Chess: can you pass the Czech talent test?
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The Sinquefield Cup, with nine of the top 10 grandmasters, is in full swing at St Louis and is free and live to watch from 7pm daily.
Magnus Carlsen is the favourite, but the world champion began cautiously after his surprise disaster in the preceding speed event, where he lost 10 games out of 27. In a brief interview, Carlsen admitted a failure of self-confidence. Previously he had ranked No1 on both 25-minute rapid and five-minute blitz.
This Czech talent test from long ago successfully identified several children as potential grandmasters. You just need a chess set (though it can be done from the diagram), a chessboard and a watch.
You have to transfer the knight, using only legal knight moves, from a1 to a8, stopping en route at every square which is not occupied or guarded by a black pawn.
Your first move will be from a1 via the route c2-a3 to b1. Then you need a path to c1, achieved by a3-c2-d4-b3, so dodging Black’s c3 pawn. The knight then has to
visit every square along the bottom row from a1 to h1, then up to h2, along the second row via the only free squares f2 and c2 to a2, then up to a3, and so all the way up to a8.
The test measures quick sight of the board, flexible thinking patterns and quick pattern recall, which are essential requirements for strong chess players.
Czech, German and English coaches used it to measure skill. Future world candidate Vlastimil Hort took 2 minutes, future grandmaster Luke McShane took 2.5 minutes at age 10, other GMs and masters 3-4 minutes. Beat 5 minutes, and your talent is well above average.
No solution this week