Chess

There is no game of wits at which losing is more unpleasant than chess. Any game involving cards or dice involves chance. One can blame losses on the fickle Goddess Fortuna. Her constant presence teaches poker players, for example, a kind of stoic fatalism that enables them to cope with even the most unpleasant defeats.

Not so with chess. Everything is visible and therefore theoretically knowable. A loss is hard to view as anything other than a failure of one’s own judgment and intellect. It really hurts, and the higher up in the chess world, the greater the mental anguish. One reason why many strong players give up the game they love is that they increasingly find that the agony of losing so much outweighs the ecstasy of winning that they almost dread sitting down at the board to play.

A world championship match, held 100 years ago next month, may have been partly responsible for the loser’s death

Magnus Carlsen, the 19 year-old Norwegian wunderkind, is the next chess genius

Codebreaker Hugh Alexander deserves much more than the obscurity into which his name has fallen 

It is Korchnoi’s fighting spirit that has enabled him to achieve victory, aged 78, in a young man’s game

People who have no interest in chess commonly ask: who was the greatest player of all time. Genuine students, however, ask: what was the greatest tournament of all time?

‘Is it possible that the next generation of computers will solve chess?

‘To become world chess champion is to join the immortals. Yet some who have reached the top have been less lionised than others.