Chess Crackers
March/April 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

GM Luis Galego-IM Pontus Carlsson
Black to Move (after 77.Kg4-f5)

Brian Lilly-Daaim Shabazz
Black to Move (after 25.Ke1-f1)

No. 3

No. 4

IM Maurice Ashley-FM Sunil Weeramantry
White to Move (after 25Rb7-b6)

Lawyer Times - Peter Roberts
White to Move (after 29Na3-b5)


No. 1 Galego-Carlsson (2006 Torneig Internacional Ciutat de Sller - Mallorca, Spain) This game ended a successful tournament for Carlsson who earned his 3rd and final GM norm. Against Portugal's top player, Carlsson played energetically and seized the initiative early. After earning an extra pawn, he carefully centralized his king, a broke through with 77g4! Either of the black pawns will find their way through and white will eventually have to donate a rook after 78.Kxf4 and  the intermezzo 78Ne6+! (See game; Pontus Carlsson)

No. 2  Lilly-Shabazz (2006 World Open - Philadelphia, USA)
In this game, black played aggressively throughout. White has just sacrificed a rook on e2 (with check!) in order to arrive at the following position. It appears as if white has a number of different drawing continuations. After a long, hard look, black decided on 25Qxc5! returning material temporarily. The point of this sequence of forced moves is 26. Qg8+ (26.Qxd7+ Kf8) 26Qf8 (26Ke7 27.Qg7+ Kd6 28.Rd1+ and white can prolong the game) 27.Qxf8+ Kxf8 28.Nxd7+ Ke7 29.Nxb8 Rxb2 and the knight is trapped after 30.Nxa6 Be2+. The game ended 31.Ke2 Bxa6+ 32.Kf3 Bb7+ 33.Kf4 Kf6. (See game)

No. 3  Ashley-Weeramantry (1991 New York Open -  New York, USA)
This is one of Ashley's most famous games. A queen sacrifice on move 16 set the stage for an interesting battle where white had two minor pieces and a pawn on the seventh rank. With white's pieces swarming the board, Ashley opened lines toward the enemy king with 26.Rab1! Qxa2 27.Ra1. He is not in a hurry to queen the f7-pawn and conducts a major onslaught on the king. After 27Qxb3 28.Rxa7, black position comes crashing down on 28Rb7 29.Rxb7 Nxb7 30.Rxc6+ when white will deliver mate in one. (See game; Maurice Ashley)

No. 4  L. Times-Roberts (2005 World Open -  Philadelphia, USA)
This was a slow buildup culminating in an avalanche attack on the black king. In the position, black's forces are ill-prepared to defend the king's honor and 30.f6! opens the floodgates.  After this move, white effectively cuts the two defending pieces off and weaves a mating attack. Black staves off mate only at the expense of massive material. On hxg5 31.Nxg5 Nxf6 32.Rf1 Kf8 white removes all resistance with the second bomb 33.Rxf6! The game ends after 33gxf6 34.Qh8+ Ke7 35.Qxf6+ Kd7 36.Qxf7+ Qe7 37.Nf6+. (See game; Lawyer Times)

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