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Piratical

29 August 2015

I have never met David Smerdon, the Australian grandmaster and author of Smerdon’s Scandinavian (Everyman Chess). Last week I gave a ringing endorsement of his new book and I must… Read more

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Viking trail

22 August 2015

The Australian grandmaster David Smerdon has written a truly exciting book about some of the byways in the Centre Counter or Scandinavian Defence. The old main lines started 1 e4… Read more

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Buried treasure

15 August 2015

Jonathan Hawkins has emerged as the winner of this year’s British Championship, which finished last week at the University of Warwick in Coventry. Several players were in contention for the… Read more

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1 Samuel 18:7

8 August 2015

David Howell is on a roll. At the halfway stage of the British Championship he looks set to retain his title, and he has shot to no. 2 in the British… Read more

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Stormy Petroff

1 August 2015

Alexander Petroff (1794-1867) is often remembered as the first great Russian chess master. He became the strongest player in Russia at the age of 15 and produced the first chess… Read more

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Arachnid

25 July 2015

Sadly, Michael Adams, for many years Britain’s leading grandmaster, will not be playing in the British Championship, which starts next week. Michael is often referred to as ‘Spidey’ because of… Read more

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Fabulous Fabiano

18 July 2015

Fabiano Caruana notched the result of his life at the Sinquefield Trophy in St Louis last year. Since then he has done nothing in particular and not done it very… Read more

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Chinese cracker

11 July 2015

I have a particular affection for Chinese involvement in mind sports. In 1981 I was invited as the first western grandmaster to compete in an international chess tournament in China,… Read more

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Shuffleduck

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

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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

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Hypnotism

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Polymath

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

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From Russia with love

4 April 2015

In the James Bond film From Russia with Love there is an evil mastermind named Kronsteen. The character is in some ways based on the Russian chess genius David Bronstein,… Read more

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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

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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

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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