England’s best grandmasters, who have been restricted to low key events by the pandemic for many months, returned to action at the weekend when the Bundesliga, the strongest chess league in Europe, began its new season.

Michael Adams for Baden-Baden, Luke McShane for Werder Bremen, and Gawain Jones for Munich, all played the No1 board for their respective teams. Their six games were halved, including Adams v McShane and a lively draw between McShane and the new German star Vincent Keymer, 17.

No Russians took part. Bremen honoured their No2 and 3 players, the 2007 European silver medallist Alexander Areshchenko and the 2010 Olympiad gold medallist Zahar Efimenko, who are still in Ukraine with their families. The absent pair were named for the team, their games were unplayed and shown as “no result”, while sunflowers were placed on their boards and the chairs covered with the Ukrainian flag.

The three-time British champion David Howell led 3-2 at half-way in a 10-game classical match against Sweden’s No1 Nils Grandelius, played at the Swedish Embassy in London.

A strange game from the weekend Bundesliga: White plays passively, but nothing much happens until White resigns at move 12 (!) and the computer declares him completely lost.

Puzzle 2460  

David Howell v Simon Williams, Bournemouth 2012. White to move and win. First prize was stake, and White’s queen was attacked. Can you find Howell’s decisive sequence?

Click here for solution

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