Chess Crackers
September/October 2002

The following is a special feature honoring international stars, some of whom will be competing in the 2002 Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia will find motivated teams from Africa and the Caribbean facing the world's best players. 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

Raphaelle Delahaye - Sophie Milliet
White to Move  (after 24… Kd7-e7)

NM Watu Kobese - IM E. Dragomarezkij
White to Move  (after 44… Kg6-g5)

No. 3

No. 4

FM Ryan Harper - NM Yogi Ramsingh
White to Move (after 28… f7-f6)

NM Shane Matthews - Equitable Brown
White to Move (after 17… e6-e5)


No. 1  Delahaye-Milliet (France National Championship (Women), 2002)
Raphaelle Delahaye brings a refreshing look to the sport of chess with her striking looks and energetic play. Her opponent is the 18-year old Sophie Milliet, a rising star and the vice-champion in the 2002 Women's Rapids. In this game, Delahaye had played an enterprising thrust (13.e6!) to throw the entire black army into disarray. Not only did the king become confined to an uncomfortable life in the center of the board, but upon second glance, white has many attacking routes! Can the black King  scurry to the queenside to the b8-square? Not before Delahaye had a chance to play the zinger, 25.Bxe6! (25.Nd5+ wins, but is not as strong). The crucial d5-square falls as does the black queen after the annihilating Nd5. For example, 25… Nxe6 (25… Kxe6 26.Nd5 and the Queen is trapped.) 26.Nd5+ Kd7 27.Nxb6+ axb6 and Milliet resigned 13 moves later before being mated. (See game)

No. 2  Kobese - Dragomarezkij (Krumbach Open, Germany, 1991)
Although IM Watu Kobese chose not to represent South Africa in this year's 2002 Olympiad (as he has in the past), he is one of the continent's premier players and has taken a position as the trainer and coach of the Botswana Olympiad team. The above game occurred during the South African's early travels in Europe. This position resulted from a very exciting Sicilian and climaxed when Kobese found 45. Rhxh6! Not 45.Rh5+?! Kxh5 46.Nf6+ and 46… Kg5!=. The point of the text move is seen after 45… Rxh6 when white will win at least a rook after 46.Re8. Dragomarezkij resigned immediately. (See game)

No. 3  Harper - Ramsingh (Trinidad National Championship, 2002)
FM Ryan Harper will play Trinidad's board #1 in the 2002 Olympiad and made quite a statement by winning the Trinidadian Championship by a stunning 11-0 score. In this game with Ramsingh, Harper had built a space advantage and pried open the kingside with a pawn storm. Ramsingh played 26…f6 in an attempt to close the position, but Harper ignored the attack on his queen and played 29.fxe6! Of course the queen cannot be captured with 29… fxe5 because of 30.gxh7+ Kh8 31.Rf8#, but black is being steamrolled so he opted for 29… Rxd6 30.Qh5 (30.e7, 30.cxd6, 30.gxh7+ all win as well.)  30… hxg6 31.Bxg6 and black resigned a couple of moves later. (See game)

No. 4 Matthews - Brown (Jamaica National Championship, 2002)
This is a textbook example of what happens when you play the Sicilian Dragon inaccurately… you get mated! In the annals of opening theory, the Dragon is one of the most thoroughly analyzed systems. Not for the faint of heart, both sides must avoid countless prepared lines and sacrifices to avoid getting mated brilliantly. This is exactly what happened to former Jamaican Junior Champ Equitable Brown.  In the diagrammed position, Black is in trouble not only because he has blocked his "Dragon" bishop and has no queenside play, but because Matthews (Jamaica's #1 player) has skillfully conjured up ominous threats around the king. Thunder rolled after the stunning 18.Rh8+!! and like a bolt of lightening, black is suddenly mated! Black played 18… Kxh8 (On 18…Bxh8 19.Qxg6+ Bg7 20.Qxf7+ Kh7 21.Rh1+ Nh5 22.Rxh5#) and the game ended with 19.Bxf7! Bh3 20.Rh1 Ng8 21.Rxh3+ Bh6 22.Rxh6+ Kg7 23.Qxg6+ Kf8 24.Rh8 Ke7 25.Qe6+ and black will be mated.   (See game)

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