Tuesday’s chess tactics quiz


Today’s 8 examples are all from the Russian Team Championship taking place this week in Sochi.  Some of these examples are more challenging than others, but that is what practice is all about: you can not pick and choose! Good luck!  (Solutions later today)



Monday’s chess tactics quiz


Marcel Duchamp’s hands, New York City, 1959-60

Marcel Duchamp’s hands, New York City, 1959-60/ Alexander Liberman /sc

From this weekend’s 4NCL team championship




(The examples on the left are odd-numbered; on the right they are even-numbered)

Part I: 4NCL Birmingham

1) 4NCL Birmingham 2016.5.1  Monika Motycakova–Kalaiyalahan, Akshaya: 36…Rxh5! 37.Rxf8 f3!!  The move White had not counted on. Black wins a piece.  38.g3 Kxf8 39.Qxf3 Qb7 40.Qxb7 Rxb7 41.Rxf6+ Rf7 42.Rc6 Re7 43.Kg1 Re2 44.h4 Rc5 45.Rf6+ Kg7 46.Rd6 Rcxc2 47.Kf1 Red2 0-1

2) NCL Birmingham 2016.5.1  Le Roux, Jean-Pierre–Aagaard, Jacob:  37.Rxd6! Kxd6 38.Bxc5+! Kxc5 39.Nd3+ The whole point. 39… Kd6 40.Kxb4 1-0  A bit premature, but the ending is dead lost.

3) 4NCL Birmingham 2016.5.1  Speelman, Jon –Fressinet, Laurent: 40.b4! This strong move must have escaped Black’s notice. The threat is a decisive check along the a2-g8 diagonal. 40…Bb5!?  As good as any, but not good enough to solve the problems. 41.Qd2! 1-0  There is a nasty check on d5 coming.

4) 4NCL Birmingham 2016.5.1  Sarakauskas, Gediminas–Adair, James: 36…Nd3! 0-1  After 37.BxN QxB the Knight can not move because of the mate on f1.  So White loses a piece.

Part II: Hasselbacken

1) Hasselbacken Stockholm 2016.4.30 Shirov, Alexei–Saren, Bjorn: 25.Nd5+!  1-0.  A bit premature, but correct. After 25…cxd5 26.Qc3+!  Kb6! 27.Rxf8 Bxf8 28.Qa5+! Ka7 29.Qxd5 White wins a piece (29…Nh4 30.Qd4+)  and then White should have little trouble mopping up.

2) Hasselbacken Stockholm 2016.4.30  Wahlund, Max–Tkachiev, Vladislav: 20…Nxg3! 0-1  Ouch!

3) Hasselbacken Stockholm 2016.5.1  Bachmann, Axel–Lundvik, Jonas: 26.Nxa6!!  A brilliant concept. 26…Bxa6 27.Rxc6! Rff6 28.Rxa6! Rxa6 29.Bxd5+ Kf8 30.Rxb5 Ra7 31.Bb7 1-0

4) Hasselbacken Stockholm 2016.5.1  Kaasen, Tor Fredrik–Donchenko, Alexander: 22…Na7!! Turns the tables on White. After 23.NxN PxN 24.Bxd4 Qxg5! Or 23.Nc7+ Ke7 and White has no good continuation.

Chess training, potpourri and nonsense


CHAPTER 11: Psychological Whorefare



LINK and/or  LINK









”Top chess players are getting younger and younger. Two 26-year-old contenders, Sergey Karjakin and the defending world champion, Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, will meet in a battle of wits for the world chess crown in New York in November 2016.

Ukrainian-born Karjakin is the new hope for Russian chess. In 2002, he became a grandmaster at the age of just 12 (this put him in the Guinness Book of Records), having won a resounding victory over other contenders at a Moscow tournament.

Leading chess players have a tight schedule, with one tournament following another in quick succession. Moreover, rapid chess (which is increasing in popularity) requires the utmost concentration from players. So how do players deal with this stress and turn up for the most important matches in the best shape?”




Despite Kirsan recently denying rumours that have been circulating since the failure of AGON to score any brownie points in Moscow at the Candidates touranment, the ground work paving way for such a move of the Carlsen vs Karjakin match back to Russia seems to gaining momentum.


Merenzon’s future in doubt?

FIDE last week released details of the most recent Presidential Board (PB) meeting , and ChessDom highlighted several decisions about AGON, the official organizer of the Carlsen/Karjakin match:


No details have been released of what said ”certain issues” were, but the EnglishChessForum speculates that lack of sponsors, especially American sponsors, is the most likely reason.

Another bit of confusion was the PB’s decision to legitimize AGON’s controvertial attempt to monopolize the rights of transmission of the moves themselves while games are underway, before waiting to see the outcome of legal action that AGON initiated several websites that did not go along with AGON’s wishes:


Then there is the issue of potential conflict of interest and who really owns AGON: it is thought by many that Kirsan himself holds 51% of AGON.  Should FIDE–with Kirsan as the man in charge–be seen giving himself full ownership of transmission rights of ALL FIDE EVENTS?!



Photo by Cameron Bushong.  Man playing chess infront of a mirror. Manipulated photo. Read more HERE.


The perfect sparring partner.  Polite, obedient, and always falls for your every trick. And best of all: NEVER cheats!  Who can want more from an adversary? Sandra Bullock playing ‘Jack’ in the film The Lake House.


Today’s chess (?!) video


Here is a VLB  (very low budget) short film by Cassandra Dieguez called ‘Chess’ that  is quite well done and gives food for thought. Chess is a prop, but a very useful prop at that. I like everything about this effort.  Enjoy!

‘Death was first in our world, and next, was Time. The two have been battling for dominance ever since. But, what will happen when the two immeasurable forces finally confront each other in a game of chess?’

Cast: Death: Casey Lue Time: Samantha Banal Pawn: Rachel Rosal Knight: Cassandra Dieguez Screenplay by Cassandra Dieguez

Samaganova: 2016 Champ of Kyrgystan!


Congrats to our favourite player from Kyrgystan, Alexandra Samaganova for adding  yet another national title to her list of chess achievements!!  The tournament took place in Bishkek and finished just yesterday.



Top place finishers: (left to right) Alexandra, Omurbekova,,Ostry, Alymbay and Zairbek. My apologies if I got the names wrong!  Photos courtesy of Sport AKipress.



Alexandra (twitter) is no stranger to my blog readers, her bright and cheery smile having already adorned my blog for some time now (right side bar).  Alexandra’s mother is from Kiev, Ukraine while her father is from Kyrgystan.  So quite naturally she learned to play chess at a very early age.  You can read more about Alexandra’s start in chess HERE.


A very young Alexandra playing chess with her grandfather Alexandr Ostry in Kiev.

Today’s tactics quiz


Today I will present some 10 to 20 chess tactics for my readers to solve over the weekend.  The solutions will be given at the end of today.  As it is an ongoing process, I will add examples as the day progresses…I should note that most-if not all-of the examples are from grandmaster games played recently, in the past week or less.


The first 4 tactical exercises are from the Italian Team Championship.  Good luck!


The next two examples are from the Nona Gaprindashvili Cup (2016) Good luck!






The next four examples are from the Women’s Serbian Championship, that ended just the other day.  Congrats to Lilja Drljevic!! 


The next 4 examples are from Saturday’s round of the 4NCL held at Birmingham.




(The examples on the left are odd-numbered; on the right they are even-numbered)

Part I: Italian Team Championship

1) 48th Italian Teams 2016  Civitanova 2016.4.28  Iordachescu, Viorel– Valsecchi, Alessio: 30.Qd8+! 1-0 The point is 30…Kg7 31.Qf6+!

2) 48th Italian Teams 2016  Civitanova 2016.4.27  Melone, Antonio– De Eccher, Stefano: 31.Bb7! Qd7 32.Rc7! Qxc7 33.Rxc7 Kxc7 and now the simplest win is with 34.Qc3+! Kb8 34.BxN! NxB 35.Qc6 etc

3) 48th Italian Teams 2016  Civitanova 2016.4.27  Rombaldoni, Denis–Calavalle, Giulio: 21.e6+! Nxe6 22.Ne5 Nf4?! (Black is lost anyway after 22…Qc7 23.NxR QxN 24.Qxf5) 23.Qf3 (23.Qh6! is even faster) 23… Nxd3+ 24.Rxd3 Qc7 25.Nxf7 Kxf7 26.Re3 Re8 27.Rxe8 Kxe8 28.h4 and White had no problem winning

4) 48th Italian Teams 2016  Civitanova 2016.4.28   Sebastianelli, Diego–Rombaldoni, Denis: 41…Rxh3!! 40.Rxh3 Bxg4 41.Rg3 Bxg3 42.f3 Bh3 43.Ra1 Bf4+ 44.Kh1 Qh5 0-1

Part III: Miscelaneous

Chinese Ch  Xinghua 2016.4.24  Wei, Yi–Wang, Chen: 26.Rh3! (With the crushing threat of 27.Qh4 h6 28.Qxh6! and mate to follow) 26…Rc5 27.Qh4 h5 28.b4! 1-0 When the Rook retreats 29.Bxh5 rips the Kingside open and mate would not be far off.

48th Italian Teams 2016  Civitanova 2016.4.28  Rombaldoni, Axel–Collutiis, Duilio:  27.Bxf5! 1-0 The Black Kingside defences disintegrate and Black’s King has no escape from the coming White’s attack.


Part V: 4NCL Team Championship

4NCL  Birmingham 2016.4.30  Collins, Sam–Short, Nigel: 16.Qxh5!!  Cute!  If Black takes the Queen then follows 17.Bxh7+ and 18.Nef7+ coming out an Exchange to the good. h6 17.Nexf7! Rxf7 18.Nxf7 1-0 White’s attack is just getting started.  When was the last time that Short lost a game in less than 20 moves?

4NCL  Birmingham 2016.4.30  Pert, Nicholas–D’Costa, Lorin: 29.Rxf7 1-0  A bit premature, but Black is busted. Taking the Rook gets mated after 30.Rd8+ and 31.Qd5+; 29…Rc8 is met by 30.Rfd7 with an unstoppable attac.  So I guess Black’s resignation is a reasonable move!

4NCL  Birmingham 2016.4.30  Lauterbach, Ingrid–Stefanova, Antoaneta: 34…Rxe1! 0-1  The coming check (35…Nhg3+) is a convincing argument!

4NCL  Birmingham 2016.4.30  Sowray, Peter J–Milliet, Sophie: 37.Ra5!! Rxa5 38.Bxa5 Nb5 (Obviously the piece can not be taken, and Black is now pinned down by the strong a-pawn) Play continued 39.Bc3 Kf7 40.f4 with a clear endgame plus.  Sowray won on move 59.


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