This one is really nice

A quick break from the Crowthorne vaults to show a nice finish by world champion Magnus Carlsen which was played on Tuesday. In the following position, Black has a nice combination which either wins a ton of material, or forces mate. Can you spot the continuation? Have a go, and click the “?” or one of the buttons below the board to check your answer.

Black to play and win:

This game was played in the Banter Blitz Cup, an online blitz tournament run by the chess24 website. Each player had 3 minutes per game, and this game was game 8 of a match where Magnus beat his 2675 rated opponent 9-0!

On seeing that his opponent had allowed 23 …Rxe5 (by playing 23 d4) Carlsen commented “This one is really nice”.

From the Crowthorne Vaults – Part 7

This time it was the turn of a Crowthorne player to be on the receiving end of a smart tactic. In the following position, from a match against Sandhurst, white has a pleasant advantage with his passed d-pawn and active pieces. He also has a move which wins outright – can you see it?
White to play an win

From the Crowthorne Vaults – Part 6

In this game, from one of Colin’s in 2018, there is one move which forces a win – can you find it?
White to play and win.

From the Crowthorne Vaults – Part 5

Black is a pawn down but can pick up the exchange at will. It’s unclear if that results in a winning position, but if it does Black will certainly have to work hard to convert. There’s a much cleaner line which wins on the spot.

Black to play and win.

From the Crowthorne Vaults – Part 4

Here’s another quick finish by Mark. In the following position Black has Bishop+Knight for Rook+2 pawns. White’s King is a little more open than perhaps he would have wished, but it is not obvious that he is in great danger yet.

Mark found the only line to force a win – can you?
Click the buttons below the board, or the “?”, to see the solution. Black to play and win.

From the Crowthorne Vaults – Part 3

Colin has also been rummaging around the vaults, and he has found this position. it arose in his game against Sarah Hegarty in a match Crowthorne v Sandhurst, played in 2011.

White was rather outplayed in the opening, and is an exchange and pawn down. He does have some compensation in that Black is missing her fianchettoed bishop and the knights are rather offside. Even so, Black would have been better had she not played 20 …fxe4 on here previous move (much better was 20 …Nf6 although this was not an obvious move to find).

How can white play to save the game?

From the Crowthorne Vaults – Part 2

The following position arose in one of Mark’s games against Camberley in the Berkshire League.

As Mark’s notes indicate, Black can play for a win simply by retreating the queen and keeping an extra piece, but what is the quickest route to victory?

Again, just click on the buttons below the board to see the solution and variations.
Black to play and win!

From the Crowthorne Vaults

In the absence of over-the-board chess, Mark Taylor has been looking over past games and has found a few nice tactics which he has shared with us. We will present these as puzzles for you to solve.

The first is from the game Mark Taylor – Ken Norman that was played in a Crowthorne A vs Crowthorne B match in the Border League in 1997.

Can you find White’s 32nd move – and the followup?
To see the solution and variations click the play buttons under the board (but do have a go first!).

Crowthorne Online Chess Club

As the possibilities for over-the-board chess have disappeared, we are investigating the possibilities for club activity online. We are still feeling our way around and how best to use the internet for club purposes will develop over time with experience.

Jonathan has created Crowthorne Chess Club on, and on Search under connect/clubs on, and under community/teams on

Members are invited to join us on either or both of these sites, either by using their existing accounts or by creating (free) accounts.

Jonathan sent an all-club email with more details.