Chess Crackers
July/August 2007

The following represent a variety of positions from talented Black players. 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

FM William Morrison-IM Slavisa Peric
White to Move (after 45Kf8-g8)

Evan Ju-IM Amon Simutowe
Black to Move (after 44.Bc6-h1)

No. 3

No. 4

GM-elect Pontus Carlsson-Axel Smith
White to Move (after 25 Ra2xc2)

Frans Vergeest-IM Watu Kobese
White to Move (after 27.Qd2-e3)


No. 1 Morrison-Slavic (2007 World Open - King of Prussia,  USA)
In this exciting  encounter, Morrison appeared to be on his heels and the Serbian bore into his position with heavy pieces. Morrison tore open the kingside and developed counterthreats. In the given, position, he found the subtle 46.Rg2! This is move sets up a mating attack with the queen and rook and black is unable to defend. For example, on 46Rc2 white plays 47.Rg1! hitting the queen and preparing to deliver the devastating discovered check.  On 46Rxf3+ simply plays 47.Kxg2+ and on 46Kh7, white seals black's coffin with 47.Qf6.  (See game; FM William Morrison)

No. 2  Ju-Simutowe (2007 New Jersey Futurity - Parsippany, USA)
Evan Ju was having a good tournament as he sat down to face Amon Simutowe. The middlegame was tense when Ju uncorked a stunning queen sacrifice following by a series of discovered threats. When the smoke cleared the game was equal, but black had a remote passed pawn that demanded the white bishop's attention. Meanwhile, Simutowe was intent on invading the queenside and did so with the annihilating thrust of
44a4! White's queenside majority is obliterated and after 45.bxa4 Bxc4 46.Kf2 Bd5 47.Kg1 Bxh1 48.Kxh1 Kc5. This trivial K+P ending is easily won and Ju played a few more moves before resigning.  (See game; IM Amon Simutowe)

No. 3  Carlsson-Smith (2007 Swedish Championship - Sweden)
Carlsson was unable to play in the World Open, so he played in the Swedish Championship. In this game, he got a huge advantage out of the opening and trapped his opponent's king in the center. Interestingly enough, the king would die on the e8-square without moving. Carlsson fired off a mating sequence beginning with 26.Rxb7! and after 26Rxb7 27.Rxb7  Qxb7 28.Qxg4 when black has nothing better than to resign. On 28Qxg2+ (or 28Rxg2+) white is a piece up. Otherwise black can choose which side of the board to get mated on. (See game; IM Pontus Carlsson)

No. 4  Vergeest-Kobese (2007 South African Open -  Cape Town, South Africa)
Watu Kobese has long been the strongest player in South Africa, but his friend IM Kenny Solomon emerged victorious in this tournament. However, Kobese played inspired chess and only time pressure stopped him from beating Solomon. In this position, he positionally outplays his lower rated opponent and executes a zugzwang maneuver after 27Bh3+!! On 28.Kxh3, Kobese weaves a mating net after 28Qxf1+ 29.Kh4 Qg2 30. h3 Kg7! Zugzwang! White is virtually paralyzed, so he plays the innocuous 30.a4 and after the subtle 30h6 is tangled in a mating net. The game ended 31.g4 g5+ 32.Kh5 Qf1!   with 33Qf7# in the air. (See game; IM Watu Kobese)

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