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David Janowski vs Geza Maroczy
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 15, Jun-14
Spanish Game: Open. St. Petersburg Variation (C82)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: This game, like many of those involving Janowski, is painful to play over. Janowski unleashed a King-side attack against Maroczy of questionable soundness, managed to smash through Maroczy's defenses, had a completely won game no later than move 22 or 23, toyed with Maroczy like a cat playing with a cornered mouse, but then blundered away his advantage and then threw away a Rook, and then resigned after playing on for a few pointless move in an utterly hopeless position.

Those of us who have studied Janowski's games have--of course--seen this sort of thing from him before.

Maroczy did nothing particularly clever here. Sometimes a player can win a game just by showing up and not doing anything really stupid.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf2 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 Nxe4
6. d4 b5
7. Bb3 d5
8. dxe5 Be6
9. c3 Bc5
10. Nbd2 0-0
11. Bc2 NxN

Following one of the main lines of the Open Ruy Lopez. Unlike most of the games at Paris 1900, the opening here moves could be played by grandmasters today.

Here, had Janowski been playing Black, he might well have tried the Dilworth Attack (11...Nxf2 or 11...Bxf2+). This, however, was hardly Maroczy's style.

12. QxN

It is hard to see why Janwoski failed to play the more natural 12. BxN.

12... Re8

12...Bg4 seems better. MCO-13 gives 12...f6 here, but Maroczy rightly avoided this weakening of his King-side.

13. Qf4

13. a4 seems more in the spirit of the Ruy Lopez. But, as will be seen, Janowski's plans involve an all-out king-side assault, and 13. a4 wouldn't advance that agenda. He might also have tried 13. h3

13... Ne7

Maroczy might have tried 13...Qd7 here, but the text suits his defensive tendencies. This style usually served him well, but Janowski was not just another opponent, and few players could withstand his tactical displays when he was suitably inspired.

14. Be3

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book faults this move, but it definitely fits in with Janowski's plan of either swatting Maroczy's Bishop off c5 and/or opening up the f-file to support his intended attack.

The choice between the text, Rosenthal's 14. Nd4, 14. a4, or 14. Re1 was primarily a matter of taste and style.

14... BxB
15. fxB

Rosenthal said that 15. QxB was better, and it is hard to disagree with him on a theoretical basis. But this game involves the mercurial Janowski, and he wants an open f-file so he can hunt down Maroczy's King.

15... Ng6
16. Qg3 c5

Maroczy's superficially formidable Queen-side pawn phalanx gets him nowhere. 16...Qd7 was better.

The position was now:

click for larger view

The calm before the storm.

The manner in which Janowski now launched his troops against Maroczy's King-side and obtained what should have been a winning position will be discussed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Following Maroczy's 16...c5, Janowski had various reasonable plans at his disposal. These included dislodging or trading off White's Bishop with 17. Ng5 or building pressure on the center with the slow but steady 17. Rad1. But no such tepid measures sufficed for Janowski, who sallied forth with:

17. h4?!

We can debate whether Janowski's advance was justified here till the cows come home, but the fact is this move and Janowski's attack at all costs plan must have been very hard to meet over the board. In any case, Maroczy--no mean defensive player--went wrong in trying to deal with Janowski's venture:

17... Ra7

Wasting time. He should have played 17...Nf8 immediately, Leaving the Knight on g6 even for one move allowed Janowski's attack to gain steam.

18. h5

Ready or not, here comes Janowski.

18... Nf8
19. h6 g6
20. Rad1

This left:

click for larger view

It is not quite clear how Maroczy should try to defend himself here. 20...Nd7 is probably best. 20...Qe7 is another option. One thing seems certain, Maroczy's choice was not best.

20... Rd7

The engines I consulted (Fritz 15 and Stockfish) disagree concerning whether Maroczy is already dead-lost here. He was definitely on the ropes after the text even if there was some way for him to salvage the game.

21. Ng5 Qe7

Fritz 15 thinks this move is best and that Maroczy could still have held the game. Stockfish thinks 21...Kh8 was better, but that Maroczy was lost in any case.

22. Rd2

22. Rf6 is another way to continue the attack.

22... Red8

Maroczy's effort to support a center-pawn advance was misguided. He might have considered giving his pieces some room by moving the d7 Rook to a7 or b7 or c7.

23. R2f2

Janowski now had the position he was aiming for (i.e., Rooks doubled on the f-file, pawn on a6, and Queen, Knight and Bishop all poised to dismantle the cramped Black position.

23... a5?

There is no time for this Queen-side pawn advance. This was Maroczy's last chance to reorganize his pieces with 23...Rb7 or 23...Re8.

The position was now:

click for larger view

24. Rf6

This paralyzing move is OK, but simpler and stronger were either 24. Nxf7 or 24. Rxf7. White then comes out ahead after the forced exchanges and wins (e.g., 24. Rxf7 BxR 25. RxB QxR 26. NxQ RxN 27. e6! Nxe6 28. Bxg6 after which White has Queen plus pawn for two Rooks plus an overwhelming attack).

A remarkable (and almost surreal) feature of this game is that Janowski--who seemed to have been enjoying Maroczy's helplessness too much to put Maroczy out of his misery--could have won by capturing on f7 on move 24, on move 25, on move 26, on move 27, or on move 28. But Janowski waited until move 29 to make this capture--when it led to his (Janowski's) own immediate defeat.

24... d4?!

A desperate and futile effort at counterplay. But Janowski again declines to pull the trigger.

25. exd4

It is perhaps wrong to call this a mistake, since White's win is just as certain after this move as before. But--pardon my Greek--but why the hell didn't Janowski just play 25. Nxf7!

And so, the sage continued.

25... cxd4

This is also useless against a capture by White on f7, so Maroczy plays on hoping Janowski will continue to dawdle.

26. cxd4

Again passing up the chance to capture on f7.

26... a4

"Very well played. This move is necessary to prevent White from placing his Bishop on b3." (Rosenthal in the Tournament Book).

Earth to Rosenthal: This move is of no use whatsoever. White could now have won in a wide variety of ways, as I will discuss in my next post on this game. In fairness to Maroczy, nothing else he might have tried would have been much better than the text.

The position was now:

click for larger view

As even a casual glance at the board reveals, Janowski should definitely have won this game. Yet, just three moves later he was dead lost. Incredible!

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

On his 27th move, Janowski tried:

27. Qf3

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book called this "weak" and that White here "misses a win."

it is true that Janowski--for the fourth straight move--misses a chance to win with 27. Nxf7. It is also true that Rosenthal's pretty 27. Bb5 wins for White here. Rosenthal devotes a lengthy analysis to prove that his move wins. In addition, it is true that there are other winning lines here for White, e.g., 27. NxB. Indeed, all these lines are superior to Janowski's 27. Qf3.

But Rosenthal was wrong about one thing, Janowski's move--adding more artillery on the f-file--also wins for White, albeit less quickly. Janowski was about to blow his winning advantage, but had not done so yet.

27... Qb4

27...Rc7 was theoretically a better chance, but by now Maroczy must have been scratching his head wondering why Janowski hadn't finished him off yet.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Yet again, Janowski could win with Nxf7. But instead he played:

28. NxB?

This move truly does pretty much end Janowski's winning chances. The chance of capturing on f7 with his Knight is now gone for good.

28... NxN

The position was now:

click for larger view

Janowski's win might have been gone by this point, but there was no reason for him to lose the game. But now, after having failed to capture on f7 five straight moves when it would have brought him victory, Janowski decides to do so when it brings him immediate defeat.

29. Rxf7??

Incredible! Janowski somehow overlooked a simple Knight fork, and loses a whole Rook.

Rosenthal--seemingly forgetting his prior comments--here claims that White could have won with 29. d5. Whilte this move was surely best and would have been good for at least equality, it most definitely would not have won: e.g., 29. d5nQc5+ 30. Qf2 Qxd5 31. Rxf7 Qxe5 32. RxR RxR leaving White with whatever advantage there is, but hardly a winning edge.

Back to the game:

29... Ng5

Did Janowski really miss this? The game is now over, and what followed is of little or no interest.

30. Qc6 RxR
31. Rd1 Rxd4
32. Rc1 Qd2
33. Be4 RxB


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