Tate, Emory 3

Endgame Fundamentals: Emory Tate

By Donny Gray

Most chess players in GA, especially the older crowd, knew Emory Tate.  If you played much tournament chess at all, you saw him on the top boards. Unfortunately, he died on October 17th at a tournament in California. He left this world doing what he loved to do: playing chess.

There have been many articles already published online about him and his chess career. At the end of this article I have included a couple of links to two of them.

For myself, I met him at my first Armed Forces Championship way back in the olden days: the late 1980’s. In those days I was the Army champion while he was the Air Force Champion. Each year I would have to play the members of the other armed forces teams, so I got to play him three times back then.  We had two draws and he won the other. Trust me, I earned those two draws.  He did not hand out easy draws.

We were teammates when six of us represented the United States at the NATO championship in 1988, held in Aalborg, Denmark. It sure was cold and windy there!

Throughout the years after my Army chess days, I would run into him occasionally at tournaments around the country.  We remained friends and competitors till the end.

Since we cover endings in this column, let’s take a look at some of Tate’s games where the ending sort of came into play.   I say “sort of” because in most of his games he tried to blow you off the board way before the ending kicked in.

In the first one let’s take a look at his 1995 win against Grandmaster Sagalchik.


White: Emory Tate
Black: GM Gennadij Sagalchik
1995 New York
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. e5 cxd4

A very sharp aggressive game from both sides, but what else would you expect from a Tate game?


The main lines here are either 8.Nd4 or 8.Qa4+

Komodo, the computer beast, says that Tate’s choice of 8.ef is equal.   Sure does not look like an equal game to me.  Looks like someone is going to lose big time instead of draw!

gxf6 9. Qa4+ ?! Not good according to Komodo.  Better is 9.Nd4.  But Komodo does not know that now we enter the “Tate Zone,” where tactics fly!  Perhaps if black were a supercomputer and played perfectly, he would win.  But he is not.  He is human.

Nc6 10. O-O-O Bd7 11. Nxd4 Bxc3 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bh6 Be5
14. Bxc4 Qb6 15. Rd2 Rb8 16. Bb3 Rb7 17. Rhd1

Komodo has now changed its mind.  It now says white is ahead!  A slight advantage is all Tate needed.

Qb5 18. f4! Bb8 19. Qd4 e5 20.Qe4 f5 21. Qe3 e4 22. Qd4 Rg8 23. Qxd7+!!

What could be better than a queen sacrifice!!

Rxd7 24. Rxd7 Qc5+ 25. Kb1 Qe7

Black has to give the queen back to stop mate.  White is now up a piece for a pawn, however black is a Grandmaster so he must be very careful.  Grandmasters do not go quietly into the night.  Or do they??

26.Rxe7+ Kxe7 27. Bg5+!!

Of course!!  Fantastic move.  If Ke8, then it is mate.  No matter what move black chooses, he loses the rook.  Shell-shocked, black plays on a few more moves and then resigns.

f6 28. Bxg8 fxg5 29. fxg5 Bxh2 30. Bxh7 e3 31. Bxf5 Bg3 32. Bg4 {White wins} 1-0


White: Emory Tate
Black: GM Dimitri Gurevich
1988 Long Beach, California
Sicilian Velimirovic Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Be3 Be7 8.
Qe2 O-O 9. O-O-O a6 10. g4

More GMs prefer Bb3 here, but of course this aggressive move is just too much for Tate to pass by!  By playing 10.Bb3, black does not get the chance to play b5 and attack the bishop at the same time.

Nxd4 11. Bxd4 b5 12. g5!?

Here we go!  Time for some tactics, Tate style.

Ne8 13. Bb3 Bxg5+ 14. Kb1 Qe7

Black has won a pawn.  For compensation, white has the open g file.  Black may be a Grandmaster, but this is playing with fire when facing Tate.

15. Rhg1 Bf6 16. f4 Bxd4 17. Rxd4 Bb7 18. Qh5 g6 19. f5 Ng7 20. Qh6 Qf6
21. Rd3 Rfc8 22. Rh3 b4 23. Qxh7+ Kf8 24. fxg6!

If 24….. bc then Qf7 26.Be6 Qe6 27.Qg7+ Ke8 28.Rh8+ is very unpleasant

Rc5 25. Nd5!! exd5 26. gxf7 dxe4 27. a4 bxa3 28. bxa3 Rb5 29. Qg8+ Ke7 30. Rc3?

Way better here was 30.Rg7

Qxc3 31. f8=Q+ Rxf8 32.Rxg7+ Qxg7 33. Qxg7+ Ke8

We have now arrived at the ending. White has a queen for two rooks.  Both sides have a passed pawn and a bishop.  White is slightly better, but not by much.  Tate now wins the ending very nicely.

34. Qg6+ Ke7 35. Qg7+ Ke8 36. Ka2 Bc6 37. Qg6+ Ke7 38. Qg7+ Ke8

Moving back and forth a bit trying to make time control.

39. Qc7 Bd7 40. Qxd6

If black tries to save the pawn, with say a5, then 41.Be6! Be6 42.Qe6+ Kd8 43.Qd6+ Ke8 44.Qc6+ wins big time.

Rbf5 41. Qxa6 Rf4 42. Bd5 Ke7 43. Qb7 e3
44. Qb6 e2 45. Qc5+ Kd8 46. Qa5+ Ke7 47. Qd2 Bg4 48. h3 Rf1 49. Qb4+ Kd8 50.
Qd6+ Bd7 51. Qb8+ Bc8 52. Qd6+ Bd7 53. Qb6+ Ke7 54. Qb4+ Kd8 55. Qb8+ Bc8
56. Qb6+ Ke7 57. Qc7+ Kf6 58. Qd6+ Kg5 59. Qe7+ Kf4 60. Qxe2 Bxh3 and black resigned because coming up was 61.Qh2+ Kg4 62.Be6+

For our last game, let’s take a look at a game that was played back in 2001 at the US Open.  Tate faced Tom Braunlich, a strong player from Oklahoma.


White: Emory Tate
Black: Tom Braunlich
US Open 2001
Sicilian Sozin

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 b5 8.
Bg5 h6?!

Not played much. More in line with main line is Be7 here.

9. Bh4 Be7 10. Qf3 Qc7 11. O-O-O Nbd7 12. Rhe1 Nc5 13. Nf5!

Let the fireworks begin!

Nxb3+ 14.axb3 exf5 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Nd5 Qd8 17. Nxe7 Kxe7 18. exf5+

I am sure at this point black wishes he had never won the bishop.

Be6 19. fxe6 fxe6 20. Qb7+ Qd7 21. Rxe6+!! Resigns
Black decides to call it a day. He is busted for sure in this ending.


31-1 IM Emory Tate

ChessNews: Rest in Power Emory Tate


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