Sports News

Our weekly chess column: “Chessentrics” Trivia Challenge : Mid-year version




The stockpile of chess trivia grew exponentially during the first half of 2021. The World Champion completed a decade at the top of the rating list, a twelve-year-old kid became the youngest Grandmaster in chess history and a billionaire got caught cheating at a charity chess event. Are you one of those who prefer to store away that kind of information in your head rather than memorizing what to do after white’s twenty-third move in the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Sicilian Najdorf?

If yes, Then here’s your chance to ace our mid-year quiz and prove your “chessentricity”.

  1. The year 2021 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Capablanca – Lasker World Championship. Despite losing the title to his young Cuban challenger in 1921, Lasker still holds the record for the longest reign of any official World Champion. The current heir Magnus Carlsen has now held the crown for nearly eight years. If Carlsen keeps winning, in which year will he equal Lasker’s record.
    1. 2024
    2. 2032
    3. 2040
  2. Carlsen was recently given a “test” by a broadcaster where he had to identify chess positions from across eras. He astonished many by getting almost all of them correct. Later when he was asked to name five countries that end with the letter “L”, what happened?
    1. He couldn’t even name one.
    2. He got Brazil, but that’s all.
    3. He named Brazil, Portugal, Senegal, Israel and Nepal in a matter of seconds.
  3. During the same “test”, Carlsen was also asked “2020 was a leap year, but how many months of 2020 had 28 days?”. What was his answer?
    1. 0
    2. 1
    3. 12
  4. The emergence of chess as an e-sport has opened new avenues to lots of players. The Botez sisters have become two of the more popular double acts. Alexandra, the elder of the two, is now widely credited with the “Botez Gambit”. What exactly is Botez Gambit?
    1. To give your opponent free moves by playing Nf3-g1-f3-g1 for the first ten moves.
    2. It’s the new adopted name for the Queen’s Gambit.
    3. Accidentally losing one’s queen during a game.
    4. To play 1.e4 and 2.Ke2 as your first two moves.
  5. Grandmaster Ben Finegold is known for his highly entertaining online content and somewhat unorthodox humour. When being asked “Which Botez sister is hotter?”, what opinion/s did he offer during a live stream?
    1. “If one’s in Miami and one’s in Vancouver, then the one is Miami is hotter because it’s like eighty degrees there”
    2. “The younger one might generate less heat because she is smaller”
    3. “They are both women, so they are both cold”
    4. All of the above.
  6. Which of the following is NOT a real book on chess?
    1. Sicilian Warfare by Ilya Smirin
    2. London has fallen by Babak Najafi
    3. Italian Renaissance by Martyn Kravtsiv
    4. The Berlin Wall by John Cox
    5. All of the above
  7. The German magazine “Schach” organized a “Corona Puzzle Composition Tournament” last year. What was special about it?
    1. Only the people who got infected by Covid and recovered could submit their compositions.
    2. All the pieces must “stay at home” (first two ranks) for the duration of the problem/solution.
    3. All the pieces must keep the physical distance (all surrounding squares must be unoccupied) for the duration of the problem/solution.

 Nf3 e5?

In one of the most talked about recent online games, the former World Champion Vishy Anand was gifted a pawn straight away but he still lost the game. Who was his opponent?

 Magnus Carlsen; He pre-moved 1…e5, thinking that Anand would start with 1.e4.

  1. Garry Kasparov; He misclicked on e5 while intending to play 1…e6.
  2. Amir Khan, the Bollywood actor.
  3. Nikhil Kamath, the Indian billionaire.


  1. Which of the following is/are real chess openings/variations?
    1. Halloween Gambit
    2. Frankenstein-Dracula Variation
    3. Fried Liver Attack
    4. Orangutan Opening
    5. Only c and d.
    6. All of the above


  1. In January, Magnus Carlsen tweeted “Two years ago I realized that I didn’t have X at home. So I went out and bought one. X is?
    1. A chessboard
    2. A fire extinguisher
    3. An umbrella
    4. A dog


  1. c. Lasker held the title for an astonishing 27 years (1894-1921).
  2. c. Not only that, when asked to name three capitals that start with the letter “O”, Carlsen answered with Oslo, Ottawa and Ouagadougou!
  3. a. Carlsen quickly went with zero because in a leap year February has 29 days. Unfortunately he got tricked (did you get tricked too?) because all twelve months have (at least) 28 days!
  4. c. Check for compilations of Botez Gambits on youtube.
  5. d. And he came up with all this while playing a complicated position!
  6. b. London has fallen is a 2016 film starring Gerard Butler. It has got nothing to do with how to refute the highly annoying 1.d4 and 2.Bf4 with black.
  7. c. Even the chess pieces are told to be socially responsible!
  8. d. after beating Anand, Kamath got his account banned for using engine assistance. The popular opinion is he started with 1…e5 thinking that would fool the cheat-detection algorithms.
  9. f. They all exist. Trust me. Just don’t try to play them.
  10. a. The digital era has consumed us all!