Raymond Keene rss

Raymond Keene is The Spectator’s chess columnist.


Magnus toppled

4 July 2015

Last week, world champion Magnus Carlsen suffered a devastating defeat in the first round of the Stavanger super tournament when he lost on time to Topalov, in what had been… Read more


No. 369

4 July 2015

White to play. This is from Anand–Hammer, Stavanger 2015. White is a pawn up with a good position and his next move put the game beyond all doubt. How did… Read more


Tempus fugit

27 June 2015

In serious competitive chess the play is regulated by time limits for completion of the moves. In the mid-19th century, players could take as long as they wished over their… Read more


No. 368

27 June 2015

White to play. This position is from Vachier-Lagrave-Caruana, Norway Blitz 2015. How did White finish off at once? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 30 June or via… Read more


Dark lord

20 June 2015

A new book, Opening Repertoire: The Nimzo-Indian and Bogo-Indian by Christof Seilecki (Everyman Chess), focuses on the ever popular Nimzo-Indian and Bogo-Indian Defences. The former arises after 1 d4 Nf6… Read more


No. 367

20 June 2015

Black to play. This is from Spassky-Fischer, World Championship, Reykjavik (Game 5) 1972. This is probably the most famous ‘dark-square’ Nimzo-Indian game of all-time. How did Fischer finish off? Answers… Read more


Triple tie

13 June 2015

This week I conclude my coverage of the Fidé (World Chess Federation) Grand Prix which finished last month in Khanty-Mansiysk. Three shared first place: Dmitri Jakovenko, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru… Read more


No. 366

13 June 2015

Black to play. This is from Rodriguez-Xiong, California 2012. How does Black finish off? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 16 June or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk or… Read more


Boris Good Enough

6 June 2015

Boris Gulko, celebrated both as a grandmaster and a former Soviet dissident, has recently completed his great trilogy of instructional volumes. They make exclusive use of the instructional value of… Read more


No. 365

6 June 2015

Black to play. This is from Caruana-Jakovenko, Khanty-Mansiysk 2015. Black is winning -easily, but can you find the most accurate continuation, which forces mate in six moves at the most?… Read more



30 May 2015

There are some odd opening moves in chess, such as 1 a3 and 1 g4. The former was used by Adolf Anderssen to win a game against Paul Morphy in… Read more


No. 364

30 May 2015

Black to play. This is from Westman-Walther, Havana 1966. Black has the possibility of a discovered check against the white king. How can he make the most of this? Answers… Read more


Reichenbach falls

23 May 2015

The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik recently espoused an opening system which I elaborated in a tournament in Germany in 1975. Remarkably, in the first two rounds of the Mannheim competition,… Read more


Puzzle no. 363

23 May 2015

White to play. This is from Kramnik-Svidler, Russian Team Championship, Sochi 2015. The black pieces are in a tangle and vulnerable to tactical strikes. How did Kramnik now launch just… Read more



16 May 2015

During the World Championship qualifier of 1959, grandmaster Pal Benko wore dark glasses to counter the hypnotic gaze of his dangerous opponent, world champion-to-be Mikhail Tal. This precaution did him… Read more


No. 362

16 May 2015

White to play. This position is from Tal–Benko, Candidates 1959. Black has just advanced with … e5, attacking the white knight. What has he overlooked? Answers to me at The Spectator… Read more


Brain games

9 May 2015

This week I continue with my analysis of Nigel Short’s recent animadversions upon the differences between the male and female brain and his opinion that women cannot match up to… Read more


No. 361

9 May 2015

White to play. This is from Polgar-Short, -Buenos Aires 2000. Here we return to the theme of Judit Polgar’s massive plus score against Nigel Short. Nigel’s logical brain no doubt… Read more


Nigel’s controversy

2 May 2015

British chess grandmaster Nigel Short has form when it comes to provocative statements. When competing in a tournament in France as a junior player, some years ago, he was asked… Read more


No. 360

2 May 2015

Black to play. This is from Short-Polgar, Madrid 1995. Judit Polgar is the strongest female -player ever, with an overwhelming plus score against Nigel Short. This is the conclusion of… Read more


So there

25 April 2015

Hikaru Nakamura has won the US Championship in convincing style with 8/11, ahead of Ray Robson and Wesley So. Things might have turned out differently had So not been disqualified… Read more


No. 359

25 April 2015

Black to play. This position is a variation from Troff-Nakamura, US Championship 2015. How can Black conclude his kingside attack with a standard tactic? Answers to me at The Spectator… Read more


Hit for six

18 April 2015

The Hamilton Russell trophy for London clubs has been dominated in the past by the RAC. This year, though, they were knocked for six in the final decisive match by the… Read more


No. 358

18 April 2015

White to play. This is from Lee-Zakharov, Vrnjacka Banja 1963. Black has just captured on c3 and now 1 Qxc3 runs into 1 … Qxf1 mate. However, White can do… Read more



11 April 2015

I learn from The Problemist, the organ of the British Chess Problem Society, that the polymath Dr Jacob Bronowski also composed chess problems. According to the article I read, Bronowski… Read more