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Geza Maroczy vs Wilhelm Cohn
London (1899), London ENG, rd 22, Jun-28
Caro-Kann Defense: Maroczy Variation. Maroczy Gambit (B12)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: As he had done in Round 2 of the London 1899 tournament, Maroczy tried the 3. f3 line against the Caro-Kann here in Round 22 against Cohn. This time he prevailed while he had only drawn against Lee in Round 2.

Like Lee, Cohn tried 4...e5 (condemned by the Tournament Book but surely best) and then--again like Lee--Cohn accepted Maroczy's gambit with what some opening manuals (e.g., MCO-13) call the risky 5...exd4. After Maroczy's 6. Bc4, a position similar to the Scotch Gambit was reached.

The Tournament Book calls Cohn's 6...f6 "compulsory," but this can't be right. Lee played 6...Qe7, but best seems to be either 6...Nd7 or 6...Nf6.

According to the Tournament Book, Maroczy could have obtained a "good attack" with 8. Bf7+, but after 8...KxB 9. Ne5+ Ke1 10. NxB White is still down a pawn with insufficient compensation. While I agree that Maroczy's actual move (8. e5) allowed Black to equalize easily, the simple 8. h3 would have been best.

As the game went, Maroczy's 12. c3 was weak. He should have sought equality with 12. QxQ. Luckily for Maroczy, Cohn was only seeking a draw, and played the simplifying 13...NxB instead of trying to capitalize on his advantage with something like 13...Re8.

As the Tournament Book correctly points out, Cohn's 18...BxN? lost a pawn for nothing. But--what the Tournament Book fails to mention is that Maroczy returned the favor with 19. BxB? (giving Cohn chances) instead of 19. RxR. After 19. BxB, it is unclear whether Maroczy still had a win after Cohn's clever 19...Be2.

The Tournament Book praises Maroczy's 20. Ne3 and claims that it refutes Cohn's idea with 19...Be2. In fact, 20. Ne3 was a mistake. Maroczy needed to play 20. Ne5 which would have given him the edge but not necessarily a win.

According to the Tournament Book, 20. Ne5 would have been bad because (it claims) Cohn could then have played 20...c5. But after 21. RxB cxB 22. cxd4, Maroczy would have been up a pawn with no compensation for Cohn. Had Maroczy played 20. Ne5, Cohn could have perhaps stayed in the game with 20...Bh5.

After Maroczy's actual 20. Ne3, Cohn would probably have been OK after 20...Ba6, since after 21. Bxa7 by Maroczy Cohn would have had good counterplay with 21...Nf4.

But Cohn played 20...NxN and wound up in an endgame down a pawn.

Maroczy botched what should almost certainly have been a win with 28. Rf2 (28. Bc5! was best), but Cohn--inexplicably--retreated his active Rook with 29...Re6? instead of vigorous play with something like 29...Ra1.

After 29...Re6, it was clear sailing for Maroczy, especially with Cohn's weak play. His 33...Ne4? allowed Maroczy to trade Rooks. The resulting Bishop and five pawns versus Knight and four pawns presented no further problems for Maroczy. Cohn made the ending even easier than it should have been with his poor 39...h6 and 42...Kc6, but there is little doubt that Maroczy would have won in any case once the Rooks were off the board.

Not one of Maroczy's more impressive wins, but a much needed point for him in his battle with Pillsbury, Janowski, and Schlechter for 2nd place behind Lasker.

Mar-15-17  JimNorCal: Terrific, KEG!
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <JimNorCal> So glad you found my post of interest.
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