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Carl Schlechter vs Mikhail Chigorin
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 3, May-21
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Morphy Attack (C78)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-11-16  psmith: Nice play by Schlechter.
Feb-12-16  iking: awesome control of the center ...
Feb-12-16  cunctatorg: In this game Carl crushed Mikhail...; it seems (to my ignorant eyes) amazing how Black survived so long after the seventeenth move!...
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A fabulous performance by Schlechter who out-played Tchigorin in the opening, achieved a won game after an error by Tchigorin on move 13, and never let his opponent off the hook. This is a classic example of how to exploit center dominance and win a won game without giving the opponent the slightest chance. The only plausible criticism of Schlechter's play here is his failure to spot a forced mate beginning on move 28. This did not alter the result; it only meant that Schlechter needed an extra 20 moves to finish off Tchigorin.

After Schlecter's 13. exd5 Tchigorin could have made life difficult for his opponent with 13...b3! Schlechter would still have had the better game, but Tchigorin would have had ample counterchances and Schechter's Queen-side pawn structure would have been messy. After Tchigorin's inferior...13...exd4, Schlechter's 14. Qxd4 gave him a strategically won game.

Tchigorin tried to fight back with 14...c5, undoubtedly aware that this weakened his d-pawn. Schlecther was ruthless from this point. He played 15. dxc6 e.p., leaving Tchigorin to decide how to recapture. Best--though probably not sufficient to save the game-- would have been 15...Bxc6. Tchigorin's inferior 15...Nxc6 left him clearly lost.

After Schlecter's 18. Qh5, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book calls Tchigorin's 18...BxN "forced." In fact, the move was a mistake. Tchigorin's best chance would have been 18...Rc8. Rosenthal's suggestion that Schlechter would have had an easy win here with 19. RxB QxR 20. QxN is simply wrong, since Tchigorin could then have played 20...BxN 21. gxB Rxc2 with reasonable prospects. Indeed, had Tchigorin played 18...Rc8, Schlechter would undoubtedly have found 19. Ne5! This would have kept Schlechter on top. Tchigorin would still have been in trouble, but his 18...BxN was far worse.

Tchigorin set a clever trap with 23...Nc6. Had Schlechter played the tempting 24. Bxd6? BxB 25. QxB?? Tchigorin would have crushed him with 25...Rcd8 (as Rosenthal notes in the Tournament Book). Needless to say, Schlechter did not fall for that one, though his 24. Rde1--though sufficient to keep his edge--was not as accurate as 24. Kf1.

Schlechter's 24. Rde1 did, however, pack more than a bit of poison, as I will show in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: After Schlechter's 24. Rde1, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

As Schlechter notes in his commentary on this game, he here was threatening 25. Qxf7+ and if 25...Kh8 (25...RxQ loses to 26. Re8+) 26. Re8!

According to Rosenthal, Tchigorin's 24...Nd8 in the diagrammed position was "forced." But surely 24...Ne5 was better.

After 24...Nd8 25. Qf5 Rc7 Schlechter's 26. Bg5 was a thing of beauty, and--to quote Rosenthal--"concludes the game brilliantly."

Tchigorin should have tried 26...Ne6, though--as Schlechter has shown--Black would still have been lost after 27. RxN! (yet another beautiful Schlechter concept). In any case, Tchigorin's 26...Qb8 was hopeless. Schlechter replied 27. Re8! The game was now clearly over.

The only chance to avoid instant loss by Tchigorin here would have been 27...d5. After Tchigorin's actual 27...Qc8 the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Schlechter here had a brilliant forced mate beginning with 28. RxR+ KxR 29. Qxh7, as Rosenthal spotted.

Schlechter's 28. Bxf7+ was also sufficient to win, but Tchigorin was able to hang on in a lost position for another 20 moves. Had Schlechter played 28. RxR+, this game might well have been in contention for a brilliancy prize.

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