Independent Pursuits: Chess

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ONE OF the most enjoyable ways of studying chess is solving - or even just browsing - tactical puzzles. So I was delighted recently to receive a new and innovative collection.

"Mitrofanov's Deflection" is the third in a projected series of five entitled The Tactician's Handbook, by the correspondence IM Victor Charusin of Nizhny Novgorod, translated by the grandmaster Anatoly Lein (Pickard and Sons, US, $13.50). It is hard to find in a general bookshop, but the series is available from both the London Chess Centre (0171-388-2404) and the BCM Chess Shop (0171-603-2877).

In his third volume Charushin presents a delightful collection of deflections, starting from the magnificent study below, a firm favourite which I published here six months ago but certainly bears repeating.

White to play and win

L Mitrofanov 1967

The whole effect depends on the extraordinary deflection 7 Qg5!! while at the end it would be stalemate but for the knight on e1.

The more than 200 examples vary from this territory of extreme wish-fulfilment via many startling examples in real games to a quantity of somewhat more prosaic but considerably more practical studies that are generally dependent on the struggle to promote passed pawns.

There are also sections on specific matters such as "Mitrofanov's Deflection" itself, which Charusin defines as being that of a queen "for nothing".

And a slightly off-topic but nevertheless delightful excursion into "The Single Bishop Mate", including this extraordinary and presumably perfectly genuine finish:

K Jung vs J Sabados

Budapest 1952

1 Bxg7! Rxh4 2 Qxh4+!! Kxh4 3 Bf6+ g5 4 Bc3! Qf2 5 Be5 1-0

2 Bf6+ Kxf6 3 Qxh4+ led to an equal queen ending but 2 Qxh4+ forces mate! At the end if 5 ...g4 6 Bf6 mate; or 5 ...Qe1 6 g3+ Qxg3+ 7 Bxg3 mate.