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Leon Rosen vs Mikhail Chigorin
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 14, Jun-12
Spanish Game: Closed. Bogoljubow Variation (C91)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-24-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A strange game with even stranger annotations. After 27. e6, Rosenthal in the Tournament Book thinks White (Rosen) had a won game. Tchigorin, by contrast, seems to have thought he had the game in hand and that White's attack must fizzle out. The truth may well lie between these drastic extremes.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 Be7
6. Re1 b5
7. Bb3 d6
8. d4

Premature. 8. c3 is usual here. 8. a4 is a good alternative. The text gave Tchigorin an opportunity he did not seize.

8... Bg4

Tchigorin could have obtained a fine game here with 8...Nxd4

9. c3 0-0
10. Bd5 Qd7
11. Nbd2

11. h3 was better.

11... exd4
12. BxN

Not 12. cxd4? NxB 13. exN Nxd4

12... QxB
13. Nxd4 Qd7

13...Qb6 looks better.

14. f3 Be6

14...c5 immediately was best.

15. Nf1 c5
16. Nc2

It is hard to understand why White did not simply play 16. NxB. After the text, the position was:


click for larger view

Hard as it may be to believe, from this seemingly placid, defensive position White launched a wild attack against Tchigorin and lost only when he overplayed his hand and then fell apart on move 29. How this all came about from the above position will be covered in my next post on this game.

Mar-24-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

With 16. Nc2, the preliminaries were over and the game became very sharp as Rosen tried to swamp Tchigorin with a King-side attack.

16... Rfd8
17. Bg5

The assault begins. This may not be the soundest approach, but it sets the tone for what is to follow.

17... d5?!

This gives Rosen--who was getting overextended--the chance he was seeking. Best was 17...h6 with perhaps g5 and d5 to follow.

18. e5!

Rosen seizes his opportunity and goes for the gold. The position is now hard to evaluate. As subsequent play reveals, both sides have chances. I would always bet on the stronger player in a double-edged position such as this one.

18... Ne8
19. Qd2

Looking for too much. 19. BxB first was soundest.

19... Ra7?!

Most players would doubtless try to defang White here with 19...BxB immediately,but Tchigorin always relished a complex tactical battle of ideas. As usual, he comes out on top here. I wonder whether Tchigorin would have made this move against Lasker.

20. Rad1 BxB
21. QxB Qe7

The position was now:


click for larger view

22. Qh5?

This is the first move in this game that I would classify as a definite "mistake." White could have maintained a small advantage with 22. QxQ. With the text, Black has all the chances.

22... Rad7

All of a sudden, Tchigorin's creative 19...Ra7 looks better and better. 22...d4 was another strong move Tchigorin could have played here and if 23. cxd4 Rad7!

23. f4?!

In for a penny in for a pound. 23. Ng3 or 23. Nd2 were "better," but Rosen by this stage had obviously decided on a do-or die attack, and was not about to "waste" time bringing more of his troops into the fray.

23... d4!

This counter-attack was the best way to punish Rosen's presumptuous play. The position was now:


click for larger view

24. Ng3?

This pawn sacrifice was either excellent (as Rosenthal in the Tournament Book seemed to think) or a blunder. Analysis suggests the latter.

Rosenthal is correct that 24. a3? would have lost to 24...Bb3 25. Rd2 (25. Rc1 would have been less catastrophic that Rosenthal's 25. Rd2 but would not have saved White after 25...d3) dxc3.

Rosen's best chance here would have been to admit he had erred and play 24. Ra1 or tried 24. cxd4. The text should have led to defeat.

24... Bxa2?!

Too eager to snatch a pawn. White's game is already bad and could have been swamped with 24...dxc3 25. bxc3 RxR 26. RxR g6 27. Qf3 RxR+ 28. RxR and then 28...Bxa2.

With the hasty text, Rosen gets some fuel for his attack.

25. cxd4

Rosenthal is correct that 25. Nf5 would give Black the better game after 25...Qf8 26. cxd4 Bb3 27. Rd2 BxN (even better would be 27...cxd4) 28. RxB cxd4. But the text--though keeping Rosen in the hunt--is not much better with best play.

25... cxd4?

A surprisingly wimpy move by Tchigorin, who I would have expected to have played 25...Bb3 or 25...g6.

26. Nf5 Qc5

26...Qe6 was better, but in any case Rosen would have compensation for the sacrificed pawn.

27. e6!

This left:


click for larger view

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book described 27. e6 as "A very nice move which should win the game for White." Tchigorin, whose evaluation of the position was exactly the opposite (he thought White's attack was unsound and should lose) noted: "After this move (27. e6) the spectators considered Black's game lost."

Whose evaluation was correct? As I will try to show in my next post, both sides have chances and counter-chances here, and I would rate the position as about equal. (Fritz 15 gives White a tiny edge [0.18]).

In any case, the climax of the game had been reached.

Mar-24-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

In the controversial position following 27. e6!, Tchigorin--who believed he was winning--played:

27... d3+

27...Rc7 was also good. But who is better here? Is White winning (as contended by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book) or is Black winning (as Tchigorin thought). The answer, I think, is that chances were about even in this unbalanced and closely fought game. Rosen has sacrificed a pawn but has pressure, while Tchigorin has all sorts of counterplay.

28. Nce3

Tchigorin was surely correct in stating that 28. Ncd4 was no better. But his analysis is flawed. After 28. Ncd4 Rc7 White would not play 29. Re5? as suggested by Tchigorin which would lose to 29...Qb6 (but not to Tchigorin's 29...Qa7 where 30. Kh1 may allow White to escape.

28... Rc7!

Very well played. Of course, and as Rosenthal pointed out in the Tournament Book, 28...Bxe6?? and 28...fxe6 both would lose instantly to 29. Nh6+.

After Tchigorin's 28...Rc7!, the position was:


click for larger view

"At first sight, Black seems to be in a critical position. In reality, however, he has the possibility of repulsing White's attack and remaining with one or two extra pawns." (Tchigorin).

Contrary to Tchigorin's analysis, Rosenthal claims a win here with 29. Qg5. Before I try to untangle this dispute, let's consider Rosen's actual move.

29. Qh4?

This was definitely a bad mistake after which Tchigorin polished Rosen off with dispatch. But what would have happened if Rosen had played 29. Qg5:

Rosenthal claims a win for White after 29. Qg5, giving the following variation: 29...f6?? {an awful move--see below) 30. Nh6+ Kf8 31. QxQ+ RxQ 32. Nd5 followed by e7+ and wins.

But Black need not have played 29...f6?? in response to 29. Qg5. The better response--identified by Tchigorin--was 29...Rdc8. In fact, 29. Qg5 Rdc8 represents best play by both sides, and leads to what looks like equal chances to me after 30. exf7+ Bxf7 31. Nh6+ (he could also play 31. Rxd3 here) Kf8 32. QxQ+ RxQ 33. NxB KxN 34. Rxd3 which would leave:


click for larger view

This dynamic position was hardly a winning one for either side. The fact is, this game was very close and double-edged until Rosen's very bad 29. Qh4?

The position was then:


click for larger view

From here on Tchigorin was in the driver's seat and a discouraged Rosen fell apart, as I will show in my next post on this game.

Mar-24-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

After Rosen's poor 29. Qh4?, Tchigorin never allowed him a chance, and Rosen's play began to crumble:

29... f6!
30. Qg4?
30. Qh5 was his only real chance.

30... Bxe6
31. Nh6+

If Rosen thought this was a winning move, he obviously miscalculated. If he now takes Black's e6 Bishop, the g-pawn is no longer pinned and so Tchigorin wins the Knight in return.

31... Kf8
32. QxB gxN

The position was now:


click for larger view

Rosen's attack is coming to an end, and he is two pawns down. The end is clearly looming for Rosen.

33. Kf1

33. Rd2 or 33. Qb3 were better but hardly offered much hope of salvation.

33... Re7!
34. Qh3 d2
35. Re2 Rd3!

If 35...Qc1? White would be back in business with 36. Rexd2 (but not Tchigorin's suggested 36. Kf2? Rd3.

36. Qxh6+?

36. Qf5 was seemingly the only way to prolong the game.

36... Kg8

37. Ng4?

37. Qh5 or 37. Qh4 were the only sensible looking (although completely inadequate) moves. The position (after 37. Ng4?) was now:


click for larger view

The game should now have come to an end,but:

37... RxR?

Although adequate to hold on to his win, Tchigorin could have closed out resistance with 37...Qc4!

38. KxR Qd4
39. h4?

39. Qh5 was the only way to continue the game. Now the contest is over.

I should note that the Tournament Book gives Rosen's move here as 39. h3--also a mistake. As best I can untangle the matter, I think the move given on this site (39. h4) is most likely the move played (based on what followed and on the commentary that makes little sense if 39. h3 were played.

39... Rg3!

Pretty!

40. Qh5

This was Rosen's sealed move, but--as reported by Tchigorin--he resigned without resuming play.

0-1

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