Chess Puzzle of the Week (149): Solution

Alexander, Frederick Forrest Lawrie
The Fairy Chess Review, Dec 1936
Helpmate in 3

The solution to last week’s problem (you’ll remember that Black moves first and the two players combine to reach a position in which the black king is mated):

  1. Ke5 Rxa7 2. Nf6 Be4 3. Nd6 Re7#

Rather cute, I think. I hope you enjoyed this one.

New Venue

The last few weeks since we’ve returned from lockdown have seen a remarkable and welcome influx of new members.

A lot of people have returned to chess, not having played much since childhood. With nothing else to do, they’ve been studying and practising online and have, in some cases, reached a high standard very quickly.

Others have been inspired by watching The Queens Gambit on Netflix, and have decided they want some of the action themselves.

We’re also seeing, most importantly perhaps, and for the first time since the late 1970s, a lot of teenagers taking an interest in chess. Several of the teenagers who joined Richmond at that time are still club members today.

All this means that we’ve outgrown our current venue. While we all enjoy playing, and perhaps drinking, at the Roebuck, we really need somewhere much bigger for our club nights and other events. But suitable venues in this area are not readily available and don’t come cheap.

In the past, we’ve been successful at finding venues through our members’ personal contacts which have enabled us to secure a good deal.

Our requirements:

  • Within the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, preferably in the Twickenham/Teddington area.
  • We meet on Thursdays between 7:30 and 10:30, and might want to start a junior section earlier in the evening.
  • Affordable cost.
  • Space & furniture for a minimum of 30 people seated playing chess.
  • Accessible, inclusive, warm and welcoming environment.
  • Quiet, with no noise from outside the room or building.
  • Good heating and ventilation.
  • Kitchen facilities or ability to buy drinks.
  • Clean toilets.
  • Good public transport links.
  • Car parking on site or nearby.

If you live locally, we’d be very grateful if you could make enquiries or chase up personal contacts on our behalf.

Many thanks to all of you on behalf of the Committee of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club

Chess Puzzle of the Week (149)

Alexander, Frederick Forrest Lawrie
The Fairy Chess Review, Dec 1936
Helpmate in 3

I was standing outside St Mary’s Church, Teddington waiting for a bus on Saturday evening, and thinking about the South African problemist Cecil Alfred Lucas Bull, who had once lived just a few yards away.

When my transport arrived, it wasn’t a bus but a police telephone box which took me back in time to 22 August 1914, where I was able to witness the wedding of Frederick Forrest Lawrie Alexander and Dorothy Mary Richer.

FFL Alexander (no relation to CHO’D Alexander) had a long career as both a player and a problemist, stretching from the 1890s right through to the 1950s. I’ll write a lot more about him in another place another time.

This is a helpmate in three moves. If you’re not used to this type of problem, Black makes the first move and the two players work together to reach a checkmate on White’s third move. So you’re looking for a sequence BWBWBW, finishing in mate.

Rather sweet, I think, and gentler than last week’s puzzle.

Off you go!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (148): Solution

Ni Hua – Le Quang Liem
Ho Chi Minh City 2012

Last week’s puzzle was taken from the new book The Secret Ingredient to Winning at Chess by Jan Markos and David Navara, which I’ll be reviewing for British Chess News within the next week or two.

Black could have won had he found the amazing sequence 29… Ba3+! 30. Kxb3 a1N+!! 31. Rxa1 Qxb6+!! 32. Bxb6 Nd4+! 33. Kc3 (or 33. Bxd4 Rcb8+ 34. Kc3 Bb4+ 35. Kb2 Bd2+) 33… Rxc4+! 34. Kxc4 (34. Kd2 Nxf3+) 34… Rc8+ 35. Bc7 Rxc7# (A problemist would be horrified that c5 was controlled by two black units, though!)

David Navara writes about this: Black is objectively winning, yet I believe that in 90 per cent of practical games White players would win. If, on the other hand, you presented the position to grandmasters or international masters with a hint “Black to move wins”, the situation would be quite different. I would estimate that half of the players, or perhaps even more, would discover the correct continuation.

Did you discover it, I wonder?

Chess Puzzle of the Week (148)

Ni Hua – Le Quang Liem
Ho Chi Minh City 2012
Black to play

A hard one this week. You’ll probably need to set the board up and move the pieces round to solve it.

What would you suggest for Black here? And what should the result be with best play?

It’s your move! Do tell me what you’ve managed to find in this complex position.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (147): Solution

A Troitzky & V Korolkov 1st Pr Chigorin MT 1938
White to play and win

Last week I left you with an endgame study.

Black wants to play Ng3#, and White needs to prevent this by occupying the h2-b8 diagonal. There’s another problem, though: a potential stalemate if White ends up with a queen on g3.

The main line, therefore, runs like this:

  1. Qc3! Nxc3
  2. d8B! Ne2
  3. Bxc7 f1N!
  4. b8B! Ne4
  5. B1f4

and White’s three dark squared bishops defeat the three black knights in the battle for g3.

There are a lot of other possible defences for Black, which I’ll leave you to work out for yourself, or, better still, read the September 2021 issue of CHESS, where you’ll find some more Korolkov studies to entertain you.

William Harris and the first Richmond Chess Club

I’m writing a series of articles for British Chess News about the history of chess in Richmond, Twickenham and surrounding areas.

The first article, which you can read here, concerns the first chess club in Richmond (it only ran for three or four years in the mid 1850s), and its Hon Secretary, William Harris.

The history and heritage of chess clubs is important in many ways. I hope you’ll read – and enjoy – this article.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (147)

A Troitzky & V Korolkov 1st Pr Chigorin MT 1938
White to play and win

The latest issue of CHESS includes an entertaining article on the endgame studies of Vladimir Korolkov. In this example he teamed up with the great great Alexey Troitzky to win a first prize.

As always in endgame studies, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that White has a large material advantage, with two pawns about to promote. The bad news is that his king is stuck in a box and threatened with immediate mate.

So how does White force a win? Come along to the Roebuck (the one in Hampton Hill, not the one in Richmond!) on Thursday and show me your solution!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (146): Solution

In last week’s puzzle, Mickey Adams could have beaten Keith Arkell if he’d found 33… Qf4!, threatening to capture on d4 as there’s a potential Qf1# at the end. Now 34. dxc5 is met by 34… Rxd2 35. Qxd2 Qxe4+ 36. Kg1 c3! 37. Qd5+ Qxd5 38. Rxd5 c2 and the c-pawn promotes. White has nothing better than 34. Rf2, when Black plays 34… Qe3! with Rxd4 to follow, or, if 35. dxc5, then Rxd1+. White’s position is falling apart.

The consensus of opinion was that this was too hard even for grandmasters without much time on the clock. What do you think? Would you have found the strongest continuation? If so, go to the top of the class!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (146)

It’s Black’s move in this position from the game between Keith Arkell and Mickey Adams played in the recent British Online Championship.

England No. 1 Adams settled for a draw by repetition here by playing 33… Bb4 34. Rf2 Bc5 35. Rfd2 Bb4 etc..

Could he have done better, do you think? Yes, I want to know what you think, not what your computer thinks.

Do let me know, or, if you prefer, come down to the Roebuck in Hampton Hill on Thursday and show me yourself. If you get it right I’ll buy you a pint.