Puzzles & games


Bridge | 8 March 2018

I’ve never forgotten a conversation I had some years ago with the talented, blunt-talking Norwegian player Espen Erichsen. We were discussing the dangers of getting demoralised at the bridge table. You make a couple of idiotic mistakes, your confidence takes a knock, your judgment grows cloudy, and soon you’re playing worse than ever. We’ve all



This weekend the Candidates tournament commences in Berlin to decide the challenger who will face Magnus Carlsen for the world title in London later this year. The favourite is Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, with a rating of 2814, and this week’s puzzle shows a sample of his trenchant style. Although he is not the highest-rated, my money


Six plus

In Competition No. 3038 you were invited to provide a (longer) sequel to the six-word story ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’.   Long before Twitter, so legend has it, Ernest Hemingway crafted this mini masterpiece in response to a bet that he couldn’t write a novel in half a dozen words. This turns out


2349: Novel

Clockwise round the grid from 3 run the names (7,4,5,6,8,8,5,6) of four characters in a novel followed by the initials of its author. Two pairs of unclued lights (20/39 and 11/26) each combine to form an anagram of the novel’s title.   Across 8    Aged saint keeps working a long long time (5) 9    Weed

Crossword solution

to 2346: the name of the game

The unclued entries are all names for pontoon; extra words in 27, 31, 33, 34 and 36 needed the letters S, G, O, U, R to become WHIST, BRIDGE, SOLO, AUCTION, CONTRACT. Auction, auction bridge, bridge, bridge whist, contract, contract bridge, solo, solo whist and whist are all card-games listed in Chambers. PONTOON is a


no. 496

White to play. This position is from Mamedyarov-Savchenko, Moscow 2015. White’s forthcoming tactic led to a decisive material gain. What did he play? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 13 March or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please include