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


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


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


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


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



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


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



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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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



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



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


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



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


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


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


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


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