Chess Crackers
May/June 2001

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

J. Fernandez - NM Shearwood McClelland III
Black to Move

GM Alon Greenfeld -  FM Kevin Denny
Black to Move (after 27.e4)

No. 3

No. 4

FM Philip Corbin - Humphrey Andolo
White to Move (20d5)

GM Alexander Shabalov - GM Maurice Ashley
Black to Move (20.Bc6)


No. 1  Fernandez-McClelland (World Open 2000; Philadelphia, USA)
Black has to stop mate and almost every move would land him in a snake pit. That is... all those except 1. . . Be5! This bishop slices and dices in its most optimal place as 2. Qxe5 loses to Qg4+. If white the king moves on the first rank, black will play 3. . . Qxd1+. If white moves the king on the second rank, black will play Rc2+. In both cases "Woody" would be glad to demonstrate the variety of mating patterns possible with a Queen and Rook!

No. 2  Greenfeld-Denny (Israel versus Barbados; Olympiad 1988, Thessaloniki)
This game started very calmly and then turned into a tactical war!! The "Bajun" FM played sharply and after applying pressure on the open board won material. However, the Israeli GM would launch an attack of his own, but was curtly repelled by Denny's 1. . . Qxb2+! Of course, white "cried uncle" in lieu of 2. Rxb2 Rg1+ 3. Rb1 Rxb1#.  (See game)

No. 3  Corbin-Andolo (Barbados versus Kenya; Olympiad 2000, Istanbul)
FM Philip Corbin known for playing swashbuckling attacks, trotted out the Smith-Morra Gambit against his Kenya counterpart. The gambit was declined, but FM Corbin fought to open lines even at the expense of his own King's position. Black has just played d5 hoping to counter a flank attack by striking in the center. Well... it's too late. The crafty FM just continued his assault with 1. f6! and the attack crashed through after the ensuing 1. . . Nf5 2.  gxf5 dxe4 3.  fxg6 Rf8 4. Qh6 hxg6 5. Qg6+ Kh8 and 6. f7! 1-0.  (See game)

No. 4  Shabalov-Ashley (St. Martin Open; 1993)
The classic position shows the hidden power of the "hedgehog" formation. The hedgehog is characterized by the crouching nature of Black's pieces, apparently yielding space to white. In this position, Ashley's pieces don't appear to be doing anything special, but to disprove the skeptics, Black sounds the trumpets with 1. . . Nxg3!! 2.  Qf2 Nxe5! Yet another knight-mare! 3. Rxe5 Qxe5 4. Qxg3 Qxd4 5.  Rd1 Seems like Black's in trouble, but after 5. . . Bd6! it's over after 6. Qxd6 Qf2+ 7. Kh1 Qxb2. Black has calculated very accurately and white resigned in a few more moves. (See game)

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