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David Janowski vs Geza Maroczy
"I Could Have Had An a8!" (game of the day Jun-05-2019)
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 4, Jul-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit (D08)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-01-06  Uzi: <This game is in 'One Hundred Chess Gems' with the alternate ending i.e. Janowski winning as descibed by <sleepkid> above.>

Edward Winter dealt with the above in C.N. 1652 (reproduced in his Chess Explorations). P. Wenman's One Hundred Chess Gems (1939) is identified as the earliest known source for the fake ending.

<Was Wenman (described by The Companion as 'the problem world's most notorious plagiarist') the first to tamper with the Janowsky-Maroczy game and if so was it an isolated offence in his game anthologies?>

Francis Percival Wenman

Nov-07-07  hakoba: From Maróczy's book :
I. 35. Ba7 b6 36. Qh5 Qc8 37. Qd5 Qh3+ 38. Rxh3 Rg1# II. 36. Rd3 Qc8 37. Rxe3 Qa6+ 38. Ke1 Qa5+39. Kf1 Qb5+ 40. Ke1 Qb1# III. 36. Qh3 Bg5 37. Rd7 Qe8 38. Bb8 Qxb8 39.
Rxf7+ Kxf7 40. Qh7+ Kxf6 41. e5+ (41. Qf5+! wins for white) 41... Ke6 42. Qxc2 Qb7 43. Qc4+ Qd5 44. Qg4+ Kxe5 But By Fritz 8
36... Rxa2 37. Qd7 Qe8 38. Bb8 Bf4 39.
Qd5 Ra3 40. Rh3 Rc3 41. Qd4 Qb5+ 42. Ke1 Bd2+ wins for black so Maróczy thought well, he was winning... He saw this, but dont tell to the other, because he wanted to publish it in Hungary. So it remained in Hungary...unfortunately.
Sep-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A very exciting but very difficult and controversial game. Somehow or another, the game was reported as a win for Maroczy in some sources and as a win for Janowski in others.

Having consulted the Tournament Book and other sources, it is quite clear that Maroczy won. Janowski played 35. Rd3?? and resigned after Maroczy's next move. He did NOT play 35. Ba7! (which would have been better but would not have saved the game for hims had MarocY responded 35...b6, and Maroczy did not blunder away the game after the supposed 35. Ba7 with 35...Bxa7.

The game was unusual in that Maroczy--one of the great defensive players of the time--played a gambit on move 2 as Black and went on the attack. A definite role reversal in a Janowski Maroczy game.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5?!

The Albin Counter-Gambit. Curiously, the same gambit was played on the same day in the same tournament in Burn-Cohn. Was Cohn perhaps looking at this game? Burn and Janowski parted ways on their fifth moves.

3. dx35 d4
4. e4

"?!?--MCO-13.

More normal and better was 4. Nf3, though Burn also played 4. e4?! (as did Burn yet again in his 8th round game with Schlechter. Burn won with this move against Cohn but (like Janowski here) lost in his latter game against Schlechter.

4... Nc6!
5. Bf4

Burn played the better 5. f4 in his games against Cohn and Schlechter in this tournament.

5... Nge7

5...Qh4, 5...f6, and 5...g5 were all reasonable alternatives, but not necessarily any better than the text.

6. Bg3 h5!

Well played. Maroczy could attack when the occasion required (especially when he was playing a gambit opening).

7. h3

The Tournament Book said--correctly in my view--that 7. h4 was better.

7... g5!

More excellent aggressive play by Maroczy. 7...h4 was another good option.

8. h4?!

Asking for trouble (but what would you expect from Janowski--slow defensive play?). 8. Nd2 or 8. Nf3 were theoretically much better.

8... g4?!

8...Ng6 immediately looks even better.

9. Nd2

9. Ne2 was more accurate.

9... Ng6

The position was now:


click for larger view

An unusual and extremely difficult position for both players.

10. F4?!

A wild and crazy Janowski move that seems to have taken Maroczy by surprise. the move could have led to disaster for Janowski. Safer and better were 10. Qc2 or 10. Ne2 or even 10. c5.

10... Be7?

Maroczy could have punished Janowski for his temerity with 10...Bh6! followed by d3. 10...d3 immediately was another good option for Maroczy.

Maroczy's plan with the text of targeting Maroczy's h-pawn should not have worked.

11. Bd3

11. Qa4 or 11. Qb3 or even 11. a3 were all much better.

11... Nxh4

Why not 11...Bxh4? Maroczy could also have tried 11...Nb4

12. Qe2 Ng6
13. e6

13. 0-0-0 was another possibility.

13... h4

If 13...fxe6 14. e5 (Tournament Book). But 13...Bxe6 looks better than the text.

The position was now:


click for larger view

A remarkable position. Maroczy has certainly taken the fight to Janowski, but Janowski also has all sorts of threats. But how to proceed? I will attempt to unravel what was going on here in my next post on this game.

Sep-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

The simplest and probably best line for Janowski in the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post was 14. Bh2. This, of course, losses the Bishop to 14...g3, but then White gets excellent counter-play after 15. Bxg3 hxg3 16. RxR+ NxR 17. Qh5 Bf6 18. e5.

Another possibility was 14. exf7+, but Janowski could then have gotten into trouble had Maroczy not taken the pawn but instead played 14...Kf8.

Janowski in fact played:

14. Qxg4

Perhaps he thought that Maroczy would play 14...hxB for then after 15. RxR= NxR 16. Qg8+ Bf8 17. QxN Bxe6 Janowski would have the better position. But Maroczy instead played the simpler and better:

14... Bxe6

14...Nce5 would have been even stronger than the text. Maroczy's actual move left the position as follows:


click for larger view

15. f5

Perhaps Janowski had reckoned he would be fine after this pawn fork, but if so Maroczy's judgment had been superior.

15... Bc8

15...Bd7 was more accurate.

16. Bh2 Nge5

Now, nothing is hanging!


click for larger view

17. Qe2

Janowski should probably have simplified matters with 17. BxN which would have given him reasonable chances. The text kept his King-side bottled up.

17... NxB+
18. QxN Nb4

The initiative (and the two Bishops) was now definitely in Maroczy's hands.

19. Qb3 a5
20. Nh3

Janowski should here had bitten the bullet and played either 20. 0-0-0 or 20. a3. After the text, Janowski's position--which by now may or may not be lost--was certainly a mess:

r1bqk2r/1pp1bp2/8/p4P2/1nPpP2p/1Q

Sep-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

The simplest and probably best line for Janowski in the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post was 14. Bh2. This, of course, losses the Bishop to 14...g3, but then White gets excellent counter-play after 15. Bxg3 hxg3 16. RxR+ NxR 17. Qh5 Bf6 18. e5.

Another possibility was 14. exf7+, but Janowski could then have gotten into trouble had Maroczy not taken the pawn but instead played 14...Kf8.

Janowski in fact played:

14. Qxg4

Perhaps he thought that Maroczy would play 14...hxB for then after 15. RxR= NxR 16. Qg8+ Bf8 17. QxN Bxe6 Janowski would have the better position. But Maroczy instead played the simpler and better:

14... Bxe6

14...Nce5 would have been even stronger than the text. Maroczy's actual move left the position as follows:


click for larger view

15. f5

Perhaps Janowski had reckoned he would be fine after this pawn fork, but if so Maroczy's judgment had been superior.

15... Bc8

15...Bd7 was more accurate.

16. Bh2 Nge5

Now, nothing is hanging!


click for larger view

17. Qe2

Janowski should probably have simplified matters with 17. BxN which would have given him reasonable chances. The text kept his King-side bottled up.

17... NxB+
18. QxN Nb4

The initiative (and the two Bishops) was now definitely in Maroczy's hands.

19. Qb3 a5
20. Nh3

Janowski should here had bitten the bullet and played either 20. 0-0-0 or 20. a3. After the text, Janowski's position--which by now may or may not be lost--was certainly a mess:


click for larger view

Maroczy took immediate advantage of the awkward position of Janowski's Queen:

20... a4!
21. Qd1 Nd3+

But here Janowski missed a chance to turn the screws on Janowski's position with 21...d3! Instead, he plays to win the White b-pawn.

22. Kf1 Nxb2

This left:


click for larger view

So Maroczy has won his pawn, but now--as I will discuss in my next post on this game, Janowski had chances to fight his way back into the game.

Sep-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

After 22...Nxb2, Janowski had his chances, and for a moment it appeared that we would see one of his famous something-out of nothing counterattacks:

23. Qg4! Ra6

Maoczy did not display his usual accuracy during this phase of the game. 23...Rf8 was better. Even 23...Kf8 or perhaps 23...Nd3 would probably have been better. After the texts, Janowski had chances to fight his way back into the contest. But:

24. Nf4

24. Be5 would have been better.

24... Kf8?

Surprisingly weak play by Maroczy. 24...Rc6 followed by Bf6 would have presented serious problems for Janowski. After the text, Janowski's counterattack picked up steam. 24...c6 would at least have prevented Janowski's next move.

25. Nd5! Rc6

He must protect c7.

The position was now:


click for larger view

With 26. Rc1, Janowski would have had about even chances. But...

26. Be5?

Practically inviting Maroczy's next move, which put the question to Janowski's Queen.

26... Rg8
27. Qh5?

A serious mistake that allowed the following retort by Maroczy. Janowski should have played 27. Qf3.

27... Bg5!

Combining attack and defense, since Rh6 would now drive away the White Queen.

28. Nf3?

He had to play 28. Qf3 (or perhqaps 28. Qe2). Janowski was already in serious trouble, but after the text he looks beaten--had Maroczy played the seemingly obvious 28...Rh6. But...

28... Nxc4?

After this careless move, Maroczy's winning advantage was gone, the position now being:

The position now was:


click for larger view

But here, as I will discuss in my next post on this game, Janowski blundered and never really got back into the game (despite Maroczy's later error on move 34. that might have allowed Janowski to make the game interesting).

Sep-09-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

Maroczy's 28...Nxc4? gave Janowski a road back into the struggle had he played 29. NxB. Then, after 29...QxN 30. QxQ RxQ 31. Bf4 the position would have been:


click for larger view

Janowski is still down two pawns, but his attack on the weak Black pawns on c7 and h4 would guarantee regain of material. If not equality, Janowski would have been very much in contention. But instead of 29. NxB Janowski played 29...f6? leaving the position as follows:


click for larger view

Here Maroczy played:

29... Ne3+

As drunkenknight and tamar have stated long ago on this site, Maroczy could have won with the very strong 29...NxB, since if then 30. NxN (30. NxB would lose after 30...Rxf6+ followed by 31...RxN) 30...Rf6+ 31. NxR? (31. Ke1 would be less immediately disastrous but would also lose after 31...be6 32. NxR QxN leaving Black with three pawns for the exchange and an overwhelming attack) 31...QxN+ 32. Nf3 Qa6+ [the crushingly effective square for the Queen in many variations in this game].

But, as will be seen, Maroczy's actual move [29...Ne3+] also was very strong and sufficient to win.

30. NxN

30. Kg1 was probably better, but would still lose to 30...Bxf6 31. Rh2 [to avoid the mate on g2] NxN leaving Maroczy up a piece and with a strong position otherwise.

30... BxN

The position was now:


click for larger view

31. Rd1

This should have lost straight off, but the better 31. Qxh4 would also have left Janowski in hopeless shape after 31...Rc2!

31... Bg4

This is sufficient to win, but 31...d3! would have forced resignation in short order: e.g., 32. Nxh4 d2 33. Ke2 Bg4+ winning White's Queen.

32. Qxh4

This left:


click for larger view

From here, as I will show in my next post on this game, Maroczy [though not forfeiting his winning edge] missed another crusher, and the complications seem to have befuddled both players. [In fairness, I should note that I have spent days analyzing this game with computers ready at hand to check my calculations. Given the difficulties faced by both Janowski and Maroczy in this highly complex game in an over-the-board contest with the clock ticking, expecting anything approaching flawless play would be ridiculous].

Sep-09-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

In the position after 32. Qxh4, Maroczy had two potential clear and fast winning plans:

1) 32...Qa8, preparing the way for the Queen to come to a6 with devastating effect; and

2) 32...Rc2.

I see no way that Janowski could have survived after either of these moves. But instead, Maroczy played:

32... BxN?

Maroczy may still have the game in hand here, but now it would have been dicier had Janowski kept his head.

33. gxB Rc2

33...Qa8 (again planning Qa6+) was again correct. But once again, Maroczy's position was so good it is unclear whether the text blew his win.

The position was now:


click for larger view

Janowski now had only one possible road to survival, he had to play 34. Qe1! This would threaten 35. Qb4+ and would prevent 34...Qa8 since 35. Qb4+ would result in mate on the next move. Maroczy's only winning chance would therefore be to keep his Queen on d8 and play 34...Ke8 (If 34...Rf2+ 35. QxR BxQ 36. KxB and Janowski's threats would give him excellent chances of survival) 35. Qa5 [to prevent 35...Qa8] Rf2+ 36. Ke1 Rxa2 with a likely win for Maroczy (e.g., 37. f4 d3 38. Qb5+ c6 39. Qxd3 Bb6 40. QxQ+ BxQ leaving Maroczy a pawn up in a seemingly won ending.

Janowski's actual move, however, should have lost immediately:

34. Bxd4?

This left:


click for larger view

As capanegra pointed out on this site long ago, 34...Qe8 now wins for Maroczy. But as tamar and Calli further noted, best of all for Black here is 34...BxB which is absolutely crushing.

But instead, Maroczy played:

34... Qa8

The position was now:


click for larger view

This is the position from which the two accounts of the game diverge and which was discussed at length on this site many years ago. The question is whether Janowski here could have saved the game (or even won?!) with the problem-like 35. Qa7.

I will discuss this issue in my next post on this game.

Sep-09-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VI

In the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post, Janowski played:

35. Rd3??

This left:


click for larger view

From here, Maroczy won instantly with:

35... Qa6!

Mate is now unavoidable, and Janowski resigned.

But what if Janowski had played 35. Ba7! The position would then have been:


click for larger view

Does this save (or perhaps even win) the game for White?

Let's explore Black's options after 35. Ba7:

A) 35...Qxa7???

This allows mate in one for White with 36. Rd8# So we can scotch that a a viable option.

B) 35...BxB?

This is the move that the version of the game reported by Janowski claimed (falsely) Maroczy actually made. The move is also awful and allows White a lovely checkmate: 36. Qh6+ Ke8 37. Qg7!!! [37. Qg5 also wins] Rf2+ [of 37...Rf8 38. QxR+ and mate next move] 38. Ke1 Rg2 39. Qxg2 Bf2+ [39...RxR allows mate in 2] 40. QxR (f2) Qa6+ 41. Qd2 leaving White up a Rook with mate to follow soon.

C) 35...Qe8

This move has already been discussed at length on this site. From what I can see, White can now save the game with his own problem-like move: 36. Rd5![36. Qh5 loses to 36...c5!].

35...b6!

This is the winning move and--I think--provides the solution, i.e., Black can still win after 35. Ba7. The move was discovered by Calli [BRAVO Calli!], who points out that it threatens 36...Qc8 and 37...Qa6+. White's best try here is 36. Rd5!, but that still loses to 36...Rc5! 37. RxR BxR leaving:


click for larger view

White loses here since his Bishop is trapped, though the play gets interesting: e.g., 36. Qh6+ Ke8 37. Qg7! Rf8 [37...RxQ allows 38. Rh8+ and 39. RxQ] 39. Rh5 Qc6 and Black must eventually win.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A very exciting game rich in possibilities.

Jan-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Errata:

In my first post on this game, I suggested 13...Bxe6 as an improvement over Maroczy's 13...h4.

But, on further reflection, and as was pointed out to me when I reviewed the game with a very strong player, Black gets at best a tiny edge after 13...Bxe6 14. f5 h4 (e.g., 15. fxB hxB 16. RxR+ NxR 17. Qxg4 fxe6 18. Qxe6 Nf7

On balance, Maroczy's 13th move seems best.

Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Exciting game! How does "a8" figure into it?
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyrandus: The "a8" figure?!
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I have spent way too many hours looking for a game to use "I coulda had a b8!". I am guessing <Phony> did too, and settled for a8.
Jun-05-19  mrknightly: It's from a commercial:"I coulda had a V-8." V-8 is a mixed vegetable drink. Kind of like tomato juice on steroids.
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <OCF> Yes, 'B8" would be a better pun, but I have long wanted this to ge a GOTD. The idea of bringing the queen into the kingside attack by 34...Qd8-a8! is extraordinazry. And, if you can fight your way through the analysis in the kibitzes, explore the possible defense 35.Ba7 b6!, when the Black queen's threatened path is Qa8-c8-a6.

Maroczy's reputation is that of a dull, technical player, but he could do stuff like this when the occasion called for it.

Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Well, the pun should have been assigned to a game where that square's move was missed. I'll keep looking.
Jun-05-19  Diana Fernanda: Both played a terrible game. Bad opening.
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Perhaps Maroczy was trying to win the game without ever moving his queen.

He succeeded in keeping his queen on her starting square for 33 moves.

Jun-05-19  morfishine: What a great game, thanks!
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Another great game between 2 great players!

Not used to seeing such frequency of these types.

Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I see that this forum is where the <KEG> party is at!
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I was going to quip that this was a stunning demolition of a future WC contender, but was reminded that David Janowski lost the match with Dr. Emanuel Lasker with a big goose egg:

+0 -8 =3

heh heh, maybe Geza Maroczy should have gotten the match instead ;)

Evidently, Lasker thought as much. From the Maroczy bio:

<In 1906 he agreed to terms for a World Championship match with Dr. Lasker, but there were political problems in Cuba, where the match was to be played. Furthermore, Maroczy failed to make the $500 deposit by the deadline and the negotiations ended.>

Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Thus concludes <tga> portion of our GOTD.
Jun-05-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: I played through this game and my brain hurts! I'm glad I didn't do a 'Guess the move' I would have gotten something like -40 (but this may have been an average score).

But on a serious note, thanks here to KEG this was terrific analysis that must have taken many hours.

Jun-10-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <Breunor>So glad you enjoyed my posts on this game. It did take quite a while and my head was spinning as well. But the wild finish made it all worthwhile.
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