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Mikhail Chigorin vs David Janowski
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 11, Jun-07
Italian Game: Scotch Gambit. Anderssen Attack (C56)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: With 25 Rd8+ followed by 26 f5, Chigorin finds two strong forcing moves (check and pawn double attack), enabling a devastating "double attack" theme after 27. Qc5! Following 27. Qc5!, the dual threats of either 28. Qf8# or 28. Nxf5+ force black's surrender, as they can only be avoided at the cost of giving up too much material.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: If black attempts to escape by 27...Re1+, then 28 Kf2 wins. gives the following analysis of white's win if black tries 27...Re1+:

(6.64 plus score) 28. Kf2 Re2+ 29. Kf1 Qxg3 30. hxg3 Rxc2 31. Qxf5 Rxb2 32. Qg4+ Kh6 33. Qd4 Rb1+ 34. Ke2 Rb6 35. Qxf6+

(6.10 plus score) 28. Kf2 Re2+ 29. Kf1 Qxg3 30. hxg3 Rxc2 31. Qxf5 Rxb2 32. Qg4+ Kh6 33. Rd7 Rb1+ 34. Ke2

(5.64 plus score) 28. Kf2 Re2+ 29. Kf1 Qxg3 30. hxg3 Rxc2 31. Qxf5 Rxb2 32. Rd7

(5.75 plus score) 28. Kf2 Re2+ 29. Nxe2 Kh6 30. Qxa7 b5 31. Qe3+ Qg5 32. Qxg5+ Kxg5 33. Nd4

(5.67 plus score) 28. Kf2 Re2+ 29. Nxe2 Kh6 30. Qxa7 Be4 31. Nf4

(5.46 plus score) 28. Kf2 Re2+ 29. Nxe2 Qg4 30. Qxa7 Qb4

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Chigorin, plays an excellent attack against Janowski's two knights defense. However, instead of 11...Nxe7 conceding the initiative and the center to white, Janowski might have done better with 11...Kxe7.

Computer analysis by gives 11. ... Kxe7 12. Nxd4 Qxd1 13. Nxc6+ bxc6 14. Raxd1 Rab8 15. b3 Rhd8 16. Nc5 Rd6 with a near even game and drawing chances for black, though with a slight pull for white (.01 plus score white advantage) due to black's weaker queenside pawn structure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: ".01 plus score white advantage" Don't overestimate the importance of computer evaluations. If the comp says "+3.29" or "+Mate05" then you better listen to it, but in that case it's so close to zero it's totally meaningless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Sneaky> Actually, I'm basing the white slight plus on my own assessment of the position (albeit the position given by computer analysis). The fact that black has two doubled pawns on the (c) file and an isolated pawn on the (a) file, while white has three connected pawns and otherwise equal play in this rook and knight versus rook and bishop position, gives white the slight advantage. With reasonable chances to exchange down to a pawn only ending or at least a rook and pawn ending, white will have most of the chances in the end game. And black will have to play very carefully and with much skill to draw. White, however, will need to be careful to avoid a knight versus bishop ending, with chances for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Instead of 8...Qh5, Batsford Chess Openings (Kasparov and Keene) gives 8...Qa5 as leading to an even game for black. The BCO analysis goes 8...Qa5 9. Nxe4 Be6 10. Bd2 Qd5! 11. Bg5 Bd6 12. Bf6!? (12. c3 0-0 = Littlewood/Medina, Hastings 1969/70)0-0! = (with a level position).
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: in a variation on the BCO recommendation above gives 8...Qa5 9.Nxe4 Be6 10. Bd2 Bb4 (the computer's preference to the BCO 10...Qd5 recomendation above) 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. c3 Be7 13. cxd4 Qd5 14. Bf4 c6 15. Nc3 Qf5 16. Qd2 O-O 17. Re5 Qg4 with an even position (0.11 plus score for black) that seems to offer satisfactory middle-game tactical play and chances for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: I'm beginning to wonder about the computer analysis. I plugged in 25. f5 instead of 25. Re1+ to see if the move order in the winning combination made any difference (25. f5 and then 26. Re1+ instead of 25. Re1+ followed by 26. f5).

To my surprise, the computer gave one recommended variation as 25. ... Bxf5 26. Rd8+ Kg7 27. Qc5 Re1+ 28. Kf2 Re5 29. Qxa7(with a 0.63 plus score for white). However, the computer missed a mate in one by not playing 29. Qf8# instead of 29.Qxa7. Interesting! I guess computers, like humans, also make mistakes in analysis. I wonder if Fritz 8 or Chessmaster 9000 would do better?

Premium Chessgames Member
  crafty: 25. f5 ♖xd6 26. fxg6 ♖d1+ 27. ♔f2 hxg6 28. ♘e4   (eval 5.97; depth 15 ply; 150M nodes)
Jun-29-03  fred lennox: A battle between one who prefered bishop(s) to one who prefered knight(s). Chigorin was looked upon as old fashion in his preference for knights by the classical school. The Russians naturally took a differant view clinging to the 19th century thought of bishops not being superior. They were often favored by Nimzowitch, Tal, Kasparov and Petrosian. It was Nezhmatdinov favorite piece. In exploiting the knights potential the door opened to multifarious and dynamic play.
Jun-30-03  drukenknight: re: chesslab computer. what I have found, is that when it gives you a line of moves, this is less of a certainty than when it gives you the next move.

What I mean is that since the computer can only see x number of moves ahead, it is very likely to play bad moves at the end of a given line of analysis than at the beginning. For obvious reasons.

If the computer can only see, for example 10 moves ahead, and it gives you a line of analysis 9 moves long, it could easily miss a mate in 2 on the 9th move. Or it could miss a mate in 3 on the 8th move. Etc etc.

Do you see what I am saying?

The best remedy is to play the moves one by one asking the computer for analysis upon each move.

OF course if there are some obvious moves, then of course play 3 or 4 in a row and then ask it for analysis.

The computer always plays true to itself and will find all the tactical possibilities and mating possibilities wiht a short reference span, say 5 or 6 moves.

But by the same token it is unable to form a clear plan beyond this. I have found that the computer can be fooled quite easily when it chases material in the latter stages of a line.

I.e. I give the computer a move that gives black an attack and white some material. For the first 5 or 6 moves the computer plays white very tactically. As black I parry every tactic, still keeping my attack alive.

But then near the end of 5 or 6 moves the computer sees a chance to grab more material. If I am smart I have a long term positional advantage that I am playing for, e.g. a passed pawn. He grabs the material because he cant see deep enuf to see how the passed pawn will score.

I will post some examples in a short time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: <patzer2: With 25 Rd8+ followed by 26 f5, Chigorin finds two strong forcing moves (check and pawn double attack), enabling a devastating "double attack" theme after 27. Qc5! Following 27. Qc5!, the dual threats of either 28. Qf8# or 28. Nxf5+ force black's surrender, as they can only be avoided at the cost of giving up too much material.>

Very nice explanation of Chigorin's brilliant petite combination 25 ♖d8+ ♔g7 26 f5! ♗xf5 27 ♕c5! <double attack>.

Apr-01-07  gambitfan: Is this a Max Lange attack ?
Feb-17-08  Knight13: Look at the position after 14. Qd2. Chigorin must've been grinning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A short but exciting game that fred lennox has aptly described as: "A battle between one who prefered bishop(s) to one who prefered knight(s)."

Tchigorin's closing combination is indeed lovely. Enjoyment of the game is enhanced by the revealing commentary on the game by Schlechter, Marco, and by Tchigorin himself (as well as by Rosenthal--the official commentator in the Tournament Book).

Lively and riveting as this short game is, it contains too many errors to qualify for a brilliancy prize. The harsh assessment of the game by Marco ("A faulty opening, a weakish middle game and, at the end, still a great blunder"), however, is over the top. There in fact is more to learn from and enjoy in a game such as this one than from a "correct" draw between grandmasters.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6

Janowski uses one of Tchigorin's favorite weapons against him: The Two Knights' Defense.

4. d4

4. Ng5 is more normal and probably best, but the text is good enough to retain a small advantage and the initiative for White. Tchigorin's stated reasons for playing this move are noteworthy:

"The continuation 4. Ng5 enters White into well-known variations in which he has an extra pawn. However, as he has to endure a counterattack, I prefer 4. d4."

4... exd4
5. 0-0

5. e5 is a good alternative, but Tchigorin is playing for a quick attack, and bringing his King to safety .

5... Nxe4

Black has several reasonable options here.

A) 5...Bc5 can lead to the Max Lange Attack--a lively game for both sides. White--in my view--has a slight edge (but I am biased, since I frequently played this opening from the White side in my youth).

B) 5...Be7, suggested by Rosenthal, leads to a nearly equal game. White can maintain a small advantage with 6. Re1 (but not with Rosenthal's 6...e5, which leads to equality at best for White).

C) 5...d6, as suggested by Schlechter in his commentary on this game. It gives Black, in Schlechter's words: "a cramped yet nevertheless secure game." White has a small edge and Black is very much on the defensive. Small wonder that Janowski shunned this here.

D) The text (5...exd4). This is probably best, but also most confrontational and most dangerous against a strong attacking player such as Tchigorin. The move is ideally suited to Janowski's style.

6. Re1 d5
7. Bxd5 QxB
8. Nc3

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

8... Qh5

patzer2 reports that Kasparov and Keene give 8...Qa5 as leading to an even game for White. Tchigorin, in his commentary on this game, says that the text, 8...Qa5, and 8...Qd8 are all "quite acceptable" here. I would add 8...Qd7 to Tchigorin's list. Fritz 15 (slightly) prefers the text. The choice amongst these options to be mainly a matter of style.

9. NxN Be7

Tchigorin (correctly in my view) says that 9...Be6 is better here. But both Tchigorin's move and the text are entirely playable, and chances are about even in either case.

10. Bg5

The position was now:

click for larger view

Janowski has his beloved two Bishops. Tchigorin has two Knights. A fierce struggle could have been predicted.

But from here Janowski went astray and---after his next move--was in serious trouble (if not actually lost) for the rest of the game. How this came about will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Magpye: <KEG> You do very good analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <Magpye>Thank you. I am so glad you find it useful in enjoying these wonderful games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: After 10. Bg5, Janowski--whether through his efforts to complicate or otherwise, seems to have lost the thread of the game.

10... Be6

Although Rosenthal in the Tournament Book calls this move "forced," it in fact was a mistake. As Marco pointed out long ago, 10...Bg4 is better. Black must anticipate the coming BxB (especially given that the opponent was Tchigorin who preferred Knights to Bishops!).

Schlechter says that White stands better after 10...Bg4, but after the likely continuation 11. BxB BxN 12. gxB NxB 13. Qxd4 0-0 14. Nf6+ gxN 15. RxN Qxf3 the position would be:

click for larger view

White has no more than equality here, since he dare not play 16. Rxc7 because 16...Kh8 would then be deadly, and thus has nothing better than 16. Re3 or 16. Rae1.

After the text, however, Tchigorin is in his element and promptly takes control.

11. BxB NxB

patzer2 suggests that Janowski might have done better with 11...KxB, and says that chesslab rates the position as (0.01)with that move. But on this move White has 12. Neg5 with a powerful attack. Fritz15 rates 11...NxB as somewhere between(0.86) and (1.00)[I ran several searches of differing ply] and rates 11...KxB as (0.93). Both Janowski's move and that of patzer2 have their points, and in either case Tchigorin had excellent chances.

12. Nxd4 Bg4

Both Tchigorin and Schlechter in their commentaries on this game consider 12...QxQ and both conclude that White would be still have the better chances. The line they both investigated (which seems best) was 12...QxQ 13. RxQ 0-0-0 In this position, Schlechter recommends 14. Nc5. Other possibilities (of about equal merit) are 14. Ng5 or 14. NxN (the continuation Tchigorin appears to have had in mind. As Tchigorin notes, the problem here for Black is that he would obtain a weak pawn on e6 "which Janowski apparently wants to avoid."

Both 12...Bg4 and 12...QxQ are reasonable choices here--and in either case White is better.

13. f3 Bd7
14. Qd2

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book recommends 14. Qe2 here, but after 14. 0-0-0 White's advantage would be practically gone.

The only thing close to an improvement I can find is 14. Nb3, and I am far from certain that is really much--if at all-- better (Fritz15 gives 14. Nb3 as slightly better than 14. Qd2 [0.95 instead of 0.74).

After 14. Qd2 (Tchigorin's actual move), the position was:

click for larger view

As Knight 13 has so wonderfully commented: "Look at the position after 14. Qd2. Tchigorin must have been smiling."

While Tchigorin must have loved his Knights in this position, and while he certainly had a significant advantage, the game was not over, and Janowski--as would be expected--made desperate attempts to obtain counterplay and his own attacking chances. His valiant but unsuccessful efforts will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: After 14. Qd2, Janowski faced a key decision, on which side should he castle. In fact, he played:

14... 0-0

Was this the correct decision? Should Janowski have castled instead on the Queen-side? Let's hear first from Tchigorin:

"After castling on the Queen's side, Black would obtain an isolated pawn on d6 (15. Nd6+ [after 15...cxN 16. RxN]), but White would be faced with great difficulties in exploiting those undoubtedly weak squares in the Black position."

Tchigorin's analysis is not one to be ignored, but it assumes that he would have responded 15. Nd6+. But isn't 15. Qf5 stronger than the spectacular looking 15. Nd6+

On balance, Janowski's move looks best--the result of this game notwithstanding.

15. Nf6+

Clever. The alternative was 15. Qf4

15... gxN
16. RxN Rad8
17. Qc3

It certainly looks logical to get the Queen off the d-file, especially since on c3 it gains time by threatening the c7 pawn. But 17. Nb3 seems even better. The text gives Janowski a chance for strong counterplay.

17... c6

Missing the small chance Tchigorin's last move gave him to seek the initiative with 17...Qg5. After the text, Tchigorin retains his strong attacking chances--which he retains for the balance of the game.

18, Ne2 Qg5

Schlechter in his commentary on the game claims that 18...Qh6 was better. Tchigorin in his commentary, disagreed. Let's investigate:

After 18...Qh6 Tchigorin says he would have played 19. Ng3 (19. Re1 also looks good). But Tchigorin assumes that Janowksi would then have played 19...Rfe8, which looks like a serious mistake. Tchigorin is correct that White would then have much the better chances with 20. Rae1. But, instead, 20. Re8+ seems to win for White here after 20...RxR [not 20...BxR 21. Re1] 21. Qd4.

Best play after 18...Qh6 19. Ng3 and then 19...f5 (instead of Tchigorin's 19. Rfe8). White is indeed better here, but not significantly better than after 18...Qg5.

The conclusion seems to be that both 18...Qg5 (Janowski's actual move) and 18...Qh6 (Schlechter's move) are both reasonable options. White has much the better game in both cases, but probably not a clear winning edge.

19. f4

The position was now:

click for larger view

Where to put the Queen:

19... Qh6?

19...Qg7 or 19...Qg6 were much better. Now, Tchigorin has a what looks like a win with:


I love this move. As Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Book, Janowski dared not play 20...Qxf4?? because 21. Nh5 followed by Nxf6+ wins. [21. Ne4 would also win here. But the wily Janowski did not fall for this.

20... Rfe8

The position was now:

click for larger view

Things certainly looked good for Tchigorin here. But the game still had a few twists and turns before it ended, as I will discuss in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: In the last diagrammed in my prior post, Tchigorin could have increased the e-file pressure while also attacking the Queen side and--in addition--defending his King-side with 21. Qe3! But instead he played:

21. RxR+

All of a sudden, Janowski has life.

21... RxR
22. Rf1

"!" (Rosenthal in the Tournament Book).

22... Qg6

Another error by Janowski. He should have defended against the Queen-side threats with 22...b6.

23. Rd1?

Rosenthal gives this move, like Tchigorin's previous move, a "!", but it looks like a clear mistake to me. As Schlechter has shown (see below) Black now has a defense and can claw his way back into a position with prospects for defense. Better was 23. f5

23... Bg4

Not a losing move, but much better was Schlechter's 23...Be6 ("followed by an eventual f5"). Even better for Black here was 23...Bf5.

24. Rd6


The position was now:

click for larger view

24... Re6??

"A great blunder." (Marco).

Tchigorin correctly points out that 24...Kg7 would have lost to 25. h3! Bc8 (slightly better would be 25...Be6 but 26. f5 still wins for White) 26. Rxf6!! "and Black wins the Queen."

But 24...h5 (not mentioned by any of the commentators) seems to give Black some hope of survival. After the text, however, Tchigorin finishes nicely.

25. Rd8+

25. f5 also wins

25... Kg7
26. f5!

The position was now:

click for larger view

As is apparent, Black has no defense.

27. Qc5!

"The threats are 28. Qf8 mate and 28. Nxf5+


A neat finish by Tchigorin after a few stumbles.

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