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Georg Marco vs Amos Burn
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 7, May-29
Russian Game: Kaufmann Attack (C42)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Burn, on the Black side of Petroff's Defense Opening, outplayed Marco and had a won game by about move 20. But his play thereafter was careless and the wily Marco managed to launch a King-side attack that eventually got him a draw.

This was a double loss for Burn, since draws were replayed at Paris 1900 and Marco won the replay.

1. e4 e4
2. Nf3 Nf6
3. Nxe5 d6
4. Nf3 d5
5. c4

A reasonable alternative to the usual 5. d4, but hardly warranting the lavish praise Rosenthal heaps on it in the Tournament Book.

5. Be7
6. d4 0-0
7. Bd3 Nf6

7...Ng5 is probably a better and easier route to equality.

8. h3 d5
9. Nc3 dxc4

Playing to saddle White with an isolated d-pawn, and raising the perennial question as to whether this is a strength or a weakness. The theme proves to be of no significance in this game, and the isolated d-pawn only falls here on move 41, two moves before the players agree to a draw.

10. Bxc4 Nbd7

10...Nc6 is more promising here, and White now has much the better game. But from here Marco begins to flounder, and within 10 moves his better position becomes a lost one.

11. Bf4

It is now yet clear where this Bishop should be posted, and 11. 0-0 or 11. Bb3 were both better than the text.

11. Nb6
12. Bb3 Nbd5

Employing the classic method of playing against an isolated d-pawn...blockade it. Here, however, this theme soon becomes irrelevant to the upcoming play.

13. Be5 c6
14. 0-0 Bf5
15. Nh4

A useless move, driving Black's Bishop to a good square and misplacing his Knight. 15. Re1 was better.

15... Be6
16. Bc2

Another useless move by Marco, who is clearly losing the thread of the game. 16. Rc1 was logical and best.

16... Qd7

16...g6 would have effectively neutered White's last move and was best.

17. Qf3

I agree with Rosenthal in the Tournament Book that 17. NxN was much better, but best of all may have been the simple 17. Re1.

17... g6

Better late than never!

18. Kh2

In a misguided effort to attack Black's King, Marco ruins his own King-side beyond repair. Rosenthal is certainly correct that 18. g4? loses to Nxg4 (19. hxN BxN), but there was no need for the text. Best was 19. Bb3 or 18. NxN.

Marco has already spoiled his superior position. In just two more moves, he was lost.

18... Nh5
19. g4

Pursuing his reckless plan

19... Ng7

19...f6 was best and would have precluded the tactical chance Marco now had at his disposal.

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

20. BxN?

Missing his chance to survivie his prior poor play. With 20. Nf5!, Marco probably had a playable game. With the text, however, his position is probably beyond repair.

20... KxB
21. NxN?

If Marco's position wasn't dead lost before, it is now. Come what may, he had to try 20. Qg3

21... BxN?

With 21...cxN, Marco would be busted. Burn still has a won position even after the text, but he forces Marco to put the White Queen where it belonged anyway, and frees the f-pawn.

22. Qg3

Despite his bad 21st move, Burn should still win this game. But it was now his turn to err badly and ruin his position. How this happened will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

After Marco's 22. Qg3, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

As is apparent, Marco has messed up his King's side and Burn has two lethal Bishops about to skewer the White position. But Burn soon ruins his chances.

22... Bd6

Superficially appealing, but in reality only succeeding in getting White's f-pawn where it need to go anyway. Best was the preparatory 22...Rfe8

23. f4 Rae8
24. Rf2 Kh8

Rosenthal condemned this move in the Tournament Book (preferring 24...Re7), but no explanation is given and I do not see much wrong with the text (though I would opt for 24...Rh8).

25. Ng2 g5!

The beginning of what should have been a winning counterattack by Burn.

26. Kg1?

Out of the frying pan into the fire. Better, though insufficient, was 26. Raf1. After the text, White is busted. But beginning here Burn falls asleep at the switch and blows a game he should have finished off quickly and successfully.

26... Re7?

White would have had no decent answer to 26...f5! Now, Marco has a chance. But...

27. h4?

Very bad. With 27. Qd3, Marco would have had reasonable chances of saving the game. Now, however, he has once again ruined his position, and Burn again has a clear win.

27... f6?

While Burn almost certainly still has a win even after this lemon, I fail to understand why he didn't just play the obvious 27...gxf4.

28. hxg5 fxg5
29. Bf5?

Needlessly giving Black another tactical target (he can sacrifice the exchange to advantage in many variations). White, though in desperate straits, should have tried 29. Qh3. Having taken risks to open the h-file, why not try to use it?

29... Qc7

Rosenthal calls this move "weak" and states that Black should have sacrificed the exchange here with 29...RxB. While this would have been sufficient to win after 30. gxR Rg7 (especially had Marco then played the awful 31. f6? Rg6 suggested by Rosenthal), all of this was unnecessary. The text, though less spectacular, is simpler and should have yielded a clear path to victory for Burn.

30. Qh3

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Black's position now almost plays itself, and is is astonishing that Burn let the win slip through his fingers here. How this happened will be discussed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

After Marco's 30. Qh3, Burn seemingly was poised to put the game away with 30...gxf4. But, instead, he played:

30... BxN?

Burn might still be able to win even after this wimpy move, but--as Rosenthal argues at length in the Tournament Book, Burn had a win here with 30...gxf4. Then, if:

A) 31. Raf1 Black can win with either the prosaic 31... f3! or with Rosenthal's flashier 31...RxB 32. gxR Rg2.

B) 31. Nh4 Re3! 32. Nf3 RxB! 33. gxR Qg7+

C) 31. Rd1 (not considered by Rosenthal in his analysis but probably "best" for White) Rg7 (31...f3 also wins easily).

After Burn's actual move (30...BxN), however, the win--if still there--is not so easy.

31. KxB

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

To maintain any chance to win, Burn here needed to play the seemingly obvious 31...gxf4 (opening up the g-file). But instead, Burn played:

31... Bxf4?

Now, all of a sudden, White's attack comes to life.

32. Rh6!

It is doubtful if Burn still has a win. In any case, his next move hands the entire initiative to his opponent.

32... Rfe8?

Hard to believe. 32...Qd8 was the only chance to play for a win.

33. Qf6+ Kg8?

Burn appears to be punch-drunk here. He should of course have played 33...Rg7

34. Bd3 Rg7

In light of White's obvious threats, 34...b5 was prudent and best.

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Black's attack is at and end and the only chances to win lie with White.

The conclusion of the game from here was not without interest, as I will cover in my next and final post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

After Burn's 34...Rg7, the remaining question is whether White's attack would bear any fruit. Black's extra pawn here is of no significance.

35. Bc4+

Not the best chance (though it id doubtful White has a way to win). The best chance was 35. Re2

35... Kh8
36. Re1 Rb8

There was still a chance for Black to go wrong here. Had Burn played the sloppy 36...RxR he would have been mated post haste after 37. Qf8+

37. Rfe2 Qd7
38. Re6 Qf7

The position was now:

click for larger view

The finish now was neat.

39. Rxc6!

Winning back the pawn.

39... QxQ
40. RxQ Rd7
41. Rf7

White might have had some slight chances at an advantage with 41. Re4. The text, however, is a cute way to draw.

41... Rxd4

The isolated d-pawn falls!

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

42. Ree7!

42. Rh1! is another way to the same sacrificial route to a draw.

42... RxB
43. Rxh7+

1/2 - 1/2

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