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Geza Maroczy vs Henry Edward Bird
London (1899), London ENG, rd 4, Jun-03
Four Knights Game: Double Spanish Misc. with 5.O-O (C49)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-09-06  Knight13: 22...Rg6? I don't know why Bird left that e5 pawn hangin'. 22...Rae8 is what I would play.

Bird has already passed his time when he played this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: As Knight13 has stated, 22...Rg6 was a one-move blunder that turned an even game in which Maroczy was unable to obtain any edge into a rout. The move proposed by Knight13 (22...Rae8) is one of several ways Bird could have avoided immediate catastrophe (22...Rf8 and the Tournament Book's 22...f6 were both sufficient for Bird to achieve equality).

As for why Bird left his e5 pawn hanging, my best guess is that he assumed that White would have to move his attacked Queen after 22...Rg6 and did not look deeper into the position. This error was fatal.

After his blunder on move 22 which lost a pawn, Bird fell apart entirely. His 24...Rf8 turned a bad game into a dead lost one (24...NxB was the best chance, though it probably also would have lead to a loss); 26...bxc5 made things worse (26...Nxc5 was "best"), 27...Ng5 was terrible (he should have played 27...Rg5 if he wanted to continue the game) and 32...Re8 was catastrophic (32...Nf6 anyone?). Finally, with 34...Nd4, he walked into a pretty Rook sacrifice by Maroczy and a forced mate in 6.

Maroczy played brilliantly after Bird's error on move 22. His mating combination was not as spectacular as Janowski's Queen sacrifice against Schlechter and Blackburne's amazing Rook sacrifice against Lasker--all from the same round of this tournament--but it was nonetheless a true brilliancy in the grand style.

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