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This week’s puzzle is a chance to enter a national contest where FT readers traditionally perform well.

White in the diagram is to play and force checkmate in two moves, against any black defence.

The puzzle is the first stage of the Winton British Solving Championship, organised by the British Chess Problem Society and open to any British resident. The prize fund will be at least £1,225, plus awards for juniors.

To take part, simply send White’s first move to Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1QY or by email to winton@theproblemist.org.

Include your name and home postcode, and mark your entry “Financial Times”. If under 18, give your date of birth.

The closing date is July 31. After that, all solvers will receive the answer and those who get it right will also be sent a postal round of eight problems, with plenty of time for solving.

The best 25-30 entries from the postal round plus the best juniors will qualify for the final in February 2020. The champion will qualify for the Great Britain team in the 2020 world solving championship, an event where GB is often a medal contender.

As usual, the starter problem is quite tricky, with several near-misses. Bear in mind that obvious checks and captures rarely work, and review your answer before you send it. At worst, trial and error should reveal the solution.

Good luck!

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