Does being good at chess help you in your chosen career?  Being good at analysing and problem solving can’t be all bad but many good chess players are, well, just good at chess.   On the other hand some have gone on to be successful in other fields.

I was listening to a political discussion on the radio the other day and one of the speakers was Professor Rod Tiffen, Professor of Political Science at Sydney University.   Rod Tiffen! (I thought to myself).  That must be the Rod Tiffen who was board two in my school chess team at Haileybury in the 1960s.    Last week I was listening to a another radio discussion about the economic crisis in the USA and their guest was a Professor of Economics at Harvard University named Ken Rogoff.   Ken Rogoff! (I thought to myself).   That must be the American junior who played in my World Junior Chess Championships in 1971 and finished in third place.

Yesterday I was reading the newspaper over breakfast and one of the main articles was about a famous Italian Renaissance painting by Correggio that the State Library had just purchased for $5.2m with funds donated by Andrew Sisson.  Andrew Sisson! (I thought to myself).  Isn’t he the boy who finished runner-up to me in the Victorian U/14 Championships in 1966 and subsequently played board one for Melbourne Grammar in the Interschool Competition?   Andrew, the paper reported, is an investment banker worth around $125m!

Perhaps chess has played a role in the success of these eminent people, so let’s knuckle down to today’s puzzle and see if you can follow in their footsteps.

[fen caption=”Black to Play”]8/4p1k1/3pPbp1/p6p/4KP2/1B4P1/P1R5/3r4 b – – 0 1[/fen]


Bishops of opposite colours often lead to drawn positions, but here Black can win the B with 1…a4! 2…Bc4 3.d5+!! Bxd5 4.Rd4+ Ke3 5.Rxd5 0-1. Well done if you solved it.   Now you must choose.   Do you want to become an academic, a businessman or a chess player?