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Geza Maroczy vs Jacques Mieses
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 11, Jun-07
Scandinavian Defense: Main Lines (B01)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Is this the first game in our database between players who were later awarded the GM title by FIDE?
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: An exciting cut and thrust battle with fascinating attacking ideas from both players.

Going into this game, Mieses had lost three in a row after winning 6 of his first 7 games. But he didn't back down here, going all out against Maroczy with the Center Counter Defense. Maroczy, in turn, had lost his last game to Burn, and was clearly out for blood.

1. e4 d5

The Center Counter Defense, a favorite of the Mieses who always looked for ways to be on offense even at the cost of material or theoretical weaknesses in his position.

2. exd5 Qxd5
3. Nc3 Qa5
4. d4 g6

4...Nf6 is the usual move, and either that or 4...Bf5 are probably best. Mieses often played the hyper-aggressive 4...e5 or the more traditional 4...Nf6 here according to Maroczy. The text, according to Marco, was an "innovation." The move is not bad in itself, but the pawn on g6 will prove to be a burden to Mieses throughout much of the game.

5. Bf4

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book affixes a "!" to this move, but 5. Nf3 looks best.

5... Bg7
6. Qd2

"To prevent the development of the Knight to h6" (Maroczy). 6. Nf3 also looks good.

6... c6

Rosenthal says this move is "forced" in light of the threat of 7. Nb5. Marco, in his commentary on this game, also notes the threat of 7. Nb5. But 6...Nf6 looks much better. If then 7. Nb5 QxQ+ 8. KxQ Black looks OK with 8...Nd5 (rather than Rosenthal's 8...Na6 which runs into trouble after 9. Bxc7.

The text creates problems for Black's development, and indeed Mieses Knight remained mired on b8 through move 19.

7. Nf3 Bf5
8. Ne5

8. Bc4 (to develop the White-square Bishop) or 8. h3 (preparing g4) look better. After the text, Maroczy's has at most a tiny advantage.

8... Nf6
9. Bc4

"In order to induce Black to castle, whereupon White's ling-side pawns would advance for an attack." (Maroczy).

9. Be2 or 9. h3 were reasonable alternatives.

9... e6

"With this the f5 Bishop is restricted. Better was 9...0-0, though Black may have feared the consequences of 10. h4." (Marco).

Marco has said it all here. His concern about hemming in the f5 Bishop proves to be a major theme in the game and a primary reason for Mieses' defeat. Maroczy's manner of exploiting this weakness is instructive.

10. Be2


"The Bishop was no longer useful on c4, whereas on e2 it can support an effective pawn attack." (Maroczy).

I love this move, which reflects Maroczy's understanding of the need to alter his plans after Mieses' questionable 9...e6.

10... Qd8

The position was now:

click for larger view

g4 is definitely in the air. The questions Maroczy must address is when to play g4 and how if at all he must prepare this move. as is obvious, with pawns at e6 and g6, Black's f5 Bishop is in potential trouble. But as will be seen, Mieses has tactical resources to address the problem, and it took considerable care by Maroczy to build up what ultimately proved to be a winning attack.

Rosenthal stated in the Tournament Book that 11. g4 immediately would have been a mistake in light of 11...Ne4 12. NxN BxN 13. f3 Bd5 14. c4 f6 (with 15. Nxg6 hxN to follow]. But White would have had fine prospects in this line. In fact, the only thing "wrong" with 11. g4 is that Maroczy finds an even better move and an even better time to play g4.

11. 0-0-0 Nd5

"A clever and intelligent move." (Marco).

As Marco has pointed out, White would lose any advantage he has with 12. g4 in light of 11...NxB 13. QxN h5! threatening Bh6.

12. Nc4

Maroczy avoids a hasty g4 here (probably seeing what Marco has pointed out). But 12. NxN (or alternatively the preparatory 12. Kb1) were better options.

12... NxB

12...0-0 was better.

13. QxN 0-0

"Now 13...h5 was bad because of 14. Nd6+ Kf8 15. Nxb7" (Marco).

The position now was:

click for larger view

How now should Maroczy continue. Is it time to play g4? These issues will be addressed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

In the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post, Maroczy played:

14. g4

While this looks best, Rosenthal in the Tournament Book criticized the move and recommended 14. h4. I respectfully disagreed.

Rosenthal only considers two possible responses to 14. h4:

A) 14...h6

Rosenthal is surely correct that White wins after this response with 15. g4. But the move is not as devastating as Rosenthal suggests. Of course, Black gets annihilated after 15...g5 [Rosenthal's move for Black here] 16. hxg5 hxg5 17. Qh2. But Black could have put up better (though probably futile) resistance with 15...b5. But Black need not play 14...h6

B) 14...h4. Contrary to Rosenthal, White does not have a win after this move. If then 15. f3 [Rosenthal's move--15. g4 was probably slightly better] Black would play 15...b5, and not 15...g5? as erroneously suggested by Rosenthal. White has the advantage after 14. h4 h5 15. f3 b5, but nothing approaching a win.

But Rosenthal has overlooked Black's best move after 14. h4:

C) 14...b5. If then 15. Ne5 (best) f6 16. Nd3 h5, Black has a tough but defensible position.

Maroczy's move (14. g4) offered him better chances than 14. h4.

To return to the actual game, after Maroo's 14. g4, the position was:

click for larger view

What is Mieses to do about his threatened Bishop?

14... g5!

This move addresses the immediate threat, but as will be seen Maroczy's king-side threats are far from extinguished. 14...g5 creates new weaknesses in Black's position which Maroczy quickly seeks to exploit.

15. Qe3

Another and possibly better plan was 15. Qg3. But Maroczy's move definitely keeps the pressure on Mieses, whose ingenuity continues to be tested.

15... Bg6
16. Ne5

The position was now:

click for larger view

Mieses here thought he could relieve the pressure by eliminating Maroczy's e5 Knight. As Maroczy demonstrated, however, this was a fatal misevaluation of the position.

16... BxN?

As both Rosenthal and Maroczy have pointed out, Black needs to play 16...Nd7 here. Rosenthal mistakenly claims that 16...Nd7 equalizes. Maroczy more accurately states that while 16...Nd7 is best, "White still stands better."

17. dxB Qe7
18, f4

18. h4 was probably even stronger.

18... gxf4
19. Qxf4

The position was now:

click for larger view

Mieses is probably lost already (thanks to his 16...BxN?) but material is even and there is still a lot of play in the position. But from here Mieses got wiped out with some errors on his part and some powerful strokes by Maroczy. How this came about will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Mieses was in trouble after 19. Qxf4. But he was still hoping to open lines and go on the offense. But he goes about this the wrong way.

19... f6?

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book gives this a "!" Marco lauds the move as "a defense against h4-h5." In fact, and as will be seen, the move is a mistake that could have led to a quick loss for Mieses. 19...Qh4, while hardly solving all of Mieses' problems, was much better.

20. Rhf1

In fact, and contrary to Mieses' analysis, Maroczy could have won quickly here beginning with 20. h4. Maroczy's move, however, also does the trick, though with a bit less celerity.

20... Nd7

As Maroczy has shown, 20...fxe5 would lose to 21. QxR+!! QxQ 22. RxQ+ KxR 23. Rd8+ and White, though a pawn down, wins easily with Black's Queen-side completely tied up.

Best for Black here was 20...f5. The text gave Maroczy a winning combination, the position now being:

click for larger view

Here Maroczy can win with 21. RxN! since after 21...QxR 22. exf6 Rf7 (if 22...Bf7 23. Rd1 and Black must give up his Queen to avoid mate) 23. h4 and White, though an exchange behind for a pawn, has a crushing and winning King-side attack.

But Maroczy missed 21. RxN and played:

21. exf6

This is probably also sufficient to win, but now White has plenty of work ahead of him.

21... Nxf6

As Rosenthal has noted, 21...Rxf6 loses immediately to 22. RxN!

22. Qe5 Rae8
23. h4

The position was now:

click for larger view

Here, in his zeal to attack, Mieses erred, and this time Maroczy put him away:

23... Nd5?

23...Qg7 was the only chance to hold the game.

24. h5

As Maroczy proceeds to demonstrate, Black is now dead lost.

24... NxN

Maroczy correctly notes that 24...Bf7 gets killed by 25. Ne4! Mieses' best try here--hopeless though it may still have been--was 24...Qg7.

25. bxN!

The exclamation mark comes from Rosenthal...and I agree.

25... RxR

Also "insufficient," to quote Marco, was 25...Qa3+ 26. Kb1 (26. Kd2 was perhaps even better) Bxc2+ 27. KxB Qxa2+ 28. Kc1

26. RxR Bf7

26...Rf8 might have prolonged the game, but was also hopeless.

27. Bd3

27, h6 was faster.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Maroczy still has the game well in hand. Hhis closing flourish was pretty, and will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

Material was still even after 27. Bd3, and Maroczy had not mopped up Mieses as quickly as he might have, but the weaknesses in Mieses' position made the result only a matter of time.

27... h6

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book calls this move "forced" since--he claimed--Black needed to prevent 28. g5. But 27...h6 created new weaknesses that allowed Maroczy to finish off the game nicely. Had Mieses wanted to prolong play, he could have played 27...Rd8 or 27...Rf8, but this would at best have extended his suffering.

28. Rf6!

With the Black h-pawn now on h6, this move is devastating.

28... Qf8
29. g5!

"A move which finishes the game brilliantly." (Rosenthal).

29... hxg5
30. h6

There is no way now for Mieses to escape Maroczy's mating net. All he has left is a few spite checks.

30... Qa3+
31. Kb1 Kf8

This only hastens the end.

The position was now:

click for larger view

White to mate in two:

32. RxB+! KxR
33. Qg7 mate


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