August 2009

The phrase in the title belongs to Savielly Tartakower.
The reason to quote him is that a few days ago in a blitz game I had a position which I considered hopeless and resigned.
Here it is, I am Black.


OK, so I decided to run the game through Crafty quickly, looked at something else, then returned to analysis when it was already done and was dumbfounded to see the estimate after the last White’s move 27. Nf5 – minus 4 something.  Hey, minus is me, Black. I looked at the line – yeah, Crafty was right. Another line was even better ( if you want, you can hide the rest and try to find the right moves).

It was funny, I laughed, but I don’t think I would be laughing if it would be a real OTB game.  So here the “magic survival”, Fritz 11 added a line with the same conclusion – White, not Black is lost.

27. … Qa4! 28. Bxg7  Qd1+ 29. Kg2 Bxd5+!  


30. cxd5 Qxd5+ 31. Kf1 Qxf5


Another Crafty’s line – 28. Nxg7 Qd1+ 29. Kg2 Qf3+ 30. Kg1 Qxf2+ 31. Kh1


31. …Qf3+ 32. Qg2 Qd1+ 33. Qg1 Bxd5+!


34. cxd5 Qxd5+ 35. Qg2 Rf1#


Here is the line from Fritz 11:  28. Qh5 Rxf5 29. Qg4 Rf7 30. Bxg7 Rxg7


31. Rg6 Qd1+ 32. Qxd1 Rxg6+ 33. Kf1 e6 with -4.79 estimate.


I just ran an OTB game that I played a year ago through Fritz 11 using “Blundercheck” mode and Fritz showed me an interesting possibility that I missed.  Here is the combination that I didn’t see.  I am White, the position arised from  Owen Defense – 1.e4 b6.


White to move,  I played 14. Qe4.  Fritz suggests better move,  quite paradoxical – 14. Rfd1! and after 14. … Bxd1 15. Rxd1 Rad8 Rad8 16. Bxh7+ getting ~1.50  advantage.


What about 15. … Rxd1 Rad8 16. Qe8 ? Then follows 16. Qe4 g6 17. Bb5


getting 2 pieces for the rook.

I just liked the combination of several tactical motifs here – discovered attack (Bh7+),  double attack ( Qe4, though literally the knight is still defended by the Queen) and pin (Bb5).  As for the weaknesses, we see:

  1.  h7
  2.  White occupies important b1-h7 diagonal,
  3. White can occupy “d” vertical (by using sacrifice!).
  4. Knight  on C6 not very stable,  can also be pinned

In the game I tried to use 1 and 2, then 4.   Fritz used all 4 at once.

This is a sequel to my old post “Are you afraid of the Marshall attack”.   I am looking at the pretty rare ( according to usual 9. … Nd5 was played in  94% of the games) old variation, named after Herman Steiner, US chess player, 1948 US champion, who belonged to Romantic School of chess, succeeding Morphy, Pillsbury and Marshall.  Though he first used it in the tournament in 1930, it was played in friendly game Walter Frere vs Frank Marshall in 1917 and before that in the game K. Walbrodt vs. consultants in 1893.

The guy played it on FICS against me,  I barely survived, so as always it got me interested. Right after I learned it a bit the 2nd round of the thematic Ruy Lopez correspondence tournament on finally started. So I decided to play it against the guy with 2400+ rating (mine was ~2000). There is nothing to lose I thought. If I’ll try it with this high rated guy, at least I will go down fighting.  The guy soon went along the wrong path, following (not knowing that) the game, played in Argentina some time ago. I took it right from the point where the Argentinian guy resigned and as one guy at work said – “you just finished him off”.

So, here is the game, I am Black:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 e4!? – this is a Steiner variation 


10.dxc6 exf3 11.d4 fxg2 12.Qe2 – start of the troubles, Fritz – -0.93, the book move is 12. Qf3 (Fritz – 0.42).


12…. Bd6 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Nd2?? – Fritz, -4.34, suggests Qe4 – -0.78


15…. Qf4 16.Nf3 Bg4 17.Kxg2 – another bad move – Fritz – -7.68


17…. Rae8 18.Qd3 Bf5- here Argentinian guy resigned, you will see why (the rest is mine):


19.Qd1 – forced mate after that, anyway Fritz suggests giving up the queen for the rook- 21. Qe3.  19….Rxe1 20.Qxe1 Bh3+! 


 White resigned – 21. Kxh3 Qxf3+ 22. Kh4 g5#


Here is Frere vs. Marshall game, pure classic:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 e4 10. dxc6 exf3 11. d4 fxg2 12. Bf4 Bg4 13. Qd3 Nh5


14. Bxc7 ?? – trying to win a pawn. Fritz 11  – -3.44 (14. Be5 – -0.19 ) 14. … Qxc7 15. Qe4 Nf4 16. Qxe7 ?


16. … Qxe7! 17. Rxe7  Bf3!


White resigned – 18. h3 Nxh3+ 19. Kh2 g1Q+


20. Kxh3 Qg4+ 21. Kh2 Qg2#