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Hero of the Month

Jonas Verheyden

Belgium's Jonas Verheyden was born in Leuven on Tuesday 25 March 1986, and on the subject of chess in his teens he's keen as I've seen! Along with ten other talented young Belgian players, our hero attends regular six-hour coaching sessions organised with me by Hugo "Boss" van Steenwinckel.

Jonas particularly enjoys solving puzzles, and so let's celebrate the teenager's admirable enthusiasm by finding how "White mates in thirteen moves" from the following position thought up by Belgian composer Fernand Joseph:

The stunning solution appears at the end of this passage, and if you'd like to see a mate in 16, then check out our star's sizzling win as White in game G4.30!

At the end of January when I was reflecting on Jonas's recent great progress, I had the thought "In the month of JAN. HE'S DONE VERY well", which provides us with a fun 14-mover: rearrange the 14 letters in bold to get JONAS VERHEYDEN !!

Solution to "mate in 13" puzzle:-

White sustains the initiative all the way until checkmate at move 13 with an elegant mix of sacrificial tactics and efficient manoeuvres, particularly by the rook on f4. The star sequence is: 1 Bxg4+! gxh2 2 Bf5+ Kg8 (2...Rxf5 3 Rh4+ Rh5 {3...Kg8 4 Rh8# or 3...Kg6 4 Rh6#} 4 Rxh5+ Kg6 5 Nf4#) 3 b8=Q+!! (3 Bh7+? Kxh7 4 Rh4+ Kg6 wins for Black) 3...Nxb8 4 Rd8+!! Rxd8 5 Bh7+!! (perfect timing, and the only correct moment for this sacrifice) 5...Kxh7 6 Rh4+ Kg6 7 Rh6+ Kf5 8 Rh5+ (Black's king now begins what is known among study composers as a 'starflight', since the king has four diagonal escape routes, against each of which White has a distinct and unique winning continuation) 8...Kxe6 (8...Kg4 9 Rg5+ Kh4 10 g3+ Kh3 11 Nf4# or 8...Kg6 9 Nf4# or 8...Ke4 9 Re5#) 9 Re5+ Kd7 10 Re7+ Kc8 11 b7+! Nxb7 12 Rc7+! (the seventh sacrifice since the start of the sequence!) 12...Rxc7 13 Nb6#. Smothered mate makes a lovely finish.

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