Chess Puzzle of the Week (34)


Last week I left you with this position. Black missed the beautiful move Ne4, which wins the exchange.

Black’s threatening both Rc1+ (the knight interferes with the white rook’s control of e1) and Qxd5, so White has nothing better than Qxe4, when Black will reply by capturing the white rook.





This week a tough challenge for you.

I’m currently going through some old Richmond Junior Club games looking for possible puzzle questions. This is a position which might have happened in a game from 1998.

White’s sacrificed a piece for a king side attack. How should the game continue? What result would you expect with best play? You’ll need to look a few moves ahead to receive full marks.

Battersea 1 v Richmond 15-05-19

Our London League season ended with another disappointing result: a draw against Battersea 1, our rival for the new second place trophy. Our opponents were pretty strong down to board 7, but their lower rated players on boards 8-10 scored 50%.

Congratulations to Mike, Caspar, Liam and Martin on their victories and thanks to all who played, both in this match and throughout the season.

Battersea 1 Richmond
1 Midhun Unnikrishnan 211 ½:½ Iain Gourlay 225
2 Chris Beckett 202 1:0 Gavin Wall 223
3 Alistair Hill 201 0:1 Mike Healey 212
4 Jonathan Pein 194 0:1 Caspar Bates 200
5 Shreyas Royal 186 0:1 Liam Varnam 189
6 Tommaso Penna 185 1:0 Julien Shepley 174
7 Kazi Rahman 176 1:0 Jonathan Somekh 174
8 Emil Todorow 152 1:0 John Burke 181
9 Derek Harvey 133 0:1 Martin Benjamin 176
10 Chris Rebbeck 91 ½:½ John Bass 168

You can read Battersea’s report on this match here.

Battersea are one of London’s oldest clubs in continuous existence, but, in another sense one of London’s newest clubs. Along with their rivals (and our TVL rivals) from north of the Thames, Hammersmith, they’re demonstrating what a good 21st century chess club should be like.

You need a good venue. You have to organise lots of things beyond the usual league matches. You need lots of members prepared to share the load.

Chess clubs like Battersea will survive and thrive. Those who don’t will wither and die. We wish them every success in the future and congratulate them on their drawn match against us and on their results during the season.

On paper we have one more match left, but as that’s away to Drunken Knights 2 it will presumably be a win by default. Drunken Knights 1 have played 4 matches and Drunken Knights 2 have so far played 7 matches, including an away match against Cavendish after losing their venue. According to the league rules their 1st team matches will be annulled but their 2nd team matches included when the final league table is compiled.

Battersea have three matches still to play, against Hackney, Cavendish and King’s Head. If they score 2½ or 3, they will finish second. If they score 2/3, they will finish level with us on match points, so game points will decide 2nd place. If they score less than 2/3 we’ll finish second.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (33)


Last week I asked you how this position arose after Black’s 4th move.

The answer: 1. e4 Nh6 2. Ba6 Nf5 3. exf5 Nxa6 4. f6 Nb8.

Thanks to all who commented on social media and congratulations to those of you who found the correct answer



This picturesque position was reached in Tari-Sadzikowski (Gibraltar 2019). It’s Black’s move: can you improve on the game continuation? (Source: Maxim Notkin’s tactics column in New in Chess 2019#3)

Surbiton A v Richmond A 08-05-19

With safety guaranteed we fielded our weakest team of the season for our final match away to perennial rivals Surbiton. With most of our leading players unavailable I had to sacrifice myself on board 2. Surbiton were also without several of their stronger players but still outgraded us fairly heavily on all except the top board.

A final score of 3-5 was respectable, but it might have been better. The first results were solid draws on boards 3 and 4. A Richmond win on board 8 was balanced by a Surbiton win on board 7. My game was uncharacteristically exciting. I blundered on move 9 and soon lost the exchange as well as castling rights. More importantly, perhaps, I fell well behind on the clock. Instead of keeping the queens on the board, which would have given him a winning attack, Jasper traded off into a complex ending where I had some strong central pawns. We both missed chances, and, with little time left on the clock, at one point I overlooked a clear win, making an automatic but losing recapture instead of sacrificing to promote a pawn. Meanwhile, Mike outplayed Chris in an ending on top board, the battle of the Ians went in Surbiton’s favour, and Russell went down in an ending which he might have drawn.

Many thanks to Maks for agreeing to play at short notice and congratulations to him on a win against a higher rated opponent. Congratulations also to Mike, Bertie and Raghu for their contributions to our total and thanks to all who played, both in this match and throughout the season.

Surbiton A Richmond A
1 Chris Briscoe 199 0:1 Mike Healey 212
2 Jasper Tambini 199 1:0 Richard James 167
3 Tony Stewart 185 ½:½ Bertie Barlow 162
4 Angus James 180 ½:½ Raghu Kamath 169
5 Ian Henderson 177 1:0 Ian McLeod 159
6 Paul Shepherd 183 1:0 Russell Manning –
7 Nick Faulks 172 1:0 Richard Thursby 152
8 Graham Alcock 152 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek 135

This result means that we finish on 6½/12, sharing third place with Wimbledon A, equal on both game and match points. A creditable performance by all concerned, considering our lack of resources below the top two boards, in spite of the captain making a negligible contribution to our points tally.

Congratulations to Hammersmith A on a fine victory in the league, and to Surbiton A on an excellent second place.

We still have a chance to win some silverware with the cup final to come, probably on 17 June away to (probably) Hammersmith or (possibly) Kingston. Over 6 boards anything could happen: if Gavin and Mike can win we just need one point lower down.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (32)


Last week I left you with this position from Artemiev-Hracek (2019 European Championship).

White crashed through with 25. Rxg7! Kxg7 26. Rg3+ Kh8 27. Nxd5! Nxd5 28. Bh6 Bf6 29. Qxf6+! and Black resigned in the face of impending mate.

An impressive combination, sacrificing a rook, followed by a knight, and finally a queen.

Bob and Carol have been playing chess at the club again. Returning from the bar with a pint, I saw this position on the board.


I advised Carol that next time she played the Alekhine Defence she should move her knight to d5 rather than leaving it to be taken. Then I spotted the missing white bishop. I asked Bob if he’d forgotten to set it up at the start of the game, but he assured me he hadn’t. Can you tell me how they reached this position after Black’s fourth move?

Maidenhead A v Richmond B 29-04-19

Richmond B’s last match of the season required a trip down the M4 to Maidenhead, where we faced some strong and experienced opposition.

The result was an outstanding performance, our best of the season, and a stunning 5-2 victory.  Bertie and Ian both drew against much higher graded opponents, while Sampson and Russell (good to see him playing again) also shared the points. Our lower order were remorseless, making a clean sweep of boards 5-7.

The team included four former RJCC members from several decades ago, on boards 1, 3, 4 and 7. Great days, and great that they remember them so fondly and are still involved with Richmond chess.

Maidenhead A Richmond B
1 John Wager 188 ½:½ Bertie Barlow 162
2 Majid Mashayekh 172 ½:½ Ian McLeod 159
3 Charles Bullock 160 ½:½ Sampson Low 160
4 Nigel Dennis 153 ½:½ Russell Manning –
5 Paul Janota 145 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek –
6 William Castaneda 128 0:1 Adrian Waldock 138
7 Paul Fisher 122 0:1 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 143

Adrian’s team finish with a score of 4½/12 in a tough division, helped by Harrow and Maidenhead failing to fulfil their matches against us. This should be enough for us to remain in Division 2 next season.



Chess Puzzle of the Week (31)


I visited the Chess Shop in Baker Street recently on my way to our TVKO match at Harrow. Among my purchases was this book about Louis Paulsen. I was more than happy to read the latest additions to the Chess Palace Library while my colleagues did all the hard work.

In this position (Anderssen-Paulsen 1869) our hero played Na8, planning a knight trip to c7, e6 and d4. You might associate such a move with Nimzowitsch, but Paulsen got there first, 150 years ago.

One of the up and coming names in world chess is that of Vladislav Artemiev, who recently won the 2019 European Championship.


For this week’s puzzle, taken from the above event, how did he continue in this game against Zbynek Hracek? (source: BCM April 2019)