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Theodor von Scheve vs Mikhail Chigorin
Monte Carlo (1902), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 5, Feb-10
Formation: Queen Pawn Game: London System (D02)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-17-09  Sem: Sem was here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Me too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Black could have played 25...Rb2, which would have suggested a draw after: 26.Rab1 Ra2, or 26.Rc1b1 Rc2.

After 25...Rb2, White could have tried: 26.Kd3 Rxb4 27.a5 Na4 28.Rab1 Rxb1 29.Rxb1, (.20) (22 ply) 29...b6 30.Kd4 bxa5 31.Rb5 Nb6 32.Rxa5 Rf7, with only a very small edge for White.

After starting the tournament with a win over Tarrasch, and then losses to Popiel and Marshall, Chigorin may not have been in a mood to suggest a draw with 25...Rb2.

Instead, Chigorin selected 25...Rxc1. Fritz indicates this move was also playable: (.24) (24 ply) 25...Rxc1 26.Rxc1 Nxa4 27.Kd3 Nb6 28.Kd4 Nc4 29.Nxc4 dxc4 30.Rxc4 Rd8+ 31.Kc3 Rd7.

We are now near the decisive moment in this instructive ending.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: As indicated, after 25...Rxc1 26.Rxc1 Nxa4, White should have played 27.Kd3, keeping a small advantage.

Instead he played 27.Rc7, and after 27...Rf7 28.Rc8+, the game was equal.

Chigorin now made a fateful decision. He could have played 28...Rf8 with an equal position. White may then play 29.Rc7, but Black has an equal position by repeating the position with 29...Rf7.

White could also try 29.Rc1 or 29.Rc2. However, in that case Black can keep an equal position with 29...Nb6.

Instead of playing the logical, but drawish 28...Rf8, Chigorin made a huge gamble with the ill-judged move 28...Kh7?.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: To avoid drawing lines, Chigorin played 28...Kh7?. However, this was a serious error. A review of the position indicates White has strong winning chances after 28...Kh7?. The King is clearly misplaced for the ending.

click for larger view

In "The Field" Leopold Hoffer wrote, <His error on move 28 results in a lost game although the ending is instructive.> After the move 28...Kh7?, Hoffer wrote, <The beginning of the end.>

Fritz confirms that the ending is probably lost for Black after 28...Kh7?: 29.Kd3 (.57) (24 ply) 29...g6 30.Nb3 Kg7 31.Rd8 Re7 32.Rxd5 Nb2+, (.72) (25 ply) 33.Kc3 Na4+ 34.Kd2 Nb6 35.Rd8, (.84) (28 ply) 35...Rd7+ 36.Rxd7+ Nxd7 37.Na5 b6 38.Nc6 a6, (1.00) (.26) 39.Kd3 Kf7 40.Kc4 Ke6 41.Nd4+ Ke7 42.Kd5 Nf8, (1.76) (26 ply) 43.e6 Nh7 44.Nc6+ Ke8 45.Ke5 h5 46.g3 Kf8 47.e7+ Kf7 48.Kd6 Nf6 49.Kc7 Ke8 50.Kxb6, and White is winning.

In this variation Black can avoid the Rook trade at move 35 with: (1.09) (28 ply) 35...Kf7 36.Nc5 a5 37.bxa5 Nc4+ 38.Kd3 Nxa5 39.Rd6 Rc7 40.Ne6 Rc1 41.Nd4, (2.08) (24 ply) 41...Kg7 42.Rd7+ Kf8 43.Rd8+ Kf7 44.e6+ Ke7 45.Rd7+ Ke8 46.Rg7 Nc6 47.Rxg6 Nxd4 48.Kxd4, but White is also winning in this line.

Also winning for White is: (1.12) (28 ply) 35...Nc4+ 36.Kd3 Nb2+ 37.Kc3 Na4+ 38.Kd2 Nb2 39.Nc5 b6 40.Nd7 Kf7 41.Nf6 b5 43.Nd5 Rb7, (1.91) (21 ply) 44.Kd4 a5 45.Rh8 Rd7 46.bxa5 Nxa5 47.Kc5 Ke6 48.Re8+ Kf7 49.Ra8 Nc4 50.Ra6 Rd8 51.Ra7+ Kf8 52.e6.

After 28...Kh7? 29.Kd3, Chigorin varied from the line indicated by Fritz (29...g6) and played 29...Nb6.

Apr-19-09  Sem: Aha, suddenly we get comments. Thanks, Kilroy!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: At move 30, Fritz recommends 30.Re8: (.79) (26 ply) 30.Re8 Rc7 31.Nf3 g6 32.Nd4 Nc4 33.Rd8 Nb6 34.Nb5 Rc8 35.Rxc8 Nxc8 36.Nd6 Ne7 37.Nxb7, (2.06) (23 ply) 37...Kg8 38.Kd4 Kf8 39.e6 Kg7 40.Ke5, and White is winning.

White also had strong winning chances after Scheve's 30.Rd8: (.75) (27 ply) 30...Rc7 31.Nf3 Rc8 32.Rd6 g6 33.Nd4 Rc7 34.Nb5 Rc4, (2.14) (25 ply) 35.Rf6 Nc8 36.Rf7+ Kg8 37.Rxb7 Rxb4 38.e6, (2.80) (20 ply) 38...Ne7 39.Rxe7 Rxb5 40.Rxa7 Kf8 41.Kd4, and White is winning. In this line, (1.92) (25 ply) 35.e6 Re4 36.Nxa7 Nc4 37.Rd7+ Kg8 38.e7 Kf7 39.Nc8 b6 40.Rxd5 Nxe3 41.Rd7 Kf6, (3.96) (21 ply) 42.Nxb6 g5 43.fxg5+, is also winning for White.

Instead of 31...Rc8, as indicated by Fritz, Chigorin played 31...g6: (.76) (24 ply) 31...g6 32.Nd4 Rc8. Fritz indicates White is winning in this line also: (1.21) (25 ply) 33.Rd6 Rc7 34.g3 Nc4 35.Ne6 Rf7 36. Rxd5 Nb2+, (1.83) (24 ply) 37.Kd4 Re7 38.Rd6 Kg8 39.Nc5 b6 40.Ne6 a5 41.Rxb6 axb4 42.Nc5 Kg7 43.Rxb4.

At move 33, Scheve varied from Fritz's recommendation and played 33.Ne6: (.92) (25 ply) 33.Ne6 h5 34.Rxc8 Nxc8 35.Kd4, (2.03) (27 ply) 35...b6 36.b5 Kg8 37.Kxd5 Kf7 38.Nd4 Ke7 39.Kc6 Ke8 40.Kc7, (3.03) (21 ply) 40...Ne7 41.Kd6 Ng8 42.Ke6. Analysis shows White is winning in this line also.

Chigorin also varied from Fritz's recommendation at move 33, and played 33...Rxd8: (1.32) (24 ply) 33...Rxd8 34.Nxd8 Nc4 35.Nxb7 Kg7 36.Kd4, (2.01) (23 ply) 36...Na3 37.Kxd5. Analysis shows that White is winning in this variation also.

After 34.Nxd8, Black is clearly lost. Additional material loss is imminent, and the Black King still remains out of action on the h-file. Leopold Hoffer was right, the move 28...Kh7 proved to be Chigorin's undoing. Scheve played the ending well, taking advantage of the misplaced King.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: The opening in this game was closely contested. At move 14, Chigorin had an interesting choice, should he capture on d2 or g3?

click for larger view

Leopold Hoffer in "The Field", strongly preferred the capture on d2. Hoffer noted that after 14...Nxg3 hxg3, Black would be obliged to play 15...h6, allowing White the natural follow-up 18.g4, after which 18...g6 19.gxf5 gxf5, would lose the h-pawn.

Hoffer also noted the recapture 19...exf5, weakened the d-pawn, leaving White with a strong protected passed pawn on e5, and a very difficult ending for White after the queen exchange on move 22.

This are all good points by Hoffer and would have convinced many to play 14...Nxd2. Chigorin, however, decided to play 14...Nxg3.

In this game, Chigorin at several points, (moves 14, 25 & 28), decided against moves that were more likely to draw. A review by Fritz indicates his choices at move 14 and 25 were playable, but his move 28...Kh7?, gave him a lost position.

At move 14, Fritz indicates that either: (-.12) (21 ply) 14...Nxg3 15.hxg3 h6 16.f4 f6, or (-.09) (21 ply) 14...Nxd2 15.Qxd2 h5 16.0-0-0 b6 are playable.

A deeper search of the 14...Nxg3 variation indicates that 15...h6 is not required: (-.13) (23 ply) 14...Nxg3 15.hxg3 g6 16.f4 h5, with an approximately equal position.

After 20.Qb3, Black has a difficult choice in defending his d-pawn. Hoffer in "The Field wrote regarding 20...Nb6: <Relatively best but, even so, a poor square for the knight.>

A review by Fritz indicates that considerably better than 20...Nb6 was: (.16) (21 ply) 20...c4 21.Qd1 Nxe5 22.fxe5 Qxe5 23.Qc2 a5; or (.31) (21 ply) 20...Qf7 21.0-0 Rfc8 22.Rfd1 c4 23.Qc2 Nf8; or (.37) (21 ply) 20...Qe6 21.Nf3 a5 22.Kf2 axb4 23.axb4 Qf7.

After (.40) (21 ply) 20...Nb6? 21.a4 cxb4, (.54) (24 ply) 22.cxb4 Rac8 23.0-0 g6 24.a5 Nc4 25.Rfc1 Rc7 26.Rc2 Rfc8 27.Rac1, White has a small advantage.

Scheve did not play 22.cxb4, and after (.00) (24 ply) 22.Qxb4? Qxb4 23.cxb4 Rac8 24.Ke2 Rc2 25.Rhc1, the game was equal.

See previous posts for the game continuation after 25.Rhc1.

A very interesting game. Chigorin's attempts to avoid a draw finally led to his downfall. However, it took some strong play by Scheve, including a fine ending to score the point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: The 3rd paragraph of my last post (04/21/09) should read:

Hoffer also noted the recapture 19...exf5 weakened the d-pawn, leaving White with a strong protected passed pawn on e5, and a very difficult ending for Black after the queen exchange on move 22.

May-05-16  bachiller: Scheve method!
May-05-16  lentil: Nice mate after 43. b7 fe 44. b8Q e2 45. Qe8.
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