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Leon Rosen vs Amos Burn
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 3, May-21
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-21-17  Coutinho: Interesting, if 8...dxe5 9 Bxf7+ wins the queen
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: This game is a tragicomedy. Burn mishandled the opening and was probably lost by about move 8. He managed to simplify down to a Bishops of opposite colors ending down a pawn in which he could almost certainly have drawn with ease. Incredibly, somehow Rosen managed to lose this drawn endgame though up a pawn!

After 8. e5, White had a small advantage, and--as noted by Coutinho on this site and by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book--8...dex5 would have been crushed by 9. Bxf7+.

But Burn's 8...d5, though nowhere nearly as bad as 8...dxe5, was not best. (He should have played 8..Ng4). After 9. exf6 dxc4, Rosen would have had a winning advantage after 10. Qf3, the move recommended by Rosenthal. Even after the less accurate 10. QxQ+ KxQ 11. Bg5, Burn was in trouble. His Queen-side pawn structure was a disaster, and White's pawn on f6 was causing him major headaches:

click for larger view

Burn should here have played 11...Kc7, since 12. fxe7 Bxe7 13. BxB allows 13...Re8 regaining the piece with a much better position than in the game. (Rosen would likely have played 12. 0-0-0 after 11...Kc7 and then 12...exf6 would have been much better than the text for Burn).

Instead, Rosen played 11...Be6 and after 12. 0-0-0+ Ke8 Rosen could have had a dominating and probably winning game with 13. Ne4 (as recommended by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book). But played 13. f4 and now Burn was able to get back in the game with 13...h6, 14...Rg8 and 15...g5.

After Burn's 22...Rad8, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Had Rosen here played 23. bxc3, Burn would have had an immediate draw by perpetual check with 23...Rb8+ 24. Ka1 Bb2+. The only serious chance to play for a win here would have been 23. Rd4. Rosen's actual move, 23. Re3, allowed Burn to exchange down to a drawn Bishop of opposite colors endgame. After Burn's 36...Re8, the game appeared to be as good as drawn:

click for larger view

Amazingly enough, Rosen (White) managed to lose this position. I will recount how this happened in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: In the last position shown in my prior post, Rosen had at least a draw for the asking with 37. RxR. His 37. Rg7, though theoretically still allowing him to draw, was asking for trouble, and trouble is what he got.

After 37...Bd3+ 38. Kc1 Ke6 39. d2 Bg6, Rosen's Rook was locked up tight. But it still did not seem possible for Rosen to lose the game. Sometimes, however, truth can be stranger than fiction.

Following Burn's 46...Ra8, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Rosen has a number of ways to hold this game. Perhaps simplest would have been to play 47. RxB and then after 47...fxR 48. h5 gxh5 [and not Rosenthal's awful 48...Ke6?? that loses to 49. hxg6 since after 49...Kf5 White would play 50. g7 rather than Rosenthal's proposed 50. Bd6??] 49.f7 Ke6 50. g6 kf6 51. Bd6 with a draw.

Instead, Rosen decided to sacrifice a pawn to free his Rook with 47. h5. Now, after 47...Bxh5 48. Rh7 Bg6. Rosen was in trouble. He might still have saved the game with 49. Rh1. When he lost a tempo with 49. Rh2, Burn's c-pawn marched to victory.

What an astonishing turn of events! Burn was not 3-0 and tied for first, and Rosen was 0-3 and tied for last.

Chess can be a cruel game.

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