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Combo Absurdo

With his sharp eye for the unusual and the bizarre, Tony Miles offered this ‘candidate for the most absurd combination of the year award’.  Bellon–Sosonko Amsterdam 1978 Having been positionally outplayed Bellon now produced the incredible 21 Bxa6!!??? The ‘justification’ lying in the variation 21…Bxa6 22…

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A Fish Who Makes a Lemon is Busted

The Students’ Olympiad 1967  W. R. Hartston   This event was held in Harrachov, Czechoslovakia in July and Cambridge University provided two members of the English team. On board two I scored two wins, nine draws and one loss in soporific style while on board…

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We’ve All Been There

‘After I resigned this game with perfect self-control and solemnly shook hands with my opponent in the best of Anglo-Saxon traditions, I rushed home, where I threw myself onto my bed, howling and screaming, and pulled the blankets over my face.’ J.H. Donner on losing…

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Irish Pawn Centre

Short–Trent Gibraltar Masters 2014 (5) position after 14 cxb4 Commentator Simon Williams described White’s tripled isolated b-pawns as the ‘Irish pawn centre’ but was at a loss to explain where the term originated. As Alex Baburin points out in his article ‘Winning with the Irish…

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Eye Told You So

‘John Witherow and Fraser Nelson, editors of the Times and Spectator respectively, are happy to employ a hack who regularly steals other writers’ work and passes it off as its own … This isn’t the first time the Penguin has been caught red-handed.’ Private Eye…

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Another One in the Eye

‘How many more daylight robberies can he get away with before the editors of the Times and Spectator call a halt to his criminal spree?’ Private Eye No.1354 29 November-12 Dec. 2013, p.8   Have you noticed that each time Raymond Keene appears in Private Eye these…

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Hypermodern Poem

I bought a book by Nimzowitsch But to me it made no sense For I thought that a prophylactic Was a form of French Defence. Jim Hayes First published in Kingpin 28 (Spring 1998)

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All the Potentialities of Vice

CHESS AND CHARACTER. To the Editor of The Daily Mail. Sir,—There appears to be a recrudescence of interest in the perennial game of chess. Most of us can play, indifferently or well; most of us play for amusement. But I wonder whether it is generally…

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New York 1927: Pen-portraits by George Currie

Olimpiu G. Urcan Literary descriptions of scenes from chess tournaments of the past were habitually the work of insiders (e.g. experienced chess columnists). How would a talented sportswriter with little or no chess expertise describe such an event? The February 24, 1927 edition of the…

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