Bulletin No.41 – Christmas Puzzles and Quiz – ANSWERS
Photo by Photo by Kgbo (Wikimedia) CC BY-SA 4.0
How did you get on with our Christmas Puzzles and Quiz?
Answers to all 24 brain challenges are below.
A. Six Christmas Tree Chess Puzzles
It wouldn’t be Christmas without these!
1. Warm Up – What is the best move if it is White to move and also if it is Black’s move? Very Easy!
White to move 1.Nxc4#
Black to move 1…Qg8#
2. A bit more difficult but it should still take no more than a minute. It is White to move and mate in 2.
1…c3 or 1…g3 2.Ra5#
3. Now it starts to get serious! – White to move and mate in 2
4. Even trickier – Benko was famous for his puzzles. White to move and mate in 2.
1.Qc5! threatening 2.Qxd5#
1…Rd4 2.Nxd4# or 2.Qc8#
5. This is possibly the hardest mate in 2 problem. It’s Black to move and mate in 2!
The key to this puzzle is to work out White’s last move and then realise there are only 2 legal ones.
If White has just played 1.c4 (from c2) then 1…bxc3 followed by 2…c2#
If White has just played 1.e4 (from e2) then 1…fxe3 followed by 2…e2#
6. And all mates in 3 are harder still. It’s White to move and mate in 3.
1…Kxb6 2.c8=R! Ka6 3.Rc6# (The point of the puzzle is that 2.c8=Q is stalemate)
1…Kc5 2.c8=Q Kxb6 3.c5#
B. Six Christmas Catchphrases
This game is often played around the Festive season!
Name the Six Famous Chess Players – ok, four are only famous to us locals!
Answer = Toe Knee Smiles i.e. Tony Miles
1. Very Easy – A good warm up
Answer – Mike Waddington (as opposed to Mike Boddingtons!)
Answer – John Nunn (John Lennon Nun)
Answer – Mike Jay (nothing more to say!)
4. Slightly Challenging
Answer – Michael Adams (Mike-Ale Addams)
5. Getting Harder
Answer – Barry Jolly (Bar-Ray Jolly)
Answer – Paul Errington (Pool Hair-Inn-Tonne)
C. Six Unusual Trivia yet Interesting Quiz Questions
Guess the player or event – Ideal for Christmas!
Q1. Which ex British Chess Champion has appeared on Gogglebox?
a) Bill Hartston
b) Ray Keene
c) Jon Speelman
d) Nigel Short
Answer – a) Bill Hartston. He is known for appearing with a friend, drinking wine, with the backdrop being a large nude painting.
Q2. Which person connects the British Chess Championship to Stephen Hawking?
a) Nigel Lawson
b) Leonard Barden
c) Roger Penrose
d) James Dyson
Answer – c) Roger Penrose. Roger is the brother of Jonathan Penrose, the multi-time British Champion. After Hawking completed his PhD, his first papers on black holes were written jointly with Roger. In 2020 Roger received the nobel prize for this and other work.
Q3. Which British Champion co-wrote “The Mating Game”?
a) Bill Hartston
b) Ray Keene
c) Jonathan Rowson
d) Jovanka Houska
Answer – d) Jovanka Houska. This is not a chess book per se but rather a romantic thriller set around chess tournaments. According to some it is excellent with good plot twists (most Amazon reviews) or awful and contrived (most Goodreads reviews). Here is a little taster “He holds the tee-shirt up against himself and glances at me. Now I am only about six feet from him. He has beautiful, grey, bedroom eyes.” Perhaps we had better stop there!
Q4.Which British Champion won £250,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
a) Jim Plaskett
b) Julian Hodgson
c) William Watson
d) Matthew Sadler
Answer – a) Jim Plaskett. It took Jim four attempts to get in the chair but he cashed in once he was there.
Q5. It is well known that Lennox Lewis and the Klitscho brothers are amateur chess players.
But which world chess champ was an amateur boxer?
a) Alexander Alekhine
b) Max Euwe
c) Michael Botvinnik
d) Boris Spassky
Answer – b) Max Euwe. Apparently he liked to keep fit in general and was a proficient boxer. Perhaps he would have been interested in Chess-Boxing!
Q6. In which town or city has a strong Xmas Open been held from 26th to 30th December every year since 1977?
a) Wijk aan Zee
Answer – b) Zurich. The tournament still went ahead in 2020 but on the internet.
D. Six Tricky Non-Christmas-Tree Festive Puzzles!
Perfect to challenge the mind after a heavy Xmas lunch!
1. Black is about to promote any one of his/her 8 pawns and win but it is White to move and mate in 2.
Whichever pawn moves (except the c-pawn) the bishop goes to the same file e.g.
1…a1=Q Ba6#, 1…f1=Q Bf5# etc
1…c1=Q B anywhere mate. The knight had to block the c-file as the bishop cannot do that. So 1.Na6? and 1.Nd7? fail to c1=Q/R
2. Isn’t White losing? White to play and win.
Answer (this was a tough one)
3.bxc8=N+! and White captures the black queen, leaving a winning endgame.
If 1…Kxb7 then 2.Rxd8 wins but not 2.Qxd8?? Qe1#
3. Other than the squares they are on what is the difference between these two positions? (Martin likes this one!)