14 1GT Friday October 16 2020 | the times
Fill the grid
numbers 1 to 9
numbers in each
vertical run of
add up to the
total in the
triangle to its left
or above it. The
may occur more
than once in a
row or column,
but not within
the same run of
© PUZZLER MEDIA
Kakuro No 2764
© 2010 KENKEN PUZZLE & TM NEXTOY. DIST. BY UFS, INC. WWW.KENKEN
Fill the blank squares so that every row and column contains
each of the numbers 1 to 5 once only. The symbols between
the squares indicate whether a number is larger (>) or smaller
(<) than the number next to it.
All the digits 1 to 6 must appear in every row and column. In
each thick-line “block”, the target number in the top left-hand
corner is calculated from the digits in all the cells in the block,
using the operation indicated by the symbol.
KenKenDifficult No 5087 Futoshiki No 3805
Optimism versus pessimism
Black’s position is parlous. Any
five or six will give White a full
prime which should see her well
on the road to victory. Black’s roll
of 54 is not what he wanted but is
Black an optimist or a pessimist?
The pessimist will resign him-
self to defeat and just hope to avoid
losing a gammon. He will play
13/9, 13/8. This is completely safe
for the time being and a couple
of small doubles could yet see
Black turn the game around.
However, most of the time White
will build her prime, escape her
rear checker and win without too
Now let us look at the optimist’s
view. He will see that all his check-
ers are in play and that White cur-
rently has three blots. Is there any
way to take advantage of those
blots? There is indeed but it does
involve significant risk. Black can
choose the Double Tiger play of
9/5, 6/1*, voluntarily exposing two
blots in his home board.
This gives him two possible
game plans, blitzing or priming,
with blitzing being the more likely.
Crucially, hitting means that half
of White’s next roll must be spent
entering from the bar. Of course, if
she rolls 66, 44 or 64 she will stay
on the bar and give Black real win-
The optimist will seize this rela-
tively slim chance and also keep in
mind that even if his blot(s) are hit
he will retain some game-winning
chances because of his anchor in
White’s home board. The choice of
9/5, 6/1* is supported by Extreme
Gammon, which can calculate
things rather better than we mere
mortals. It tells us that the passive
13/9, 13/8 is an error.
I would always rather play
against a pessimist than an opti-
mist because the former rarely
tries to exert pressure. As we have
seen in previous articles the ability
to apply pressure is fundamental
to winning backgammon. There
are times when you have to resign
yourself to defeat but in the main
you should always adopt a positive
attitude and look for a route to vic-
tory. That works in backgammon
just as well as it does in life.
© PUZZLER MEDIA
Slide the letters either horizontally or vertically back into the grid to produce a
completed crossword. Letters are allowed to slide over other letters
Every letter in this crossword-style grid has been substituted for a number from 1
to 26. Each letter of the alphabet appears in the grid at least once. Use the letters
already provided to work out the identity of further letters. Enter letters in the main
grid and the smaller reference grid until all 26 letters of the alphabet have been
accounted for. Proper nouns are excluded. Yesterday’s solution, right
Cluelines Stuck on Codeword? To receive 4 random clues call 0901 293 6262 or
text TIMECODE to 84901. Calls cost £1 plus your telephone company’s network
access charge. Texts cost £1 plus your standard network charge. For the full solution
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access charge. SP: Spoke, 0333 202 3390 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5.30pm).
Winners will receive a Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus
Solve the puzzle and text in the numbers in the three
shaded boxes. Text TIMES followed by a space, then
your three numbers, eg, TIMES 123, plus your name,
address and postcode to 84901 (UK only), by midnight.
Or enter by phone. Call 09012 925274 (ROI 1516 303 501)
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Calls cost £1 (ROI €1.50) plus your telephone company’s
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close at midnight tonight. If you call or text after this
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SP: Spoke, 0333 202 3390 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5.30pm).
Fill the grid so
row and every
3x2 box contains
the digits 1 to 6
What are your favourite puzzles in MindGames?
Lay tracks to enable the train to travel from village A to village
B. The numbers indicate how many sections of rail go in each
row and column. There are only straight rails and curved rails.
The track cannot cross itself.
Win a Dictionary & Thesaurus
Train Tracks No 1149
Lexica No 5529 No 5530
Codeword No 4095
Backgammon Chris Bray
White to play.
This position is from
Tuesday”, chess.com 2020.
White is a rook down here and if
the kingside attack doesn’t yield
swift results he will undoubtedly
lose. The combination of the
pawn at f6 and the queen at h
is certainly dangerous but White
needs to find an accurate
continuation to exploit these
factors. Can you find the
sequence that does the trick?