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Milan Vidmar vs Akiba Rubinstein
Barmen Main A, GER (1905), Barmen GER, rd 5, Aug-??
French Defense: Classical. Burn Variation (C11)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Vidmar fell in an opening trap and lost a Pawn but finally won the game as Rubinstein made terrible blunder in the move 26. After 26...Nb8 black should have won.
Nov-07-06  Manic: <Honza> What if 26.Nb8 27.Bxb7+ Nxb7 (27...Kc7 28.cxd6+;27...Kd7 28.Rxd6+)28.Rb3 Rd7 (or Re7) 29. a6 ???

Or if after 28.Nxa5 in this line, white will have at least a draw. What am I missing?

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Does anyone know if Vidmar blundered or sacrificed a pawn in the opening? In other words, did he annotate the game and confess to an error? It looks like a sacrifice to me.
Dec-26-06  PDup: Vidmar accorded himself a !! for move 26.Bxa6, but 26. ... Nb8 actually wins for black as the desperado Nd6 escapes or else Ba6 is captured. Either way black wins a piece. If 27.Bxb7+ Nxb7 28.Rb3 Re7 29.a6 then black simply returns a knight by 29. ... Nxa6 30.c6 (or 30.Rxa6 Rxd4) ... Rxd4 31.cxb7+ Kc7 and strangely enough black has no further problems.
Feb-25-07  Bridgeburner: <Part I>

This is an extremely complex game, with both players losing their way in the intricacies of the middle game. Tartakowers maxim that the winner is the one who makes the next to last mistake again proves its truth.

<1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bd3>

Of the nearly 800 games in the database with this opening, the most common 6th move for White is 6.Bxf6. There are only 6 examples of the text move, with three wins for Black, one for White (this game) and two draws. This variation has been basically abandoned as it seems the pawn offer/win is neither a worthwhile gambit for White nor a useful trap for Black.

<6Nxe4 7.Bxe7 Nxf2>

Opening Explorer has three games with this game and three with <7Qe7>.

<8.Bxd8 Nxd1 9.Bxc7> 9.Rxd1 was played in Alapin vs Burn, 1898 .

<9Nxb2 10.Be2> 96 years later, 10.Be4 was tried in Amina Metosy vs Asma Houli, 2001 and Black won in 19 moves.

<10Nc6 11.Nf3> 11.c3 is also possible, but 11.Bb5 is a bridge too far: 11Bd7 12.Rb1 a6 13.Be2 (If 13.Bxc6 Bxc6, the Knight on b2 is immune because of the threat to g2; or 13.Rxb2 axb5 and Whites queenside is stilted and much more vulnerable than Blacks)

<11Na4 12.Bd6> White may have contemplated saving a tempo with 12.c4 b6 13.Rc1 Ba6 14.d5 with some compensation for the pawn. d6 turns out to be fortunate placement for Bishop.

<12Bd7 13.c4 0-0-0> 13Nc3 14.Bd3 0-0-0 15.Kd2 Be8 16.c5 Nd5 is also possible.

<14.0-0 Nc3 15.Bd3> Forced. If 15.Rae1 Be8! wins at least another pawn, eg: 16.c5 Ne4 17.Bf4 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Rxd4 and if 19.Be5 Rd5 20.Bxg7 Rg8 21.Bh6 Nc3 22.Bf3 Rxc5 23.Be3 Re5 with a strong, probably winning advantage. Any move by the Bishop uncovers and quickly loses the pawn at d4.

<15Be8 16.c5> Forced. Other moves lose at least a pawn.

<16f6 17.Bc4 Nd5

So far both players have successfully navigated a complex opening, avoiding pitfalls and creating chances for themselves. Black has a pawn and a solid defensive perimeter but is cramped and has a weak pawn at e6, while White has the two Bishops, occupies the centre, and has a spatial advantage, although the backward pawn on d4 may turn out to be weak. The game is there for either player to win.

Position after 17...Nd5:

click for larger view

Feb-25-07  Bridgeburner: <Part II>


The success of White in this game is no endorsement of his strategy, which is to mount an assault against Blacks King. Despite Blacks cramped game, he has ample resources to cope with this sally and pose some serious difficulties for White. White may have over estimated the importance of Blacks extra pawn, and determined that he needed to make use of his strong-looking centre, the extra lines created by the absence of the pawn, and Blacks seemingly vulnerable King position.

Contrary to appearances, Whites salvation lies in positional consolidation. 18.Rfe1 or 18.Rae1, developing a Rook onto the half open e-file against Blacks main weakness at e6, and preventing moves like Ne3, was much better. For example:

A. 18.Rfe1 Na5 19.Bd3 (19.Bxd5 looks reasonable but ultimately Black will stand better after 19exd5 20.Re7 Rd7 21.Rae1 Kd8 22.Kf2 Nc6 threatening Bg6 and Be5 with advantage, as Whites rooks are neutralised and Black no longer has a weakness at e6). 19Bg6 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Rxe6 Rhe8 22.Rxe8 Rxe8 23.Re1 Rxe1 24.Nxe1 or

B. 18.Rfe1 Bd7 19.Rab1 g5 20.Rb2 g4 21.Reb1! Na5 (forced) 22.Nd2 Bc6 and Black is in no position to cash in the extra pawn.

<18Bg6> 18Ne3 was also to be considered:

19.Bxe6+ Bd7 20.Bxd7 Rxd7 21.Rf2 (to prevent Nc2) Nc4 22.d5 (if 22.Bg3 Nxd4) Nb4 23.Nd4 Nxd6 24.cxd6 Kb8 (if 24Rxd6 Nf5 (24Rxd5?? Ne7+) is drawish; 24Nxd5 25.Rd2! equalises (25Rxd5?? 26.Nf5 Rd7 27.Rxd5! wins))

25.Ne6 (25.Nf5 Re8 followed by g6; 25.Nb5 a6 26.Nc3 Rxd6 27.Rd1 Rc8 28.Rf3 h5 and Black maintains a strong bind) a5 and Black will eventually harvest Whites central pawns. 18Bh5 is also possible.

<19.a5 a6 20.Rfe1 Rhe8 21.Re2?> A poor move because of the threat of 21Bh5, undermining the d pawn, and preventing the rook from attending the d1 square if the Knight moves. 21.h3 was necessary.

A possible continuation is 21Ncb4 (threatening to fork Whites rooks) 22.Bb3 Bc2 23.Bc4 Bf5 24.Bb3 h5 25.Ba4 Nc2 26.Bxc2 Bxc2 with approximate parity.

<21Bh5! 22.Rb2 Ne6> 22Bxf3 is also good.

<23.Nd2 Bg6> A wasted move only made good by Whites blunder on move 24. The only move to maintain significant pressure is 23Nf5! And if 24.Ne4 or 24.Rb6 then 24Nfxd4.

If 24.Nb3 Bg6 25.Rc1 Nfxd4 26.Nxd4 Nxd4 27.Kf2 e5 28.Rb6 Be4 29.Re1 Bc6 30.Reb1 wins.

If 24.d5 exd5 25.Bxd5 Nxd6 26.cxd6 Rxd6 27.Nc4 Rdd8 28.Bxc6 bxc6 29.Rab1 Rd4 30.Rb8+ Kd7 31.R8b7+ Ke6 32.Re1+ Kf5 33.Ne3+ Kg6 wins (33Kg5 34.Rxg7+ Bg6 may be even better)

<24.Ra3??> Right idea, but absolutely the wrong way of executing it. Correct was 24.Re1! Nd5 (Nf5? Bxe6+) 25.Nb3 with many defensive chances.

<24Nf5 25.Rb6> A bad move in a lost position. 25.Ne4 was better although after 25Nfxd4 26.Nc3 White is still lost. Alternatively 25.Rab3 Nxd6 (25...Nxa5 transposes) 26.cxd6 Nxa5 27.Rb6 Nxc4 28.Nxc4 Rd7 29.Na5 Be4 also wins for White.

<25Nxd6 26.Bxa6?!> Regardless of whether Vidmar thought this move merited two exclamation marks, it is a desperation move that should have lost instantly to 26Nb8!

26.cxd6 Rxd6 27.Rc3 Kc7 loses more prosaically.

<27.Na7??> A tragedy for Rubinstein who had outplayed Vidmar at every turn. After 27Nb8, Black would have emerged with a full piece to the good and an easy win.

The rest is brightly colored silence.

Nov-10-07  Karpova: Vidmar annotates after 6.Bd3
<My gambit in this variation>
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This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

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