Blog Post #71: Dual Jewels and Jules!

Dear Readers,

A few days ago, I received a nice surprise message from International Chess Master Rini Kuijf, an old friend and former Dutch Champion. In my reply, I mentioned that I have been having fun tackling numerous chess problems. Rini then sent me a neat pair of puzzles (given below) with White to play and win by force in both cases. The two positions are so similar that they could be considered to form a ‘dual’. To me, such puzzles with beautiful solutions are gems or jewels!

Let’s also wish “Happy birthday, Jules!” to English Grandmaster Julian Hodgson who’s 57 today. I celebrated by turning the clock back some years and playing through lots of his really impressive victories from before. As a bonus, I will feature two lovely, crisp finishes: one from 1992 with Julian (as White) to play and win in an endgame, and the other (from 1995) in which GM Stuart Conquest found a very ‘Hodgson-like’ speedy win for White.

Seeing that we’re having a wee trip down memory lane, I’ll give a couple of nice chess photos from loooooooooong ago!

GM Colin McNab with me in Dundee in 1992.

Me giving a chess ‘simul’ in Scotland many years ago.

I’m also including one of my favourite studies of all time (from 1925!) in which it’s White to play and win, created by the genius composer Leonid Kubbel.

Enjoy the chess feast!

As a quick Maths bonus here in blog post #71, can you find three consecutive prime numbers whose sum is 71 ?

Reminder: It’s White to play & win in all five of the chess puzzles!


In the Maths puzzle, 19+23+29=71.

In the first chess puzzle, 1 Nh6+ Qxh6 2 Rf8+ Rxf8 3 Qa2+ wins.

In the second chess puzzle, 1 e5 Nxe5 2 Nh6+ Qxh6 3 Qd5+ Rxd5 4 Rf8# is neat, as is 1…Qg6 2 Qd5+! intending 2…Kh8 3 Nh6 or 2…Rxd5 3 Ne7+ Nxe7 4 Rf8#.

In the third chess puzzle, 1 Re8+ wins because of 1…Kf7 2 Rd7+ or 1…Nf8 2 Rf2 Rxc7 3 Rfxf8+ Kh7 and then the skewering check 4 Rh8+.

In the fourth chess puzzle, 1 Rf3! forced 1…Nf5 and then 2 Rc3 was decisive in view of 2…Qa8 3 Qa4+ or in the actual game 2…Bc5 3 Rxc5 Qxc5 4 Qb8+ Ke7 5 Qxb7+ 1-0 because of 5…Ke8 6 Qd7+ followed by 7 Qd8#.

In the final stunning chess study, the correct path to victory is 1 Qe1+! intending 1…Kh2 2 Bf3 or 1…Kg2 2 Bh3+! and then either 2…Kf3 3 Qe3# or 2…Kh2 4 Qe5+ or 2…Kxh3 3 Qg1 Kh4 4 Qh2+ Kg4 5 f3+ or 4…Kg5 5 f4+ and 6 Qxa2 will pick up the loose black queen!

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend now,

Paul Motwani xxx

Author: Paul A. Motwani

My name is Paul Motwani, but my colleagues, my students and their parents mostly call me "Mr. Mo"! My middle initial, A, stands for Anthony, because I was born on the official feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of miracles and of lost souls. I love teaching Mathematics and Chess, and giving fun-packed talks and shows in schools and clubs. The popular ingredients of Math, Chess, Mystery and Magic are my "Fantastic Four", and I give prizes too! I am an International Chess Grandmaster, and (loooooong ago!) I was the World Under-17 Champion. I am the author of five published chess books and hundreds of newspaper articles. I live with my wonderful wife and son in Belgium. I also love music, movies and puzzles. I blog at My e-mail address is You can find me on Facebook, too.

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