Barden's Evening Standard column continues

by Frederic Friedel
3/6/2015 – He is one of the most respected writers in chess – and has been at it for quite a while. Leonard Barden has published a daily column in the Evening Standard, without a break, for over 58 years – and is set to break all records as a columnist – not just for chess. His contributions are not just informative, they are eminently readable and entertaining. You should visit the web site on a daily basis.

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Leonard Barden's Evening Standard column

Leonard Barden's Evening Standard daily column began in June 1956, and has continued every day since. It was in print until 30 July 2010 (54 years 1 month), and has since continued online, so far reaching 58 years six months. This is the longest running chess column in history (previously, George Koltanowski wrote daily in the San Francisco Daily Chronicle for 51 years 9 months until his death), but it is also quite possibly the longest ever running daily column in any field of journalism.

Briefly Barden's Evening Standard column was in danger of being terminated, but pleas by chess fans from all over the world persuaded the editors to continue, for which we are all thankful. With the permission of the author and the newspaper we bring you a week's sample: the columns that appreared from January 26 to 30, 2015. The solutions are given at the bottom of the page on a JavaScript replay board.

Grischuk,Alexander (2792) - Aronian,Levon (2815) [A18]
Norway Chess 2nd Stavanger (3), 05.06.2014

It is not very often that a world No. 2 falls into an opening trap and has a lost position before 15 moves, but it occurred in today’s puzzle. Aronian’s black queen is menaced by Grischuk’s h5 pawn, and Black also has to avoid losing his e4 pawn without compensation. So the candidate moves for Black in the diagram are Qf5, guarding the e4 pawn directly, or Qa6, ready to meet Bxe4 by Qxc4. Which of these choices is the blunder, and why?

Goryachkina,Aleksandra (2432) - Nasybullina,Alfia (2095) [D30]
RUS-ch Higher League (Women) 64th Vladivostok (3), 06.06.2014

White (to play) was among the tournament favourites, but faced stiff resistance from her much lower ranked opponent and although she has some pressure in the puzzle diagram, there seems a long way to go. However, White now made just one move and Black resigned. What was the decider?

Giri,Anish (2752) - Karjakin,Sergey (2771) [A35]
Norway Chess 2nd Stavanger (7), 10.06.2014

It had been a gruelling game of more than 100 moves in one of the strongest ever tournaments, but now it seemed close to a peace treaty. Black in the diagram threatens Qxb3+, and if White defends the pawn by 1 Ka2 then Qg2+ 2 Kb1 Qd5 repeating the position. In fact the grandmasters had already performed this dance twice, so that under chess rules Giri could simply call the arbiter, announce his intention to play Ka2, and claim the draw under the threefold repetition rule. But suddenly on impulse the Dutch teenager decided to try for a win, and played 1 Rc4?? Giri thus gifted Karjakin half a point, which was sufficient next day to give the Russian first prize half a point ahead of world champion Magnus Carlsen. Why was 1 Rc4 a losing blunder?

Grischuk,Alexander (2792) - Giri,Anish (2752) [A34]
Norway Chess 2nd Stavanger (8), 12.06.2014

Black (to move) is two pawns down in a knight ending, which is generally the easiest to win with a material advantage next to one with kings and pawns only. But the puzzle actually illustrates another recurring chessboard practical principle which you ought to know. The actual process takes several moves, but if you are familiar with the underlying theme the play is easy to find. Can you state both Black’s drawing move and the need-to-know technique?

Velimirovic,Dragoljub (2530) - Csom,Istvan (2540) [B89]
IBM Amsterdam (3), 1974

Velimirovic, who died last year aged 72, was one of the most imaginative attacking grandmasters of his time and helped his Yugoslav team to numerous international successes. In today’s puzzle as White (to play) he has sacrificed queen for rook, but at first glance his tactic was unsound since Black threatens simply Qxd7. Velimirovic had seen further. What was his winning white move?


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Leonard Barden

Leonard William Barden (photo above by Linda Nylind for the Guardian) is an English chess master, columnist, author, and promoter. He was born on August 20, 1929, in Croydon, London, the son of a dustman, and was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History.

Barden learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a German air raid. Within a few years he became one of the country's leading juniors. In 1946 he won the British Junior Correspondence Chess Championship, and tied for first place in the London Boys' Championship. The following year he tied for first with Jonathan Penrose in the British Boys' Championship, but lost the playoff. Barden finished fourth at Hastings in 1951–52 and fourth in 1957–58.

In 1953 Barden won the individual British Lightning Championship (ten seconds a move), and in the following year tied for first in the British Championship. He did this again in 1958. He represented England in the Chess Olympiads of 1952 (playing fourth board, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses), 1954 (playing first reserve, scoring 1 win, 2 draws, and 4 losses), 1960 (first reserve; 4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and 1962 (first reserve; 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses).

In 1964 Barden gave up competitive chess to devote his time to chess journalism and writing books about the game. He has made invaluable contributions to English chess as a populariser, writer, organiser, fundraiser, and broadcaster. He was a regular contributor to the BBC's Network Three weekly radio chess programme from 1958 to 1963. – More at Wiki.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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