Travel

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

MISCELLANY: Backgammon

THIS SORT of problem occurs quite frequently. Black has hit a late shot, contained white's blot and borne off some men. White has now re-entered and is heading for home as quickly as possible. Should black redouble? Should white take?

Independent Pursuits: Chess

TODAY I am reviewing John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book (Gambit, pounds 13.99). Nunn is one of the best tacticians on the planet and this, his "first venture into the field of chess puzzle books", is one that he himself and I would enjoy.

Independent Pursuits; Chess

ONE OF the problems of assembling a truly world class tournament, as compared to one of mixed strength, is that all of the competitors are extremely hard to beat. So it was that after three rounds of the super grandmaster tournament at Linares and Wednesday's rest day there had been just two decisive games: Michael Adams's excellent first-round victory against Peter Leko, and Gary Kasparov's win against Vassily Ivanchuk in round two.

Watch out - Homo ludens is about

You wouldn't dream of it any other day of the year. Now, crazed by excessive food, drink and family, what do you do? You play a game

A year-long trivial pursuit for the over-educated

John Walsh finds a small, but most determined, cabal of puzzle fanatics

Independent Pursuits: Chess

THE NEW season of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) began last weekend with some splendidly blood-curdling chess. The favourites, Slough, put out a massive team headed by Hebden, Miles, Bogdan Lalic and Mikhail Gurevich to defeat North West Eagles 8-0 and Bigwood (a reincarnation of the current champions Midland Monarchs) 51/2 -21/2, and lead the 12- team league with 4 match points and 131/2 game points ahead of Barbican I 4 (10), Richmond 4 (91/2), Bristol I 3 (10) and Wood Green I 3 (91/2)...

Chess: Independent Pursuits

OF ALL the talented people who have composed chess problems, one of the very greatest was Sam Loyd. Born in Philadelphia in 1841, Loyd was from early childhood fascinated by conjuring, ventriloquism and puzzles of all kinds. Indeed, at the age of 27 he became a professional puzzle inventor, and for the eight years until 1876 he gave up chess problem composition while he established his business. But even with this hiatus, Loyd had completed well over 500 chess problems by his death in 1911.

ETCETERA: CHESS

WOMEN CHESSPLAYERS have come on a good deal since I was a young man. In those days, all one had to do was move towards them with one's knights and they would retreat to their back two ranks, there to perish ignominiously. There was something about the knight's devious gait that could be guaranteed to induce terror in a young girl. Now all that has changed. In today's game, we see Britain's top woman player not only unintimidated by her opponent's horsemanship, but even ordering her own cavalry to trample all over him.

Games: Backgammon

Over the years that I have written this column I am conscious of the fact that I have neither published, nor analysed, a complete game. In giving instruction it is easier to make a point about a position than about a whole game.

Games people play

Louis Theroux, 28, television presenter and journalist

Bluebird going to Mattell

BLUEBIRD Toys looks poised to fall into US hands after a new 116.5p per share offer from Mattel which values the UK company at pounds 48.5m and trumps a rival bid from Guiness Peat Group.

Backgammon

Here's a position that caused an argument in the weekly chouette. The team, playing Black, consisted of three players. The captain had already doubled but the other two team members hadn't (all three cubes are shown in the diagram). Black now rolled 21. Should they play (a) 13/11, 6/5 or (b) 13/11, 4/3*?

Indoors: Backgammon

Back to where we left off last week. It is double match point and Black has a 53 to play. How would you play it: (a) 6/1, 6/3 or (b) 5/off, 5/2?

Letter: Chess education

KIRSAN ILYUMZHINOV may be labelled eccentric ("Russia's black knight makes a global move", 25 February), but he is right about chess helping the child's intellectual development. As a coach I teach chess to groups and one-to-one, and I am convinced that it deserves equal status in education with maths and music.

Pass Go and collect the money

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