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Carl Schlechter vs Geza Maroczy
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 12, Jun-09
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: As Rosenthal says in the Tournament Book, it does indeed seem as if both players were playing for a draw from the get-go here. But the context must first be considered.

This game was a replay of the 12th round draw between these same two players (with colors reversed). By the time this second game of the tournament was played by these two fine players, the tournament was winding down--for many of the contestants. But not so much for these two. Thus, as of the day this game was played:

Lasker, Showalter, and Mortimer had at least two games left to play.

Pillsbury, Marshall, Marco, Janowski, Burn and two others had at least three games remaining.

Maroczy, Tchigorin Mieses, Mason and Brody had at least FOUR games remaining.

Schlechter had at least FIVE games remaining.

Maroczy and Schlechter were competing for positions among the prize winners. Maroczy's remaining games included, in addition to this one against Schlechter, games against Janowski (the following day), Marco, and Marshall.

In these circumstances, who can blame Maroczy and (especially) Schlechter) for playing a quick draw.

The fault here lay in the tournament rules (replaying draws) and schedule, rather than in the contestants.

The draw proved useful to Maroczy, who wound up tied for third place with Marshall (after defeating Marshall in the last round).

As for the game here itself between Schlechter and Maroczy, there is not much to be said.

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. exd5

The Exchange Variation back in 1900 was sometimes played with the expectation of winning (see, e.g., Mieses' 15th round win against Brody using the Exchange Variation of the French).

3... exd5
4. Bd3 Bd6

Korchnoi inserted some fire into this position in his 1978 game against Tatai by playing 4...c5?!

5. Nf3 Qe7+

Looking towards exchanging Queens instead of the better 5...Nf6

6. Be3 Bf4
7. Qe2 BxB
8. QxB

8. fxB is stronger and less drawish.

8... c6

8...Nc6 is much better, especially if Black thinks White might actually be trying to win.

9. QxQ+

White can still play for advantage with 9. Nbd2.

9... NxQ
10. Nbd2 Bg4

Another move that would be questionable if Maroczy thought Schlechter might be playing for a win. Theoretically at least, 10...Bf5 was much better.

11. 0-0

11. 0-0-0 was much stronger, but not if White is seeking a quick draw.

11... f6
12. c3 BxN
13. NxB Kf7
14. Rfe1 Nd7
15. Re3 Rhe8
16. Rae1 g6
17. g3 Ng8
18. Kf1 RxR
19. RxR Re8
20. Ke2 RxR+
21. RxR

This left:

click for larger view

1/2 -- 1/2

Apparently both players got what they sought: a draw and a short day at the office so they could rest up for the games to come.

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