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James Mason vs Miklos Brody
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 13, Jun-11
Scotch Game: Schmidt Variation (C45)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-25-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Mason did not do very well at the Paris 1900 tournament. This win against Brody was one of his few highlights.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 exd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. NxN bxN
6. Bd3

The usual (and probably best) move in this variation of the Scotch Game is 6. e5. But the text is sufficient for equality and avoids any prepared lines Brody might have had in mind.

6... d5

The best response to Mason's unorthodox move.

7. Qe2 Be7
8. e5 Nd7
9. 0-0 Nc5
10. f4 NxB
11. QxN

11. cxN was better. As the game goes, the pawn on c2 becomes a target that Mason has to defend.

The position was now:


click for larger view

With his two Bishops, Black--despite his doubled c-pawn--has an equal if not superior game from the opening.

11... g6

A needless weakening move. Brody would have had a fine--and slightly superior--position with 11...0-0.

12. Nc3 Bf5
13. Qe2 Qd7
14. Na4

Much better than 14. Nd1 as recommended by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book which leaves Black with the edge after 14...0-0 or 14..Bc5+

14... c5

14...d4 or 14...0-0 were more solid.

15. b3 Qc6

Brody is beginning to flounder. 15...c4 was better.

16. Bb2

The discovered attack on Black's Rook will vanish after Black's next move. 16. Ba3 was better

16... 0-0
17. Rae1

Right Rook, wrong square. 17. Rad1 was better

17... Rae8

Pointless. 17...d4 or 17...Rb8 were better

18. Qf2 d4
19. h3

Also pointless. 19. Ba3 was bestr

19... Bc8

Brody want to have this Bishop on b7 so he can threaten mate on g2. He hopes to make something of this threat plus his threat from Black's light-square Bishop on weak White pawn on c2. While this is a reasonable plan, better chances were offered by 19...Rb8.

20. Qg3

He should have jumped at the chance to rid himself of his weak c2 pawn by playing 20. c3.

20... Bb7

The position was now:


click for larger view

Black is now threatening 21...Bh4! winning the exchange (since the mate threat on g2 prevents White from capturing the Bishop).

21. Rf2

"Well played." (Rosenthal).

As Rosenthal notes, if 21. f5 Bh4! wins immediately.

21... f6!
22. e6 f5

22...Bd6 was better.

23. c3!

The position was now:


click for larger view

Thus far, there had been no truly serious mistakes by either side, and chances were about equal. But from here Mason outplayed Brody and obtained a winning position in the next five moves. How this came about will be covered in my next post.

Feb-26-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Chances were approximately equal after Mason's 25. c3, but from there the game went rapidly downhill for Brody.

23... Bf6

23...Rd8 was much better.

24. cxd4

Missing the chance to obtain an advantage with 24. Rd2 or perhaps 24. Rc2.

24... Bxd4

Black should have played 24...cxd4, though the complications would have been intense and he would have had to sacrifice the exchange: e.g., 25. Ba3 Rxe6 26. RxR QxR 27. BxR KxB. The position would then have been:


click for larger view

.

Black's Bishop pair and passed pawn provide adequate compensation for the lost exchange. One can certainly understand Brody's reluctance to go in for this line over-the-board. However, after the text (24...Bxd4, he gets into trouble.

25. BxB cxB

The position was now:


click for larger view

As compared with the 24...cxd4 line, Brody has material equality, but a difficult game. In any case, he from her quickly ruined his chances.

26. Qd3 Qd6
27. Re5 Ba6
28. Qd2

28. Qd1 was slightly better.

28... Rf6?

This tangles Black's pieces and problems from which Brody never recovered. Either 28...Bc8 or 28...Rxe6 would have been much better.

29. Nc5!

This ends Brody's mating threats and allows Mason to dominate the board.

29... Bc8
30. Rfe2 Re7
31. Qd3

This left:


click for larger view

31... Rf8

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book claims that Brody could have obtained an "equal game" with 31...Bxe6, but his analysis is badly flawed, After 31...Bxe6, Mason would have had the crushing retort 32. g4!. Even without this resource, Mason had a likely win with the simple 32. NxB (the only move Rosenthal considers) RfxN 33. RxR RxR and now--contrary to what Rosenthal suggests--White can win a pawn with 34. Qc4 Kf7 35. rxR QxR 36. Qc7+ Qe7 37. Qd4+ and 38. Qxd4.

The text, though hardly pleasant, was probably Brody's best chance to save the game.

32. Rd2 Bxe6
33. Qxd4

Mason could have won more easily with 33. NxB, but the text is sufficient to win.

33... Qb6

Rosenthal is correct that 33...QxQ was far better here, but Mason could still have won after Rosenthal's 34. RxQ Kf7 because then would follow 35. NxB RxN 36. Rd7+ Ke8 37. Rxh7 RxR 38. FxR with a winning Rook endgame. Brody would have put up better resistance after 33...QxQ 34. RxQ Rfe8, though Mason would still probably have prevailed.

After the text, as will be shown, Mason had a clear win.

34. Kh2 Rfe8
35. Rde2 Kf7

The position was now:


click for larger view

As I will show in my next post, Mason had a clear winning line here. In fact he had two clear winning lines. Instead, he played a move praised by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book that could have put his victory very much in doubt with best play by Rosen (who in turn erred badly on his 40th move and lost soon thereafter).

Feb-26-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

In the last diagrammed position in my prior post, Mason had a win with 36. g4! if then 36...dxg4? 37. hxg4 Qd6 38. NxB RxN 39. Qc4! Kf6 40. g5+! Kf7 and Black is a lamb for the slaughter. Better for Black, but hardly sufficient, would have been 36...Qd6 37. NxB RxN 38. Qc4 Kf6 39. RxR+ RxR 40. RxR+ QxR 41. Qc3+ followed by 41. Qc7+.

Mason could also have won with 36. NxB (a move erroneously criticized by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book) 36...RxN 37. Qc4! (and not Rosenthal's 37. QxQ which throws away the win) Kf6 38. RxR+ RxR 39. RxR+ QxR 40. Qc3+

But Mason played:

36. RxB?

This flashy move--praised by Rosenthal--makes the win uncertain.

36... RxR
37. NxR RxN

As Rosenthal correctly points out, 37...QxQ?? loses immediately to 38. NxQ and White is a piece up.

38. Qd7+ Kf6
39. RxR+ QxR
40. Qxc7

40. Qd4 or 40. Qd8+ were better.

The position was now:


click for larger view

Mason is a pawn up in a tricky Queen and pawn ending. Brody cold have made life very difficult for Mason here with 40...Qe3! However, he missed his chance and played the hyper-defensive:

40... Qa6?

From here on, it was clear sailing for Mason.

41. a4! h6
42. Qd8+

42. a5 was stronger, but the text is adequate.

42... Kg7
43. Qd7+ Kg8
44. Qc7 Kh8?

Hiding in the corner only made Mason's task easier. 44...Kf8 offered the only real chance of holding out.

45. a5! Qf1?

This is suicide, but Black's chances would have been slim even with the "better" 45...g5

46. Qb8+ Kg7
47. Qxa7+ Kf6
48. Qd4+ Ke7

The position was now:


click for larger view

Brody could safely have resigned here.

49. b4

More immediately crushing were 49. Qb4+ or 49. Qc4, but the text also gets the job done.

49... h5

If Brody wanted to play on, he should have played 49...g5. Now Mason's pawns march on and Brody has no threats whatsoever.

50. b5 h4
51. a6 Kf7
52. a7 Qe1

The "threat" of 53...Qg3+ accomplishes nothing as Mason quickly shows.

53. a8(Q) Qg3+
54. Kh1 Qe1+
55. Qg1

1-0

The final position was:


click for larger view

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