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David Janowski vs James Mortimer
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 2, May-18
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack (D35)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Janowski blew so many winning opportunities here before finally putting Mortimer away that one wonders whether he was toying with his opponent. The game lasted far longer than Janowski should have needed.

In response to Janowski's 4. Bf4 variation in the Queen's Gambit Declined, Mortimer played the misguided 4...a6 (instead of something simple and sensible such as 4...Be7). Janowski's 5. c5 may not have been theoretically best, but as the game went the c5 pawn was a nasty thorn in Mortimer's position nearly to the very end.

Mortimer's 7...Nf8? was very bad (7...0-0 was best), but Janowski decided not to go for a King's side kill early with 8. h4 but simply provided a safe retreat for his Bishop with 8. h3.

Janowski, however, didn't have to worry about weakening Mortimer's position, since Mortimer did this for him with 12...b5 (instead of 12...b6), 13...Bb7 (the ugly looking 13...Ra7 was best) and the awful 14...Ne8? (14...c6 was indicated).

Janowski now had a deadly bind on Mortimer's position, and after 21...BxB the position was as follows with Janowski still to recapture:

click for larger view

Rosenthal in the Tournament book praises Janowski's 22. RxB, but this move in fact is drastically inferior to 22. dxB and gives away nearly all of Janowski's advantage.

But Mortimer gave Janowski another chance to win with his 25...Qc8? which left the position as follows:

click for larger view

Here Janowski could have kept Mortimer tied up in knots with 26. Qb6. Instead, he traded Queens giving Mortimer new life.

But Mortimer's relief was short-lived thanks to more bad play on his part that I will discuss in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Following the exchange of Queens, Mortimer promptly ruined his position again with 27...h6 and 28...Nh5. But Janowski immediately gave Mortimer a chance to get back into the game with his 29. Kg2 (29. Ng3 wins). After 29. Kg2, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

In this position, Mortimer had a lovely tactical possibility: 29...Nxg3 that would have gotten him back in the game (since White can't play 30. KxN because of 30...Bxf4+ winning the exchange). Mortimer could also have gotten back in the game with the more prosaic 29...Kf7.

But Mortimer played 29...gxf4 allowing Janowski to close the door on the above tactical resource with 30. gxf4.

Janowski, however, blundered in his turn with 30. exf4, giving Mortimer a second chance to save himself with 30...Nxg3. Did Mortimer find this? No, but his 30...Kf7 was sufficient.

Janowski now played 31. Be2, giving Mortimer yet a third chance to exploit the tactical Nxg3 idea. And yet again Mortimer missed the chance, playing the theoretically losing 31...Nf6?

Now Janowski had a clear path to victory with the seemingly obvious 32. Nb3 (heading for a5 to harass Black's c6 pawn. But Janowski kept things interesting with 32. Nd3? letting Mortimer back in the game one more time.

After Mortimer's very bad 33...Kf6? Janowski had another winning move: 34. Ne5. But he dithered once again with 34. Kf3, giving Mortimer life once again.

Mortimer could now have simply played 34...fxg4+, but decided to play 34...Rg8? But instead of ending Mortimer's king-side counterplay with 35. gxf5, Janowski played 35. Ra6?

Mortimer could now have played 35...fxg4+ followed by 36...Rc8. Instead, he played 35...Rc8 immediately. To compound his problems, after Janowski played 36. Ne5 (36. gxf5 was more accurate) Mortimer finished himself off with the needless 36...NxN (once again he should have played 36...fxg4+). After 37. dxN+ Ke7 38. gxf5 exf5 Janowski played the crushing 39. Bd3. Now, there was no way for Janowski to blow the win (although his 43rd, 47th and 50th moves needlessly prolonged Mortimer's agony0.

It is hard to know what to make of this contest. Janowski won the game about eight or nine times. He had the advantage throughout. He was a great tactician, so I am surprised to see him missing chances that I would expect any club player to see.

Oh well, I guess a win is a win.

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