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Amos Burn vs Lucien Didier
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 12, Jun-08
Queen's Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation. General (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A very poor game by both sides. Didier was 0-11 going into this game. He had blown winning positions in a few earlier games. Against Pillsbury, he hung his Queen in a winning position. Here, he outplayed Burn, but then went astray, finally hanging his King (he overlooked mate in one).

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nf3 be7
5. Bg5 b6
6. e3 0-0
7. Bd3

On this move, as on his 6th and 8th turns, Burn probably should have played cxd5.

7... Bb7
8. 0-0 Nbd7
9. Qe2 dxc4

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book says 9...c5 was best, but the choice between that and the text is basically a matter of style. Had Didier play 9...c5, Burn would have maintained a slight edge with 10. Bf4.

The text gains time and opens the diagonal for the b7 Bishop, and allows Black to play c5 on his next turn.

10. Bxc4 c5
11. Rad1 cxd4

Rosenthal says that Black would have done better with 11...Ne4 12. NxN BxN 13. BxB, but Burn would likely have played 13. Bf4 with the better game.

Best for Black here was 11...h6.

12. exd4

Burn had played well to this point and would have had a clearly better position after 12. Nxd4. The text, however, needlessly creates weaknesses (e.g., an isolated d-pawn) and is the beginning of a series of moves that lands Burn in what was probably a strategically lost position.

12... Nd5

Weak, and allowing Burn to obtain a clear edge with a series of simple exchanges. Best for Black here was 12...h6.

13. Bd2

I fail to understand this move. Rosenthal claims that White gets at best an equal position with 13. BxN, but after BxB (d5) 14. BxB (or 14. NxB) BxN 15. QxB QxB White, despite--and now arguing because of--his isolated Queen's pawn has the better game. The text spells nothing but trouble for Burn. Didier--even with some second-best moves--now gets the better game.

13... N7f6

13...NxN was better.

14. Ne5 Rc8
15. Bb3

15. Bd3 was clearly better.

15... a6

Rosenthal's criticism of this move is well-founded, but his suggested 15...Nb4 would have been even worse (after 16. Rfe1). Best for Didier here would have been the simple 15...NxN.

16. Qd3

This accomplishes nothing. Despite his prior poor play, Burn could still have had a decent position with 16. NxN.

16... b5
17. Qh3

Another pointless move. While Burn ultimately manages a winning King-side attack, that only occurred because of wretched play by Didier. Best was 17. Rfe1.

17... NxN
18. bxN Bd5
19. Rfe1 Ne4
20. Bc2 f5
21. a4?

Just awful. Burn could have kept at least a playable position with 21. BxN. Now, his game is probably lost.

21... NxB
22. RxB

The position was now:

click for larger view

Burn has managed to achieve a strategically lost position against the played at the bottom of the standings. He has a weak c-pawn, his King-side attack is going nowhere, and his Bishop is bad. Didier, by contrast has strong play on the c-file and has the two Bishops. Yet--as I will show in my next post--Didier managed (despite further poor play by Burn) to get a lost game within eight moves and checkmated within ten moves. How Didier pulled this off will be the subject of my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Having achieved a strategically won game, Didier--as in several of his earlier games in this tournament--turned a silk purse into a sow's ear.

22... Bg5?

Helping White's Rook find a better square was clearly not the way for Didier to exploit his superior position. His move, however, was better than 22...b5 as suggested by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book (which would have allowed Burn to play 23. c4! and solve most of his problems after 23...Bxc4 [perhaps 23...Bg5 would be better] 24. Nxc4 Rxc4 25. Qe3!)

Best for Didier here would have been 22...Qa5! attacking all of Burn's weak points.

23. Rd3 Rf6?

Rightly called "weak" by Rosenthal, who here is correct in calling 23...b4 best (though Didier would still suffer from his poor 22nd move and have at best a small advantage).

24. Qh5 Rh6

Now Didier has frittered away all or nearly all of his advantage. Best here was Rosenthal's suggested 24...Bf4.

Now, suddenly, Burn has an attack of sorts.

25. Qf7+ Kh8
26. Qa7

The position was now:

click for larger view

Didier has managed to give Burn some attacking chances. But there was no need to panic. But that is what Didier did in playing:

26... Rc7?

26...Ra8 would have guarded everything (if 27. Nf7+ would lose [27. Qd7 would be best] after 27...Kg8 28. NxQ [28. NxR+ gxN 29. Qc5 Be7 is even worse) RxQ and the White Knight has no escape)

27. Nf7+?

27. Qxa6 was simplest and best.

27... RxN!

A nice try by Didier. Too bad he fell apart after this nice move.

28. QxR Bf4

The position was now:

click for larger view

Didier has sacrificed the exchange but now has serious King-side pressure with his Bishops. His attack looked even better after:

29. h3

29. Rg3 was better. Dididr is now very much back in the game, but then:

29... g5?

29...Rg6 would have given Didier equal chances. The text, however, is the first step to a self-mate.

30. Rdd1?

Did he foresee Didier's next too horrific moves? If not, I don't see the point of the text. 30. axb5 was clearly much better. Now, once again, Didier has a chance to get back into the game. But:

30... g4?

Sheer suicide. 30...Rf6 would have given Didier excellent chances to hold his own despite the sacrificed exchange.

31. Bxf5!

Crushing! Didier could have safely resigned. But he found an even faster way to lose.

31... Rf6???

In fairness to Didier, 31...exB 32. Re8+ was not appetizing. If he wanted to suffer on a bit longer, he might have tried 31...g3.

The text, however, ends the pain.

32. Qxh7 mate

A pretty rotten game by both sides.

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