Chess: white’s full 16-man army confronts a lone black king — but where’s the mate?
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The Fide/Chess.com Grand Swiss starting near Douglas, Isle of Man, on October 10 is a stage towards the jackpot for grandmasters, a championship match with Norway’s Magnus Carlsen.
Carlsen and America’s world No2 Fabiano Caruana are both in the field, but neither is eligible for the single place in the eight-player candidates scheduled for Russia in March 2020.
The 160 Douglas hopefuls include England’s David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane, who are seeded 25, 28 and 33, plus the British woman champion Jovanka Houska.
It is billed as the strongest event ever with Swiss pairings, but that it is only true by rating numbers. A quarter of a century ago, there were similar interzonals at Manila 1990, Biel 1993 and Groningen 1993 which were uniformly strong and where each qualified between seven and 11 players as candidates. Manila was significant for Nigel Short, who was among the winners there and ended up playing Garry Kasparov for the supreme title.
Douglas is free and live to watch online. Games start at 1500 BST daily from 10-21 November, except for the rest day on November 16 and the final round at 1330.
White mates in two moves, however Black defends. This could be described as the ultimate chess puzzle, with White having a full army of 16 men against Black’s lone king. It sounds simple, but you may have to look hard to find the only way to force mate in two.
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