Belgium's Nico Verheyen was born in Geel on Wednesday 12 June 1985, 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.
Nico particularly enjoys solving puzzles, and so let's celebrate the teenager's admirable enthusiasm by finding how "White mates in eight moves" from the following position thought up 40 years ago by composer Gerardus Johannus Bouma:
The neat solution appears at the end of this passage, and if you'd like to see a mate in 13, then check out our star's sizzling win as White in game G4.33!
On a personal note, I can say that it's always a joy to work with A VERY NICE HONEST TEENAGER like Nico, and as a fun finish now we can rearrange the 23 letters in bold to get NICO VERHEYEN TEENAGE STAR!!
Solution to "mate in 8" puzzle:-
Here goes: 1 Nf6! (threatening Ne8-d6-f7# or Ne4-d6-f7#) 1...Bg5! (forced) 2 Ne8!! (not 2 Kxg5? e3) 2...Be7 3 Ng7 Bb4 (other bishop-moves lead to a similar finish, as does 3...e3 4 Nf5 Bf8 5 Nxe3, while 4...e2 5 Nh6 e1=Q 6 Nf7# is even quicker) 4 Nf5 Bf8 (forced, to stop Nd6 or Nh6) 5 Ne3! (the knight has reached a position from where the imminent victory is now very clear, because Black's bishop cannot cope with the dual threats of Nc4/Ng4 followed by deadly invasion at d6/e5 or e5/h6) 5...Bd6 6 Ng4 Bc7 (or 6...Bf8 7 Nxe5 and 8 Nf7#) 7 Nh6 followed by the unstoppable 8 Nf7#.