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Lucien Didier vs Geza Maroczy
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 9, Jun-01
Spanish Game: Open. Open Variation (C80)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 11. Ng4!? was strange and misplaced the KN on h2 after ... f5. 12. f4 was also shaky, trapping White's QB and leading to the retreat 13. Re1. Black overpowered his opponent with supremely logical play in the middlegame, with the Bc6 ruling the board and pointing right at White's King.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Maroczy crushes the hapless Didier (who was 0-8 going into the game). A remarkable feature of this game is how many bad moves Didier makes before he is finally lost (after his blunder on move 24). Maroczy clearly knew his customer, and took no chances, allowing Didier to lose the game at his own chosen pace.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 Nxe4
6. Re1

6. 0-0 is usually played here in the Open Ruy Lopez, but there is nothing wrong with the text.

6... Nc5

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book condemned the text and recommended 6...Nf6, but MCO-13 gives only Maroczy's move, which is better than 6...Nf6 in every respect.

7. Nxd5

7. BxN is normal and best. MCO rightly criticizes the text as giving Black "easy equality." If anything, Black is better after this move.

7... Be7

Very passive. 7...NxN was best (and is recommended by MCO-13).

8. BxN dxB
9. d3

Also unduly passive. 9. d4 is clearly better. The text is fine only if White seeks only near equality.

9... 0-0
10. Nc3 f6

10...Ne6 was somewhat better.

After the above less than inspiring play by both sides, the position was:

click for larger view

11. Ng4

Rightly charaterizeed as "strange" by tpstar on this site. As tpstar notes, the text contributes to the ultimate burying of the Knight on h2. Rosnthal also condemns the move, and suggests 11. Nf3, which is certainly better. The best move, however, was 11. Nc4.

Despite his poor 11. Ng4, Didier still has a playable (albeit very passive) game.

11... Bd6

11...Ne6 was surely better.

12. f4

Aptly called "shaky" by tpstar, who rightly notes that the pawn at f4 as hemming in White's own Bishop. Much better was 12. Ne3.

But yet again, Didier, despite his lethargic and "shaky" play, remains very much in the context.

12... Ne6
13. Rf1

This very weak move is Didier's worst of the game so far. He is drifting towards a strategically lost position, but is not quite there yet. 13. Qf3 was best.

13... Nd4

Maroczy also seems to be asleep at the switch. 13...f5 immediately was much better.

14. h3

Another weak effort by Didier. With 14. Ne3 his game would be OK, though slightly inferior.

14... f5

Yet again, Maroczy misses the best line (14...c5).

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

As is obvious, despite his weak play, Didier's position--though inferior-- is not without possibilities. But from here his play went downhill.

15. Nh2?

Why bury the Knight here? 15. Ne5 was clearly better.

15... Bd7

More passive play by Maroczy, who seems to be patiently waiting for Didier to lose the game all by himself. 15...Re8 was much better.

16. Ne2 c5
17. c3 NxN+

17...Ba4! was cuter and better

18. QxN Qf6
19. Be3 Rae8
20. Qd2

Yet another weak move by Didier. 20. Qf2 was the best way to escape the pin and defend the e3 Bishop.

20... Bc6

As tpstar has noted, from here on the c6 Bishop rules the board and points directly at White's king. Another good option for Black here (and perhaps even better) was 20...Qe6.

21. Nf3 Rf7

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

As can be seen, Didier is still hanging in there. But in the upcoming moves he transforms his somewhat inferior position to a dead lost one. How this occurred will be the subject of my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Despite his poor play through the first 21 moves, Didier still had a playable position. But from here on he fell apart.

22. g3?

Fatally weakening his king-side. Much better was Rosenthal's suggested 22. d4. Better still were 22. Rae1 or 22. Qf2.

22... Rfe7!

Piling up on the e-file and preparing to break through.

23. Rae1 Qh6?

Maroczy's last misstep in this contest. He should have continued the e-file pile-up with 23...Qe6.

The position was now:

click for larger view

24. Ng5?

"Another weak move. 24. Kh2 was better." (Rosenthal). After the text, Maroczy quickly blows Didier off the board.

24... Qh5!

The unanswerable threat is h6.

25. h4 h6
26. Nh3

The position was now:

click for larger view

26... g5!

"Very well played. This move concludes the game brilliantly." (Rosenthal). Also crushing was 26...Qg4.

27. Kh2

As Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Book, if 27. fxg5 Maroczy would have won easily with 27...Qg4 (27...Bxg3 also wins) 28. Nf4 (28. Re2 would only prolong the agony) 28...Qxg3+.

27... gxh4
28. gxh4 Qxh4

Didier could safely resign here, but chooses to suffer on a little longer.

29. Rg1+

Only hastening the end. 29. Bf2 would have allowed him to struggle along a little longer.

29... Kh7
30. Bf2

Once again, Didier chooses the fast track to the end. 30. Qf2 would have allowed him to prolong the inevitable.

30... Qh5
31. RxR+ RxR
32. Be3

"If 32. Rg3 Re2 followed by RxB+." (Rosenthal). The text is another fast-track to resignation. 32. Re1 was the only way to stave off Maroczy for a few moves.

32... Qf3!

The Black Queen working in tandem with the Bishop on c6 skewers the White king-side.

33. Re1

Almost a help-mate move.

33... Rg7!
34. Rg1 Rg3!


A cute finish. Though the game was over long ago, Maroczy's finishing strokes redeems an otherwise forgettable game. After 34...Rg3, mate is, of course, inevitable.

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