The 2010 Australian Junior Championships will be played in Tasmania, for the first time in 35 years, in January 2010 and Chess Kids is sending a team. This leads me to cast my mind back to the 1975 Australian Junior Championships in Hobart when everyone expected our up-and-coming junior Ian Rogers to dominate the event. He did not. The tournament was won by a diminutive 15 year-old boy, with long blonde hair, from New Zealand of all places. His name was Murray Chandler and he, like Rogers, went on to become a leading grandmaster. In fact he has a 2-0 record against Kasparov!

I’ve been playing through some of Chandler’s games recently and came across the following position:

[fen caption=”Chandler v Bologan 1992 – Black to play.”]8/1r6/8/2RQ1p1p/pk3P1P/1p1p2P1/7K/1q6 b [/fen]

Black has been winning easily all game and is close to queening his pawns, but White has a few annoying checks. In the diagrammed position Black should probably play 1…Ka3 but instead chose to attack with 1…Re7??. White replied 2.Rc4+ Ka3 and 3.Qd6+ winning the R. Black must now chose between 3…Ka2 and 3… Kb2. Today’s puzzle is which move should he choose?

Black should play 1…Ka2 2.Rxa4+ Kb2 3.Qa3+ Kc2 4.Qxe6 Qf1 and the game should end in a draw. Instead he chose 1…Kb2??, no doubt expecting 2.Qxe6. White’s reply of 2.Qd4+! Ka2 3.Rxa4# was no doubt an unpleasant surprise! A neat swindle by Chandler.