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Heinrich Wolf vs Franz G Jacob
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 2, Jul-24
Spanish Game: Exchange Variation. General (C68)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: Why is this the only example in the database of 5. Qe2? I play against someone who uses this move all the time, and he does it very successfully. I have yet to find a strong move that refutes it. Anyone out there who can help? What does crafty have to say about it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: I also have played 5.Qe2 with a lot of success. The problem is not 5.Qe2, the problem is that very few players now a days play the exchange variation in the Ruy.
Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: Actually, just over a thousand games. That's not bad. Still, because only one game lists 5. Qe2, I suspect there's something fundamentally wrong with this move. I'd love to know what it is to be able to exploit it if possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I think that there is nothing wrong with 5.Qe2, but it is hardly the best attempt of white to gain any considerable advantage from the opening in this variation. Of course, if you don't like to play book lines of the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez, then it looks like an usable possibility.
Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: So, then, Honza, do you have any suggestions for immediate replies?
Dec-09-03  Spitecheck: It's not even in Crafty's book so it analyses naturally. Reckons its better for black already. GM's would probably tell you that it's already equal (although tech disagrees I notice).

Depth: 14 Nodes: 311182236 (752448 n/s)
Score: -0.15 Time: 413.56 seconds
5. ... Bd6 6. O-O Ne7 7. d3 O-O 8. a4 f6 9. Na3 b5 10. axb5 axb5 11. Be3 Be6 12. h3

Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: Thanks, Spitecheck.
Dec-09-03  Catfriend: can somebody explain y was 25.Qh4 good?
Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: Catfriend, agree. Why not take the knight?
Dec-09-03  Spitecheck: I think he's afraid of black playing ..Rf2
Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: That's why I come here: my myopia!
Dec-09-03  Spitecheck: That threatens Qa1 mate so Rd2 is practically forced. Where upon ..Rxd2 Kxd2 Qxb2+ Ke1 Rxd3 and that looks quite strong.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Whitehat1963> Retain the courage of your convictions, why not take the Knight?

26.gxh5 Qa1+ 27.Kc2 Rf2+ 28.Rd2 Rxd2+ 29.Kxd2 Qxb2+ 30.Ke1 Qxc3+ 31.Kf2 Qd2+ 32.Kf3 Rf8+ 33.Ke4 and white is "clearly" winning.

Dec-09-03  Whitehat1963: Chessical, what if black plays 25 ... Rf2 first?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Whitehat1963> We all seem to have posted at the same time!

At the end of <Spitecheck's> line Black is getting mated after Qh8+, so I don't really understand the reference to Crafty.

25..Rf2 simply transposes into my first line.

Dec-09-03  Spitecheck: After prolonged thought from Crafty

Depth: 14 Nodes: 291465873 (910376 n/s)
Score: +0.00 Time: 320.16 seconds
26. ... Qa1+ 27. Kc2 Rf2+ 28. Rd2 Rxd2+ 29. Kxd2 Qxb2+ 30. Ke1 Qxc3+ 31. Kf2 Qc2+ 32. Kf3 Qxd3 33. Nxg6+ Kg7 34. Qe6 hxg6 35. Qxe5+ Kg8 36. Qe6+ Kg7 37. Qe5+


Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Spitecheck> I think that Crafty (as well as my obsolete Fritz) evaluates the position as slightly better for black thanks to mechanical calculating of Bishop pair and open lines for development (according to computer's calculation it is more than damaged pawn structure). But it is not very significant here and the position is approximately equal. In fact, I would like to play it as white against any computer...:-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Spitecheck> I do not think it is perpetual in the above line: 26. ... Qa1+ 27. Kc2 Rf2+ 28. Rd2 Rxd2+ 29. Kxd2 Qxb2+ 30. Ke1 Qxc3+ 31. Kf2 Qc2+ if White then plays <32.Kg3> with the the threat of Ng6+. I think it is a White win.
Dec-09-03  Spitecheck: Actually <chessical> white would win even with Kf3, getting Crafty further into the position along and it finds a win for white. I think I'm about ready to suggest that found the Qh4 line easier to calculate LOL!!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Spitecheck> What about 26.Qh2 hitting the e-pawn? That looks rather nasty for Black.
Dec-09-03  Spitecheck: Yeah it does in fact there wasn't a move for black I liked. Qe6 defends the pawn but than white's king is safer and white can off the black knight further exposing the black king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: An exciting cut and thrust affair filled with excellent moves and errors. The mistakes make the struggle all the more intriguing.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. BxN dxB
5. Qe2

As Honza Cervenka noted almost 15 years ago on this site, there is nothing terribly wrong with this move provided White is only seeking equality (and not everybody is Emmanuel Lasker or Bobby Fischer who played the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez for a win). 5. 0-0, 5. d4, and 5. Nc3 are somewhat better, but even then White has no real advantage. Lasker and Fischer prevailed with the Exchange Variation because: (i) they were great players; and (ii) the understood the nuances of this opening,

5... Bg4

This looks superficially appealing but, while the move is not all that bad,it does allow White to obtain the better game. Best for Black here were 5...f6 or 5...Bd6.

6. d3

Wolf appears to have been satisfied to emerge from the opening with equal chances. Strong players often do this when playing weaker opponents. I once lost to Larry Evans in a game in which he deliberately adopted a line that gave me equal chances but also got me out of the books. Evans relied on his ability to outplay me so long as he did not face any prepared variations, and he was--sad to say--vindicated in his strategy. Similarly, Wolf may have been confident here he could win a level game against Jakob absent some opening surprise.

Theoretically, 6. h3 looks much better than the text, which leads to a series of exchanges and a position with no advantage for White.

6... Bc5

6...Bd6 or 6...f6 were better.

7. Be3

Once again, Wolf seems to have been satisfied to trade pieces and rely on his greater skill. Theoretically, 7. h3 or 7. 0-0 were better.

7... Qe7
8. a3

Avoiding any nasty checks from b4. 8. Nbd2, however, seems simpler, but the text is fine for the equality Wolf apparently sought from the opening.

8... Nf6
9. Nbd2 0-0
10. h3 BxN
11. QxB BxB

This left:

click for larger view

Remarkably enough, this was one of the turning points of the game. With the obvious 12. QxB, the game would be almost level, White's one trump being the doubled Black c-pawn. But here, Wolf suddenly began playing for a win, and played the more dynamic (even if theoretically inferior):

12. fxB

Wolf has decided on an immediate King-side, and is more interested in opening lines, including the f-file, than he is worried about pawn structure. From this point on, the game becomes a tactical melee with Wolf throwing caution to the wind.

12... Nd7

While there is nothing much wrong with this move, Jakob might have considered: (i) adopting a strong defensive posture to meet Wolf's coming King-side storm; or (ii) playing for counterattack with 12...b5.

13. h4!

The pawn storm begins! Wolf plans to throw everything including the kitchen sink into his attacking scheme. This might not have worked against a stronger player, but it allowed Wolf to get a won game in fairly short order against his over-matched opponent.

Had Wolf been less fixed on blowing Jakob off the board, he might have played for a small advantage beginning with 13. 0-0

13... Qe6

Jakob seems uncertain what to do. While this move doesn't lose, it betrays uncertainty and lack of a plan. There were many plans Jakob could have explored, e.g., 13...a5 or 13...b5 or 13...f6.

14. g4!

Wolf's pawns are on the march. 14. Qf5 was another way to put pressure on Jakob. 14. h5 was another attractive possibility.

14... b5

The position was now:

click for larger view

Battle lines are now drawn, and blows were soon to be exchanged as I will discuss in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Just as Wolf was building his attack and seemingly ready to strike, he decided he needed to bring his Knight into the fray with:

15. Nf1?

This loss of time could have been costly against a stronger opponent. Wolf should have played 15. g5 or 15. Qf5 or 15. h5 to keep his attack rolling. The text gave Jakob a chance to make some trouble for Wolf. But...

15... Rfb8?

This useless move hands the lost tempo back to Wolf, and justifies Wolf's last move. With 15...c5!, Jakob would, if anything, have the better chances.

16. Ng3

Now Wolf's Knight was in position to aid in the White attack. Even better might have been 16. Qf5 or 16. g5.

16... Nf6?

Missing another chance to get some counterplay with 16...c5! or perhaps 16...a5. Meanwhile, Jakob's move put his Knight right were it could be attacked by the White g-pawn.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Jakob's dithering has given Wolf ample time to get his forces aligned for the coming assault. Jakob may not have yet been strategically lost, but he wad clearly courting disaster.

17. Nf5!

The Knight has found its ideal post. Now the advance of Wolf's pawns were an immediate threat.

17... Kh8

Another weak move by Jakob. With 17...g6, he had chances of organizing a defense of his besieged King-side.

18. h5?

Hard to believe. With 18. g5!, Black's defensive headaches would have been formidable. But now, Jakob could grind Wolf's pawn phalanx to a halt with 18...g6! But instead...

18... g6?

This allowed Wolf to open the h-file with what should have been decisive effect.

19. hxg6 fxg6

The position was now:

click for larger view

With some major assistance from Jakob, Wolf has achieved his dream position. The h-file is open. Black;s Knight is positioned right where it can be attacked by g5. And Black's Rook are off in la-la land (i.e., on the Queen-side rather than aiding in the defense). All in all, a winning position for Wolf. But not for long:

20. Nh6?

With 20. 0-0-0, Wolf's attack would be irresistible (e.g., 20...gxN 21. exf5!). 20. g5 was probably also sufficient to flatten Jakob. The wimpy text, by contrast gave Jakob the time he needed to bring one of his Rooks to the rescue.

20... Rf8!

Well played! With Jakob's potential discovered attack on the White Queen, Wolf had to regroup.

21. Qh3!

The best way to pursue his attack after his miscue on his prior move. Now Wolf threatens to drive the f6 Knight away with g5 after which he can move his own Knight and play on the open h-file on which his Queen and h1 Rook are poised.

21... Rad8

Yet another weak effort by Jakob. The text does nothing to aid in his defense. Jakob should have played 21...Qe7

The position now was:

click for larger view

In this promising position, as I will discuss in my next post on this game, Wolf inexplicably handed Jakob an opportunity to break the vise and obtain a draw, but the latter then proceeded to ruin his chances with some bizarre moves of his own.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

In the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post, Wolf erred badly with:

22. 0-0-0?

Missing his chance to give Jakob major problems with 22. g5! and giving Jakob an obvious means of counterattack.

22... Qa2!

The game has been turned upside down, the position now being:

click for larger view

Wolf should never have permitted this intrusion by the Black Queen. At this point, it was not clear that Wolf could expect anything more than a draw.

23. c3

The only way to save himself. Jakob was threatening Qa1+ followed by Qxb2.

23... Nxe4!

One of many ways to exploit Wolf's very poor 22nd move. Also strong were 23...b4! and 23...c5! The text, however, was the most spectacular way for Jakob to keep Wolf under pressure.

24. Nf5!

The only move, but a good one. 24. dxN? leads to mate in four after 24...Qa1+ 25. Kc2 Rf2+. Wolf's threatened mate in one stalls Jakob's Queen-side attack.

The position was now:

click for larger view

As is obvious, Jakob had to find a way to defend h7.

24... Nf6?

But this was not the right way. With 24...Ng5! This move, which both attacks White's Queen and defends h7. Then, after 25. Qh4 or 25. Qh6, both Knights would fall and a draw would be the likely outcome. But now:

25. Ne7!

Threatening 25. Nxg6+ How to defend against this?

25... Nh5?

Not this way, as Wolf immediately demonstrated. The only way to have a chance to hold the game was 25...Qf7.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Now, as I will discuss in my next post on this game, Wolf tore Jakob's position apart.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

in the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post on this game, Wolf played:

26. Qh4!

This excellent move, as I will attempt to show, by combining attack with defense against Rf2+, is absolutely crushing.

Before analyzing the consequences of 26. Qh4!, however, we should pause to consider the excellent discussion of the position after 25...Nh5? that appeared on this site nearly 15 years ago. At that time, Catfriend and Whitehat1963 asked the important question: why not just take the Knight with 26. gxN.

Taking my cue from chessical and others, I have concluded that 26. gxN does indeed win, though with considerably more difficulty and pitfalls than after 26. Qh4! (Wolf's actual move).

Black has two plausible answers to 26. gxN, neither of which saves the game for Black:

A) 26...Qa1+. After this try, White wins with 27. Kc2 Rf2+ 28. Rd2 RxR+ 29. KxR Qxb2+ 30. Ke1 Qxc3+ 31. Kf2 Qd2+ 32. Kf3 Qxd3 33. Nxg6+ Kg7 34. Qe6 hxg5 (Spitecheck's move--White also wins after the "better" 34...Qd5+, emerging with a winning ending after the trade of Queens) 35. h6! (rather than Spitecheck's 35...Qxe5+ which does indeed lead to a draw).

B) 26...Rf2 (undoubtedly the move Wolf feared, as noted by Spitecheck) 27. Rd2 (the win is less clear after 27. Ng6+ Kg7 28. h6+ Kg8 29. Rd2 RxR 30. KxR hxN [not 30...Qxb2+ which leads to the losing variation in the main lines in A and B] 31. Kc2 Rf8!) RxR 28. KxR Qxb2+ 29. Ke1 Qxc3+ 30. Kf2 (following a line similar to A above) Qd2+ 31. Kf3 Qxd3 (31...Rxd3 loses to 35. Ke4!) 32. Nxg6+ Kg7 33. Qe6 Qd5+ 34. QxQ RxQ 35. Ne7 and White should win the ending, but only after a lot of hard work.

Wolf's 26. Qh4+ avoided the above difficult lines.

Returning to the actual game after 26. Qh4!:

26... g5

Black is lost anyway, but this leads to a quick and brutal finish. If Jakob wanted to fight on for a while, his best chances (not all that great, truth to tell) lay in 26...Rd7 or 26. c5, both of which still lead to grief for Black after 27. gxN.

27. QxN!

This lets Black get in a few checks beginning with 27...Rf2+, but the threatened mate in one gives Black no hopes of survival.

27... Qa1+

The only try available to Black here.

28. Kc2

28. Kd2+ leads to mate in two for Black (28...Qxb2+ 29. Ke1 Qf2 mate)

28... Rf2+
29. Rd2 RxR+
30. KxR Qxb2+
31. Ke1

Wolf still had to be careful. 30. Kd1 allows Black to mate beginning with 30...Rxd3+.

31... Qb1+
32. Kf2 Qxd3

The position was now:

click for larger view

Jakob perhaps this move would keep him in the game since the Queen on d3 guards against an immediate mate in one on h7. If that is whT Jakoc was thinking, Wolf's next move brought him back to Earth:

33. Ng6+!

With the h7 pawn pinned, Wolf can't very well play 33...QxN because of 34. QxQ. But his actual move led to something even worse:

33... Kg7
34. Qh7+

Mate cannot be avoided, i.e., if 34...Kf6 then 35. Qe7+! KxN 36. Qh7+ Kf6 37. Rh6+ and mate next move.


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