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Carlos Torre Repetto vs Edward Lasker
Chicago USA ch, USA (1926), Chicago, IL USA, rd 13, Sep-02
Reti Opening: Reti Gambit. Spielmann Gambit (A09)  ·  0-1


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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Edward Lasker analyzes this game in his book "Chess for Fun and Chess for Blood." He wrote that he overlooked 8...c3! winning a piece. He played a much weaker move instead, but managed to win in the end anyway.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Here's a little historical fact that makes me giggle. In the days of fighting sail, captains used to prepare for battle by towing their lifeboats on a stout rope some distance behind their ships. And they would often fill these lifeboats with valuable thing like the captain's wooden furniture.

The idea was that this would preserve the lifeboats and the furniture when the cannonballs started flying about and smashing everything to pieces.

Which I guess would have been an odd sight - a frigate or galleon sailing into a fight with the enemy with the naval equivalent of a fleet of removal trucks bobbing behind them.

But odder still was the tradition that ships never fired on another ship's furniture boats. Oh no, that wouldn't be gentlemanly. You are about to pound each other to bits with cannon balls, shred sails and flesh alike with grape and musket shot, engage each other with cutlass and pistol...

...but you wouldn't dare put a scratch on the other sides' chippendales. Stop sniggering at the back - we're talking antique chairs not gentlemen with exageratedly bobbly stomachs removing their garments.

Unfortunately, such delicacies did not last long. It is an accepted tactic in modern warfare to disrupt an enemy's supply chain. Cut off his food. Attack his cities. You don't need to engage a strong military unit if you can knock out the catering and communications which support it.

And so it is with chess. We don't always attack the enemy's forward piece. We can often undermine it by attacking the piece that supports it. In today's POTD, that is the Bb2. This bishop supports both the white Qa3 and his Ne5. Kick the bishop and one or other of the white pieces fall.

Hence 8...c3 - shooting the furniture boats.

Okay, okay, I admit it. There is more to the story than meets the eye. One reason that ships floated their boats behind them was so that they wouldn't be turned into lethal splinters if hit during the fight. And 8...c3 does nothing more than win a minor piece for two pawns, which isn't a humungous advantange.

But why spoil a good story or puzzle with the facts, hm?

Premium Chessgames Member
  cocker: Good Wednesday puzzle; in a game 8 ... c3 should certainly be considered.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Black wins a piece with <8...c3 9.Qxd6 cxd6> and white has 2-pieces hanging...Oops. After <10.Bxc3 dxe5 11.Bxe5 f6> Only Black has winning chances:

click for larger view

<gmalino> Black must avoid 8...c3 9.Qxd6...<9...cxb2?> due to 10.Qd4 bxa1+ 11.Qxa1 and Black doesn't have enough compensation for the Queen:

click for larger view

<jimfromprovidence> could very well be right that white's best is 9.dxc3 Qxe5 10.c4 <10...Qe7>. I looked briefly at <10...Qg5> in this line

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I am guessing the position after 15. Rc1 is unique.

click for larger view

Sep-28-11  chessworm: Edward Lasker has commented on this game somewhere in his books. In that, I think, he mentions that he has seen that move, but did not play it for some reason. Anyone has further details to that?
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a bishop and a knight for the bishop pair.

White threatens 9.bxc4 and if 9... bxc4 then 10.Qxd6 cxd6 11.Nxc4 Kf8 12.Nxd6 with a won endgame.

White's DSB is overworked defending both the queen and knight. This suggests 8... c3 to put a stone in White's gear:

A) 9.Bxc3 Qxa3 - + [Q vs P].

B) 9.dxc3 Qxe5 - + [N vs P].

C) 9.Qxd6 cxd6 (9... cxb2 10.Qd4 + - [Q+P vs R+N]) 10.Bxc3 dxe5 11.Bxe5 f6 - + [B+2P vs 2N].

D) 9.Nxf7 Qxd2#.

Sep-28-11  scormus: <chessworm .... he mentions that he has seen that move, but did not play>

He perhaps thought the same as me, it would lead to a rather boring continuation

<Once> again, brilliant piece. No, I dont think the principle about the antiques and art treasure applies now. Or does it? The invaders might not destroy them if they could steal them

Premium Chessgames Member
  NARC: I really liked todays puzzle. It's a very non-standard position, so I would not call it a standard combination. If I was white and somebody found c3 against me in internet blitz it would take weeks for me to recover.
Sep-28-11  sevenseaman: <Once> The attackers wouldn't fire at the <Chippendale> as they want it for themselves, a scratchless battle trophy!

Its a paradox Man's lust for luxury does not vanish even in the face of death. A beautiful woman's best defense is her looks, an unfailing source of power that bemuses bitterest of men.

Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: It looks like white has sneaked up with Nxe5, winning a pawn, and is now regretting that decision. The black queen is attacking both Ne5 and Qa3, both are defended by the same piece Bb2. The problem with <8 ... b5> is <9 Qa4+ ...> whatever black plays <9 ... Bc6/c6/Ke7/Kd8/Ne7/Nc6> then <10 Nxc4> is fine for white.

So we need to find a way to make white's life difficult. Overloading Bb2 seems a nice way to start!

<8 ... c3>

Suddenly, white's DSB is struggling to defend both Qa3 and Ne5 and survive! It can't move as that would lose a piece, so it must just stay there! Moving Ne5 just loses Bb2! So moving Qa3 seems the only sensible option.

<9 Qxd6 cxd6>

Doh! Black's pesky pawns are attacking two of white's minor pieces...

<10 Bxc3 dxe5>
<11 Bxe5 f6>

click for larger view

Black has gained a knight for two pawns. The bishop must waste a move getting to safety, black may complete its development before white as black has presssure down the a8-h1 diagonal. I wouldn't say that it was all over yet, but white has lost one of the wheels on his cart...

Time to check...

Sep-28-11  gmalino: <morfishine> Absolutely right! I miscalculated this line......
Thx for the hint.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: <Once>: <There is more to the story than meets the eye. One reason that ships floated their boats behind them was so that they wouldn't be turned into lethal splinters if hit during the fight.>

Sorry, but this has got to be garbage...


...the entire ship is made from wood, where ever the cannon balls strike they are going to create huge lethal splinters, towing a couple of small boat-loads of furniture - to reduce the amount of potential wood that could be <turned into lethal splinters> - is not going to be among the reasons that they chose to off-load the furniture...

Sep-28-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this opening position, white has obtained the bishop pair at the cost of unsound development. The WQ has low mobility on a3 and the Bb2 is overburdened as a result, a weakness that black can exploit with

8... c3!

The tempting 8...b4(??) might appear to trap the queen on the wing, but after 9.Qa4+ Kf8 (c6 10.Nxc4 Qe7 11.a3 also looks very good for white) 10.Nxc4 Qc5 11.Qa5, the WQ escapes and white has won a pawn with positional advantage. This move wins a piece for two pawns:

A) 9.Qxd6 cxd6 (cxb2?? 10.Qd4) 10.Bxc3 dxe5 11.Bxe5 Nf6 12.e3 a6 and white has insufficient compensation for the piece.

B) 9.dc Qxe5 10.c4 Qe7 11.Qxe7 Nxe7 12.Bxg7 Rg8 13.B move Bxg2 only obtains one pawn for the knight.

The A line might be interesting to play out against a computer opponent (keeping in mind that Crafty EGT does not allow castling). Time for game review...

Sep-28-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: In the B-line, I missed 12.cxb5, a position diagrammed in the post by <Jim>. This might be a challenging ending to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <gofer> I reckon there are several reasons. Sadly, keeping the captain's furniture safe was probably the least of them.

There was a morale issue. Most of the sailors couldn't swim, so it would have helped them to know that the boats were relatively safe from harm. Never mind that you were more likely to get squished by cannon balls or shredded by splinters before you got a chance to drown...

But according to the histories I've read, the chief reason <was> to reduce the risk from flying splinters. A large ship could carry two or three boats, often on the upper deck. And they did add to the risk of splinters as the deck was swept by enemy cannon fire.

Sure, the boats are not the only wooden structures on the upper deck and therefore not the only source of splinters, but you would want to "clear the decks" as much as possible.

Sep-28-11  zacki: hi. iŽam new. why is 8. ...b4 so bad? let play 9.Qa5+. iŽd respond with 9...Bc6 and strive THEN for 10 ... c3 being covered by b4 and whatever white does imminent with danger of ... 12. ... Qd2++ ? thanks for your comments.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <zacki> If 8...b4, White can play 9.Qa4+ Bc6 10.Nxc6 Nxc6 11.Bxg7, winning Black's rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <zacki> Welcome to the site. Hope you enjoy yourself here.

<Sastre> has already answered your question, but I'd add just one point. In the position after 8...b4 9. Qa4+ Bc6 10. Nxc6 Nxc6 we get to here:

click for larger view

Black's last move in this sequence (10...Nxc6) is a non-forcing move. All it does it restore the material count for both sides. And that gives white a free hand to make mischief. In this instance, white is able to use that free move to win the rook on h8 with 11. Bxg7.

As a general rule, each of the moves in a tactical sequence should either be forcing moves (checks and captures) or make such strong threats that the opponent has to respond to them. If ever we find ourselves making a non-forcing move in a sequence it is often a good sign that the variation isn't all that strong.

But you are in very good company. I suspect that kibitzers all round the world started on this puzzle by analysing 8...b4. I know I did!

Sep-28-11  Nilsson: c3 is a good move, but it is not
Houdini say I say
Sep-28-11  Patriot: I like 8...c3. For example, 9.Qxd6 cxd6 10.Bxc3 dxe5 11.Bxe5 Nf6 followed by 12.Bxc7. Black gets a piece for two pawns and has a material advantage. This is unlike the Saturday puzzle where white at least gets a few pawns for a piece plus an attack on the king. But here there doesn't seem to be enough compensation for white since the development just isn't there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: 8...c3 wins a piece, but was not that easy to find, or Lasker would have seen it.
Sep-28-11  zacki: <sastre>, <once> - thanks for your kind comments, i didnŽt see the rook endangered...!
Sep-28-11  Patriot: <morfishine> <Black must avoid 8...c3 9.Qxd6...<9...cxb2?> due to 10.Qd4 bxa1+ 11.Qxa1 and Black doesn't have enough compensation for the Queen> I calculated this line as well but only posted what I thought was the PV (principal variation).
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: <Once>: Okay, I can understand the "clearing the decks" idea and so towing the boats was the best way to go, but I was referring to the furniture in the boats, not the boats... ...written text can be read in many ways...

A philanderer eats, shoots, and leaves.

A giant panda eats shoots and leaves.


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