Puzzles & games


Bridge | 11 April 2020

I think it was Warren Buffett who said: ‘Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players.’ It is so endlessly fascinating and surprising that you are rarely bored and never alone. Since the shock of all the bridge clubs closing overnight,


At your own risk

If there were regulatory oversight of chess openings, some would come with a litany of disclaimers. ‘You may lose more than your initial gambit.’ ‘Possible side effects may include dizziness and nausea.’ ‘Use at your own risk.’ Nonetheless, such openings as the King’s Gambit, the Dragon Sicilian, or the Botvinnik Semi-Slav often enjoy a cult

Chess puzzle

No. 599

A position adapted from Vojtech Plat–Ravi Haria, Hull GM tournament, 2019. The d6-pawn is crucial here, but White needs a clever move to sweep aside the blockade. What is it? Email answers to chess@spectator.co.uk by Monday 13 April. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please allow


Spectator competition winners: Love in the Time of Covid-19

In Competition No. 3143, a nod to García Márquez’s 1985 novel, you were invited to submit a short story entitled ‘Love in the Time of Covid-19’ in the magical realist style. Magic realism has been contaminated somewhat by overuse and is in any case not to everyone’s taste. But if done well it can be


2452: Comme on dit

The unclued lights (five of two words and one of three) should be paired to reveal four expressions verifiable in Brewer. Ignore one accent. Across 10 Plant setter left, it being covered in resin (5)11 Hardy bay tree? Obviously not (6)12 Bioethical problem of 150 willing to participate with 18 (7)16 Central American distributed narcotics

Crossword solution

2449: stateless solution

The unclued lights, when preceded by a US state, form MISSISSIPPI 11, CALIFORNIA 22, VIRGINIA 27, HAWAII 37, RHODE ISLAND 40, OREGON 10, KENTUCKY 14 and INDIANA 7D. First prize David Simmonds, Crayford, DartfordRunners-up Fran Morrison, London SW15; Andrew Herbert, Brooke, Norfolk