Games

Barden's Chess Column

barden05.jpg

Photo:  Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Leonard Barden’s writing speciality is chess puzzles, presented in an interesting way with human interest stories to match the positions.

Leonard Barden is one of the World’s leading chess writers. The former British champion has contributed daily or weekly columns to the Guardian, Financial Times, and London Evening Standard for over 40 years, as well as contributing many articles to specialist magazines. He has frequently appeared on television and radio, has written 18 instructional books on the game, and currently has articles syndicated worldwide.

Barden is a former England international, and the only chessplayer ever to have partnered the legendary Bobby Fischer in a consultation game, which took place on BBC radio. He is a renowned talent-spotter and was the first journalist to forecast in print that Garry Kasparov, then aged only 11, would become world champion.  

Barden has also helped several of England's own sub-teen talents, including Gawain Jones and David Howell who went on to become grandmasters and British champions. 

Syndicated by Knight Features

White mates in three moves, against any defence (by Otto Wurzburg). Sometimes the simplest-looking chess puzzles can be the hardest to crack, and I recall struggling for nearly an hour over this miniature setting when I first came across it. How do you rate? 

White mates in three moves, against any defence (by Otto Wurzburg).

Sometimes the simplest-looking chess puzzles can be the hardest to crack, and I recall struggling for nearly an hour over this miniature setting when I first came across it.

How do you rate? 

Alexander Tolush v Gosta Stoltz, Bucharest 1953. The Russian and the Swede were the hardest grandmaster drinkers of their time, and both died from alcohol-related diseases. But both were known as creative tacticians, so Tolush's vodka and Stoltz's schnapps had some positive effects. It was said that Tolush drank to forget the horrors of his time as a tank officer in World War Two. Bucharest was his career-best result, first prize ahead of three world champions. A journalist went to interview him one afternoon during the event and found him passed out on the hotel floor in a stupor, but he still won his game that evening. Here he has a clear advantage due to his strong attack on Stoltz's king. How did White win quickly?

Alexander Tolush v Gosta Stoltz, Bucharest 1953. The Russian and the Swede were the hardest grandmaster drinkers of their time, and both died from alcohol-related diseases. But both were known as creative tacticians, so Tolush's vodka and Stoltz's schnapps had some positive effects. It was said that Tolush drank to forget the horrors of his time as a tank officer in World War Two. Bucharest was his career-best result, first prize ahead of three world champions. A journalist went to interview him one afternoon during the event and found him passed out on the hotel floor in a stupor, but he still won his game that evening. Here he has a clear advantage due to his strong attack on Stoltz's king.

How did White win quickly?

Harry Pillsbury v Moissei Eljaschoff, Hanover 1902. Due to the high quality of the opposition, many experts rate Pillsbury's world record 22 games simultaneously blindfold at Hanover as the greatest such exhibition. But Eliot Hearst and John Knott in their classic book "Blindfold Chess" rate Alexander Alekhine's 24-game display at New York 1924 as against still tougher opponents. What is sure is that Alekhine had a much better score, Pillsbury achieving only 40 per cent. In today's puzzle as White (to move) he went 1 Qg2? thus missing a spectacular winning tactic. Can you do better for White?

Harry Pillsbury v Moissei Eljaschoff, Hanover 1902. Due to the high quality of the opposition, many experts rate Pillsbury's world record 22 games simultaneously blindfold at Hanover as the greatest such exhibition. But Eliot Hearst and John Knott in their classic book "Blindfold Chess" rate Alexander Alekhine's 24-game display at New York 1924 as against still tougher opponents. What is sure is that Alekhine had a much better score, Pillsbury achieving only 40 per cent. In today's puzzle as White (to move) he went 1 Qg2? thus missing a spectacular winning tactic.

Can you do better for White?