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Amos Burn vs David Janowski
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 17, Jun-19
Spanish Game: Classical. Central Variation (C64)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A strange game for anyone other than Janowski. He badly mangled the opening, and was probably lost by move 5. Further misplays led to the loss of his Queen by move 18 for inadequate compensation. But Janowski played on for an additional nearly 60 moves, and declined to resign even when Burn had a second Queen, playing on to checkmate.

Burn may have thought at first that he would have an easy day at the office, but the contest was protracted beyond what anyone could have anticipated. The major interest in the game is how Janowski--though utterly lost--continued to create tactical possibilities that at least made for a good show (for a while).

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Bc5

The Classical Defense to the Ruy Lopez. Though very much out of fashion, it is playable. Rosenthal's very dated comment in the Tournament Book on 3...Bc5 was: "Weak. The correct move is 3...Nf6."

4. c3 Qe7

Hardly best. 4...Nf6; 4...f5; and 4...Bb6 are all reasonable choices that give Black an inferior but reasonable game.


5. d4 immediately was stronger, but the text was sufficient to maintain White' advantage.

The position was now:

click for larger view

5... f6?

It is hard to imagine why Janowski made this horrible weakening move. It is true, as Rosenthal pointed out in the Tournament Book, that 5...d6?? is even worse [it loses immediately to 6. d4!]. But Janowski would have been OK with either 5...a6 (probably best) or 5...Bb6.

After the text, Janowski is probably lost already.

6. d4 Bb6
7. Na3

7. Re1 and 7. Be3 are also strong, but the awkward looking text--getting his Knight into the fray--is most precise.

7... Nd8

This hedgehog style defense is ugly and misguided. 7...a6 was essential. After the text, Janowski's position was an eyesore:

click for larger view

Janowski was having (for him) a bad tournament. But he still had a chance for a minor prize (a tie for fifth place if he won). Why he played this preposterous opening is hard to fathom. Maybe he was just sulking.

8. Nc4 Nf7?

Making his wretched position even worse. 8...c6 might have given him at least a chance.

9. Re1

Rosenthal states that 9. Ne3 "followed by Nd5" would be better. But, needless to say, Janowski could have foiled all that with 9...c6. The text is far better than Rosenthal's move, but best of all was 9. Qa4!

9... c6
10. NxB axN
11. Bc4

Hardly the best retreat for the Bishop. The text gives Janowski a target. 11. Be2, 11. Bd3, and even 11. Bf1 were better.

11... d6
12. Nh4

This misplacement of the Knight was unnecessary. White had many better choices, e.g., Be3; 12. b4; or even 12. a4. Burn at this stage was letting Janowski back into the game.

12... b5

12...Ngh6 was another way to claw back into the game.

13. Bb3 g6

Janowski again needlessly weakens his position. 13...Ngh6 was far better.

14. f4!

Exploiting Janowski's feats of destruction. All of a sudden, the White Knight at h4 doesn't look so bad.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Janowski's position is still a bit of a mess, but he probably now had chances after Burn's poor 11th and 12th moves. But from here, Janowski proceeded to ruin his position beyond repair and loss his Queen in just a few moves. I will discuss how all this came about in my next post on this game.

Jun-02-18  sudoplatov: Just for fun:

Morphy vs S Boden, 1858

Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1858

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

One correction to my last post, had Janowski won this game, he would have tied for sixth, not fifth place. A win here would have given Janowski a score of 10-6. By losing, he finished with 9-7 and a tie for 10th place with Showalter.

By winning this game, Burn finished at 11-5 and took clear fifth place ahead of Tchigorin (who finished with 10.5-5.5).

While Burn did nothing especially brilliant in this game, he managed to keep his head and defeat a brilliant player (and Janowski most definitely was a brilliant player when his head was screwed on properly) who was self-destructing.

Anyway, back to the game.

In the last diagrammed position following Burn's 14. f4, the obvious risk Janowski faced was on the e-file where his King and Queen were lined up with Burn's Rook on e1.

Janowski could have solved this problem with the horrible-looking but best 14...Kf8. Another possibility, though less effective, was 14...Be6. Instead, Janowski tempted fate with:

14... exd4

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book correctly noted that 14...exf4 would have been even worse (though his analysis is flawed in placed): 14...exf4 15. Bxf4 [15. Nf5 was much stronger, though Rosenthal's move is probably good enough to win] 15...g6?? [suicidal, 15...Kf8 is the only real chance for Black here] 16. Nf5 Qf8 [16...Qc7 was a little better, but also hopeless] 17. BxN+ KxB 18. Nxd6+ [this move wins, but the crushing move here is 18. Qh5+].

Janowski's move brings the loss of his Queen one step closer.

15. cxd4

The text is perhaps good enough to win, but even stronger for Burn here was the immediate 15. Nf5!

15... Ngh6?

Now the line-up on the e-file is fatal. The position was now:

click for larger view

16. Nf5?!

While this move is pretty and sufficient to win, even stronger was 16. f5!

16... gxN?

Inexplicable. 16...Qd8 at least saves his Queen and provides some practical chances. After the text, Burn wins Janowski's Queen for Rook and Knight and has the game well in hand. Did Janowski really miss this?

17. exf5 Bxf5
18. RxQ+ KxQ

This left:

click for larger view

While it is perhaps too early to resign here, Burn obviously has a won game. As I will attempt to show beginning with my next post on this game, Burn (though not always choosing the fastest winning method) never gave Janowski a chance from here. But Janowski--though dead lost for the rest of the game which lasted another 56 moves--made what followed entertaining with the sometimes zany attacking schemes he concocted. There is much that has and can be said about the play of Janowski, but it was rarely boring.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

After winning Janowski's Queen, Burn made sure his dangerous opponent never got back in the game.

19. d5!

Tying up Janowski's center.

19... Rhg8

The g-file was Janowski's only venue for counterplay.

20. Bc2

Janowski was famous for his use of Bishops, so Burn seeks to remove the last one in Black's army. But 20. g3 or 20. Bd2 were simpler and stronger.

20... Bg4

Janowski liked his Bishops! But 20...Kd7 or 20...Kf8 were better.

21. Qd3

Not bad, but 21. Qd2, leaving open the possibility of played Bxh7 was better.

21... Kd7
22. Bd2

22. Qb3 was probably best, but the text is OK.

22... Bf5

Agreeing (probably unhappily) to trade off his last Bishop.

23. Qc3 BxB
24. QxB

The position was now:

click for larger view

Is there any chance for counterplay for Black any longer? Janowski certainly made an effort.

24... Ra4?!

24...f5 blocking the b1-h7 diagonal certainly seemed best. But defense at this point was apparently the last thing on Janowski's mind.

25. b3

Trying to consolidate his position rather than snatching a pawn with 25. Qxh7.

25... Ra6?!

Janowski can't seem to make up his mind. 25...Rd4 would at least have been consistent with his last move. Alternatively, Janowski could have admitted his last move was unsound and just retreated with 25...Raa8. The text gives him the worst of all worlds.

26. Re1

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book stated that White would have had "difficulties" with 26. Qxh7 [clearly best] f5, but after 27. Bc3 the game seems over to me. Burn's move was hyper-cautious, but did not imperil his win and was perhaps good strategy in over-the-board play.

26... f5

"This move is forced. White threatened 27. Qe4." (Rosenthal).

27. Bc1

More hyper-cautious play by Burn. Why not simply 27. dxc6+

27... Raa8

"Another forced move." (Rosenthal).

28. a3

Rosenthal makes the strange comment here that 28. Qe2 would have allows Janowski to 'defend the position" with 28...Rae8. But after 28...Qf2 White still seems clearly winning. I agree that 28. Qe2 was not best, but it hardly would have jeopardized Burn's winning position. If 28. Qe2, best would be 28...Rge8.

28... Rae8

Rather than trading off one of his Rooks, Janowski might have tried the wilder 28...b4 to try to mix things up.

29. RxR RxR
30. h3

More cautious play by Burn. 30. Bd2 might have hastened the end.

30... cxd5

Winning this pawn did little good for Janowski. A better chance to create complications lay in 30...Re4.

After the text, Janowski's pawn structure was a mess:

click for larger view

Janowski might have considered resignation here. But he carried on for another 44 moves, and even managed to make the game exciting (or at least superficially exciting) as I will begin to discuss in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

Janowski had lost his Queen and had a shattered position, but he was far from ready to lower his flag and the game continued.

31. Kf2

31. Bd2 was faster, but Burn was in no hurry.

31... Re4

Trying to make something from nothing!

32. Qd3 Kc6
33. Qc3+ Kd7
34. g3 b4

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book praises this move by Janowski and days it is better than 34...d4 35. Qa5 Kc6 36. a4. So far as I can see, Black is about equally lost in both that line and in the line played by Janowski.

With the text, Janowski manages to spoil Burn's Queen-side pawn structure at the small cost of one of his doubled b-pawns.

35. axb4 d4!

Battered and beaten, Janowski goes on the attack!

36. Qd3 Nd8

The alternative (and perhaps a better one) was 36. d6, but Janowski wants his Knight on e6.

37. Qb5+ Kc7
38. Qc4+ Kd7
39. b5 Ne6
40. Ba3

The position was now:

click for larger view

40... d3?!

Although Rosenthal in the Tournament Book calls this move "forced," 40...Nd8 seems to hold out better chances of long=term resistance.

41. Qxd3

Burn is trudging to victory. 41. Qd5 was a shoeter route to the finish line.

41,,, Rd4
42. Qf3 Nd8
43. Bc1

Burn momentarily seems to have lost the threat of the game--or perhaps he wanted to make sure he met the 45-move time control. 43. Kf1 was better.

43... Ng8
44. Qh5 Ne7
45. Qxh7

This pawn falls at last.

45... Ne6

The players having met the 45-move time control, we can take stock:

click for larger view

As is obvious, Janowski is done for. Burn now has a passed h-pawn ready to march and become a Queen, and Janowski can only stop it with ruinous loss of material. So did he resign here? Not a chance. He attacked!

46. Be3

46. g4 immediately was most logical.

46... Rd3

That's our boy.

47. g4

The pawn march begins.

47... Rd5
48. g5

48. b6 to lock up the Queen-side was undoubtedly even better, but Burn has a winning plan on the other wing and is not about to be distracted.

48... Rxb5
49. h4 d5
50. h5

50. g6 was even better.

50... d4
51. Bd2

The position was now:

click for larger view

Matters are beyond grim for Janowski. But on he played eh though Burn was ahead in material and had two advanced passed pawns ready to become Queens. I will discuss Janowski's desperate efforts to create threats from here in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

Janowski's chances were nil, but the saga continued.

51... Nc5

51...Rxb3 was "best," but Janowski is going for the gold and picking up Burn's b-pawn was apparently not very high on Janowski's agenda.

52. b4

52. h6 was another winning move.

52... Ne4+
53. Ke1 Rb6
54. Qg7

Burn's h-pawn is ready to advance...and Queen:

click for larger view

54... Re6
55. Kd1

To avoid a nasty discovered check.

55... Nf2+
56. Kc2

56. Kc1 was slightly more accurate.

56... Rc6+

Since the d4 pawn is Janowski's one and only trump, he might as well have played 56...d3+ here.

57. Kb2 Ne4

The position was now:

click for larger view

58. b5!

58. Qxd4+ was hardly best, but the claim by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book that Black would be better after 58...Rd6 was nonsense. The move would lose Burn his Bishop--but Black is about to win that piece anyway. Burn's 58. b5 was best, but Burn would have had to do a lot more damage to his position than just err with 58. Qxd4+ to throw away the win.

58... Rc4
59. Be1

This wins in the long run, but Burn should have stopped dorking around and just played 59. h6.

59... d3
60. h6

Game over, right? Nope, not with Janowski playing Black.

60... Rc2+

61. Ka3 d2

This left:

click for larger view

So now Janowski has a threat. But...

62. Bxd2 RxB

Now, the threat is gone. Janowski has won the Bishop, but Burn is about to get a new Queen.

63. h7 Rd3+

63...R2 seems to be the only sensible way to continue for someone masochistic enough to want to play this out. But discussing which move is best for Janowski now is quite beside the point.

64. Kb2 Rd5
65. h8(Q)

And so now the position was:

click for larger view

Time to resign for Janowski? Not a chance! The only question now was how many Queens Burn would need to make to get Janowski to give up. What remained of the game will be covered in my next post.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VI

Never daunted, Janowski played on even after 65. h8(Q).

65... Rxb5+
66. Ka3 Nd6

66...Rb6 or 66...Ra5+ would at least allow Janowski's pieces (other than his King) to play some role in the final act of this one-sided contest.

67. Qhh7

67. Qhf8 was a slightly faster way to end the game.

67... Ncd8
68. Qd4+ Ke6

Janowski could have prolonged the game a few moves by running to the Queen side with 68...Kc7 or playing 68...Nd6. Now, after the text, Janowski's King will have to do battle against two and possibly three enemy Queens with little or no assistance from the rest of his troops.

click for larger view

69. Qh6+ Kf7
70. g6+ Ke6
71. g7+

Things were certainly looking grim for Janowski:

click for larger view

But Janowski still played on:

71... Kf7
72. Qhf6+ Kg8
73. Qd8+

Determined to play on to the bitter end, Janowski had to move in the following position:

click for larger view

73... Kh7
74. Qh8



Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <sudoplatov> Thank you for pointing out these two Morphy games with the same opening line. I still don't think much of this variation for Black, but I had not remembered that Janowski was following a route already blazed by Lowenthal and Paul Morphy.
Jun-03-18  sudoplatov: <KEG> There are some games with the Steinitz Defense Deferred that give a similar impression. Black plays ...d6 and ...f6 but the Bishop is usually on g7 or e7 rather than c5. Probably ...f6 is only playable after the White King's Bishop is exchanged off.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Agreed. I had not recognized the similarity you have so helpfully pointed out.

Your excellent contributions, however, have not salvaged Janowski's 5...f6? except to demonstrate that he was following an older (and badly flawed) variation.

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