The surprise winners of Britain’s online 4NCL league last week were ChessPlus Kingston, who overcame the favourites Wood Green in the final. ChessPlus organises instructional courses for chess teachers, with support from the European Chess Union.

Fittingly in the time of The Queen's Gambit, CPK’s women made decisive top board contributions. In 1984 Pia Cramling defeated Viktor Korchnoi at the height of the legend’s powers, her Beth Harmon moment, and last week she saved a lost rook ending.

Dana Reizniece-Ozola scored CPK’s winning point. There have been keen but weak chess players, like Andrew Bonar Law and Fidel Castro, in positions of political power, and strong players, notably Garry Kasparov, who never achieved power. 

Latvia’s former finance minister has beaten the world No 1 woman, and is still active in both areas, scrutinising the national budget on a spreadsheet while playing her 4NCL semi-final. She speaks five languages and is a mother of four children so the FT is a good place to mark her achievements.

Reizniece-Ozola’s imaginative sacrificial attack decided the final, but IM Ravi Haria missed a draw at the end. A different 27th queen move would have forced White to draw by perpetual check or allow Black a winning counter.

Puzzle 2399

White mates in three moves (by Ellis Ridley, 1890). Just a single line of play with all moves on both sides forced and no checks before the final mate, yet some solving experts have found it hard. How do you compare?

Click here for solution

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