Chess Crackers
November/December 2001

In honor of Cuban master Rogelio Ortega, below are six positions during the course of his chess career. In each diagram, you're challenged to find the winning line. Each position ends with decisive material gain or mate. Solve each of the six problems (as deep as possible) and check your answers by scrolling below. No peeking!!

No. 2

No. 1

Rogelio Ortega - Oscar Trujillo
White to Move (after 27Qb5)

Rogelio Ortega-Lothar Zinn
White to Move (after 28a5)

No. 3

No. 4

Nejib Bouaziz - Rogelio Ortega
Black to Move (after 26.Nb3)

Rogelio Ortega - Bjorn Brink Claussen
White to Move  (after 24Rxd3)

No. 3

No. 4

Larrea Soto - Rogelio Ortega
Black to Move (49.Bf1)

Andrzej Filipowicz - Rogelio Ortega
Black to Move (32.Re7)


No. 1  Ortega-Trujillo (1969 Cuban National Championship)
Ortega was a frequent competitor in the Cuban National Championships. He won clear first in 1966, and finished =2nd in this tournament. In the land of Jos Raul Capablanca, Cubans seem have a flair for speculative play. This game was no different and white ended the game with the snappy 1.Rxf8+! Kxf8 2.Qg7+ and black resigned without waiting for 2Ke8 3.Nf6+ Kd8 Rd1+ winning. (See game)

No. 2  Ortega-Zinn (Lasker Memorial, Berlin, 1968)
White builds a mating net with 1. Rxe5! Since 1...Kxe5 loses the queen to 2. Qg3+, black  plays 2Qc8. White plows toward the exposed king with 3. Qf4! Black tries to flee with 3Kc6, but after 4. Ba4+ Kb6 5. Qe3+, he resigned in lieu of the pending 6.Rc5+. (See game)

No. 3  Brink Claussen-Ortega (Chess Olympiad, Varna, Bulgaria, 1962)
After building up an attack, white threw down the last gauntlet with 1.Rxh5! ignoring the unprotected knight on e4. After 1 Qd4+ 2.Kh1, black took the bait with 2 Qxe4  and Ortega sealed the fate of the black king with 3.f6+! If 3 exf6 then mate follows after 4. Qh6+ If black doesn't take the f6 pawn then he is mated with 4.Rh8+! (See game)

No. 4 Bouaziz-Ortega (Chess Olympiad, Havana, Cuba, 1966)
This is an absolutely beautiful long-range combination. Of course, most would see 1d3!, but how about the following sequence? 2.Rxd3 (2.Bxd3 gets murdered after simply 2bxc4) 2bxc4 3.Rc3 axb3 4. Rxc8+ Bxc8 5.Qxc8+ Qe8 6.Qxe8+  Nxe8. Now comes the point of 1d3! White plays 7.Kf1 (If 7.e5 then the black knight will travel the c7-b5-a3 route.) 7b2 8.Bd3 Nd6! 9.Ke1, but after Nc4! white will lose the bishop. (See game)

No. 5 Filipowicz-Ortega (Chess Olympiad, Varna, Bulgaria, 1962 )
Ortega had to see this combination far in advance. Notice white's menacing bishops ready to attack. Ortega never allows this and thwarts white's plans with 1Rxh2!! On 2.Rxf7, Fritz gives mate in nine; on 2.Re1, it's mate in ten!! The Polish saw the danger and played 2.Kf2 after which the Cuban shocked him with 2g1(Q)+! 2.Kxg1  f2+!! and white is mated after either 3.Kxh2 Qf4+! (the game continuation) or 3.Kf1 Bh3+. Beautiful!! (See game)

No. 6 Soto-Ortega (Havana, Cuba, 1952)
An interesting combination showing the long-range power of the bishop and queen. Ortega shattered white fortress with the sparkling 1Nxd4!! White has to accept or allow 2Bxc5 with major problems. So after 2.Qxd4, black launches 2Qa7 (2...Qf8! is even stronger). White feebly played 3.Nd3 when 3.Nb5! still leaves black on top. However, after 3Bxd3 4.Qxd3, black plays 4Bxc5+ and all of a sudden mate is unavoidable! The black queen will simply slide to h7 and inflict tremendous pain on the white monarch on h3. An absolutely amazing mating pattern! (See game)

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