Chess Crackers
March/April 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

IM Watu Kobese--FM Norman Rogers
White to Move (after 26Bg7-f6)

Daaim Shabazz - David Spigel
White to Move (after 22 Rg8xf8 )

No. 3

No. 4

IM Gabriel Mateuta - IM Amon Simutowe
Black to Move (after 35. Qf7-f4)

GM Pontus Carlsson - IM Ray Robson
White to Move (after 36Kf8-f7)


No. 1 Kobese-Rogers (2001 Wilbert Paige Memorial, Harlem, New York, USA)
A game between two players with similar styles. This time the South African got the best of the battle. Kobese took advantage of the space and black's lack of coordination and played 27.c4! and all of a sudden, black's position comes apart. The game ended 27Ne7 28. g4 Kg8 29. gxh5 Bh4 30. c5 1-0.  (See game; IM Watu Kobese)

No. 2  Shabazz-Spigel (2008 World Open, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
A slashing attack from start to finish. Black fell into home preparation and ended up in a lost position out of the opening. White kept the attack and finished with 23.Qa3! and after 23Kg8, the game ended with 24.Ne7+ Kh8 and 25.Ng6+. (See game)

No. 3  Mateuta-Simutowe (2000 World Junior Championship, Yerevan, Armenia)
This was the tournament that led the Zambian junior into the spotlight. Ranked 42nd on the chart, he finished joint 2nd behind GM Lazaro Bruzon! In this game, Simutowe seemed to come out of the opening slightly worse, but was able to make use of two bishops and an open h-file for an assault. The final blow came after 35Qh5! After which 36. Rd2 Bxe5! (crushing) 37. Qxe4+ Kg7 38. d7 Bxh2 39. Rf5 (desperation) Qxf5! 40. Qxf5 Bc7+ 0-1 (See game; IM Amon Simutowe)

No. 4  Carlsson-Robson (2008 Reykjavik Open, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Carlsson is usually the one unfurling a pet Dragon, but this time it is the young sensation from the U.S. who tries to torch the board. Carlsson seized central control while the white knight harassed black's coordination. At the opportune moment, the Swedish player sacrificed the exchange with 31.Rxe6!, but had to see far enough to play 37.Re3! Black's menacing battery on the d-file looks ridiculous. After  the text move, black exposed king is soon conquered. White direct kingside attack came crashing through. The game ended 37...Qd1+ 38.Kg2 Rd6 39.Nb5 (beginning the knight tour) Rc6 40.Nc3 Qc2 41.Ne4 Qxc4 42.Qh5+ Kg7 43.Ng5 Qd5+ 44.Rf3 Rh8 45.Qg4 Rh7 46.Nf7+ Kf8 47.Ne5+ Rf7 48.Nxf7 1-0 The knight certainly earned its wages. (See game; GM Pontus Carlsson)

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