from his games.


This position comes from the game between Andrew Ledger and Jonathan Rowson, played in the 4NCL in 2000. How did Jonathan, playing Black, continue?

Richmond D v Ealing B 19-11-19

In their latest match Richmond D again faced higher graded opponents in the shape of Ealing B, this time going down to a narrow but honourable defeat.

Richmond D Ealing B
1 Alex Shard 142 ½:½ Christopher Yapp 127
2 Dan Donohoe 109 ½:½ Anthony Braine 125
3 Barry Sutton 109 0:1 Carlo Paglialunga 125
4 Richard Sleep – 1:0 Martin Loat 121
5 George Dokic 87 ½:½ Trevor Bates 119
6 Ken Broadley 51 0:1 Geoff Richards 83

Another win for Richard, who, I can’t help thinking, really should be playing on Board 2. Dan and George did really well to draw with stronger opposition, and there was also a solid draw for Alex.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (57)


I left you with this position last week. I missed a beautiful, study-like continuation:

1… Na5! when we have three variations (I wanted them all for full marks: yes, I’m mean!)

Obviously, 2. Rxa5 c2 and Black promotes.

So White has to bring his rook back to stop the pawn:

2. Re5 c2! (after the immediate Nb3 White can defend with Re2) 3. Re1 Nb3! and again Black promotes.

Instead White can try 2. Rb5+ Ka8! (the only move: Black must avoid potential checks) 3. Rb1 Nb3! (in this variation the immediate c2 is answered by Rc1) 4. axb3 c2! and yet again Black promotes.

In the game Estick – James (from a London League match between RTCC 2 and Streatham in 1986) I played Nxd4 and the game was drawn a few moves later.


One of the chapters in Chess Puzzles for Heroes will be called Spot the Blunder. I spent yesterday evening at the launch party for Jonathan Rowson’s new book The Moves that Matter (and it was lovely to bump into Nette on the train home) so decided to look at some of his old games.


This is a position from Jonathan Rowson – John Richardson (Walsall 1977) which would fit right into Spot the Blunder. Black, to play, is doing fine here, but, as they ask on A Question of Sport, what happened next?

I’ll write more about both The Moves that Matter and the Chess Heroes project later.

Wimbledon A v Richmond A 11-11-19

Richmond A opened their account at the third attempt with a rather fortuitous draw at Wimbledon.

Mike Healey reports:

An away draw tonight! Despite Wimbledon turning up with their strongest team of the season. And us having three players three days ago. Incredible.

Ian started us off by terrifying his opponent into not turning up. Sampson went down to a fiery (and maybe theoretical) attack. Gavin repeated moves in a case of high-level dynamic equilibrium with most of the pieces on.

The other games were less clear. Eamon certainly seemed to have his higher rated opponent on the ropes, but couldn’t find a way through and lost a tight game. Chris, after another of his classic offbeat openings, seemed a bit under the cosh: lashing out with a queenside hack suddenly things were looking good – and just as suddenly everything went south. That left myself, Richard and Andrew with the score at 3.5-1.5.

In a brilliant piece of captaincy, having grimaced at Richard’s fairly horrific position, I told Andrew the match was gone and he could play for whatever result he wished. Meanwhile I finished off my own uncharacteristically tranquil game (possibly the result of too much cough medicine), and Richard seemed slightly less lost than he had been. A couple of inaccurate moves by his opponent, and the draw was proffered.

So a draw was possible – if Andrew could win an opposite coloured bishop middlegame where he had been a pawn down since the opening. A snazzy tactic, a few checks and a mate later, the match was drawn!

Thanks to everyone who played, this could well be a valuable point come the end of the season.

Wimbledon A Richmond A
1 Alberto Suarez Real 235 ½:½ Gavin Wall 224
2 Marcus Osborne 206 0:1 Mike Healey 217
3 Russell Granat 213 1:0 Chris White 180
4 Ian Heppell 177 ½:½ Richard James 167
5 Default 0:1 Ian McLeod 161
6 Philip Gregory 174 0:1 Andrew Hebron 161
7 Neil Cannon 177 1:0 Sampson Low 155
8 Nick Keene 177 1:0 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 144

Congratulations to Andrew (who told me that, many years ago, we played a lot of 1-minute games on ICC) for a fine win against a strong oppoonent in his A team debut. Congratulations also to Mike for managing to get a full team out and for winning his game. I guess a drawn match – and a draw in my game – was a fitting result for Armistice Day. I played the middle game very badly and really didn’t deserve to share the point. Let’s hope for some more luck in our forthcoming matches.