Chess Crackers
November/December 2004

The following is a special feature highlighting games at the 2004 Chess Olympiad in Mallorca, Spain played by 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

Olatunji Adedeji - Paul Wojciechowski
White to Move (after 49g6-g5 )

IM Watu Kobese - IM Julio Ostos
White to Move (after 31Qc6xe6)

No. 3

No. 4

IM Fernando Braga - IM Watu Kobese
Black to Move (after 51.Kg1-h2)

Shane Matthews--IM Jose Dominguez
White to Move (after 39Ke6-f6)


No. 1  Adedeji-Wojciechowski (2004 Chess Olympiad - Mallorca, Spain - Nigeria vs. Jersey)
Out of a Sicilian Najdorf, this game petered out to what appeared to be a draw three pawns and a king on the same side of the board. However, pawn endings are very tricky one tempo can turn the tide quickly.  Black seemed to have forgotten the basic principles of opposition and allowed white king to penetrate.  In the diagrammed position, the only way to win is 50.Kf7! after which black has to give way and lose his pawns. For example, 50gxh4 51.gxh5 (zugzwang); 50g4 51.Kf6; 50.f4 51.Kf6. Black resigned before playing any further (See game).

No. 2 Kobese-Ostos (2004 Chess Olympiad - Mallorca, Spain - South Africa vs. Venezuela)
Very interesting French Defense where  Kobese quickly grabbed space on the kingside. Black castled queenside and the attack shifted to that side of the board as the South African sacrificed an exchange to open lines. In the diagrammed position, white has bishops raking the queenside and a rook on an open file hemming in the enemy king. These motifs were exploited with 32.Qc5! Of course, with 33.Qxa7# threatened, black had to defend.  With no other reasonable move, black played 32Ra8 after which Kobese punched out 33.Qxc4+! with mate to follow. Nice geometry! (See game)

No. 3  Braga-Kobese  (2004 Chess Olympiad - Mallorca, Spain -
Italy vs. South Africa)
Another nice finish by the African Lion.  Kobese is far more positional with the black pieces and this game featured lots of maneuvering and heavy piece remained into the 30th move. With all the minor pieces gone and only the heavy pieces left, the battle grew heated as Braga won a couple of pawns and probed with his queen. Kobese concentrated on building an attack and used a passed d-pawn as a deflection.  At the crucial point, black struck with 51Rxh4+! The point is that after 52.Rxh4 Rxg2+ 53.Qxg2 d2 white cannot stop the pawn from queening. The Italian player resigned after 54.Re4 Qd3. (See game)

No. 4  Matthews-Dominguez (2004 Chess Olympiad - Mallorca, Spain - Jamaica vs. Dominican Republic)

The game featured two regional rivals and began as a positional battle out of the Ruy Lopez. However, black  made an oversight in the game to an intermezzo knight fork and lost a piece for two pawns. He fought on but spent a lot of time trying to untangle his pieces and push his pawn majority. While the Dominican was occupied with that task, Matthews barreled down the d-file with his rooks and had the black king trapped. The game was curtly finished with the stealthy
40.Bb6! and black will be mated or lose his army.  Black decided to choose a soldier's death and got mated after 40Re8 41.Bd8+ Ke6 (41Kg6 42. R1d6+! Bxd6 43.Rg7+ Kh5 44.Rg5#) 41.Ng7+! Bxg7 43.R1d6#.  The rook on the a8-square never saw action. (See game)

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