World Seniors

If you visit the English Chess Federation’s website hoping to become a member, you will be confronted with a comprehension test. You will scroll past walls of text before appraising your membership options. Would you like to be a Supporter, Bronze, Gold, or Platinum member? Perhaps you are eligible for Junior Bronze, Free Junior Bronze,

Classical chess

Garry Kasparov endorsed the slower time control which was used at the Superbet Chess Classic. That event, which concluded this month in Bucharest, was the latest leg of the Grand Chess Tour, the annual series of events for elite players which comprises a mix of faster and slower formats. In the words of the former

Hidden links

There is a sublime satisfaction in a good detective thriller. We will, of course, have accessed the same facts as our sharp-witted sleuth. The fleck of yellow paint on the raincoat meant little to us, as did the creaking door and the page missing from the notebook. But at last the alibi is dismantled, and

English Championships

The English Championships concluded last weekend in two dramatic playoff matches. In the open event, Gawain Jones defeated last year’s winner Michael Adams by 1.5-0.5. The first game saw Adams pressing in a complex queen endgame, but he lost after an astonishing oversight which allowed mate in one move. Though Adams pushed hard for a

When accusations fly

‘OK, there is a body with a knife there, and the police come and say nothing happened… You have to find who, why, what, but it happened, don’t pretend that it didn’t happen!’ Vladimir Kramnik deployed that analogy about the world of online chess, which he sees as riddled with cheating. Cheating happens. Once in


Lawyers in a courtroom, it is said, should not ask questions to which they do not already know the answer. Chess players are well advised to adopt a similar attitude to pawn endgames – steer clear unless you can anticipate the outcome with certainty. In endgames with more wood on the board, overlooking a nuance need

Play it again, Amin

‘Back to the Future with Casablanca Chess’ was the tagline for the elite rapid tournament held in Morocco last month. The intriguing premise was that games would begin from positions taken from the opening phase of famous historical games. The four guinea pigs for this experiment – dubbed the Casablanca Chess Variant – were Magnus

Sharjah Masters

The top Emirati grandmaster Salem Saleh is an imaginative, dynamic player whose games are a treat to watch. But his win at the recent Sharjah Masters against Vladimir Fedoseev (formerly Russian, but now representing Slovenia) was surely the artistic highlight of his career. The combination which ends the game is dazzling, but both players deserve credit

European Seniors

England teams brought home an Aladdin’s cave of medals from the European Senior Team Championship, which concluded in Slovenia last week. Their victory in the over-65 section was particularly convincing. The team of John Nunn (reigning world senior champion 65+), Tony Kosten, Peter Large, Chris Baker and Nigel Povah lost just two games out of 36,

Four Nations

The Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) enjoyed a captivating finale over the early May bank holiday. As the final round commenced, three teams remained in close contention to win the title, each with nine wins out of ten matches, and each entering their final match as strong favourite. That meant the league would likely be


Streaks are made to be broken. For many years, the German Bundesliga, the strongest national league in the world, has been dominated by the team from Baden-Baden. Their lineups include the likes of Viswanathan Anand and Richard Rapport as well as England Olympiad players Michael Adams and Nikita Vitiugov. Before this season, they had won

Chess on the telly

What is it like to play chess? Once in a while, I try to convey the atmosphere of a competitive chess tournament to someone who has never witnessed it. I liken it to sitting an exam, in that it lasts for hours and makes your brain hurt; at least everyone can relate to that. But

The Candidates

Dommaraju Gukesh triumphed in a thrilling final round at the Candidates Tournament in Toronto. The Indian talent, who is still just 17 years old, thereby qualifies to face Ding Liren in a match for the world championship. He is by far the youngest in history to reach this milestone: Kasparov was 20 years old; Carlsen

Candidates debate

The grace of a snowflake lies in its outward simplicity, which on closer inspection reveals a sublime complexity. Chess endgames beguile me in much the same spirit. The examples below both occurred at the Fide Women’s Candidates tournament, which is currently approaching its conclusion in Toronto. Just a few moves earlier, Anna Muzychuk had an

The event of the year

Every time I type out Candidates Tournament, I want to adorn it with an apostrophe, as with Parents’ Evening or Residents’ Association. Hear me out: Women’s Tournament sounds natural whereas Women Tournament sounds clumsy; the word is possessive rather than attributive. Be that as it may, the prevailing wind has swept the apostrophe away. Anyway,

Menchik Memorial

Vera Menchik was 38 when she was killed by a German V1 flying bomb that landed on her home in Clapham. Born in Moscow in 1906 to a Czech father and an English mother, she was in her teens when her family settled in England. Aged 21, she won the first women’s world championship, and

Game without end

It is just over a week since Elon Musk’s company Neuralink livestreamed an interview with Noland Arbaugh, who was paralysed from the shoulders down in a diving accident eight years ago. Following the implanting by Neuralink of a chip in his brain, he is now able to control a mouse cursor on the screen by


Chess, to state the obvious, is different from painting, or dance, or poetry. There is artistry in it, and yet the game stands apart. When we admire a sequence of moves, they only make sense viewed through the filter of an imagined adversarial contest. Sacrifices and combinations sparkle according to the obstacles that are overcome.

Dropping the golden apple

Find the best move! Once upon a time, I sincerely believed that was my overriding goal during a game of chess. Naive, but nowadays I know better. The truth is that dodging banana skins is more fruitful, so to speak, than the pursuit of golden apples. In part, this is a simple story about experience and

Two poisoned pawns

They say the best way to really know a subject is to write about it. I speculate it worked for the English grandmaster Danny Gormally, whose forthcoming book Tournament Battle Plan (Thinkers Publishing) perhaps inspired him to victory at the British Rapidplay Championships held in Peterborough earlier this month. It must be said that Gormally was