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William Ewart Napier vs Mikhail Chigorin
"There's a Nap for That" (game of the day Sep-25-2015)
Monte Carlo (1902), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 20, Mar-10
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Main Line (C51)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-29-04  shr0pshire: This game won the Rothschild Brilliancy Prize in the Monte Carlo Tournament.
Feb-13-05  Kenkaku: If 37...Rh7 it seems 38. Rxf6 wins fairly easily.
Jan-24-08  Bartleby: From John S. Hilbert's biography, 'Napier: The Forgotten Chessmaster':

Of his twentieth round encounter with Chigorin at Monte Carlo, Napier wrote in "Amenities" that "at Monte Carlo in 1902 my opponent on the last day was Chigorin. I decided to celebrate with a gambit, and so gave him to understand the night before. In the morning I steered into the Evans, confident that he would not expect an opening that had scarcely been out of the stable since its crippling in the St. Petersburg event of 1896. He used the old defense. After the game he asked what new play I had in mind for Lasker's Defense, and when I replied 'None,' he said good-naturedly that I had a talent--for poker! After that agreeable little memento it was a bit comforting to receive the brilliancy prize for the game."

A fine chess writer, as well as a prodigious talent. As quotable as Tartakower. My favorite of Napier's is: "In the laboratory, gambits all test unfavorably; over-the-board, all gambits prove sound."

Apr-26-08  ToTheDeath: Nice example of a slow building attack.

One possible line given by Rybka is 24... Bxg1 25. Rxg1 Qb6 26. Nd4 Re8 27. Qg4 Rfe7 28. Qg3 Qc5 29. Bf5 Nf8 30. Ne6 Nxe6 31. Bxe6+ Kh8 32. Bxf6

Apr-27-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <ToTheDeath> After 24...Bxg1 25.Rxg1 Qb6 26.Nd4, Fritz preferred: (-.84) (27 ply) 26...Qc5 27.Rxg6 Qa3 28.Nb5 hxg6 29.Nxa3 gxf5 30.Bxa5 fxe4 31.fxe4 b6 32.Bb4 f5, with some advantage for Black.

After 26...Re8? 27.Qh5 Qc5, Fritz indicated the game is equal.

After 26...Re8? 27.Qg4?, Fritz showed that Black again has some advantage with: 27...Qc5 28.Qg3 b5 29.Be6 b4 30.Bxf7+ Kxf7 31.Ne3 Rxe6 32.dxe6+ Kf8.

Finally, Fritz indicated the game is equal, in your line after: 29...Qa3 30.Nb5 Qc5. The move 29...Nf8?? leads to a quick loss for Black.

Apr-27-08  ToTheDeath: Those lines are accurate, though not quite forced as there are many alternatives along the way. My comment was simply an example of plausible play. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in Fritz's evaluation of positions with great material imbalance- computers still struggle with the concept of compensation.
Apr-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Even though White will still have a strong attack, Fritz indicated Black should have accepted the win of the exchange, with a resulting position with some advantage for Black.

L. Hoffer in "The Field" stated regarding 24...Ne5: <The attack remaining the same, rook or no rook, Black should have taken the rook.>

Pillsbury stated: <If 24...Bxg1 25.Rxg1 Ne5 26.Nd4, and White will regain at least the Exchange. It will be noticed that the Black Knight at a5 is the cause of his difficultly. If for Black 25...b5 26.Rxg6 hxg6 27.Qxg6 Re8 28.Nf4 with a winning attack.>

Black's move 27...g5?, considerably shortened Black's resistence.

L. Hoffer commented regarding 27...g5: <A desperate remedy, hardly improving matters.>

Pillsbury stated: <27...Kh8 is probably better, but White's attack is tremendous.>

Fritz agrees that 27...Kh8 was a better move, and also agrees that White's attack was tremendous. Even if Black had played 27...Kh8, Fritz indicated White's position was winning.

After 27...Kh8 28.Rag1 b5 29.Bf5, Fritz found White to be winning after: 29...g5 30.Qg3 Nb7 31.f4 gxf4 32.Qxf4 Nc5 33.Be6, or 29...Nb7 30.Qh4 g5 31.Qh5 b4 32.Bxb4 Qb6 33.f4 Qxb4 34.Qh6, or 29...Nb7 30.Qh4 g5 31.Qh5 Nc5 32.f4 b4 33.Bd4 Ncd3 34.fxe5 Nf4 35.Qh6 fxe5 36.Rxg5.

Improvements may be found for Black, but I believe by move 27, White's attack is decisive.

Apr-29-08  sharkw: Surely White's 10th and 11th moves have been mixed up - after 10. Nc3 Black can just reply 10...Nxc4.
Apr-29-08  ToTheDeath: <Pawn and Two>: Excellent annotations!
Apr-30-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <sharkw> The game score is correct.

Pillsbury stated after 10...Ne7: <Probably preferable was 10...Nxc4 11.Qa4+ c6 12.Qxc4 Ne7. As played, it will be seen that the knight is left completely out of it later on.>

L. Hoffer in "The Field" noted that the game through 14...Bg4, followed a known book line. After 14...Bg4, Hoffer stated: <All book so far, and also the text move, but the latter bad book, as Chigorin ought to know, the correct move being 14...Rb8, followed by the advance of the b-pawn. If Black can make no diversion on the queen's side - his strength - the attack on his king's position must become too powerful.>

Fritz agrees with Pillsbury that 10...Nxc4 11.Qa4+ c6 12.Qxc4 Ne7 is a preferable line for Black. Fritz indicates Black has a small advantage in this line, while after 10...Ne7 11.Bd3 0-0 12.h3, Fritz rates the position as equal.

Fritz does not agree with Hoffer's evaluation of 14...Rb8 as opposed to 14...Bg4. Fritz finds both moves playable, but indicated 14...Bg4 is Black's best move, with more advantage for Black than after 14...Rb8.

<ToTheDeath> Thanks!

Jul-14-08  myschkin: Napier wrote in "Amenities":
"....at Monte Carlo in 1902 my opponent on the last day was Chigorin. <I decided to celebrate with a gambit, and so gave him to understand the night before>. In the morning I steered into the Evans, confident that he would not expect an opening that had scarcely been out of the stable since its crippling in the St. Petersburg event of 1896. He used the old defense. After the game he asked what new play I had in mind for Lasker's Defense, and when I replied 'None,' he said good-naturedly that I had a talent--for poker! After that agreeable little memento it was a bit comforting to receive the brilliancy prize for the game."

the good 'ol chess times :)

Jan-17-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Did he mean the Lasker's Defence to the Evans Gambit or to the QGD? (Chigorin might have been expecting it is my reason...)
Sep-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Of course Black should've taken the rook. Gotta love Napier's style though, even in defeat: Lasker vs W Napier, 1904

*****

Sep-25-15  Abdel Irada: This is the kind of game modern, "positional" attacking players love, because it offers opportunity without risk. White has so thoroughly precluded counterplay that he needn't find any brilliancies; he can just go on patiently building pressure until Black's defenses buckle.

To achieve this, he has driven his opponent's king into the perils of a (nearly) stalemated monarch, and nailed down this advantage by doubling rooks on the g-file — a permanent condition, thanks to the material imbalance.

Now, some advantages are temporary: If you don't find exactly the right idea (sometimes a profoundly artistic one), it will evaporate and leave you with nothing. But in this game we see a non-volatile strategic advantage, in the form of pressure and persistent initiative, and White need only keep making threats until he makes one that Black can't stop, and then the strategic advantage is converted into a tactical one.

So, even though the winning combination isn't as dramatic as some, I think the attacking technique in this game is pragmatically instructive in a way that some of the more spectacular tactical finishes are not.

Sep-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: One of Napier's finest!
Sep-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Kenkaku: If 37...Rh7 it seems 38. Rxf6 wins fairly easily.>

It does, but 38.Qg4 is even better, since Black can't defend g8.

Sep-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I wish I could get an app that would enable me to play like that.
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