Raymond Keene rss

Raymond Keene is The Spectator’s chess columnist.


Caro can

28 March 2015

The Caro-Kann Defence, 1 e4 c6, has always appealed to me. It has the advantage of staking a claim in the centre by means of … d5, without the disadvantages… Read more


No. 355

28 March 2015

Black to play. This position is a variation from Ganguly-Vitiugov, Gibraltar 2014. The game started as a Caro-Kann and is mentioned in Houska’s book. Although Black is a pawn down… Read more


Just So

21 March 2015

Last week in a perceptive piece for the Times, Will Pavia animadverted upon the fact that the USA appears to be actively recruiting top chess grandmasters. Pavia focused on attempts… Read more


No. 354

21 March 2015

White to play. This is from Pillsbury-Tarrasch, Hastings 1895. White has only one move to bring his kingside attack to a successful conclusion before Black lands on the other wing.… Read more


Bright blues

14 March 2015

The boat race for the brain, as it has become known, took place at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London last Saturday. The 133rd Oxford v Cambridge Varsity chess… Read more


No. 353

14 March 2015

Black to play. This is from James-Sugden, -Cambridge 1972, as featured last week. It’s a win by the Cambridge player Dr J. N. -Sugden of St John’s College. In the… Read more



7 March 2015

On Saturday 7 March the annual Varsity Match between the teams of Oxford and Cambridge takes place. The contest is at the Royal Automobile Club starting at noon, and spectators… Read more


No. 352

7 March 2015

Black to play. This is a variation from Chandler-Whiteley, Brighton 1979. Here Black can bring his attack to a successful conclusion thanks to a fine tactical idea. Can you see… Read more



28 February 2015

The elite tournament at Zurich, which finished last week, has adopted a system for determining the ultimate trophy winner which seems to me virtually impenetrable. Zurich consisted of three separate… Read more


No. 351

28 February 2015

White to play. This position is from Nakamura-Karjakin, Zurich classic 2015. White’s knight seems trapped but he can rescue it with a fine tactical idea. Can you see how? Answers… Read more


Carlsen’s special brew

21 February 2015

Magnus Carlsen has added another trophy to his cabinet by taking the honours at the Grenke tournament in Baden Baden, Germany. As at Wijk aan Zee, the world champion had… Read more


No. 350

21 February 2015

White to play. This is from Anand v Kramnik, Zurich Rapidplay 2015. White has two ways to win this position, both using the same idea. Either move can be considered… Read more



14 February 2015

The Tradewise Masters in Gibraltar has been won by the American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, with the British co-champion David Howell in clear second place. This is possibly a career best… Read more


No. 349

14 February 2015

White to play. This position is a variation from Bellin-Georgiadis, Gibraltar 2015. White has given up his queen. How does he now force checkmate? Answers to me at The Spectator… Read more


Sixes and sevens

7 February 2015

The veteran world championship contender, Victor Korchnoi, has accused the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of hypnotising his opponents. Plainly unimpressed by the overall quality of Carlsen’s play, the ever-controversial Korchnoi ascribes… Read more


No. 348

7 February 2015

White to play. This position is a variation from Nakamura-Topalov, Gibraltar 2015. Topalov has already resigned this game as he had seen what was coming. What is White’s next move?… Read more


Magnificent Magnus

31 January 2015

Magnus Carlsen has won first prize in the elite Tata Steel tournament at Wijk aan Zee, Holland. Leading scores out of 13 were Carlsen 9, then Giri, So, Ding Liren… Read more


No. 347

31 January 2015

White to play. This is a variation from Carlsen-Aronian, Wijk aan Zee 2015. Black has just played his bishop to a3, uncovering an attack on the white queen while also… Read more


London Blitz

24 January 2015

Britain’s leading grandmaster, Michael Adams, started well in the London Classic, with a beautiful win against the rising star Fabiano Caruana. After that, Adams ran out of steam, finishing in… Read more


No: 346

24 January 2015

White to play. This position is a variation from Kramnik-Nakamura, London Classic Blitz 2014. How can White make a decisive material gain? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday… Read more


London Rapid

17 January 2015

The exciting American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura compensated for his somewhat lacklustre performance in the London Classic section, held at Olympia just before Christmas, with an overwhelming victory in the Rapidplay… Read more


No: 345

17 January 2015

White to play. This position is a variation from Williams-van Wely, London Rapidplay 2014. How can White bring his kingside attack to a successful conclusion? Answers to me at The… Read more


London Classic

10 January 2015

The key feature of the London Classic, which finished shortly before Christmas, was the resurgence of Viswanathan Anand, the former world champion. One might have expected him to be demoralised… Read more


No. 344

10 January 2015

White to play. This is a position from Adams–Caruana, London Classic 2014. How did Adams convert to a winning endgame? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 13 January… Read more


Ave et vale

3 January 2015

2014 was the year in which Magnus Carlsen confirmed his position as world champion, and also the year in which the dynamic new star, Fabiano Caruana, rose to the rank… Read more