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Jackson Whipps Showalter vs Carl Schlechter
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 2, May-18
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Anderssen Variation (C77)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Both sides, especially Schlechter, missed chances early in the game. Showalter's 13. g4 was bad (13. Ng3 was best, though Showalter would still have had the worst of it). But Schlechter's 13...dxe4 was far inferior to 13...Be6, and his 14...Be6 (one move too late) was also weak. And after 16...c5 (16...Qc5 was better) and 18...c4 (instead of 18...Ne8) Schlechter's near-winning advantage had evaporated.

Schlechter's chances, however, reappeared after Showalter's 21. Ng5. The position was now as follows:

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Schlechter here could have played the pretty 21...Nd4! giving him nearly a won game (if 22. cxN exd4 with 23...d3 to follow if the e3 Bishop moved).

Schlechter missed a similar chance to play 24...Nd4, and his 25...Qb8 might have allowed Showalter to turn the tables on him. But the latter's poor 25. Rad1 and 26. Qd2 allowed Schlechter to claw back to equality.

After the trade of heavy pieces, an intriguing minor piece ending ensued. Schlechter's 33...Ng4 led to the win of a pawn, but Showlater--having two Bishops and a Knight against two Knights and a Bishop--had chances.

The climax of the ending and of the game came after Showalter, down a pawn, played 36. Bc2, leaving the position as follows:

click for larger view

Schlechter could have kept his extra pawn and somewhat better chances with 36...Nd6. Perhaps that was best (as Fritz thinks). But Schlechter went for the jugular with a creative Knight sacrifice with 36...Nxc3?!

After 37. NxN Bxb4, Showalter would have gotten the worst of it (though not necessarily a lost game) with 38. Nd5 (38...Bxa5 39. BxB NxB 40. Nb4 Nb3 41. Nxa6 Nd4).

But Showalter played the far better 38. Nxb5, setting a lethal trap for Schlechter:

click for larger view

Had Schlechter here played 38...axN, Showalter would have had a win with 39. a6.

But Schlechter saw the danger and played 38...Bxa5, giving up his Bishop, but ensuring him a draw. Schlechter soon had a Knight and six pawns against two Bishops and three pawns.

Fritz doesn't understand this endgame and rates Schlechter's game as lost after 43...Kf6. In fact, and as a smart human like Schlechter recognized, he had an easy draw after trading off three pairs of pawns. With a Knight and three pawns against two Bishops, there was no win for either side: something that is apparently obvious only to humans and not to our silicon friends.

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