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Vera Menchik vs Sonja Graf-Stevenson
"It Was a Vera Good Year" (game of the day Jul-14-2009)
Semmering (1937)
Semi-Slav Defense: Bogoljubow Variation (D46)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: A very elegant play by Ms.Menchik.

<Be3, Bd2, Bc3> to position the DS Bishop on the long diagonal. The pair of Bishops now controls most of the board, particularly Black's castling set-up, where the action is to take place.

<17...g6> is asking for trouble :-)

At the point of <18. Qf3>, or certainly with the <19. Qh3> V.Menchik already saw the ensuing opportunity: the Rook sac <21. Rd7!>.

Jul-14-09  blacksburg:
Jul-14-09  slapshots101: Someone please tell me why in the world black Resigned
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <slapshots101> Because of the threat of <22. Qxh5>, and the CheckMate is coming. Ms.Menchick needed to play <Rd7> first to prevent Black's <Qxh2+>.
Jul-14-09  blacksburg: double threat - black cannot deal with the threat on his queen and the threat of 22.Qxh5 gxh5 23.Bh7#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <21.Rd7!!> is a vera good move, a crack of thunder.
Jul-14-09  backrank: Rd7 deflects the black queen and prevents the answer Qxh2+ by which the immediate Qxh5 would be met.

The tragic fate of Miss Menchik had attracted my attention before. However, funny is the story of the 'Menchik club' which all masters who lost against her had to join. The imaginary 'Menchik club' had quite a lot of members and was steadily growing :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <blacksburg:>;


Jul-14-09  UnsoundHero: 20...Qxc4 doesn't help Black either. White still plays 21 Rd7 Nxd7 22 Qxh5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <UnsoundHero: 20...Qxc4 doesn't help Black either. White still plays 21 Rd7 Nxd7 22 Qxh5.> After 20...Qxc4 21.Rd7 black plays 21...Bxg2! 22.Qxg2 Nxd7 with playable game. After that 23.Nxf7!? Rxf7 24.Qxa8 Nf8 25.Bxg6 Qg4+ 26.Kh1 Qxg6 27.Rg1 Bg5 28.Bd2 (28.h4? Rf4! ) 28...Rg7 29.Bxg5 (29.h4? Qd3 ) 29...Qc2 is sufficient for keeping equality but hardly white can achieve more than that here.
Jul-14-09  psmith: <Honza Cervenka> Nice analysis.
Jul-14-09  Big Easy: If the game continues:

21 ... Qxd7 22 Qxh5

At first glance I thought black could save the game with:

22 ... Nf6

But this doesn't work, as white simply plays:

23 Bxf6

and it's mate in one to follow, either with the queen or the bishop on h7.

Jul-14-09  WhiteRook48: 21...Qxd7 22 Qxh5 wins, as 22...gxh5 23 Bh7#
22...Bxg5 doesn't work as white <also> threatens 23 Qh8#
Jul-14-09  Wade Keller: So...21...Qxh2+ and black has a good game. Faulty resignation.
Jul-14-09  WhiteRook48: 21...Qxh2+ 22 Qxh2 Nxh2 23 Kxh2 Bxg5 24 Rxb7
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Mate follows by 22 ♕xh5 gxh5 23 ♗h7#.

BTW,Didn't Ms. Menchik once declare and execute a mate in 23?

Jul-14-09  dasboot: <Wade Keller> How so? 21.Rd7 Qxh2+ 22.Qxh2 Nxh2 23.Kxh2 Bxg5 24.Rxb7
Jul-14-09  Knight13: In <Menchik>'s Bio it lists that she's a positional player.

This an attacking game!

Although to the trained eye one would notice that all White's pieces point towards the kingside, and thus that's where White shall play.

Also, 12...Qa5 is a wasted move. The queen then had to waste even more moves and ultimately gave white the positional advantage.

Jul-14-09  DPS: It took me a few minutes to realise why Black resigned. Very nice attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Some of the members of the famous Menchik Club:

Reshevsky, Thomas, Yates, A.Becker, Dr.Euwe, Samisch, Mir Sultan Khan.

This is even more impressive considering that Vera Menchik accomplished the feat in the 1920s and '30s.

It took some 60 years until the Polgar sisters surpassed Vera's achievements!

Jul-14-09  danton: I was looking to the position and I thought why could not white play Qxh5 without Rd7.Due to my low level I had several minutes looking to the position and then i noted that if 21 Qxh5 Qxh2+ and white got nothing.

Brilliant Rd7 to take queen out of h2(now if Qxh2, Qxh2 Nxh2 Rxe7 with a piece).

P.S.: Sorry for the poor english, Im brazilian!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Instinct leads me to another flow (1. c4 e6), every time I hear a brother call a girl a snitch or a ho (2. Nc3 d5)/Trying to make a sister feel low (3. d4 Nf6), you know all of that gots to go (4. Nf3 Nbd7)/Now everybody knows there's exceptions to this rule (5. e3 c6), now don't be getting mad (6. Bd3 Be7), when we're playing it's cool (7. 0-0 0-0)/But don't you be calling out my name (8. e4 dxe4), I bring wrath to those who disrespect me like a dame (9. Nxe4 Nxe4)/That's why I'm talking (10. Bxe4 Nf6), one day I was walking (11. Bc2 c5) down the block (12. dxc5 Qa5)/I had my cutoff shorts on right coz it was crazy hot [last book move]/I walked past these dudes when they passed me (13. Be3 Bxc5), one of 'em felt my booty he was nasty (14. Bd2 Qc7)/I turned around red (15. Bc3 Be7), somebody was catching the wrath (16. Qe2 b6), then the little one said "Yeah me, snitch!" and laughed (17. Ng5 g6)/Since he was with his boyz he tried to break fly (18. Qf3 Bb7), huh I punched him dead in his eye (19. Qh3 h5) and said "Who you calling a snitch?!" (20. Rad1)/U.N.I.T.Y [20. Bxg6!? fxg6 21. Qd3 ]/You gotta let him know (20 ... Ng4??)/U.N.I.T.Y [20 ... Qxc4 21. Rd4 Qc6 =], that's a unity (21. Rd7! 1-0) - Queen Latifah + Fritz 7, "U.N.I.T.Y."

Peace out to the WSFC

21 ... Qxd7 22. Qxh5! gxh5 23. Bh7# is a Blackburne Mate:

click for larger view

Other examples:

Stefansson vs L Bruzon, 2001

J Cervenka vs NN, 2002

V Malakhatko vs G Timoshenko, 2003

<kevin86> Ellen ES Gilbert announced Mate in 35 during a correspondence game = Gossip vs E E Gilbert, 1879

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <It took some 60 years until the Polgar sisters surpassed Vera's achievements!> Well, maybe Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze could have claimed that a bit earlier.
Aug-25-11  sevenseaman: 21. Rd7? The R sac went over my head for a long...long time. Then I saw the the Q sac. And the chips fell into place.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: This was in Leonard Barden's weekly puzzle in the New Zealand Listener a few weeks ago. He also mentioned her sad end.

I solved this but I think I had seen the Rd7 Qxh5 idea when I was a schoolboy in the 60s, but it is very good. Beautiful finish. Instructive as they say.

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