Take your pick in Courchevel, Chamonix, Sainte-Foy, Megève, and Val Thorens

Pastimes: Chess

Gata Kamsky was thrown completely off balance in the fourth game of his Fide world title match against Anatoly Karpov.

Chess / Objectivity salvaged from Oedipus wrecks

Fifty years ago this week, Alexander Alekhine died. A venomously competitive individual and part-time drunkard, he was one of the more unpleasant characters to hold the world championship, but also undoubtedly one of the most brilliant. His feud with his predecessor, Jose Raul Capablanca, was the most vicious in chess history - after their title match in 1927 it was another nine years before they could be tempted to compete in the same event, and even then they would not sit together at the board - and his world title match with Dr Euwe in 1935 produced the only recorded instance of a reigning champion urinating on stage during a contest.


Continuing our series on game types, we come now to the most volatile of all: the blitz. A blitz is characterised by one player desperately trying to get an anchor in his opponent's home board while his opponent does all he can to prevent it. The position shown is typical of the early stages of a blitz:


Of all the great champions I ever met, Emanuel Lasker - whose death in 1941 affected me deeply - struck me as the best example of a brilliant all-rounder. Mathematician, philosopher and a dab hand at bridge, he was the world champion one would most desire as a dining companion. Here is one of his best games, played exactly a century ago.

Chess: Pawn cocktails

Problems with only pawns on the board are quite a rarity. The first diagram is probably the earliest example. Composed by Ponziani in 1769, it is White to play and mate in five. (The Q-side pawns bump the number up from four.)

Letter: Chess master

DEEP Blue, the chess computer that recently beat Kasparov, analyses around 3 million moves per second. Kasparov would consider no more than a handful of moves worth making in this time. Therefore, whatever Deep Blue is doing, it is not "thinking" in the same way as its human counterpart, and many would argue it is not thinking at all ("From Socrates to Silicon Chip", Review, 25 February). It is like giving an infinite number of monkeys a typewriter each for an infinite amount of time, and hailing the one that produces Hamlet as a literary genius.

chess excellent end-game

We haven't had a decent end-game study in this space for some time, but this one should make up for the omission. Composed by Kasparyan in 1972, it is White to play and draw, and the solution begins with some almost unbelievable moves.

chess: Deep Blue all at sea

Where do Deep Blue's programmers go after the defeat of their monster by Kasparov? The post-mortem on the games reveals clear causes for its demise, but there are great problems to be solved if a later version is to be inoculated against the fatal illness. Here is a three-point plan for computer domination of chess:

backgammon: raising the anchor

A high anchor game is one where you have moved your back checkers at least as far as

Chess / Deep Blue seizure

Deep Blue, the grandmaster-crusher from IBM, gave a most impressive account of itself last week, but predictions of the downfall of humanity may be premature. For Deep Blue has its Achilles chip, too.

Chess moves

Moves of the final (sixth) game between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue

Kasparov beats Blues

CAN a machine sulk? When Deep Blue, the IBM super computer, lost the fifth game of its chess match against Garry Kasparov early yesterday morning, it looked almost as though artificial apathy was the cause. The problem began when Kasparov offered the machine a draw in a roughly level position after 23 moves. On the advice of Deep Blue's consultant, American grandmaster Joel Benjamin, it's operators declined the offer.

LETTER : Chess patterns

From Dr Edmund Furse

chess; William Hartston

Michael Adams continued his recovery in the Hoogovens tournament with a splendid 12th-round win over Robert Hubner. Black's opening play with 7...Bxf3 was very provocative, but Adams exploited his development lead in a most impressive way.

Winning moves of a 12-year-old chess king

Child prodigy: Luke McShane becomes the youngest British player to defeat a grandmaster
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