Chess Crackers
May/June 2008

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 Arnd Lauber - IM Emory Tate
Black to Move (after 29.Ra1-c1)

IM Pontus Carlsson - FM Valeri Lilov
White to Move (after 30a4-a3)

No. 3

No. 4

Jasmine Fermin - Nymisha Rao
White to Move

Medina Parrilla - Alexandra Botez
Black to Move (after 30Rg8-f8)


No. 1 Lauber-Tate (2008 Benidorm Open - Benidorm, Spain) 
This is one of those snap tactics. While white should be able to survive the position, the constant pressure from defending causes one to make mistakes. Tate steered the game into his domain and ended the game with the neat 29Qxe5+! White resigned because 30.fxe5 Rf1 mate, or 30.Kf2 Rxf4+! and white has to give up all of his pieces before he's mated. (See game; IM Emory Tate)

No. 2  Carlsson-Lilov (2008 European Championships - Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
Carlsson had a mediocre performance in the tournament, but uncorked a mice double exchange sacrifice. Looking at the position, it is obvious that black is in deep trouble king stuck in center, weak dark squares, knight cannot move (mate on d8) and a rook out of play.  Lilov marched his pawn toward the queening square, but Carlsson exploited all of his weaknesses with 31.Rxd7! After 31Bxd7 32.Rxd7! black is busted after Kxd7 33.Qxf7+ Kc6 34.Bg2+ Kb6 35.Qb7+ Ka5 36.Bd2+ Ka4 37.Bc6+ mating 1-0 (See game; GM Pontus Carlsson)

No. 3  Fermin-Rao (2008 All-Girls Nationals - Dallas, USA)
This is a nice game by Jasmine Fermin who placed joint 1st  in the under-14 section. In the diagrammed position, there are makings of a combination weak squares around the king, white's raking bishops, Bb2 on same diagonal as king and white's menacing rook. Fermin, who is part of a cadre of talented girls out of New York played the startling  1. Rxg7!! (1.Qg6 is recommended by Fritz) 1Kxg7 (1Rxg7 2.Qxh6+ Kg8 3.Qxe6+) 2.Qg6+ Kf8 3.Qxe6 Qxd3 4. Qxc6. Done. (See story!)

No. 4  Parrilla-Botez (2008 All-Girls Nationals - Dallas, USA)
Parrilla won the overall championship and played this nice gem. In the above position, you will immediately see that black is in trouble. King stuck in center (again), weak dark squares, poor rook, etc. To remove all resistance, the native New Yorker cracked the whip with 1.Rxe4! Why this move? Notice that the black knight is holding black's position together by a thread. The text move makes Nc5 impossible after Qg7. After 1dxe4 and now 2.Qg7?! (2.Nxb5! was stronger) 2Re7 (only move) 3.Bxe7 Kxe7 4.Qf6+ Ke8 5.Nxb5 still works. Black is lost, but played on a few more before tipping the king.   (See story! Medina Parrilla)

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