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Daily Chess Puzzle

Today’s problem is from the January 1979 Chess magazine. I have hundreds (many hundreds) of magazines on my book shelves, and I thought I would dip into them; and thought I would start with going forty years back.

 

As is my custom, I only say which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

 

White to play: consider what candidates you would look at

Pos124

Carlsen v Mamedyarov, Norway 13/6/19

 

Solution

Magnus played 1 ef. I wonder if he considered the magnificent 1 Nf7!?!?

Pos125

I recently read Matthew Sadler’s excellent book “Study Chess with Matthew Sadler”. In one chapter, he identifies three types of thinking: Active, Reactive and Prophylactic.

Using reactive thinking- looking at what you don’t want to happen; or maybe prophylactic- preventing the opponent’s idea might lead top players to identify 1 Nf7!?!?’ but I doubt I would ever notice it, or, if I did, I would reject it at a glance.

But consider: Black threatens fg, so the Knight likely needs to move, And the Qf3 looks at the Ra8, so the Rf8 is tied.

After 1…Ke7 2 Rfb1 Qd8 (2…Qc7 3 Rc7) 3 Rb7

Pos126

we see the next motif: geometry. The R, N and K are on the same rank, so the N is pinned.

3…Kg8 4 Qc6 is then a double attack on the Rd7 and Pe6, so White regains the N. My engines, of course, assesses the resultant position as three zeroes.

If instead 1…fe then 2 Rfb1 Qx7 3 Rb7 Qc8 4 Rc1 Qe8 and again three zeroes.

There are more lines, and 1 Nf7 doesn’t win the game, but it wins the inspirational prize.

 

FEN

r4rkb/p2n3p/1q2pppP/4P1N1/3P4/4BQ2/5PK1/R4R2 w – – 0 1

 

TED talks worth listening to

I was talking to my very dear sister-in-law, the jeweller and goldsmith Vicki Ambery-Smith¬†recently. I don’t recall how it came up, but it turned out that, like me, Vicki likes listening or watching the occasional TED talk.

I am writing this today, Father’s Day, to have some quiet reflective time.

Capture

Piece by Vicki Ambery-Smith

Typical Vicki: whereas I listen to talks which align with my interests, Vicki often listens to those which differ from hers, to have fresh insights and be exposed to different interests. (Maybe I am being harsh on myself).

I offered to let Vicki know some of the TED talks which I found interesting or impactful. This blog is the result, and I will add to it from time to time.

I tend to watch TED talks using the TED app on my iPad. If using it, search by the speaker to find this talks.

In no particular order:

His Holiness Pope Francis

When the Pope meets or sees people in straightened or dire circumstances, he thinks “there but by the grace of God he would be”.

IMG_4239

Three Questions

I defy anybody not to be moved by this talk. 

And I also think her three questions are really useful, and widely applicable.

What do I want to do? the first question; and now the second question, which is so often not considered

Why do I want to do it? and if the reasoning is worthwhile, and only then, the third question

How will I go about achieving it?

 

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Time management

A very interesting and insightful talk by Laura Venderkam.

Her story about the problem with her house flood must resonate with everyone.

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Helping, just by listening

I have learnt a lot over the last five years through my work with St Ann’s Hospice and the hospice movement generally.

And learned about loneliness in older people, too.

Only a week or so after watching this TED talk, I learnt about the financial difficulties that Silverline, the charity Sophie Andrews is CEO of, is facing.

Watch this talk, hear about Sophie’s life, hear about Silverline’s work, and decide for yourself if it is a charity worth supporting.

IMG_4240

 

Origami

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Well, not useful: but you might find this talk insightful.

Robert Lang is one of my heroes. The level to which he and others have taken origami will surprise you.

Hyperlink

Just a fun one. To show what can be found by dipping in at random on TED.

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The Language of images

I’ve been advising on tax for over 30 years; I have counselled and mentored dozens and maybe a hundred people. Many joke or smile at my use of drawings to help express what I want to say. (Maybe because they are often scribbled).

One of my longest known, dearest, clients, presently in very poor health, was a trigger. I helped him understand some difficult tax matters relevant to him by a drawing, which I know he has kept for over 15 years. And in 2019, I came up with a new way to talk about what I talk about professionally which involves drawing.

My drawings are kindergarten. Watch, enjoy, and think about this TED talk:

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Giver or taker?

A very simple concept, this talk takes it to levels where insights can be drawn.

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And finally

I can’t do a posting on “what to watch” without mentioning one of the most meaningful, impact and moving talks I have ever heard. Worth watching and re-watching.

I have guided many friends and colleagues using some of the insights from Randy Pausch’s last lecture. A google search will find various links to it on YouTube and elsewhere. Worth your time, when you can concentrate.

Capture

Summary

The above are a summary of the TED talks which I remember watching; those I will watch again; those I learnt from, or that moved me. Doubtless I have missed several that I shouldn’t. As I remember these, and as I come across new ones, I will update this posting or add a new one.

 

Daily Chess Puzzle

Today’s problem was recently seen posted on Twitter by Olimpiu G Urcan (Twitter handle @olimpiuurcan

 

As is my custom, I only say which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

 

White to play

Pos123

unknow composition

 

Solution

I’ll respect Olimpiu, and not give the solution. All I will say is that I got it wrong, and the solution is beautiful and deep.

FEN

4q3/8/1p6/3R4/p7/k7/P1PB4/K7 b – – 0 0

 

Daily chess puzzle

This post was written whilst on a recent holiday, but is posted, as is usual, some time later (my method of ensuring I am always able to post each day, by keeping ahead).

After owning the book since it was published in 2010, I finally got round to reading Jeremy Silman’s excellent “How to Reassess your Chess” (4th edition). I am so glad I chose to take the book away as part of my holiday reading. It is packed with insights, great examples (the later chapters are, in a way, a superbly annotated games collection) and Jeremy has the gift of a great writing style.

White to play: how large is White’s advantage?

Pos118.jpg

 

Silman J v Lawless K, San Francisco 1982

Solution

Having read his chapter on passed pawns, I knew that Q+R were an optimal piece pairing to help with a passed pawn (Q by itself often being best of all). But I felt that Black’s b-pawn would be a factor likely enabling him to hold the balance.

My line was 1 d6 Rd8 2 Rd1 and then maybe 2…b5 or 2…Qe6.

I missed 2 Qf6! utilising the tactical trick 2…Qd6?? 3 Re8+! 1-0 to prevent the need to play 2Rd1.

Pos120

 

As Jeremy says in his solution, 2 Rd1?

‘ turns the attacking rook on the e-file into a defensive piece’.

He further says 2Rd1

‘caves into Black’s threat [of capturing on d6].

Again, insightful, given elsewhere his mantra to not always assume threats are real.

FEN

2r3k1/1p1q1p2/6p1/3PQ2p/8/7P/5PP1/4R1K1 w – – 0 1

Daily Chess Puzzle

Today’s problem is from one of my recent blitz games; an easy tactic, for a change.

 

As is my custom, I only say which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

 

Black to play moved 1…Qb6: evaluate

Pos121.jpg

allanbeard v Neste74, Chess.com 3-0, 13.6.19

 

Solution

Is it just me, but the tactic 2 Rc8+! undermining the Black’s rooks protection of his queen always pleases me. I visualise it as akin to pulling the rug from under a person’s feet, not that I have ever done this.

In Purdy terms, Black’s rook is tied to protecting the Qb6, and his king is in a net.

Pos122

FEN

1r4k1/1q3p1p/3pp1p1/1p6/1P1QP3/3P2P1/5PKP/2R5 w – – 0 1

 

Daily Chess Puzzle

Today’s problem was seen in a recent Financial Times column by Leonard Barden.

 

As is my custom, I only say which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

 

Black to play

Kamsky Gata - Kasparov Garry (33.Rb1).jpg

Kamsky v Kasparov, New York, 1994; Rapid

Solution

1…h5+ 2 Kh4 Ne5!

Kamsky Gata - Kasparov Garry (34...Ne5)

3 Rb2 Ra8!!

Kamsky Gata - Kasparov Garry (35...Ra8)

and Black mates by Rh8+.

In the game, Garry played 2..Ra8 (which was my solution too) but it fails to 3 Kg4! Rh8 4 g3. Black still wins (he wins the Bh3 after 4….Rh2) but 2…Ne5! finishes the game off.

Nice.

FEN

8/5p2/3p1knp/3P4/4PpK1/5P1B/rr4P1/1R3R2 b – – 0 33

Daily Chess Puzzle

Today’s problem is from an old edition of Chess magazine; not sure which, I had photocopied the “hard” puzzles page, and used it as something to pass the time when dog walking or walking in the hills.

 

As is my custom, I only say which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

 

White to play

Whitehead v Shtern, US Masters 1998

Solution

 1 bc+ (or 1 Ra8 and transpose) bc 2 Ra8, and Black is in a near mating net.

If 2..Re8 then 3 Ra7+ Kc8 4 Rb2 and the threats of Ba6+ and Rb8mate can’t be avoided. And if 3…Kd8 then 4Ba5+ stops the king from leaving the death zone.

FEN

8/1p1kr3/2p2rp1/1PPb3p/4pP1n/2B1P3/3RBKP1/R7 w – – 0 1