Puzzles & games


Bridge | 22 May 2014

There’s no point in soft-soaping it: however long you’ve been playing bridge, however well you think you play, if you’ve never had regular lessons, or played with experts, sorry, but you probably aren’t much good. Bridge is an endlessly complex, multi-layered game, and there’s no way of improving without enlisting help. That’s not to say


Iron nerves

The game that clinched Magnus Carlsen’s victory in the Gashimov Memorial came, fittingly, in a last-round cliffhanger against his closest rival, Fabiano Caruana. Both players were on 5½ points out of 9 possible, hence a win for either grandmaster would determine the laurels in his favour. A draw, leaving them both tied on 6 points,


Scottish question

In Competition No. 2848 you were invited to submit a poem commenting on Scottish independence in the style of William Topaz McGonagall. McGonagallesque long lines leave me space only to congratulate you on a vast and skilful entry before handing over to the man himself, hailed by the TLS as ‘the only truly memorable bad


2163: Muscle

Six unclued lights (one hyphened) suggest words each differently formed from the same 13 22, which appears as a clued light and must be shaded.#   Across   1    Common choir dressed in black and white (11) 11    Thing every elder has about yellow waistcoat (6) 15    Message in letter about this month in Paris?

Crossword solution

to 2160: 18 down

The unclued lights are all CHARACTERS (18D) in Plato’s dialogues, all but SOCRATES (1A) appearing in titles. In six cells, clashing letters could be combined to form letters of the Greek alphabet (e.g. LAMB + DA = LAMBDA) — these six characters spell out the name PLATO in Greek (Πλάτων, using lower case letters, was


No. 315

White to play. This position is from Wojtaszek-Safarli, Gashimov ‘B’ Group 2014. The white pieces are very active and the black king badly exposed. How does White conclude? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 27 May or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk or by fax on 020 7681 3773. The winner will be the first