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.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (37)


I’ve just published my first book review for John Upham’s British Chess News website, which you can read here

Last week’s puzzle is taken from this book: an impressive conclusion by Gustav Neumann, sacrificing a bishop, a queen and a knight to force a two rook checkmate.


The solution (main lines only: you can work out the rest for yourself) is:

1. Bb5+ Kxb5 2. Qc4+ Kxc4 3. Na3+ Kc3 4. Rac1+ Kb4 5. Rb1+ Kxa3 6. Bc1+ Kxa2 7. Rb2+ Ka3 (7… Ka1 8. Re2 Bxf3+ 9. Bg5#) 8. Rd3+ Ka4 9. Rd4+ Ka3 10.
Rxb7+ Ka2 11. Ra4#

The subvariation on move 7 is particularly interesting. The other lines are all checks, but in this line White has to find the precise quiet move 8. Re2, an anticipatory closure of the h5-d1 diagonal so that the bishop can’t capture the rook on d1. White then has the cross-check and mate Bg5.

A position that should be in every tactics book, but I don’t recall seeing it before.


As well as reading this book I’m currently engrossed in my long-term project of analysis the nearly 17000 games played over 30 years in my RJCC database looking for interesting puzzles.

This week’s puzzle is another, slightly easier, test of your analytical abilities. It comes from a 1999 inter-area U11 competition between Richmond, Wey Valley, Barnet and Sussex, four of the country’s top primary school teams at the time. Sam Burgess (Wey Valley) v Scott Lympany (Sussex).


It’s Black’s move. How should the game continue?

Chess Puzzle of the Week (36)


Last week I left you with this position, based on the conclusion of an endgame study by Kubbel.

The solution is 1. Qh7+ Ke6 2. f5+ Kd5 3. Qg8+! Qxg8 4. Kd3 and Black can’t prevent 5. c4#

This week something a bit harder.


This is a position from a game Neumann-Mayet Berlin 1866.

White to play and force mate in 11 moves.

All variations please, and no cheating! Half marks if you find White’s first two moves (and that might be a helpful clue).