It's a big weekend for U.S. Chess, with the Junior High Nationals
(Dallas, April 46) and the College Final Four (Baltimore, April 56).
Watch the games for both live on monroi and try your hand at this
tactics warmup in which I.S. 318 coach Elizabeth Vicary picked ten critical positions from the Grade Nationals held in Houston, Texas in December 2007.
1.
Sakai,Hibiki (1916)  Foley,Sayaka (1557)
White found an idea that leads to a quick mate. Show Solution
2.
Morales,Luciana (2099)  Kiewra,Keaton (2317)
How could White have won?
Show Solution Solution34.Nd8! Qxd8 (34...Rf8 35.Qxg8+ Rgxg8 (35...Rfxg8 36.Nf7#) 36.Bxf8 Rxf8 37.Ne6 Re8 38.d5+) 35.Qxf7 Rg8 (35...Rg6 36.Nh4 Rxh6 37.Rg1) 36.Re7+ (Hide Solution)
3.
Kiewra,Keaton (2317)  Ortiz,Nadya Karolina (2250)
White just played 35. Rd1?, countering the threat against f2 with a backrank checkmate. How could Black have won?
Show Solution
4.
Jiang,Winston (1388)  Pamatmat,Jarod (1998)
Here Black played 30... Rxd4, which wins one pawn back, but how could he have gotten two?
Show Solution Solution30...Rb8! 31.Nd6 (31.Nc5? Bxc5) 31...Bxd4 32.Bc2 Nf4+ 33.Kf1 Bxe5 (Hide Solution)
5.
Lu,Eric (1808)  Hochman,Catherine (1582)
White to play and win.
Show Solution Solution27.Ra8!!+ A very pretty move that wins at least a piece. 27...Be8 [Obviously not 27...Qxa8? 28.Ne7+ Kh8 29.Qxa8+; 27...Nd8 28.e6! Bxe2 29.Nf6+ Kh8 30.e7!+] 28.d7 Bxd7 29.Qxf7+! Another nice touch as well as the strongest move. 29...Kh8 30.Rxf8+ Nxf8 31.Nef4 Bxe5? 32.Qxf8# 1–0 (Hide Solution)
6.
Lu,Tommy (1416)  Adelberg,David (1803)
White's last move was 18. Bg5. Why is this a blunder?
Show Solution Solution18...Nxe4 19.Bxe7 Nxf2 20.Bxd8 Nxd1 21.Raxd1 Rfxd8 and Black has won a pawn (Hide Solution)
7.
Vaidya,Chaitanya N  Guadalupe,Francisco (2226)
White found a winning combination here. What was it?
Show Solution Solution19.Bxe6! The threat is 20. Qg6, after which there is no way to stop 21. Nh6# 19...Neg5 [19...fxe6 20.Qg6 There's no way to stop both Nh6# and bishop retreats and Qg7; 19...Bf6 20.Qg6 Bxg7 21.Nh6+ Kh8 22.Nxf7+ Kg8 23.Nxd8+ Kh8 24.Nf7+ Kg8 25.Ng5+ Rxe6 26.Nxe6 Nef6 27.Qxg7#; The best attempt at defense is 19...Bg5 20.Bxf7+ (20.Qg6? Rxe6) 20...Kxf7 21.Qxh7 Ke6 22.Rae1 and f3 will win the piece back and retain a strong attack] 20.Qg6 1–0 (Hide Solution)
8.
Estrada,Nelly (1978)  Fung,Samuel
Find a winning idea for Black.
Show Solution Solution 20...Ne6! Black threatens Nf4. If white has to respond to this with Kf1, he loses the Nf3. If instead he takes on f4, black mates with Ne3+ and Qh6. 21.Rh3 Nxf2 [Not 21...Nf4+? 22.gxf4 Ne3+ 23.Kh2 when Qh6 is not check. ] 22.Kxf2 Ng5 23.Rh2 Nxf3 24.Bxf3 Rxf3+ 25.Ke2 Rxg3 [25...Qg4 is even stronger 26.Ke1 Bg5 27.Qc2 Re3+] 26.Rxg3 Qxg3 27.Kd1 Rf1+ 28.Kc2 Qf4 29.Qe2 Bg5 30.Kc3 h6 31.a3 Rf3 32.Kc2 Qe3 33.Qg2 Qxd3# 0–1 (Hide Solution)
9.
Guadalupe,Francisco (2226)  Rodriguez,Eric (2224)
Taking on h3 looks tempting, but with which piece?
Show Solution Solution21...Bxh3! is the strongest ( Ed.Note 21...Re8 with the threat of Rxh3 is also very strong.) 22.gxh3 Rg5 threatening Qe3 and Rg1#. In the game, Rodriguez played 21...Rxh3 and the game continued 22.gxh3 Bxh3+ 23.Ke2 Re8+ 24.Ne4 dxe4 25.Bb3+ Kh8 26.Ne5 Be6?? (Hide Solution)
10.
Guadalupe,Francisco (2226)  Rodriguez,Eric (2224)
Black just blundered with 26... Be6?? How does White win immediately?
Show Solution Solution 27.Ng6+! hxg6 28.Qd7 White has too many threats: Rh1, taking on e8, and taking on e6. 1–0 (Hide Solution)
If you are a USCF member, you can read Vicary's article on the event, "Texas: A Growing Force in Scholastic Chess." Check your April Chess Life Magazine or read it online . Also don't miss her Nationals Preview from a few days ago.
