School Holidays!   What to do?  If it wasn’t for Wimbledon being on the TV and the Chess Camp coming up next week I might be bored.  As it was, I spent much of the day preparing for the camp … buying some thick socks, a warm scarf and a new jacket for example …. Philip Island can be cold at this time of year.

Then of course having lunch in my favourite cafe I was the epitome of the modern chess player.  Head downcast staring intently at my iPad … first catching up with the news on Chess Chat then a quick game against Shredder to fine tune my chess skills.  I may have to play some lightning chess at the camp against Luke Li or Allen Yu who are coming along as assistant coaches.  Of course, that done, I completed my preparation by pulling out a bound volume of the British Chess Magazine and starting to read.  Why buy new chess books when I have so many old ones is my latest theory and I’ve now worked my way back to the 1947 volume.

Actually there is some good stuff there … for instance Britain played a radio match against Australia over 10 boards and won 7-3.  Names familiar to me like Purdy and Koshnitsky were in the Australian team but our only win came on board 1!  Yes, out top player, the Hungarian immigrant IM Lajos Steiner who had settled in Sydney before the war, was still a class above the best British players.  Actually, come to think of it, I never met Steiner even though he lived until 1975, which is a bit of a pity as I’m sure he would have had many great chess stories to tell from when he was an active player in the 1930s and played many of the world’s top players.  He was an unusual combination of chess player, engineer and boxer!

And of course whilst reading my book I had my eyes open for any good material on the chess camp theme of “defence.”  Found a couple of useful games and a nice puzzle which I’d like to show you now.  It took me a few goes to get the answer but if you just keep saying to yourself “it has to be this move….” you will probably find the solution.   Good luck.

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