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Miklos Brody vs David Janowski
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 8, May-31
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Minckwitz Variation (C67)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A victory by the mercurial David Janowski that illustrates both why he was such a feared tactician as well as many of the quirks and foibles that precluded him from ever being a real threat to champions such as Lasker (e.g., Janowski defeated Tchigorin in the penultimate round at Hastings 1895, defeated Lasker in their individual game at Nuremberg 1896, and split honors in a four-game exhibition match with Lasker but then got annihilated by a combined score of 16-1 in two longer matches with Lasker).

In this encounter with Brody, Janowski repeats a questionable line Maroczy had played against Brody, finds an improvement on move 10, ruins his game almost beyond repair on move 13, then outplay Brody and has a won game by move 17, gives up most of his edge by a misguided exchange on move 18 to obtain the two Bishops, outplays Brody once again and again has a won game by move 21, tosses away most of his advantage on move 22 in an effort to reach an ending in which his two Bishops sweep the board, and then brilliantly and brutally crushes Brody once Brody errs in allowing him to obtain the endgame Janowski wanted.

It was once said that Janowski so enjoyed having won positions that he could not bear to part with them (i.e., finish off a defeated opponent). In this game with Brody, there are moments in which Janowski seems to be like a cat playing with a trapped rodent.

In any case, Janowski's games were rarely dull.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6

The Berlin Defense was generally the line of choice at Paris 1900 in taking on the Ruy Lopez.

4. d4

Inferior to the more usual 4. 0-0.

4... Nxe4

4...exd4 as suggested by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book is better, but perhaps best of all here is 4...Nxd4.

The text can transpose into the more normal line of 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. d4 if White chooses to play 5. 0-0 here,

5. dxe5

5. 0-0 and 5. Qe2 (as recommended by Rosenthal) are reasonable alternatives. But there is nothing wrong with the text.

5... Be7

The text--which was played in this position by Maroczy against Brody earlier in this tournament-- was condemned by Schlechter, but is not all that bad.

Rosenthal condemns the alternative 5...d5, but his analysis is faulty, Rosenthal's line is 5...d5 6. Nd4 (6. 0-0 is much better and gives White the better game) Bd7 (an exciting and unclear slugfest would result after 6...Bc5?!) 7. Nb3 (7. BxN would at least give White equality, but after 7. Nb3 Black should definitely get the upper hand). 7...Be6 (this would be poor play, 7...Qe7 would give Black much the better chances, 7...Be6 gives White a chance for a big advantage) 8. Na4 (an awful suggestion by Rosenthal which would lose to 8. fairness to Rosenthal, his alternative move 8. Be3 is best and gives White an excellent game).

6. 0-0

Brody played 6. Qd5 immediately here against Maroczy. Maroczy recommended the text. Both moves appear to be OK.

6... 0-0
7. Qd5

Apparently trying to transpose back into the line from his game against Maroczy, but 7. Qe2 is better here.

7... Nc5
8. Be3 Ne6

Reaching the same position that Maroczy had against Brody in their Round 2 (replay) game in this tournament. But this position is bad for Black. 8...a6 was surely better. After 8...Ne6, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Why oh why was Janowski trying to reach this position as Black? Maroczy had won the earlier game against Brody from this position, but only after reaching a lost position from which he somehow managed to scratch out a win against his overmatched opponent. So why did Janowski give Brody a second chance to obtain this good (for White) position? Perhaps because he had a surprise in store for Brody on move 10. But as will be seen, Janowksi's line also lands him in a post position.

9. Nc3 f6

The same bad move played by Maroczy (9...d6 was clearly better). But Janowski is apparently relying on what I'm guessing was his "preparation."

10. Rad1

The same bad move Brody had played against Maroczy. (10. exf6 was much better). Janowski was no doubt counting on this move by Brody.

10... fxe5

Janowski's improvement on Marozy's very bad 10...Kh8. The move opens up the f-file in preparation for a King-side assault by Black. How this new move fared in this game will be discussed in my next post.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

After Janowski's 10...fxe5 (his improvement over Maroczy's 10...Kh8 in this line), the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Janowski is banking on using the open f-file to launch a mating attack on White's King. Unlike Maroczy, he is not worried about the pin on his e6 Knight and so has not spent a move to hide his King on h8. As the game goes, Janowski is ultimately able to mate Brody's King. But the devil is always in the details, and as the continuation shows neither Brody nor Janowski has carefully explored the possibilities available.

11. Nxe5

Rosenthal claimed in the Tournament Book that 11. BxN followed by 12. Qxe5 was "significantly better" than the text. But this is surely wrong. After 11. BxN bxB 12. Qxe5 d5 Black would have much the better chances. Even Brody's 11. Nxe5 is an improvement on this (it yields about equal chances). Best for White here was 11. Qe4 sacrificing a pawn to get his Knight on d5 and having his Bishop take over the pin on the a2-g8 diagonal. A possible line would be 11...Bf6 12. Nd5 d6 13. Bc4 g6 14. h4.

After the text White's advantage is gone.

11... NxN
12. QxN d6

Though praised by Marco, this move is weak. Janowski appears to have overlooked Brody's fine replay. Much better for Janowski would have been 12...c6.

13. Qe4!

White is now clearly much better.

13... c6?

Weak. Janowski had to play 13...Ng5 here.

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Brody would have had a crushing bind on Janowski's position with 14. Bc4! Instead, he systematically ruined his position and managed to convert a winning position into a lost one in only four moves.

14. Bd3?

Missing his opportunity to pley 14. Bc4! Nonetheless, Brody's position was so good that he probably still has a won game even after this lemon. But not for long.

14... g6
15. Bh6?

Very bad. Schlechter recommended 15. Rfc1, but Janowski would then have had much the better game with 15...d5! Brody should have conceded that his last move was bad and played 15. Bc4 after which he would have had excellent chances of winning despite his poor 14th move. Now, Janowski goes on the attack.

15... d5!

Here comes Janowski!

16. Qe1

I agree with Rosenthal and Schlechter that 16. Qe2 would have been better, but only slightly. If Janowski had then played 16...Nf4 as suggested by Schlechter who gives this move a "!" White would be fine after 17. Qe5 (and not 17. Qe3 Bg5 as analyzed by Schlechter). Best for Black after 16. Qe2 would be 16...Rf7 beginning operations on the f-file.

In fact, White's position is not all that terrible after 16. Qe1. His major mistakes are yet to come.

16... Rf7

Janowski is ready to exploit the f-file.

17. f4?

"With this the Bh6 gets locked out of the game. Best was 17. Qd2 followed by perhaps Rfe1." (Rosenthal). "This weakens the King's flank. Better was 17. Qd2 followed by Rfe1." (Schlechter).

I agree with Rosenthal and Schlechter. After 17. f4? White is probably lost.

17... Nc5

17...Qb6+ was another good way to exploit Brody's last move.

18. Kh1

The position was now:

click for larger view

The advantage has shifted drastically since move 13, and Janowski has a won or nearly winning game. But his love for the two Bishops leads him astray here as I will show in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Things looked good for Janowski after 18. Kh1, but now his predilections led him astray:

18... NxB

Janowski loved having the advantage of the two Bishops, and that is what he gets by means of this exchange. But he had a superior alternative here: 18...Qb6. Now, Brody has a chance to hack his way back into the game.

19. RxN

This natural looking recapture is in fact a mistake. Putting the Rook on d3 allows Janowski to gain a tempo by attacking it with his Bishop, and Brody's Queen-side pawns remain targets. 19.. cxN was much better.

19... Bf5

Janowski loves his Bishops!

20. Rd2 Bf6

But here Janowski errs. Attractive as it is to harass the Queen-side pawns, 20...Bc5 pointin g fire at the other wing was much stronger.

21. Nd1?

It is easy to sympathize with Brody's desire to avoid having his Queen-side pawn structure mangled by BxN, but this remedy is worse than the disease. Indeed, the trade that Brody feared would eliminate one of Janowski's monster Bishops.

Best by far was 21. h3.

21... Re7

Even stronger was 21...Qd7

22. Qf2

22. Re2 would--as noted by Marco--have lost to 22. Bxc2!

After the text, the position was:

click for larger view

White's Bishop at h6 is out of play, Janowski's Bishops control much of the board, and he controls the e-file. In sum, Janowski has a strategically won game. But his habits were to betray him once more in this game before his opponent collapsed under the pressure.

How this happened will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

After 22. Qf2, Janowski (Black) seemingly had the game in hand. But there was to be one more twist of fortunes before Janowski eventually triumphed.

22... Qb6?

Though praised by Marco, this move was a serious mistake. Janowski so loved his Bishops he was sure they would bring him victory in the ending. But Janowski failed to reckon on one thing: Brody did not have to cooperate and swap Queens here.

Of course, and as Schlechter has pointed out, had Brody tried to avoid the exchange of Queens with 23. Qg3 he would have gotten crushed by 23...Qd6 or even 23...Rae8.

But Brody had another and much better resource: 23. Bg5. Now Janowski would be forced to trade off his dark-square Bishop and Brody would have had a fighting chance. Instead:

23. QxQ?

Giving Janowski everything he wanted. With this trade, Brody's position becomes hopeless.

23... axQ
24. a3 Rae8

Material is even, but Janowski's Rooks and Bishops rule the board:

click for larger view

Not even Magnus Carlsen would be able to withstand Janowski with Brody's wretched position. But Janowski's position is so good that--for a while--he seems loathe to part with it and simply win the game.

25. Kg1

Brody seems shell-shocked. 25. Bg5 was the only chance of offering any real resistance.

25... Re4

This does indeed threaten 25...Bd4 check as noted by Marco, but 25...Re2 would have probably ended the game. But Janowski is having too much fun to do that.

26. c3?

Rosenthal correctly calls this move "weak,' but his suggested 26. Nf2 was even worse. It gets crushed by 26...Re2. Even after Rosenthal's inferior 26...Re1, White is lost (and especially after his awful 27. Nd3? Bd4+).

Best for White here was 27. g4.

26... d4

Janowski is still playing around. 26...Be7 (heading for c5) would have been crushing.

But this was the end of Janowski's playing around in this game. After this, he polished off Brody quickly and effectively, as I will show in my next and final post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

After Janowski's 26...d4, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Things certainly looked grim for Brody, so he tried a swindle:

27. g4?!

27. h3 might theoretically be best here, but I like Brody's fighting spirit. Needless to say 27. cxd4 would be hopeless after 27...Rxd4 (or even after Rosenthal's inferior 27...Bxd4+ 28. Kh1 (better would be 28. Nf2, but 28...c5 would then be crushing) Re1!.

Brody's move gave Janowski a chance to go wrong and blow the win.

27... Bd7!

27...Bxg4, though tempting, would have been a major mistake. Brody would then have played 28. Nf2! and even after 28...Be2(best) might have had a chance to survive. If, on the other hand, Janowski had answered 28. Nf2 with the ridiculous 28...Re2 as given by Rosenthal, Brody would then win with 29. NxB (and if 29...RxR 30. NxB+).

But none of this happened. Janowski, after seemingly toying with Brody for the last few moves, got down to business and ran him off the board. The first step in this process was his careful 27...Bd2!

28. Nf2 Re2!


29. Rfd1

29. f5 was the only way to put up a fight. It would not have changed the outcome.

29... c5!

Another sledgehammer blow by Janowski. The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

30. c4

Brody had no defense here anyway, but now Janowski has a forced mate and concludes the game nicely.

Had Brody played 30. Kf1 Janowski would have finished him off with 30...Bb5!

Theoretically best for White here, but still hopeless, was 30. RxR

30... Re1+
31. RxR

If 31. Kg2 then 31...Bc6 check giving Brody the choice of disastrous loss of material with 32. Ne4 or 32. Kg3 (or 32. Kh3) R8e3 mate.

31... RxR+
32. Kg2 Bc6+

Janowski's Bishops rule supreme! Mate is inevitable.


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