Puzzles & games


Bridge | 24 July 2021

Bridge is a game you can never fully master, which is why it’s so endlessly stimulating. No sooner have you puffed your way up one learning curve than another beckons, harder than the last. Over the past two decades (and more), I’ve read countless bridge books and strived to sharpen my game by every means


Kasparov’s tailspin

In a game between top players, the opening moves signify not only the battleground they have embraced, but also the terrain they have avoided. In his prime, Garry Kasparov’s opponents would often duck the most critical choices, fearing the champion’s formidable advantage in home analysis of complex positions. But those who yielded an inch at

Chess puzzle

No. 663

White to play. A variation from Grandelius – Xiong, Fide World Cup, Sochi 2021. With an accurate queen check,White can force an exchange of queens and march the h2-pawn. Which check should White choose? Answers to chess@spectator.co.uk by Monday 26 July. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a



2516: Such childish vocabulary

The nouns from the first sentence of a book (in the ODQ) appear as unclued lights — apart from two. One of these two is revealed by extracting one or two letters at a time from six normal solutions, leaving real words as entries. The other appears diagonally in the grid and must be highlighted.

Crossword solution

Solution to 2513: Golden anniversary

The announcement reads: ‘Fifty years ago, on July the third, Jac’s first crossword in this series was published.’ The shaded squares (from top to bottom) can be arranged to reveal SMURF, SARAH (Hayes, aka La Jerezana) MR MAGOO, MASS, COLUMBA, DOC, PABULUM, MARK (Kelmanson, aka CheeseCracker), ASCOT, RICHARD (Browne, aka Fieldfare) and JAMES (Brydon, aka