Chess Crackers
March/April 2002

The following represent a variety of positions by talented Black players. In each diagram, 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 Pascal Charbonneau-NM Norman Rogers
Black to Move (after 21.Qxh6)

FM Morris Giles-FM E. Martinovsky
White to Move (after 22Kg7)

No. 3

No. 4

IM Amon Simutowe - NM Lukas Cernousek
White to Move  (after 19Kg7)

IM Larry Kaufman - FM Emory Tate
Black to Move (after 25.Qh4)


No. 1  Charbonneau-Rogers (Penn State Masters, 2002)
Norman "Pete" Rogers earned his second IM norm with this win against the Canadian Junior Champion. Charbonneau would later earn his 3rd norm (and IM title) in this tournament. After the game built up into a tactical fever pitch, the Canadian grabbed  a pawn with 21.Qxh6 with multiple threats on the open lines. There was but one flaw in this 21Rxg3+! and the game came to an abrupt end as white cannot capture the rook without losing the queen to 22Bxd4+. (See game)

No. 2  Giles-Martinovsky (Tournament of Champions II,  1987)
One may wonder how white got such a spatial advantage in this position. It was actually out of a King's Gambit Declined, and it became tactical in the middlegame. In the diagrammed position,  white is on the prowl and there are many focal points in black's camp (e.g., f6, f7, g6), and Giles finds a way to indirectly attack these squares with 23.Re8! This powerful move causes the black queen to scurry quickly, but how does she defend the king? Her soldiers are unemployed on the queenside and she has few options. Taking the rook with 23...Nxe8 gets mated after 24.Qxf7+ and 25.Qxg6, but after 23Qd7, white finished curtly with 24.c6! (black is zugzwanged) 24Nh5 25.Qe5+ f6 26.Rd7+ (quicker was 26.Nf5+). Would Morris Giles please come out of retirement!?   (See game)

No. 3  Simutowe-Cernousek (World Junior Championship, Athens,  2001)
This attack was made to order. White has an advantage in space with the deadly open lines. He made the Czech Republican resign after the devastating 20.Rxd7! One can understand the resignation because if 20Bxd7, then white plays 21.exf6+ Kxf6 (21...Kf8 22.Bh6#; 21Kh6 22.Qh4#; 21Kh8 22.Qf7! and mate follows shortly) 22.Bb2+. On 20Qxd7 21.exf6+ Kh8 (21...Kxf6 22.Bb2+) 22.f7! threatening the rook and the deadly 23.Bb2+. (See game)

No. 4 Kaufman-Tate (Virginia Open, 1999)
This was truly a wild encounter that one must see! Whenever Emory Tate sits down at the board, you may expect something to happen.  This came out of an irregular Sicilian where IM Kaufman tried to trick Tate with a tricky move order  5.f3!? instead of the usual 5.Nc3.  In the above position, cannons were blazing as Kaufman tried to subject Tate to a savage beating. After shredding Tate's kingside, Kaufman perhaps thought 25.Qh4 would bring home the win. It does appear to be menacing, but Tate played his ace, 25Qxg5!! Much of the following moves were forced and after 26.Qxg5  Rxf2! 27.Rxf2 Nxf2 28.Qxg6, black pieces swarmed the board and the queen was defenseless to stop the assault on the king and ended up in an Arabian mating net.  Perhaps the queen sac was forced, but what a beaut!!!! (See game) To see another Tate gem, see Chess Crackers,  Mar/Apr, No. 3.

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