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Amos Burn vs Geza Maroczy
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 10, Jun-05
Queen's Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation. General (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Maroczy's unfortunate miscalculation on move on move 32 brought this game to a sudden end.

After a weak 14th move by Maroczy, Burn sprung a little combination in which he gave up two minor pieces for Rook and two pawns and thereby got the better endgame. But Maroczy fought back, outplayed Burn in the ending, and obtained an even position by about move 29. But then on his 32nd move he played to grab a pawn on the King-side, overlooking the fact that this allowed Burn to win a piece when Maroczy had to give up a piece to stop the pawn from queening. Maroczy seemingly went to pieces after his error on move 32, and the game ended very quickly thereafter.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nf3 b6

The text is playable, but 4...c5 was much better.

5. Bg5 Be7
6. e3 0-0
7. Rc1 Bb7
8. cxd5 exd5
9. Ne5 c5
10. Be2 Ne4

As Rosenthal noted in the Tournament Book, 10...Nbd7 was better.

11. BxB QxB
12. NxN dxN
13. Qb3 Na6

"If 13...Nc6 or 13...Nd7, then White gets the better game wit NxN followed by dxc5." (Rosenthal in the Tournament Book).

14. 0-0 Nc7

Misguided. Black should clarify the pawn status in the center wit 14...cxd4.

15. Bc4 Rad8

Not 15...cxd4 because of 16. BxF7+ (not Rosenthal's vastly inferior 16. Nxf7 which allows Black to get off the hook with 18...b4) RxN 17. QxR+ QxQ 18 NxQ leaving White the exchange up with a won game.

The position was now (after 15...Rad8):

click for larger view

Burn here sprung a combo giving up Bishop and Knight for Rook and two pawns and thus obtaining the better ending:

16. Nxf7! RxN
17. BxR+ QxB
18. QxQ+ KxQ
19. dxc5 bxc5
20. Rxc5

The position was now:

click for larger view

Burn clearly has the better prospects here.

20... Ne6
21. Rc2 g6
22. Rfc1 g5

This move could have caused Maroczy grief. He should have played 22,,,Kf6 or 22...Ba6. But from here Maroczy outplayed Burn until he obtained an even game.

23. h3

Tentative play by Burn. 23. h4 was better. "Of course if 23. Rc7+ NxR RxN+ Kf6 25. RxB Black simply plays 25...Rd1 mate.

23... Kf6
24. Kf1

24. Rc4 or 24. b3 were better

24... Rd7
25. Ke1 h5
26. Rd2 Rg7

26...RxR 27. KxR was of course hopeless. But the text is weak. Maroczy should have played 26...Bd5

27. g3

Needlessly weakening his King-side pawns. 27. b4 was much better.

27... h4!

28. g4 Ke5
29. b4

Very weak. He had to play 29. Rc3 to maintain his advantage.

29... Ba6
30. a4 Bd3!

The position was now:

click for larger view

Chances are now about equal. White has a pawn majority on the Queen-side, but Black's securely posted Bishop on d3 and his Rook guarding his second rank fully compensate. But from here Maroczy decided to play to win White's h-pawn and found himself lost within two moves. How this came about and how the game came to a sudden ending will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

With 30...Bd3!, Maroczy has seemingly survived the worst and had equal chances. But from here he embarked on a misguided plan and was soon lost beyond hope.

31. Rb2 Rf7

The text is fine in itself, but is the beginning of a bad plan to move the Rook to f3 and win White's h3 pawn. Maroczy should have recognized that he needed the Rook on the second rank to defend against Burn's Queen-side pawn majority.

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book recommends 31...Nc7, but that would have been a serious mistake since it cuts off the Rook and needlessly creates a target for White who would doubtless then play 32. b5 with good winning chances. The text, or 31...Rb7 or even 31...Kd5 were all fine.

32. b5

The threat should now have been crystal clear to Maroczy, but he sallied forth to doom with his bad plan.

32... Rf3?

"An adventurous move which loses the game, as Black has to sacrifice his Knight [or Bishop--KEG] for White's b-pawn and remains the exchange to the bad. It was better to leave the Rook on the second row in order to be near the advancing pawns, and it is not apparent how White could then have forced the game." (Teichmann).

Black would have been fine with 32...Rb7. Rosenthal's suggestion of 32...Nc7? is almost as bad as the text, and would leave Black with little prospect of holding the game after 33. b6.

33. a5

Strong and probably sufficient to win, but 33. b6 was better still and would have left Maroczy without resource.

33... Rxh3?

The game may be lost already, but Maroczy might still have made a fight of had after White's last move by admitting that 32...Rf3 was a mistake and retreating with 33...Rf7. But Maroczy is determined to win the h3 pawn. The position was now:

click for larger view

With his Rook far away on h3, Black has no chance to stop Burn's Queen-side pawns without sacrificing a piece.

34. b6 axb6
35. axb6 Nd8

It was slightly better to sacrifice the Bishop with 35...Ba6, but Maroczy is clearly lost by this point in any event.

36. Rc8!

Perhaps Maroczy overlooked this move in his calculations.

36... Nb7
37. Rc7 Nd8
38. b7 Nxb7
39. Rbxb7 Rh1+
40. Kd2

The position was now:

click for larger view

Maroczy's chances here were slim and none. His next move was equivalent to resignation.

40... Rb1

40...Rf1 would have least posed a few (not too difficult) problems for Burn to solve. After the text, the battle is over.

41. RxR BxR
42. Rf7!

A neat way to finish off the game. White now wins the g-pawn and then has plenty of time to get his Rook to h5 to stop Black's h-pawn from Queening.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <KEG> Many thanks for your notes to this game, which I've now added to my own database. I hope to catch up with your other annotations eventually.

Must say I admire your discipline in working steadily through the tournament book. I can never do that myself!

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <Retireborn> I am happy you found these notes on Burn-Maroczy to be of help.

I have been reviewing and annotating games from chess tournaments for years. More recently, and after discovering this site, I have found it useful to post my thoughts on this site because it requires me to organize and articulate my ideas and because I often receive helpful comments and critiques from other contributors (such as your very useful contribution on the Pillsbury-Mason game). I also post my thoughts so that my chess teacher (a very busy grandmaster) can check in on me from time to time even when we cannot connect in person.

I find going through entire tournaments increases my understanding of what is going on in individual games: e.g., openings get repeated and corrected, and play is often affected by the standings. This methodology also allows me to get to know each of the players fairly well and thus better appreciate the clash of styles and chess ideas as these warriors of the mind do battle. Most importantly, of course, I do this because I find it to be a lot of fun.

Thank you again for your contributions.

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