Luke McShane

What’s it worth?

15 May 2021 9:00 am

The rule of thumb for weighing up piece exchanges says that pawns are worth one, knights and bishops three, rooks…

No. 653

15 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play, Jones–Dominguez, New in Chess Classic, April 2021. Gawain Jones was hoping that his rook and pawn would…

No. 652

8 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Revd Ernest Clement Mortimer, The Problemist, 1942. Answers should be…

Dead brain cells

8 May 2021 9:00 am

As round 14 of the Candidates tournament unfolded, I had the feeling of watching an anti-climactic post-exam bender. Ian Nepomniachtchi…

Immovable object meets irresistible force

1 May 2021 9:00 am

The Candidates tournament resumed on 19 April in Yekaterinburg. Eight players competed for a €500,000 prize fund, but only one…

No. 651

1 May 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Henry William Butler. Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk by…

The Polgar Challenge

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, at 15 years old one of India’s most exceptional young players, emerged as the winner of the Polgar…

No. 650

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Praggnanandhaa–Salimova, April 2021. White’s last move, Bg2-f3, was a blunder. Which move should Black play to exploit…

No. 649

17 April 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Van Wely–Shimanov, March 2021. White has several tempting options here, but one move is much stronger than…

European Online Club Cup

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Since the start of the pandemic, opportunities for serious competition between players ranked outside the world’s top 20 have been…

No. 648

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Livaic-–Oparin, Fide World University Online Championship, March 2021. After 1…Rxc5 2 Rxb4, a draw was soon agreed.…

Unfair play

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Twenty players were disqualified from the Fide World University Online Championships, out of almost 900. Does that call for moral…

Fortune favours the brave

3 April 2021 9:00 am

If you wish to unsettle your opponents, first attack them and second, play the moves quickly. It’s far from easy…

No. 647

3 April 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by B.P. Barnes, Skakbladet 1961. Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk…

No. 646

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Black to play… and lose! Aronian–Van Foreest, March 2021. Van Foreest’s next move didn’t blunder his queen but was nonetheless…

Everybody must get stoned

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Have you ever played the Frankenstein-Dracula variation? The Monkey’s Bum? The Nescafé Frappé Attack? These are all real chess openings,…

No. 645

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Kosteniuk–Koneru, Skolkovo Grand Prix, 2019. The obvious 1…Kg3 fails to 2 Rg5+ Kf4 3 Rg4+. Losing the…

When the universe winks

20 March 2021 9:00 am

I write this with a sunny feeling. That’s partly because spring is upon us, but mostly because I have just…

No. 644

13 March 2021 9:00 am

White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Philip Hamilton Williams, Birmingham Post, 1890. Answers should be emailed…

Armenian champions

13 March 2021 9:00 am

In the 21st century, which country has won more international chess Olympiads than any other? Russia? USA? China? None of…

Play from home

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Is working from home the future of a productive society, or a fleeting aberration? Nobody knows yet, but a significant…

No. 643

6 March 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Garcia Ramos–Maurizzi, -Barcelona 2021. Black has just played Kg8-h7, to attack White’s queen by unpinning the knight…

Synthetic diamonds

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Diamonds are forever, they say. Likewise, brilliant games of chess have an everlasting sparkle. I will never tire of replaying…

No. 642

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Black to play. Warakomski-–Korobov, February 2021. White has a pin on the b-file and 1…Bxg2+ 2 Kxg2 Bc5 3 Rb7…

No. 641

20 February 2021 9:00 am

White to play. Carlsen–Vachier-Lagrave, Opera Euro Rapid 2020. Carlsen played 31 Bd4+ Rxd4 32 cxd4 Bxd4 which should be drawn,…