Chess Crackers
March/April 2010

The following represent a variety of positions by talented players of African descent. In the following diagrams, you're challenged to find the best line of play. 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 Emory Tate - FM Maurice Ashley
White to Move and draw (after 51 f3-f2)

Justus Williams - Aleksandr Ostrovskiy
White to Move (after 23...Rf8-d8)

No. 3

No. 4

IM Amon Simutowe - IM Pentala Harikrishna
White to Move (after 60Rf8-c8)

John Porter - Behrooz Vakil
White to Move (after 16...Bh7-g6)


No. 1 Tate-Ashley (1993 New York Open, New York, USA)
This is one of the most celebrated games in the history of Black chess. Two titans battle in the historic New York Open square off in a game for the ages. The game stemmed from a Rauzer Attack and Tate came at Ashley like a bull charging at a matador. This match was akin to the famous Frazier-Ali match,  except it would not have a winner. Tate's blows were parried by Ashley and then Tate had to find the brilliant 52.Rxe5+! to save the game. After 52. Rxe5+ Kxe5 53. Ke2 Nf3! 54. b7. Now who's winning? Well after 54 Nd4+ 55. Kf1 Nc6 56. b5 Nb8 57. c6 Kd6 and the game was completely drawn.  (See game)

No. 2  J. Williams - Ostrovskiy (2010 Philadelphia Open, Philadelphia, USA)
The Scholastic All-American faced off against a Master-level player and would be the only player to inflict defeat on him. This game showed a high level of maturity by the 11-year old. He deftly exploited the dark squares and drew the black king in the center. As a coup d'etat, he played the straight forward. 24.Qa2! netting a piece since mate looms after 24Qb7 25.Qxe6+ Kf8 26.Nxh7#. (See game)

No. 3  Simutowe - Harikrishna (2000 World Junior, Yerevan, Armenia)
This game came in an important tournament for the Zambian star. Coming in the tourjnament as 42nd ranked, no one expected him to be in the top half, but he ended on joint 2nd behind Lazaro Bruzon. In this game, he would play a young Indian star who would later break 2700. In this game, Harikrishna sacrificed a piece and went into complications. When the smoke cleared, he had three pawns and a rook for two minor pieces. However, white forced some weaknesses on the light squares and with a towering knight on e6, black had to give back an exchange for a pawn. Now Harikrishna had three pawns for a piece. However, white's bishop pair begin slicing through the board and in the diagrammed position, Simutowe conjured up a nice deflection tactic for a mating attack. After 61.a5! Black has to donate his bishop with 61Bxa5 (61Bc5 62.Bc3+) 62.Bxa5 and now white is set to demolish the black king after 62 h5 63. Bb6 (See game)

No. 4  Porter - Vakil (1996 U.S. Class, Chicago, USA)
This game was played in the A-Section of the Class Championships, but it may have been one of the most exciting games in the tournament. Porter started the game slowly in the opening, but played a game that is "once-in-a-lifetime". In the position above, black seemed to have equalized given white's unambitious play. There is no way Vakil could have foreseen the possibilities stemming from 17.hxg6!! Yikes! Porter sacrifices the exchange  (with check!) and will sacrifice his queen a move later. After 17... Rxh1+ 18. Ke2 Nxd4+! 19. Bxd4 Rxd1 20. gxf7+ Kd7 21. Bxe6+ Kc6 22. Rxd1 Qh8 white had a chance to win outright with 23.Bxf6! He played 23.Be3 and the game went on another 12 moves. (See game)

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