Chess: find a way to checkmate Black’s lone king in two moves

Luke McShane has two successful careers: financial analyst at the City of London and grandmaster. Chess was his priority in 2019, and it paid off on the Isle of Man last weekend.

A purple smudge of three straight wins propelled the Londoner, 35, top of the $430,000 tournament which drew a classy entry led by world champion Magnus Carlsen.

McShane has an original style, not taking routine tenets of strategy for granted, as he showed in his third-round victory over his Vietnamese opponent where he advanced pawns past his own castling black king to create decisive threats.

Sharing the lead on 3.5/4, McShane met Fabiano Caruana, the American world number 2 who had an epic title match against Carlsen last year. The Englishman secured a winning advantage with subtle knight play but, running out of time, missed out on several victories the easiest of which, ironically, would have been a knight retreat to the last rank.

Caruana escaped with a draw and McShane lost in the sixth round to China’s Wang Hao who shared the lead with the American before Wednesday’s rest day. There are still five rounds to go. The games are free and live to watch online (starting at 3 p.m.) with expert and computer commentary as well as player interviews.

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Can you find a way to checkmate Black’s lone mid-table king in just two moves? It sounds simple, but there are hidden pitfalls.

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