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The Independent Culture
DID YOU know that Tigran Petrosian, the world champion from 1963 to 1969, learnt to play draughts and backgammon at the age of four? Or that Franz Pachl, International Judge and Master for Chess Compositions, was the German champion at mini-golf in 1977? Or that while pat is the French for stalemate, patta is the Italian for any type of draw? Or that Louis Paulsen, one of the world's strongest players in the 1860s and 1870s ran a tobacco business in Iowa with his brother Ernst?

Were you aware that the name Philidor may be a French version of the Gaelic Filidheach, meaning 'of the bardic clan'? Or that the first postage stamp with a chess motif was issued in Bulgaria in 1947? Or that Ernest Jones in 1931 stated that 'the mathematical quality of the game (of chess) gives it a peculiarly anal-sadistic nature'.

I learnt all of the above from the second edition of The Oxford Companion to Chess, by David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, published today by Oxford University Press at pounds 25. And that is only from a quick browse through the letter 'P'. Updated to the middle of this year, this is by far the best book on chess both for reference and browsing. Thoroughly recommended.

Yesterday's answer: 1. Qf6 Ne8 2. Qe7 Nc7 3. Nf6+ Kh8 4. Ne8] and White wins. ch15out-harts-nws

This mate in two by D'Orville (1842) appears under 'plagiarism', since it is also to be found (with the board rotated 90 degrees) in a 1943 collection by Wenman. (Solution tomorrow.)