Chess Crackers
May/June 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

NM Norman Rogers- NM Joshua Friedel
White to Move (after 32Qxb4)

GM Maxim Dlugy-FM Stephen Muhammad
Black to Move (after 19.Qe1)

No. 3

No. 4

NM Salah Asaad - NM Warren Elliott
Black to Move  (after 39.Nc4)

GM Nick deFirmian - FM Emory Tate
Black to Move  (after 26.Rg1)


No. 1  Rogers-Friedel (Foxwoods, 2002)
An exciting game coming out of the Guioco Piano. In a game that featured hand-to-hand combat throughout, "Pete" Rogers beat back an attack, penetrated Black's position and when his opponent thought he was in the clear, Pete uncorked the shocker 33.Qd6!! This stunning move wins after 33 Qxd6 (33cxd6 34.Rxf8#) 34.exd6 Kg8 35.dxc7. Black reeled off a couple of useless checks before resigning. Of course on 33.Nxe6??, white would have lost to 33Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Qxf2!  (See game)

No. 2  Dlugy-Muhammad (ICC 3-minute blitz,  1999)
FM Stephen Muhammad is a regular at the Internet Chess Club and his highest rating reached a stratospheric 3049! In this game, he plays one of the strongest blitz players in the world in GM Maxim Dlugy. In this King's Indian, the game took on a characteristic flow: White's queenside expansion vs. Black's kingside attack.  Looking at the diagrammed position, there doesn't seem to be much going on but wait a minute, Muhammad just played 19Nf5!! A brilliant move threatening to batter the door down to White's king with 20Nfg3+ with a swift mating attack to follow. A stunned Dlugy accepts the bait with 20.exf5, but Muhammad is not finished yet and sacks another knight with 20 Ng3+! White has to part with the lady with 21.Qxg3 (21.hxg3 Qg5! mating),  and was mauled by the gallivanting Black queen. (See game)

No. 3  DeFirmian-Tate (New Jersey Open, 2001)
It's so amazing to watch Emory Tate's games because of  his creative ideas. He is able to rattle the strongest of players, and in many cases, winning brilliantly.  This game was no exception.  Tate's formula for success with Black seems to be to leave the king in the center and rain all the pieces down on White's king. His wins against Alex Beltre and GM Sergey Kudrin are examples of this. In this game, he launched a kingside assault, sacked a piece and then penetrated the position. In the diagrammed position, it appears that DeFirmian can hang on, but Tate put an end to such thinking with the smart 26Qg2+! After 27.Rxg2 hxg2+ 28.Kg1 Rh1+ 29.Kf2 Rxal, Black had a menacing passed pawn,  knights in dominating positions and his other rook poised to join the party. White couldn't ease the pressure and had to resign in lieu of the pending knight-mare.  (See game)

No. 4 Asaad-Elliott (Chess Olympiad, Istanbul, 2000)
FM Warren Elliott is Jamaica's brightest young star. For two years running, the Montego Bay native has won the National Championship including last year's impressive 9-0 romp.  Known as a well-prepared and aggressive player, Elliott represented Jamaica in the 2000 Chess Olympiad, and played Salah Assad from Syria. In this tactical Najdorf, both sides were throwing heavy blows. After many exchanges, FM Elliott kept the fire going with the stunning 39Ne5!! It's very tricky but it all checks out. Here's the trick. On 40.Nxe5 Rxd6 41.Rxd6 Kxd6 42.Nf7+  Ke6 43.Nxh8, White has regained the rook, but the Jamaican master accurately calculated that the clumsy knight on h8 has trouble catching the nimble pawn. The White knight frantically tried to stop the pawn, but the Black king offered blocking. White resigned before the g-pawn high-stepped it into the end zone for a touchdown. (See game)

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