Express train

19 April 2014

The erratic Ukrainian grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk has scored an overwhelming victory in a rapidplay tournament sponsored by the Latvian railway. Leading scores were as follows: Ivanchuk 13 (out of 14);… Read more


Vishy regime

12 April 2014

The Candidates tournament has been won by Vishy Anand who adopted the safety-first policy of winning two of his first three games and then drawing most of the rest. By… Read more


Candidates compendium

5 April 2014

This week I focus on a number of key positions from the World Championship qualifier, the Candidates tournament, which concluded at the beginning of this week in Khanty-Mansisk in Siberia.… Read more


Magnus force

29 March 2014

As the World Championship qualifier (aka Candidates tournament) approaches its final rounds in Khanty-Mansisk, it is worth emphasising the Everest which the eventual challenger will have to climb when facing the… Read more


True Blue

22 March 2014

The Oxford v. Cambridge Varsity Match held at the Royal Automobile Club two weeks ago ended in a draw. This is the longest-running chess fixture in the world, dating originally… Read more


War fever

15 March 2014

It is a little known fact that Emanuel Lasker, the German world chess champion, who reigned from 1894 to 1921, was keen for Germany to enter the first world war.… Read more


Varsity match

8 March 2014

On Saturday 8 March the 132nd Varsity match between the teams of Oxford and Cambridge will see Oxford seeking to reduce its historic deficit in a match which can claim… Read more


Ukrainian knights

1 March 2014

This week I pay tribute to the chess grandmasters from Ukraine, led by Vassily Ivanchuk, many times a candidate for the world championship. Ukraine occupies an honourable place in the… Read more



22 February 2014

Three important tournaments concluded this month, for two of which (Gibraltar and Bunratty) I attended the awards ceremonies. I have already given the results of Zurich. The most impressive game,… Read more



15 February 2014

George Osborne is a supporter of chess. During the award ceremony at 11 Downing St for last year’s London Candidates’ tournament, he told me that as a teenager he attended… Read more


Lions’ den

8 February 2014

Daniel Johnson, the distinguished editor of Standpoint magazine, can be bracketed with Tim Congdon and Dominic Lawson, as having had the potential to become a chess master. All three chose… Read more


Gates’ exit

1 February 2014

In Virgil’s Aeneid the hero Aeneas escapes from Hades via one of two gates, one made of ivory and the other of horn. It is widely believed that he selected… Read more


Nimzo style

25 January 2014

As promised, this week a victory by chess aficionado Dominic Lawson, former editor of The Spectator. Dominic’s distinguished opponent was Peter Lee, who has been British champion in both chess… Read more



18 January 2014

Towards the end of last year, those two old warhorses Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman added to their total of over 100 competitive games against each other by contesting a four-game… Read more


Different paths

11 January 2014

Daniel Johnson, Dominic Lawson and Tim Congdon all had the potential to become chess masters. However, all three chose alternative routes, establishing their reputations in the fields of journalism, politics and… Read more


Vale Vishy

4 January 2014

Viswanathan Anand, the 15th world champion, suffered a complete meltdown in his title defence against Magnus Carlsen towards the end of last year. Anand was an impressive match player, defending… Read more


London classics II

14 December 2013

This year’s London Classic tournament is still in progress and features Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, reigning British champion Gawain Jones, Nigel Short and Michael Adams. As a continuing tribute to… Read more


London classics

7 December 2013

This year’s London Classic tournament, organised by the indefatigable Malcolm Pein, who also heads up the charity Chess in Schools and Communities, is composed of several sections. The main group… Read more


Song of Norway

30 November 2013

Magnus Carlsen has become the 16th world chess champion, taking the title with three wins, seven draws and no losses, the most convincing win in a title match since Capablanca… Read more



23 November 2013

As predicted last week, the samurai standoff between Anand and Carlsen was swiftly shattered. After quiet draws in games one and two, Anand missed a golden opportunity in game three,… Read more



16 November 2013

In Kurosawa’s samurai warrior classic Sanjuro, the hero, a wandering Ronin played by Toshiro Mifune, ends the film in a face-off with his mortal enemy Hanbei Muroto. For a long… Read more


Next generation

9 November 2013

Magnus Carlsen’s world title challenge to Vishy Anand commences on Saturday 9 November and continues to the end of this month. The age gap between the young challenger and the veteran… Read more



2 November 2013

Magnus Carlsen has risen to achieve the highest ever chess rating. He ascended to 2872 on the rankings, which compares with 2851 for Kasparov, 2785 for Bobby Fischer and 2817… Read more


The 16th?

26 October 2013

Magnus Carlsen is seeking to become the 16th world chess champion in a line that includes such giants as Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky and Garry Kasparov. The $5 million World… Read more



19 October 2013

Andrew Paulson, an American who lives in London, has been responsible for a remarkable chess revolution over the past year. He commissioned a YouGov study which showed that more than… Read more