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Che Guevara’s  ‘Second Girlfriend’

Hint and Explanation:
Or Checkmate

For the Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, chess was more than a hobby. It was a passion almost as great as his desire to foment social change.

He unabashedly referred to the game as “mi segunda novia” (my second girlfriend).

Although it seems he would have played day and night if his duties as minister of industry and director of the Cuban National Bank had allowed, chess was more than a personal obsession.

“It is a pastime,” he said, “but it is also an educational tool to aid reasoning. The nations with great chess teams have also become world leaders in other areas.”

At the closing ceremony of the 1962 Capablanca Memorial international tournament in Havana, held during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he declared: “At this moment of global conflict between very different ideological systems, chess is capable of uniting people. ...”

Guevara’s style of chess play was not unlike what you would expect from a man willing to fight when he thought it necessary.

According to Argentinian grandmaster and businessman Miguel Najdorf, Guevara “was quite a strong player.

He preferred an aggressive style and he enjoyed sacrifices.”

His efforts to promote chess in Cuba were intense and constant.

Today, Cuba has the strongest chess players in Latin America — among them 28 grandmasters.

Below is a win by Ian Nepomniachtchi against Ruslan Ponomariov from the ACP Cup tournament in Riga, Latvia.

Nepomniachtchi Ponomariov

1. c4 g6

2. Nc3 Bg7

3. d4 Nf6

4. e4 d6

5. Nf3 O-O

6. h3 Qe8

7. g4 Na6

8. Bg5 c5

9. Qd2 b6

10. Rd1 cxd4

11. Nxd4 Bb7

12. f3 Nc5

13. Bh6 a6

14. Be2 Rd8

15. h4 e5

16. Nf5 Bxh6

17. Qxh6 Ne6

18. Nd5 Nxd5

19. cxd5 gxf5

20. gxf5 Kh8

21. Qf6ch Ng7

22. Rg1 Rg8

23. h5 Black resigns

Solution to Beginner’s Corner: 1. Bc5! does it. If … Bxc5, 2. Rd8 mate!