Chess

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The Independent Culture
THE INTERPOLIS tournament in Tilburg, The Netherlands, where Michael Adams is doing so well - yesterday he won the first game of his quarter-final against Yevgeny Sveshnikov - puts a curious extra on its menu by inviting a guest grandmaster to select a problem to perplex visitors to the tournament. This year, Gennadi Sosonko chose a composition by the American, William Meredith (1835-1903). From the diagram position, it is White to play and mate in two.

One must start by making some sense of the jumble of pieces: If Black's queen were not there, White could mate with Qd4 or Nc4 or Nd7; if the g- pawn were to move, Qf4 would

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be mate; but the knight on a4 causes problems. It could move anywhere without permitting White a mate. Capturing the knight is not the answer: either Nxa4 or Qxa4 could be met by Qd5 among other moves.

So we must find a move that enables White to deliver mate after any move of the knight on a4. With most lines covered by the Black queen, we need a new direction for attacking the king. Spot the idea, and the answer follows. (Solution tomorrow.)

Stanley Gibbons has produced a splendid little curiosity in Collect Chess on Stamps. I never before knew that the Malagasy Republic is the only place to have issued a stamp in honour of Vera Menchik, the first woman's world champion. The 44-page catalogue costs pounds 5 from Stanley Gibbons Publications, Parkside, Christchurch Road, Ringwood, Hants BH24 3SH.

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