|KEG: A game of little or no interest. Didier (who went to 0-8 after this loss) erred badly on moves 9 and 10 and then hung his Bishop on move 11. Schlechter was not called upon to do much more than show up to win this game. He played a solid but unambitious line against the Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez, picked up the piece Didier blundered away, and then avoided all chances of counterplay for his opponent while cruising to victory.|
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
An old-fashioned and solid line against the Berlin Defense that gives White little or no advantage but avoids any sharp lines--just what Schlechter apparently wanted against an opponent he was likely to defeat absent some accident.
More usual are 5. c3, 5. 0-0, or 5. Nc3. But there is nothing seriously wrong with the text.
6. Nc3 Nd4
As Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Book, careless play by White could led to disaster here, i.e., 7. BxN (weak but not necessarily disasterous) 7...BxB (7...exB is better, but this move gives White a chance to blunder) 8. NxB?? (8.0-0 holds everything) exN 9. Ne2 Qb4+. But Schlechter was hardly likely to fall for any of that.
8. h3 h6
Inferior to 8...0-0 or 8...a6, but playable.
9. BxN exB
As profK noted on this site years ago, 9...BxN is far better. But even with this bad move, Didier is not lost yet.
10. Ne2 Bb4+
Rosenthal says this move "loses the game." While the text is indeed bad, and while White may or may not have a won game at this point, Didier's big blunder comes on his next move. I certainly agree that 10...0-0 as recommended by Rosenthal is much better than the text. 10...Nd7 is probably best of all.
The position was now as follows:
click for larger view
11...d5 was the best chance for Didier in this bad position. The text loses a piece immediately via a simple Queen fork.
12. Qa4+ Bd7
Better, but hardly giving Black much hope, was 12...Bd7
13. QxB cxb2
13...d5 was "better," but by this stage Black can safely resign.
14. Qxb2 0-0
Schlechter could have played 15. Qxb7 here (and also on his next two moves), but he has obviously decided to prevent any possible counterplay by Didier and thus avoids giving him an open file. The extra pawn is of no interest to Schlechter. He might, however, have played the stronger 15. Nf4
Didier could have protected against Qxb7 by 15...b5, but he is obviously hoping Schlechter will now play Qxb7
Schlechter again declines the offered pawn. He is not going to give Didier the slightest chance from this point on.
Again foregoing the chance to play b5 and again hoping Schlechter will go pawn hunting.
Yet again Schlechter declined the gift. Didier now gave up this venture and played
18. Bb3 a5
The only truly aggressive move Schlechter made in this game. 19. Nf3 seems more solid, but the text is of course fine too.
19...a4 keeping the White Bishop from d5 was "better."
20. Bd5 Rab8
20...Rae8 was slightly better.
21. e5 dxe5
Hopeless, but so in the long run was the "better" 21...Rb38
22. Qxe5 QxQ
23. fxQ g6