KEG: Tchigorin tried the 2. Qe2 line against the French with which he was spectacularly unsuccessful the year before (at London 1899)
Both sides miss chances at the end. This was most serious for Burn, who lost the replay two days later (draws were replayed at Paris 1900).
1. e4 e6
Despite his failure with this line at London 1899 (he defeated Showalter, drew with Blackburne, and lost to Lasker, Lee, and Cohen), Tchigorin tries 2. Qe2 again. Perhaps Burn played the French in this game, looking forward to playing against the line with which Tchigorin had just recently had such difficulties.
As Burn doubtless knew, Tchigorin had lost all three games (against Lasker, Lee, and Cohen) in which Black played this response to 2. Qe2.
The move Tchigorin had tired unsuccessfully against Lasker, Lee, and Cohen. MCO-13 attaches "?!" to the move, and recommends 3. Nf3 or 3. f4. The former appears to be the most logical option.
"Very well played. This move at least equalizes the game." (Rosenthal in the Tournament Book). "...the fact of the second player being able with impunity to move the KP twice in the first three moves must condemn Tchigorin's variation with 2. Qe2." (Hoffer in the London 1899 Tournament Book). This move was played by Lasker, Lee, and Cohen in their wins over Tchigorin at London 1899. MCO-13 prefers 3...d5. 3...Bc5 seems to be a reasonable alternative, but---the loss of time notwithstanding--I see nothing wrong with the text.
The move he played in his loss to Lasker at London 1899. Tchigorin played 4. d3 in his losses to Lee and Cohen at London 1899. 4. Nf3 seems best.
Burn varies from Lasker's 4...Nf6. Both the text and Lasker's move seem fine. Another possibility is 4...Nd4 driving the Queen either to d3 or back to d1.
Having played 4. g3, 5. Bg2 seems more logical. 5. Nf3 is another reasonable option.
5...Nd4 was more enterprising, but the text is certainly solid, and Burn still has the advantage after this move.
Since this doesn't lead to much, Tchigorin might have tried 6. Nf3.
As on the last move, Burn might have considered playing Nd4. Perhaps he preferred to avoid a tactical shootout with Tchigorin.
7. BxN QxB
Burn declined to play the equivalent of this move (4...Nd4 or 5...Nd5), but Tchigorin jumps at the first opportunity to harass his opponent's queen.
9. c3 d6
Rosenthal in the Tournament Book says that 9...a6 was better, focusing on providing a haven for his Bishop. Probably best is to ignore White's "threat" of b4 and simply play 9...Ne7, getting rid of the noxious White Knight on d5.
10. b4 Bb6
11. a4 a6
11...a4 looks best.
Surprising to see Tchigorin (who usually preferred Knights to Bishops) make this exchange. 12. Bg2 seems best.
13. g2 0-0
So the opening here has yielded the following position:
It is here that the battle truly began, as I will discuss in my next post on this game