Archive for February, 2010

For today’s puzzle I decided to hop onto the internet and search for “best short chess games” to see if that would come up with a nice tactic to show you.   The first post that came up was “Nigel Short’s best games!”   Don’t you just love the way computers think.  Nigel Short is the famous British chess prodigy who has been a leading grandmaster for may years and once challenged Kasparov for the world championship.   Whether Short played may short games however is unclear.  I guess you could argue that they were all “Short” games!

Instead I have a position from Alekhine v Nenarokov 1907 (see diagram).  Alekhine has just played 1.a3 to attack that annoying N on b4.   This seems strange as doesn’t that just force Black to play Nxd5 which is the move he wanted to play anyway?  Has Alekhine just wasted a move with a3 or is he perhaps setting a trap?  Of course you and I would immediately have our suspicions aroused and check …Nxd5 before playing it, but Nenarokov was more trusting.

[fen caption=”Black plays 1…Nxd5.  What is White’s reply?”]2kr1bnr/ppp1pppp/8/q2P4/1n6/P1N2P2/1P1B1PPP/R2QKB1R b KQ – 0 9[/fen]

Archive for February, 2010

I’ve been playing through some of Pal Benko’s games lately.   Benko was a Hungarian Grandmaster who moved to the USA and at one stage made the Candidates Matches for the world championship.   He was clearly a very strong player, and in today’s puzzle from back in 1960 was pitted against the British IM Bob Wade, who Benko would be expected to beat.

They reached the following position when Wade shocked Benko with the sacrifice 1.Rxg7.  Benko can’t take it because of 2.Nh5+ but has a few tricks of his own with 1…e3 2.Qd4 Rxf4.

This puzzle is how did the game end?   Did Benko save the game or was Wade’s sacrifice sound?

[fen caption=”White to play.”]r4r1k/pp1b2bp/q2p4/3P4/4pN1B/5P2/PP1Q3P/R3K1R1 b – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for February, 2010

I thought for a change we might have a chess “who am I puzzle” to test your brain this week.

This should suit older readers who, whilst their brains may have slowed down a bit, have a lot more to remember.    As an additional clue I can confess to having in my possession a letter from this chess player to Cecil Purdy advising how much he charges to give a simul.

WHO AM I?   (There are 6 clues if you need them).

1. I was born in 1943.

2. My parentage is a little unclear, and the name I bear is probably not that of my real father.

3. I won my country’s national championship at 14 years of age.

4. I played in the most famous chess match of all time.

5. I fled from my native country and the lived in Germany, Hungary, the Philippines, Japan and Iceland.

6. I died in 2008 and my given names are Robert and James.  I am …..

Archive for February, 2010

Archive for February, 2010

Welcome to 2010.   We should all be back at school or work now after the Xmas holidays so to ease into the new year I offer a cute little puzzle that’s not too difficult.

Have a look at the position below (with White to move).   Clearly Black is well up on material and in normal circumstances would win comfortably.   White doesn’t seem to have a checkmate in the offing and he’s not threatening to win material back so it doesn’t look good.

There is however a neat way that White can save the game …. and even win!

Can you find it?

[fen caption=”White to play.”]8/qp6/p7/pk6/2R5/P2K4/8/8 w – 0 1 [/fen]