Chess Crackers
July/August 2009

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 Amon Simutowe - Miguel Gabaldon Gomez
White to Move (after 35… Rb8-b6)

NM Okechukwu Iwu - IM Oladapo Adu
Black to Move (after 42.Nd5-e7 )

No. 3

No. 4

NM Kassa Korley - FM Eric Hansen
White to Move (after 27…Rc4-c5)

Donaldo Paiva - Anders Hagen
Black to Move (after 19…c6-c5)


No. 1 Simutowe - Gabaldon (2009 Arctic Open, Tromso, Norway)
Simutowe is the first African Grandmaster south of the Saharan region. There are a number of talented players to have come from the continent, but Simutowe has a unique story. Having touched about 40 countries in his career, the "Zambezi Shark" found himself in Norway for the Arctic Chess Challenge. Here he met a determined player from Spain. In the diagrammed position, Simutowe has an obvious advantage, but what is the winning blow. The Zambian cracked the whip with 36.Bxd7! This undermining protection of e5-square becomes apparent after 36...Bxd7 37.Nxg7 Kxg7 38.Bxe5.   Despite winning a pawn and the exchange, it would take another 80 moves to reel in the full point. (See game; GM Amon Simutowe)

No. 2  Iwu - Adu (2009 World Open, Philadelphia, USA)
This game between two Nigerian rivals. In this exciting game, he had a chance to increase the gap. Iwu sacrificed an exchange for pressure on the light squares. Adu played the game cautiously and allowed Iwu a chanced to play 42.Nd5-f6! Winning on the spot! Instead Iwu played  42.Nd5-e7 and Adu found the scintillating 42…Rh6! On 43.Nxg8 Rxh4 44.Re8 Rhxh2+ 45.Kg1 Rhg2+, white resigned. (See game; IM Oladapo Adu)

No. 3  Korley-Hansen (2009 World Open, Philadelphia, USA)
Kassa Korley is a talented young player with the distinction of three citizenships… USA, Denmark and Ghana. In this game, he is fighting to stay on course for an IM norm. In a relatively simple move, 28.Nd6! gives white a decisive initiative and he reeled in the full point after 28…Ra8 29.Rxe7 Ne5 30.Ne4 Rb5 31.Nf6+ Kg7 32.Ne4 Kf8 33.Rb7 Rb6 34.f4 Nd3 35.Rd1! followed by doubling Unfortunately, Korley lost his last game and the IM norm, but had a great tournament. (See game; NM Kassa Korley)

No. 4  Paiva-Hagan (2009 Arctic Open, Tromso, Norway)
Donaldo Paiva is an unheralded junior from Mozambique who came to the tournament with perhaps modest ambitions. There would be a considerable African contingent led by GM Amon Simutowe and a dozen South Africans. However, it was Paiva who shined. In this game, he enters a very complicated line in the Queen's Gambit and soon the board was exploding. However, it was Paiva who handled himself well and his Norwegian opponent sacrificed an exchange for an imposing mass of pawns. The problem was that black's king was stuck in the center where it would meet its demise after 20.e5! dxc3 21.Bxb7 Qxb7 22.exf6 cxb2 23.Rad1. Mate looms on the e-file. (See game)

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