Puzzles & games


Bridge | 1 July 2023

Rubber bridge may be poorly but it’s not flatlining yet. TGR’s BC in Paddington provides a game or two every afternoon (and some evenings) and attracts visitors from all over the world who want to experience the unique thrill of playing and defending with and against world-class opposition. It was the battle of the Titans


The hell of speed chess

Somewhere in hell, there is a cavernous hall filled with row upon row of people playing online speed chess. Their games bear not a trace of exuberance or wit. Instead, these wretched souls are confronted with utterly sterile positions, perhaps a lone king and rook on each side, but their flinty, remote adversaries will not agree

Chess puzzle

No. 758

White to play and win. Composed by Josef Hasek, 1929. One plausible try is 1 Kc5 but 1…f5! prepares to meet Kc5-d6 with Rf8-f6+. Which first move should White prefer? Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk by Monday 3 July. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat.


Spectator competition winners: sonnets on sonnets

In Competition No. 3305, you were invited to submit a sonnet entitled ‘Sonnet On Famous And Familiar Sonnets’. The germ for this challenge was ‘Sonnet On Famous And Familiar Sonnets And Experiences’ by the gifted, troubled Delmore Schwartz, friend to Robert Lowell and John Berryman (who wrote a suite of poems in memory of him).


2611: On-board entertainment

Unclued lights are all of a kind. The most recent addition to the group must be highlighted in the completed grid. Across 8    Black swan leads gull (4) 11    Jack holds irrational animal (5) 13    Politician hosts old leader – he has a shock (7) 14    Little US weakling (5) 17    Extremely agile, running for

Crossword solution

2608: Support – solution

Reading the title as ‘backup’, unclued answers VOLTE-FACE, RETREAT, SPIN, TURN, COUNTER, BACKTRACK, WITHDRAWAL, ROTATE, RETIREMENT and RECOIL had to be entered in reverse. First prize Wyn Lewis, CarmarthenRunners-up Rhiannon Hales, Ilfracombe, Devon; J.E. Green, St Albans, Herts