Puzzles & games


Bridge | 10 January 2019

For those of us who play rubber bridge at TGR’s, the New Year began with the very sad news that Maurice Esterson had died. He was 89, but it was still completely unexpected. He was part of the club’s furniture — perhaps its most comfortable and precious item — and had been playing with his


Three titans

The Dutch grandmaster Genna Sosonko specialises in biographies of the greats of the Soviet era. His earlier forays covered the careers of David Bronstein and Viktor Korchnoi; the latter is my choice of book of the year for 2018. Now Sosonko, a Soviet émigré himself, has turned his focus on Vassily Smyslov, world champion from 1957 to


The ex factor | 10 January 2019

In Competition No. 3080 you were invited to supply an elegy on a piece of obsolete technology. Thanks to Paul A. Freeman for suggesting this challenge — there’s nothing like a blast of nostalgia to usher in the new year. Sinclair C5s, faxes, floppy discs, typewriters; all were eloquently hymned. I admired Hamish Wilson’s elegy


2390: Tea shop

Unclued lights, all confirmed in Chambers or Collins, are three sets of four words of a kind, each set relating differently to a theme word which must be shaded in the completed grid.   Across 11    Religious devotee keeping a church in shade (6) 12    Sloth in tangles in New Zealand trees (6) 13    Country

Crossword solution

to 2388: Sea rocket

The quotation was ‘IN MY BEGINNING IS MY END’ (12/15) from East Coker (an anagram of the title), second poem of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Remaining unclued lights are words whose first half is the same as their second half: 5, 16, 42, 43, 10 and 13. ELIOT (diagonally from the twelfth row) was to be


no. 536

Black to play. This position is from Botvinnik-Smyslov, World Championship, Moscow (Game 18) 1958. How could Smyslov have forced instant resignation? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 15 January 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 a postal