Chess Crackers
September/October 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 Pontus Carlsson - GM Sarunas Sulskis
White to Move (after 29… Bg7-f8)

Constance Mbatha - WFM Ariana Pintor
White to Move (after 29...Rc8xc2)

No. 3

No. 4

Shane Matthews-Pradeep Seegolam
White to Move (after 19… Kg8-f8)

GM Pontus Carlsson - Marian Zaim
White to Move (after 16...Qc6-c7)


No. 1 Carlsson-Sulskis (2010 Eforie-Nord Open, Bucharest, Romania)
This game comes out of a French with a strange twist. Black grabbed material in the opening at the expense of king safety, but had to sacrifice the exchange to relieve pressure… so he thought. In this position, white came crashing through the window with 30.Bxe6! since 30…fxe6 loses the queen to 31.Qg6 + Qf7 (31…Ke7 32.Qh7+) 32. Rd8+. After 30…Be7 31.Qg8+ Bf8 32.Bc4 Be4 33.Bxf7+ Ke7 and 34.Bc4 and mate looming. (See game)

No. 2  Mbatha-Pintor (2010 Chess Olympiad , Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
This Zambia-Portugal match was one of intrigue since the African nation consisted of unrated players and fought to a 2-2 draw. Zambian players are very aggressive on the attack and Mbatha poised her pieces for an attack while black greedily gobbled queenside pawns. Black's king would become stuck in the center of the board and meet a painful death after 30.Rb3! With black's pieces cut off the mating attack is decisive. 30..Kd7 31.Qa4+ Rc6 32.Rb7+ with mate to follow. Black resigned. (See game)

No. 3  Matthews-Seepolam (2010 Chess Olympiad , Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
The Poisoned Pawn Sicilian came crashing down when black forgot the analysis and ended up succumbing to a virulent attack. While black dawdled with his king, the Jamaican amassed his pieces and uncorked a double sacrifice with 20.Rxg7! Kxg7 21.Qxh6+! mating. Nice finish! (See game)

No. 4  Carlsson-Zaim (2010 Eforie-Nord Open, Bucharest, Romania)
Carlsson on the prowl again against a Najdorf. Black played a strange sequence of moves and his king ended up on f8-square on move 12 with a white rook bearing down the f-file. This them would come into play when white played 17.Rxf7+! Kxf7 18.Rf1+ Nf6 19.exf6 g6 20.Qh6. Rag8 21.Ne4! The attack  g5 22.Nxg5+ Rxg5 23.Qxg5 Rg8 24.Qh5+ Kf8 25.Qh6+ 1-0 (See game)

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