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Carl Schlechter vs Akiba Rubinstein
San Sebastian (1912), San Sebastian ESP, rd 2, Feb-20
French Defense: Classical. Burn Variation (C11)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-23-02  ughaibu: Another won for Drukenknight, the endgame is apparently dead level but Schlecter has broken pawns.
Dec-23-02  Fiendish: I think the ending was always going to be difficult to defend. Black had maximum rook and king development and mobility, with play in the centre; he chose a wise minor piece exchange (knight) and his pawns couldn't be attacked.
Dec-23-02  ughaibu: Interesting. Would you go as far as to say that black had won by move 28?
Dec-25-02  mj29479: i think instead of 0-0-0 white should have moved 15.c3 and gone for a possible putting his 2 pawns against 4 on the right flank finally paid him in a defeat.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PivotalAnorak: Very nice rook ending by Rubinstein. Maybe White is lost at move 28. 28... Re6 ! forces the White rook to take up a passive position. 29... Rf6 ! threatens Rf2 and gains time for the subsequent King's march. White tries to use his Q side pawn majority to create a passed pawn, but Black puts an end to this plan with 41... a6+ ! Strategically very intructive. I wonder if a better plan could be suggested to White after is 28th move ? I don't see any.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <ughaibu: ... Would you go as far as to say that black had won by move 28?> Yes I would (with, say, 90% confidence). IMKO, White chances look very slim by move 18. I too see the main fault with O-O-O and Bxe7. In addition to alternative O-O, I recommend also Ke2 for consideration.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willem Wallekers: <White chances look very slim by move 18.> Yes, which means 10. Bb5+ wasn't a very good idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <10. Bb5+ wasn't a very good idea.> White can recover to an equal game by 11. Be2 0-0 12. Bf3.

I have been trying to find a better plan for White between moves 15 and 25 or so, but White always has some disadvantage with the broken kingside.

One possibility is 17. h4!? trying to change the pawn structure somehow. For example, 17. h4 h6 18. Bxe7 Kxe7 19. Rdg1 g6 20. h5!? gives some interesting possibilities. Or 17. h4 Bxg5 18. hxg5 Ne7 19. Rh3 with activity. Or 17. h4 f6 18. Bd2, and at least now Black also has a pawn weakness on e6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Similarly, White can try 19. Rdg1 g6 20. h4!? h5 21. Ne5, so that if 21...Nb4 22. c3 Nc6 23. f4! Again, this way Black also has some weak points, and sometimes White can even play for the f5 break.
Feb-04-07  morphyvsfischer: A rook ending with equal material, won! Oh wait, it's Rubinstein, nothing special for him. 9 Qe2 gives white small advantage. Basically, any attempt white tries to smash black on move 11 fails to ...Qd5. 16 0-0-0?! is bad because white is basically depriving himself of counterplay. 22 Ng4 of 22 f4 is correct. 26 Rg5 Rf6 27 Rxf6 Kxf6 28 f4 exf4! 29 Rxd5 f3 queens the pawn. 27 Re3 is the final straw; 27 Rc1 g5 is necessary.
Feb-04-07  Happypuppet: With lots of pawns on the board, even rook endings can have a decisive result.

Schlechter got "burn"ed.

Oct-22-09  AESTRADAR: 29.Tg1-e1 a waste of time would be 29.Tg3 because 29.... Tf6!
Mar-12-11  Llawdogg: Both of these guys should have been World Champions and both suffered greatly during the First World War.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Llawdogg> yes <Schlecter> was very, very difficult to beat- in his one chance at the World Championship, he drew the match with <Lasker>.

In those days, the Champion had "draw odds" on matches.

No playoffs- you had to beat him by a full point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Gypsy: *** IMKO, White chances look very slim by move 18. *** >

I think that statemenmt goes too far.

At move 20, White is probably only slightly worse. Over the next several moves, he was subtly outplayed by the great Rubinstein, but White probably still objectively had reasonable chances to hold until he played <27. Re3?>.

With one pair of Rooks off the board, it became easier for Black to activate his King, which seems to me the key factor that rendered White's defense hopeless from move 28.

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: One of the best and most just WC matches never played was Lasker-Rubinstein 1913.
May-20-13  JimNorCal: <andrewjacks>: One of the best and most just WC matches never played was Lasker-Rubinstein 1913.

True. And perhaps the failure to have that match goes back to Janowski missing a well-earned win in his game against Capa at San Sebastian 1911 which boosted Capablanca's prospects...And of course, WWI started in 1914.

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: <JimNorCal> I'll tell you, no one could admire Lasker more than I, but he was no Steinitz in terms of somehow arranging matches with the most worthy opponents at the right time. We also missed a Lasker-Capa match at a time when Lasker was really trying, and really healthy, for example around 1914-1919. No one should be fooled by the 1921 result.
May-20-13  JimNorCal: I hadn't thought about it before. So, Steinitz has a pretty good reputation for putting his title on the line, while Lasker seemed to get all wound up in match controversies which caused a delay (or cancellation) of the match?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: It's always about the money.
Jan-08-14  yureesystem: I love Rubinstien, he can real play the endgame well. I bet Carlsen study a lot Rubinstein's games to be so good in the endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Annotations, originally from the 'Münchner Schachzeitung' of May 4, 1912, condensed:

4.Bg5 <Due to the experiences from this year's San Sebastian tournament, 4.exd5 is considered the strongest.>

8...b6 <This move by Rubinstein, already played in Spielmann vs Rubinstein, 1911, is a theoretically important novelty and couldn't be refuted by Schlechter either.>

10.Bb5+ <With 10.0-0 White gets an equal game, but he strives for an advantage. It's interesting that Black has a more than sufficient defense.>

10...c6 <!>

11.Bxc6+ <The 'Deutsche Wochenschach' remarks that after 11.Qf3 Qd5 12.Bxf6 cxb5 (as Spielmann played, see above) White could have got a good endgame after 13.Qxd5 Bxd5 14.Bxe7 Kxe7, but we can't share this opinion and even believe that Black would have the somewhat better chances in the endgame due to the open c-file and the better posted ♗. We want to add that 11.Nxc6 would be disadvantageous due to ...Qd5!.>

15...Rc8 <Black now has a minimal positional advantage due to the closed ♙ position on the King's wing. Rubinstein makes use of the chances thereby presented to him with his peculiar classical consummate style. If the chances were enough to win if Schlechter had played absolutely correct is another question.>

22.Nxc6+ <? As Schlechter himself admits, 22.Ng4 followed by Ne3 was better. Georg Marco adds that the source of White's evils is 16.0-0-0, as the ♙f2 and ♙h2 are isolated, they become targets for the enemy ♖s in the endgame, so the situation can easily become critical if their support from the ♔ is withdrawn. Later, at move 24, Schlechter tries to prevent the frontal attack against the ♙h2 and, on move 25, against ♙f2. But Black finds immeditately an opportunity for other powerful blows (Kraftstößen).>

25...e5 <! This push turns out to be very strong, so White would better have played 25.Re3.>

26.dxe5 <Georg Marco: Now White has no chances to save his game. It's hard to believe that it should have been indefensible. Better chances were offered by Re1 in any case.>

29.Re1 <If 29.Rg3 h4 30.Rf3 g5 31.h3 Rf6! and wins.>

42...a6+ <! Classical from A to Z. Separated from his ♔, the ♙c5 is worthless. However, Black would also have won after 41...g2 or ...Kf2, but White could have put up longer resistance.>

Source: Pages 110-111 of the April-May 1912 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Jun-08-16  tigreton: After 28 ... Re6 Black is certainly winning. He has a more active Rook, a better pawn structure and his King will invide White position through e4. What else do you need to win? That's even more than to be a pawn up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fiercebadger: black rook pawns and king work all together . Black rook hold the white c pawn
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