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Jackson Whipps Showalter vs Miklos Brody
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 10, Jun-05
Sicilian Defense: Pin Variation (B40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A sloppy game won by Showalter after a one-move blunder by Brody on move 31.

Showalter sacrificed a pawn early on, but for much of the game had little or nothing to show for it. At best, until Brody's blunder, Showalter had fair compensation for the lost pawn. Brody had chances to win at various stages, but repeatedly missed opportunities. Not the finest of games by either of these players.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 e6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxc4 Nf6
5. Nc3 Bb4

The Sicilian Counterattack variation.

6. Bd3

6. e5 is more usual, but the text is a solid if less enterprising alternative.

6... Nc6
7. NxN bxN

Needlessly creating a weakness on d6 (though this weakness is not exploited by Showalter in this game). Best was 7...dxN after which Black is fine.

8. e5! Nd5
9. Qg4 g6

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book correctly states that 9...NxN would be bad here and that White would have much the better game after 10. QxB Nd5 11. Qg4 g6 12. 0-0. But 10. Qxg7 would be best after 9... NxN and would probably yield White a winning position.

10. 0-0 h5
11. Qf3 NxN
12. bxN Be7

As Rosenthal points out, an attempt by Black to grab a pawn with 12...Bxc3 would be answered by 13. Bxg6! fxB 14. QxB 0-0 15. Qg3 Qe8 16. Bg5 (or 16. Rd1 or 16. a4) leaving White with far superior chances.

13. Re1

Inferior to 13. Rb1 or 13. c4.

13... Qa5
14. Bd2 Ba6
15. Rab1

Showalter's planned sacrifice of his a-pawn is interesting and perhaps sound. In the short run, it gives him counterplay. But Showalter fails to follow the sacrifice up properly and ultimately gets into trouble. Rosenthal's suggested 15. Be4 is better. Probably best for White here, however, is the simple 15. BxB leaving him with about even chances (his lousy Queen-side pawn structure would be balanced by Black's weakness on the Black squares).

15... BxB
16. QxB Qxa2

Brody, not unreasonably, decides to snatch the proffered pawn. 16...0-0 was a good alternative. In either case, chances are about even.

17. c4 Qa6

Heading for home before his Queen gets trapped.

18. Rb3 0-0
19. Bh6

Not best. Of course, and as Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Book, had Showalter tried to win his pawn back here with 19. Qxd7 he would have gotten into trouble immediately after 19...Rad8 20. QxB RxB. But better for White here would have been 19. Reb1.

19... Rfd8
20. Qe4

Showalter continues to flounder. 20. h3 would have solved any back-rank mate problems and was best.

20... d5

The move Brody was undoubtedly itching to play to solve the problem of his weakness on d6, but this was not the time for the move. Much better here was 20...Qa5. Now Showalter is able to cobble together a position in which he has fair compensation for the sacrificed pawn.

21. exd6 e.p. Bxd6

21...Rxd6 would be bad for Black after either 22. Rg3 (Rosenthal's suggested response) or the somewhat better 22. Qe5.

The position was now:

click for larger view

The battle lines are now drawn. Showalter has some attacking chances for his sacrificed pawn and poor Queen-side pawn structure. But from here, play became very ragged as I will discuss in my next post on this game.

Dec-16-17  Sally Simpson: Brody's one-move blunder was always on the cards. Showalter just had to keep the pot boiling till it appeared then spot and punish it.

click for larger view

32.Qf6 is the only move that nails Black.

Brody beat the 4 players below him but lost to the 12 player who finished above him. No draws.

Such statistics often indicate a player out of his depth v the top dogs where the win is only a matter of time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <Sally Simpson> Brody did indeed seem out of his depth against most of the top players at Paris 1900. But, in fairness to him, he did produce a few fine games (e.g., his win against Rosen)and did make a few of the most dangerous competitors work hard to defeat him (e.g., Lasker). He even drew a game against Maroczy, though under the rules at Paris 1900 that game had to be replayed (and Rosen lost the replay).

You are most certainly correct about 32. Qf6. It was the only move to win after 31...Re7?.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Picking up the saga of the game after 21...Bxd6:

22. Bg5 Rdb8

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book criticizes the text and says that 22...Re8 was correct. But after 23. Rd1 {better than 23. Rd3 and 23. Bf6--the only moves analyzed by Rosenthal] White is better off than in the game. Brody's move seems best.

23/ Rd3

23. Bf6 immediately is more precise.

23... Bf8.
24. Bf6 Qa5

24...Bg7 was better.

25. Bc3?

This allows Black to solve his black-square problems immediately with 25...Bb4! Best for White was 25. h3. Black can still trade Bishops with 25...Bg7 26. BxB KxB, but then after 27. Red1 White would retain considerable counterplay for the sacrificed pawn.

25... Qc5?

Missing 25...Bb4!

26. Rd7?

This looks good at first sight but Black had a simple answer. Best for White here was 26. Bd4. (26. Be5 was also much better than the text).

26... Re8

Another decidedly poor move. 26...Qf5 would have stopped White in his tracks.

27. Red1?

Showalter seems oblivious to Black's threats. He should have played the prophylactic 27. g3.

27... Bg7

27...a5 was better. Both players appear to overlook the fact that Black's a-pawn is passed. Did Brody forget that he had snatched off Showalter'sa-pawn?

28. BxB KxB
29. h3 Rac8

Again missing the chance to play a5.

30. R1d6

This winds up working wonderfully for Showalter, but only because of Brody's poor play. 30. Ra1 was much better than the text.

The position was now:

click for larger view

30... Kf8

Allowing Showalter to equalize with 31. Qf4.

Rosenthal is correct that the tricky 30...Rc7 was much better than the text. But after 31. RxR QxR 32. Rxc6 Qd7 33. Qe5+ White will have regained his sacrificed pawn with an approximately even game.

Best for Black here, and the only way to play for a win for Black, was 30...Re7! After 31. RxR QxR 32. Rxa7 Rd8 Black would definitely be better.

31. Qf4

The position was now:

click for larger view

31... Re7??

As Rosenthal correctly notes, the only saving move here for Black was 31...Qf5, which was sufficient for equality after 32. Qh6+ (best) Kg8 33. Rd3 (better than Rosenthal's 33. Rxa7 which allows Black some play with 33...Ra8). Alternatively, after 32. QxQ gxQ 33. Rxa7 Re7 (or 33...Red8) Black is fine, if not actually better.

After the text, however, the game ends suddenly.

32. Qf6!


"Black can not longer save the game. If 32...RxR 33. RxR and wins." (Rosenthal).

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