My favourite website these days is which shows live games from many of the big international chess tournaments and is thus a great source of material for a chess coach.

It was great watching Kasparov briefly come out of retirement to play in the rapid/blitz event at St.Louis against many of the world’s best players.  One could say that he had a disappointing result in finishing third last but another way of looking at it was that he finished two points above Anand!

There were many huge blunders in the tournament, understandable with a fast time control, but I’ve been amazed at the number of good players who have walked into checkmate in some recent events.  I was playing through some games in the Spanish Teams Championship for instance (players rated around 2200+) and in one queen endgame White found his king on g2 in check from the opposing queen on the long diagonal.   He had a number of king moves available but chose Kh3 and was no doubt a little surprised when his opponent replied 1… Qh1 checkmate!   Similarly in another game White had castled kingside with a fianchettoed king-bishop and his opponent played 1… f3 attacking the bishop.  White retreated the bishop to the only safe square with Bh1 whereupon his very happy opponent was able to play Nh3 checkmate!

Later that evening, after seeing the above blunders, I was emailed a scoresheet from one of my students who had just won a game at the Croydon Chess Club.   I started playing through the game and my student entered a minor piece ending two passed pawns down.  “How did he end up winning” I pondered.  I soon found the answer.  His opponent had her King on f4 checked by Black’s pawn on g5 so she replied Kf5 whereupon my student was able to play Nd6 checkmate!   Perhaps blunders come in threes?

For today’s puzzle let me show you not so much a blunder as a very nice attacking sequence by White.   The game was played in the Chinese Chess League and White is a 2700+ GM.   Strangely the names of the players are X.Bu v Z.Xu.  Is that a record for the shortest named players in a chess game?  Anyway, see if you can find the attacking sequence of moves by White and, if you want to be super clever, find the killer move that he missed.

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