The global chess body Fide (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) faces a growing problem after it suspended the world title candidates and so failed to produce a challenger for the title held by Magnus Carlsen.

Carlsen’s championship match was planned for December as part of Expo Dubai 2020, now rescheduled for 2021. Fide also cancelled the 190-nation team Olympiad as over-the-board chess has stopped indefinitely.

In contrast, there is a wave of new online events. The $250,000 Magnus Carlsen Invitational, with the No1 and seven elite rivals, starts on April 18 on chess24.com.

Elsewhere chess.com has announced the Abu Dhabi Blitz, a 12-round event for all titled players, for April 15, while lichess.org will stage an online version of the UK’s national league on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm, starting April 7. The online 4NCL has attracted 170 teams of four, far higher than expectations.

The ball is now in Fide’s court. The global body could trump the rest by launching its own official online world championships, but almost all its emphasis has been on over-the-board events so that its organisational infrastructure for web play may be lacking.

2362

White mates in five moves. An editor once rejected this week’s puzzle (by Friedrich Koehnlein) as “impossible to solve and obviously misprinted”. Yet there is just a single line of play, while Black is down to a single pawn move. Can you crack the hidden answer?

Click here for solution

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