Chess: The mystery of the missing king
From Bobby Fischer v Boris Spassky 1972 to The Queen's Gambit 2020, chess has had two impressive but contrasting booms half a century apart. The real life ambiance of the legendary match in Reykjavik, where the eccentric lone American defeated the mighty Soviet chess empire, has now been repeated in fiction via the chart-topping Netflix mini-series.
The difference is that the lone American is here cast as a young woman who overcomes emotional problems and substance abuse to triumph in Moscow itself, a city which Fischer only visited once.
Two major playing websites, lichess.org and chess.com, now claim hundreds of thousands or even millions of participants, many of them newcomers inspired by The Queen’s Gambit. World champion Magnus Carlsen’s latest event, the $100,000 Skilling Open which began on Sunday and continues daily (5pm start) until November 30 is attracting large audiences to chess24.com.
Carlsen began with a disaster, a mouse slip in a winning position which blundered his queen, but he soon recovered with three straight wins.
There are commentaries in English on two levels, one for more experienced players and the other, fronted by the English grandmaster David Howell and the British woman champion Jovanka Houska, for novices and newcomers to online chess viewing.
Where is the missing white king? In this old puzzle the white monarch has fallen off the board. Readers are challenged to solve the mystery and find the only square on which the king can be replaced to give a legal position.
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