I’ve just returned from a small chess adventure in the baking heat and winding roads of Sydney.

Evelyn Koshnitsky

First stop was Cabramatta to visit Evelyn Koshnitsky, aged 95 years or so (she can’t remember) in her nursing home. Evelyn has done more for Australian chess than any other living person, and it was great chatting with her for 40 minutes about her memories of tournaments and players past. My favourite tournament is still the 1971 Karlis Lidums International which Evelyn organised in Adelaide. It was Australia’s first big tournament (with 5 grandmasters playing) and I’m sure inspired a lot of Australian players.

Next stop was Greenwich to visit Felicity Purdy, wife of John Purdy who passed away last year. They have a lovely home overlooking the habour. It was nice chatting with Felicity as, whilst we have only met on a couple of occasions, we both have known the major figures in Australian Chess over the past 45 years and we swapped anecdotes about our experiences. I was taken to the Greenwich Baths, where John has a seat named in his honour, and behind which is Cecil Purdy’s old home where the Greenwich Chess Club used to meet. Felicity showed me a lovely silver pocket chess set which was presented to Spenser Crakanthorp (John’s grandfather) in 1905 when he won the Australian Championship. Then on to his library to see if I’d like any of his chess books. There were about 10 shelves of books which I eagerly examined and selected about 30 or so which took my fancy. To my surprise one turned out to be a Philidor book from 1762 – 250 years old, and now my oldest book. I’ve offered it to the State Library of Victoria if they want it.

Unfortunately such a book would be of no interest to juniors. Indeed, I’m trying hard to foster a love of reading chess books amongst my students, but it’s an uphill battle. I’ve lent Jason Chew Purdy’s “The Search for Chess Perfection” and he says that he’s enjoying the history part at the start of the book so maybe there is hope after all.

So now we come to the problem of which puzzle to offer today? I’ve had a request for a Jordan puzzle. The only problem is that Bill doesn’t often do combinations these days. I can however offer a Jorden combination. It’s Black to play and win. Perhaps it’s not forced but it’s a pretty variation by Jorden, a very talented Dutch Junior.

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