Twelve questions for Christmas

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

1. ‘I like the game, the money, and the fame.’ Which Twitter-loving top grandmaster said that, in response to an interviewer’s question: ‘What three things do you absolutely love about chess?’

2. Which former women’s world champion chose to sue Netflix, seeking damages of ‘at least $5 million’ for her portrayal in The Queen’s Gambit?

3. Who described recently, in The Spectator, his experience of being stopped at airport security in Beirut, when his chess set and clock set off the baggage scanner?

4. Which 18-year-old became, at the start of this month, the second ranked player in the world, behind Magnus Carlsen?

5. The ‘Double Bongcloud’ was a new opening christened in 2021, beginning with the moves 1 e4 e5 2 Ke2 Ke7. Who were the players?

6. Vaccinations are a big story of 2021. A chess piece is said to be ‘immune’ when it cannot safely be captured. A game between computers, Shredder–Gull, 2013 reached the position in diagram 1 (below). Play continued 1 Bb3! Nxb3 (if 1…Qxb3 2 Re8+) and what next?

7. In July, a boy from New Jersey became the youngest person ever to qualify as a grandmaster at the age of 12 years and 4 months. What was his name?

8. His qualifying results were earned at tournaments specially tailored to those seeking titles, which have a controversial reputation. Which top player sarcastically declared himself ‘dazzled’ by the achievement, and suggested that the rules should be made more stringent?

9. Which former world champion lost a competitive blitz game, shockingly, in just seven moves? 1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e3 e5 4 Nf3 exd4 5 Bxc4 Nf6 6 Qb3 Qe7 7 O-O! Black resigns

10. ‘Chess Fest’ was a new event this year, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. Where was it held?

11. Which renowned player, writer, and arbiter, turned 99 years old in February of this year?

12. See diagram 2. The configuration of pieces, if you squint at it, slightly resembles a Christmas tree. How does White give mate in two moves? Composed by Thomas Rayner Dawson (The Chess Amateur, 1924).


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