Chess Crackers
January/February 2010

The following represent a variety of positions by talented players of African descent. 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

GM Vasilios Kotronias-IM Pontus Carlsson
Black to Move (after 25.Nf4xd5)

Daaim Shabazz - Anthony Ritz
White to Move (after 25a6xb5)

No. 3

No. 4

GM Maurice Ashley - FM Michael Casella
White to Move (after 28Ra8 )

Joseph Bazile - Jose Silveirinha
White to Move (after 40Kd7-c8 )


No. 1 Kotronias-Carlsson (2007 Sigeman, Malm, Sweden)
This was a very complicated game out of Carlsson's pet Dragon. His Greek opponent decided to play the position 6.g3 to avoid complications, but the game was anything but that.  The game reached a fever pitch when Kotronias banged out 23.Ncd5!? exd5 24.Nxd5, but was shocked after 24Bxd4!! Carlsson left his queen enprise knowing that after 25. Nxc7 Bxb2 26. Qxc4 Bxa3, black's b-pawn would become too much. White was a full rook down and had to resign moves later. (See game)

No. 2  Shabazz - Ritz (2003 Atlanta Open, Atlanta, USA)
This game came out of a wild opening gambit where black lost his way immediately and fell to a blistering attack. With black's king stuck in the center, white finished the game with 26. Ra1! with a mating attack looming. After 26Qxf2+ 27.Kh1!  White was still faced with bank rank threats.  After 27... Rhg8 28. Ra8+ Ke7 29. Rxf8 Rxf8 30. Qg7+ Ke8 31. Ra1 again! Bc8 32. Bxb5+ and black is mated. (See game)

No. 3  Ashley-Casella (2000 Continental Open, Philadelphia, USA)
This game was an exciting Sveshnikov where white has a slight edge when white bore in with 28.Rxd6. Black countered with 28Ra8 to simplify and Ashley found the improbable, Karpovian move of 29.Qd1!! when black is simply losing a material after 29g6. Casella resigned before facing the crushing 30.Rxe7! Kxe7 31.Rd7+ Kf6 32.Qd6+.  (See game)

No. 4  Bazile - Silveirinha (1998 Chess Olympiad, Yerevan, Armenia)
Very interesting game here exchange variation of the Caro Kann. Black got his typcial queenside pressure while white went for a kingside attack. White got his chance to finish the game but made some inaccuracies before finding  41.Rxc3! Black tried to muddy the waters with an intermezzo with 41...Ne3+ and after 42.Rxe3 Qxe3  white panicked with 43.Qh5, but held on with the strength of the passed g-pawn. (See game)

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