Chess Crackers
July/August 2008

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

Ernest-Colding-Grace Nsubuga
Black to Move (after 12.h2-h4)

IM Watu Kobese - Ronnie Van Tonder
White to Move (after 29Qb6-e3)

No. 3

No. 4

GM Pontus Carlsson - FM Nils Grandelius
White to Move (after 25Kg8-h7)

FM Emory Tate - GM Varuzhan Akobian
White to Move (after 28Bd6-f8)


No. 1 Colding-Nsubuga (2001 Wilbert Paige Memorial - Harlem, New York, USA) 
A historic tournament at a historic venue in a historic town. The Wilbert Paige Memorial was a tournament gathering ten of the strongest players of African descent. There were four foreign countries represented and a nice mix of players assembled at the famous Hotel Theresa where Malcolm X gave speeches and where Fidel Castro stayed when venturing to Harlem. Colding, a New Yorker, was facing the Ugandan champion and came out like a tiger against Nsubuga's passive Philidor. However, Colding overstepped and Nsubuga countered with an alert 12Nxe4! Colding tried applying pressure, but Nsubuga consolidated and won the rook ending with good technique. (See game; Grace Nsubuga)

No. 2  Kobese-VanTonder (2002 Kobese-Van  Tonder Match, South Africa)
This match was a challenge from Kobese who skipped the South African Open won by Van Tonder. The "African Lion" had stated he'd beat any other South African player 7-0 in a match to prove he was still king. Kobese did win 7-0, but he came close to losing a couple games including this one. In this wild Sicilian Dragon, Van Tonder had a chance to snare a point, but missed his opportunity and now Kobese was on the attack. Here Kobese played 30.Rf8+! This may be the easy part, but this is a key move and it would precede the demolition of 30Kd7 31.Rxd6+!  exd6 (31... Kc7 32. Rc8+! Kxc8 33. Qf8+ Kc7 34. Qd8#) 32. Qg7+ Kc6 33. Rc8+ Kb6 34. Qc7+ Ka6 35. Ra8+ winning. Black played on several more moves without his queen before resigning. (See game; IM  Watu Kobese)

No. 3  Carlsson-Grandelius (2008 Swedish Championship - Vxj, Sweden)
This is was an interesting battle of an Open Ruy Lopez where white kept a slight advantage in space. Unfortunately for black, that space increased and in the given position, Carlsson finished nicely with 26.Ne4! threatening to eliminate a key defender in the bishop. Of course black can play 26Bxf5, but the game had a snappy end with 27.Nxf6+ gxf6 28.Rd8 Bd7 29.Rxd7 Re8 30.f5 h5 31.h4 and black is in zugzwang. White will simply march the king and ravage the queenside. Beautiful!  (See game; GM Pontus Carlsson)

No. 4  Tate-Akobian (2006 U.S. Championship - San Diego, USA)
This was one of Tate's shining moments. He was playing in the first round of his first U.S. Championship with the white pieces. How would he do on the big stage? In this game, he was impressive. After playing the unusual Reti, he closed the position and grabbed a space advantage. Unbeknownst to Akobian and others watching, Tate had a sinister idea which he launched after 29.Bxh6!! After 29gxh6 30. Nxf6+ Ke7 31. Ng4+ Ke8 32. Re3 black had to sidestep with 32. Kd7 33. Nxe5+ Kc7 34. Nxf7. White was up three clear pawns and a shell-shocked Akobian played on a few moves before resigning. (See game! IM Emory Tate)

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