Watch them solving!

by Anirudh Daga
1/11/2024 – It's an experiment. We wanted to know how a number of different personalities reacted to some unusual problems we presented in our Christmas Puzzle week. So we gave them two positions and let them wrestle with them online. For starters, we bring you video of a super-talent, Leon Luke Mendonca, and his first-time encounter with anything like this. Did you react in similar fashion to the problems?

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This is the first instalment of the experiment in which we will be giving two unusual puzzles, the ones from our December 31st puzzle article, to (1) a young super-talent in chess; (2) a very strong grandmaster who is a former world champion of chess solving; and (3) a chess amateur who happens to be an advanced quantum physicist.

We begin with the 17-year-old super-talent.

Who is Leon?

Leon Luke Mendonca gained his title of grandmaster in January 2021, at the age of 14. He has triumphed in several international competitions, a notable example being the 2023 HIT GM Open in Slovenia, which he won with a flawless score of 9/9 and an Elo performance of 3196! On a non-chess side, Leon is also a violinist: when he was stranded in Budapest, he gave a concert in the Budapest cathedral.

I would like to thank Leon for joining our problem-solving experiment – solving unorthodox chess puzzles with all to see. Without further ado, here is the video of him doing it:

Puzzle composition competition

Perhaps our Christmas Puzzles will encourage you to venture into the fascinating world of chess composition. We have already received a couple of dozen entries by readers over Christmas, and I am in touch with some of the submitters. The competition will close on January 21, so you still have some time to construct your chess puzzles – mates, helpmates or anything else.

There will be four prizes: three copies of the latest ChessBase Magazine – in the completely new design and interactive format. And a copy of the first ChessBase eBook "Frederic's Chess Tales". Here are descriptions of the prizes.

After solving all these puzzles, are you also interested in trying to compose some yourself? If so, send us your progress and process to us and get a chance to win prizes!

Please submit your compositions here


Anirudh was born in Delhi, India, and now lives in Singapore. He is one of the world's most promising young problem composers, specializing in positions that are fascinating and unconventional. He became interested in chess composition after winning the Christmastide Solving Contest, at the age of twelve. Anirudh grew from strength to strength, competed at the World Chess Solving Championships, and composed numerous problems that have all found their due place in reputable problem magazines. It is his goal to spread the joy of chess composition and solving!
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