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Lyman's answer was knight at f2 moving to h1, starting a three-move checkmate. But knight to e4 is a one-move checkmate.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Shelby Lyman (but not a reader) overlooks a simple checkmate

Shelby Lyman is one of the stars of the American chess scene, both as a chess master and as author of the most widely read newspaper column about the game, which runs in the Sunday Telegraph and 46 other newspapers around the world. But even masters can be imperfect, as a Telegraph reader noted this week.

The reader called the newsroom Monday and asked what he was missing in the Beginner’s Section of the May 4 column. The gave a three-move response as an answer, but the caller saw a one-move checkmate.

Why didn’t Lyman give the faster answer, he wondered?

“We overlooked the simpler solution,” is how Lyman, who lives in Florida, explained it in an email to me.

Lyman said nobody else queried him about it, so the Telegraph caller just might be the most observant chess reader in the U.S. – not to mention South Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan and a few Latin American countries where the column runs in newspapers.

Alas, we can’t congratulate the reader because I neglected to ask his name. ARGH!