Chess Crackers
November/December 2010

The following represent a variety of positions by talented players of African descent. In the following diagrams, you're challenged to find the best line of play. Each position ends with decisive material gain or mate. Solve each of the four problems (as deep as possible) and check your answers by scrolling below. No peeking!!

No. 2

No. 1

GM Alexander Yermolinsky - IM Watu Kobese
Black to Move (after 32.Qd5-Qd6)

FM Ronald Simpson - GM Boris Gulko
White to Move (after 33...h7-h5)

No. 3

No. 4

Nika Ghvamberia - NM Justus Williams
Black to Move (after 53 Kh2-Kh1)

NM Marvin Dandridge - S. Minin
White to Move (after 18...Re8-g8)


Solutions

No. 1 Yermolinsky-Kobese (2002 FIDE World Cup-B, Hyderabad, India)
Kobese of South Africa had qualified for the World Cup in previous occasions and was facing a tough opponent. However, Kobese played strongly and finished this game off curtly with 32Rxg2+! 33.Kxg2 Rc2+ 34.Kf3 (34.Kh1 Qb7+) Qf2+ 35. Ke4 Re2+ 36. Kd3 Qf3+. This victory was even sweeter given Yermolinsky's treatment of Kobese after the game. (See game; coverage)

No. 2  Simpson-Gulko (2010 U.S. Chess League, Internet Chess Club)
Simpson totally outplayed the Russian legend in a sharp Sicilian. In typical battle, white managed to close off the kingside and launched a virulent attack. Black's pieces were caught flatfooted on the queenside. After the pressure intensified, Gulko cracked with 33h5? and Simpson pounced with 34.Qg5! After 34Qxe5 35. Qxh5+ Kg8 white wins the queen with 36.Nh6+ (See game)

No. 3 Ghvamberia - Williams (2010 World Youth (under-12), Halkidiki, Greece)
Twelve-year old National Master Justus Williams played a very solid Sicilian and proceeded to get a favorable position with good knight versus bad bishop. After a tense battle, black penetrated and got a winning attack after 53Nf4! After 54.Bxf4 exf5 55.Qf1 Bh5 56. Qb1 f3! White could not defend his weakened position after 57.Bf1 fxg2+ 58.Bxg2 Bf3 59.Qb7+ Kf8 60.Qb8+ Kg7 61.Qb2 Qxh3+. (See game; coverage)

No. 4  Dandridge-Minin (1993 Mid-American Class, Chicago, USA)
Dandridge was known as a free-wheeling attacking player before he started playing the English. His style changed dramatically and was seemingly not comfortable with the positional style. However, he still showed glimmers of his tactical 1e4 days. In this position, his opponent tried to sacrifice a pawn to get at the white king, but it backfired when Dandridge sacked the exchange with 17.Rxe4! After 17dxe4 18.Bf6 Rg8 white finished with 19.Nxg6+! hxg6 20.Qxg6 with unstoppable mate. Black played 20...Be8 and perhaps overlooked 21.Qh6 mate! (See game)


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