Chess Crackers
January/February 2009

The following positions are a tribute to two African-American champions GM Maurice Ashley and IM Emory Tate. In the following diagrams, you're challenged to find the winning line. 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

Georg Siegel - IM Maurice Ashley
Black to Move (after 34.Qf4-f3)

Fabiano Caruana-- FM Emory Tate
Black to Move (after 18.Qd2-g5 )

No. 3

No. 4

FM Emory Tate - Macon Shibut
White to Move (after 25Bg5-f6)

IM Daniel Shapiro - IM Maurice Ashley
Black to Move (after 43.Qe4-c6)


No. 1 Siegel-Ashley (1997 Bad Wiessee International, Bad Wiessee, Germany)
In this game, Siegel came at Ashley with the "kitchen sink" only to overextend his kingside. The Jamaican-born master (later GM) penetrated the kingside and at the opportune moment playing the winning  34. h4+! The white king then walks the plank after 35.Kf4 Rd4+ 36.Re4 g5+ 37.Ke3 Rd3+ winning the queen. (See game; GM Maurice Ashley)

No. 2  Caruana-Tate (2003 New York Masters, New York, USA)
This is an example of youthful over-exuberance. Caruana who was a pre-teen who had not reached his star just yet. The Grandmaster-to-be played the bold  18.Qg5?? and he was forced to donate material after 18Bf4 (logical) and now the humorous ending of 19.Qh4 g5 20.Qh5 g6 21.Qh6 g4 and black nets a piece. (See game; IM Emory Tate)

No. 3  Tate-Shibut (2004 Atlantic Open, Washington, DC, USA)
Tate's play here perhaps described his free-spirited chess personality. His understanding of attacking themes and his ability to get these exciting positions is what has made his reputation.  In this game, he mounted a strong attack after his opponent got too adventurous with his queen. As a result, punishment was meted out after 26.Nd6+! Black has to lose the queen after 26Kb8 (or 26Kc7) 27.Nc4! clearing the diagonal for a devastating discovered check. The queen has nowhere to hide, so Shibut tries one last trick with 27Bc8 threatening Rxd1 mate. Tate gets in a mate of his own with 28.Ra5+! Shibut resigned before playing 28Ka8 29.Nxb6#. (See game; Intrigue of  Emory Tate)

No. 4  Shapiro-Ashley (1993 New York ACC, New York, USA)
This game showed the use of hypermodernism and black was able to break down white's impressive center. Ashley decided to sacrifice the exchange and gain a bulwark bishop controlling the board. Black prodded white's position and after smoking the king out to the center of the board, he finished the game with 43Bc3+! mating. On 44.Kc1 black plays 44Rxb1+; on 44.Bxc3 45Qd3+. (See game! GM Maurice Ashley)

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