Luke McShane

Twelve questions for Christmas

1 One top player, besides admiring his trainer’s creativity, noted that they had a shared appreciation of 1980s music. Who was the player and his trainer?

2 How to Win at Chess is a new book for novice players, which became a New York Times bestseller. Which popular YouTuber wrote it?

3 One episode of the TV spy drama series Slow Horses made reference to a chess game played in 1851. Who were the original players?

4 ‘In chess, like tennis, you get lost for a moment and the game has already turned. In this aspect they are two quite similar disciplines.’ Which tennis player described how chess helps him train?

5 ‘Each life is a game of chess that went to hell on the seventh move…’ Which author, who died in 2023, wrote those words?

6 The diagram above left resembles the outline of a Christmas tree. Mate in two, composed by Pal Benko. Chess Life and Review, 1975.

7 The ludicrous notion that a sex toy might be used as a means to cheat at chess originated as an outlandish joke, before taking on a life of its own. Two mischievous YouTubers rigged up a proof of concept and used it to defeat an English grandmaster in a casual game. Who was their ‘victim’? (He must have guessed that something was up when his position went downhill, but gamely played along.)

8 In protest at ‘close links between Fide (the International Chess Federation) and the Russian authorities, seven major chess publishers decided not to take part in which event?

9 The video for the song ‘First Person Shooter’, referenced the photo from last year’s Louis Vuitton ad campaign with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo playing chess. Who were the two rappers seated at the board?

10 ‘This is the worst chessplayer in the world calling the best chessplayer in the world.’ Which person, who died in 2023, is said to have used those words to address Bobby Fischer?

11 The Italian town of Marostica has a chess-themed biennial tradition which was the subject of a short documentary film released in 2023.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in