Puzzles & games


Bridge | 12 June 2021

I would never say that bridge is just a game — for many of us, it’s a lifetime’s vocation. However, some players heap too much pressure on themselves; they fret if they’ve had a disturbed night’s sleep or feel a slight sniffle coming on — anything that might impair their focus. They practise breathing techniques,


The back-rank mate

Compared with Anastasia’s mate, or an epaulette mate, the humble back-rank mate is named without imagination or whimsy. It is the Ronseal of mating patterns, administered by a rook or queen to a hapless king stuck on the rank behind its own pawns. But there is a rich variety of tactical motifs which culminate in

Chess puzzle

No. 657

Black to play. Vodopyanov–Kantsyn, 1974. Two bishops up, White appears to have everything covered. Which move allows Black to force a quick win? Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk by Monday 14 June. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please include a postal address and allow


P.G. Wodehouse’s Aunts Among the Chickens

In Competition No. 3202, you were invited to replace the word ‘love’ in a well-known book title of your choice with a word of your choosing, and submit a short story of that title. This challenge was prompted by Christopher Hitchens’s description, in his memoir Hitch-22, of an after-dinner game he used to play with


2510: Prom session

Twelve symmetrically disposed unclued entries comprise three distinct interlinked quartets.   Across 1 Precise conjecture about coin-flip, oddly (8) 6 Peter out back, eating square meal (6) 10 Hit round ring – rim of upper drum (6) 11 Tiny baby consumed by gas (7) 12 Pedestrian holds back directions to Wick (5) 14 Advert I

Crossword solution

2507: Knightly? – solution

The unclued lights are characters and places associated with King Arthur. First prize Belinda Bridgen, London NW8 Runners-up John Samson, Edinburgh; Danuta Rosendorff, Coogee, NSW, Australia