|KEG: A zany almost psychedelic game with so many tactical and positional misfires that it is fun (and instructive) to play over. It reminds me of the film "Plan 9 from Outer Space." So bad it's good.|
Mieses played (or more accurately, misplayed) the Exchange Variation against Rosen's French Defence. Mieses was already off track with his 4. Be3 (4. Bd3 or 4. Nf3 or 4. Nc3 all give White a tiny edge), and after Rosen's hyper-cautious 7...Nbd7 (7...Nc6 was much better) ruined his King's side with the bizarre 8. f4 (8. Nb5 would have given him the advantage).
Rosen should have played 9...Qh4+, but his 9...Nb6 turned out OK when Mieses delayed pushing his f-pawn and played 10. 0-0-0? Now Rosen would have had much the better position with either 10...Bd7 or 10...0-0.
Instead, Rosen weakened his position with 10...c6, and Mieses finally played 11. f5, locking up Rosen's army.
Mieses could have forced matters with 17. g4, but his 17. Qc2 still left him with a significantly better game.
Rosen tried hard for counterplay, especially with his 20...Nc4. Mieses should probably have taken Rosen's pesky Knight on c4, but instead played the strange 21. Nd1. This seemingly worked just fine when Rosen played 21...Ng5 instead of 21...Qa4, but Mieses quickly proceeded to ruin his position with the very poor 22. c3 (22. a3 was clearly the way to harass the Black Queen) and 23. Kb1 (23. h4 was the best way to rebuff Black's "attack").
All of the above, however, was merely a prelude to the craziness to follow, and after 23. Kb1 the game got wild.
Instead of consolidating his pieces with 23...Nd6, Rosen decided to launch a coffee-house attack beginning with 23...Ne4. After 24. BxN dxB 25. Ne3, Rosen (instead of 25...Qa6) decided to go after Mieses' center pawn formation with 25...c5?!
Mieses might have tried 26. Rc1 here, but his 26. d5 was also fine and in accord with his attacking style.
But after 26...Ne5, Mieses should have taken charge with 27. Rd1. His 27. Nc2 was worse than useless, and Rosen could now have played 27...Nd3! His 27...b6 made his Queen-side even more vulnerable. Mieses should have exploited this with 28. Qg3. His actual 28. b3 allowed Rosen to equalize with 28...Qa5.
Now, Mieses went off the deep end, and quickly worked his way into a dead-lost position.
Mieses' 29. b4 (instead of the steady 29. Re3) fatally compromised his Queen-side and his King. Had Rosen played the intermediate move 29...Qb5 Mieses would probably have been busted.
Instead, Rosen played 29...cxb4 and after 30. cxb4 Qa6. The position was now as follows:
click for larger view
Mieses' game is hanging by a thread here, but either 31. Ne6 or 31. Re3 (the move recommended by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book) give him decent chances to hold. But Mieses, true to his manic attacking style, fearlessly played 31. Rxe4. Did he overlook 31...Nxg4!
In any case, Rosen did indeed play 31...Nxg4! and now Mieses was in big trouble.
Mieses might have tried 32. Qe2 (though he would still have been lost). But Mieses still had madcap notions of attack, and so he played 32. hxN.
Mieses was now dead lost after 32...RxR. He was down the exchange and his position was in shambles. Was Mieses discouraged? Not Mieses. He did not play the seemingly "best" 33. Qf3, but instead went all out with 33. Nd4.
Rosen should have cut off Mieses last chances for counterplay with 33...Kb7, but instead played 33...Ba4 giving Mieses life.
After Mieses 34. Rc1+, Rosen should surely have brought his King to safety with 34...Kd7. Instead he played 34...Kb8.
The position (after Rosen's 34...Kb8 was as follows:
click for larger view
In this position, Mieses played 35. b5, which the Tournament Book calls "A fine move which saves the game." I beg to differ. 35. Qg3 was Mieses' best chance. After 35. b5 Rosen simply played Bxb5 and after 36. Qc2 Ree8 (36...Re7 was slightly better) 37. Qc7+ Ka8 Mieses was lost. He should probably have tried either 38. Nfe6 or 38. d6. Instead, he played Nde6 and after Rosen's Rc8 the game seemed to be over.
In fact, the madhouse was just about to begin, as I will show in my next post on this game.