|KEG: Post II
After Mieses' 10...0-0 the position was as follows:
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After 11. BxN QxB 12. Qxd5 White would be placed under a fierce attack by 12...Re8+." (Marco). "The gain of a pawn by 11. BxN QxB 12. Qxd5 would be bad, as Black would initiate a devastating attack on the e and d files." (Tartakower/Du Mont).
Of course, after 11. BxN QxB White need not play the losing 12. Qxd5 but could play 12. Be2 with at worst a slightly inferior position.
In any case, either the text or 11. Bd3 appear to be best for White here.
"Up to here identical with Marco-Mieses, London 1899. But now Mieses introduced a novelty worthy of attention." (Marco).
The text is indeed the prelude to the murderous attack Mieses has in mind. But it should probably only have led to equality had Pillsbury not erred on his 15th and 17th moves. The best chance for Black to preserve the small edge he achieved with 10...0-0! was to play either 11...Bf5 or 11...Re8 here.
12. BxN is a reasonable alternative if White wants to avoid the tactical battlefield that lies ahead after the text. The choice is a difficult one, and style may be the deciding factor here. [Fritz and Stockfish play 12. Ne4; Houdini plays 12. BxN]. For those of us who like to do battle on the chessboard rather than seek safety first, Pillsbury's move seems best.
"Very risky. More solid was 13. Bd2." (Schlechter). "13. Bd2 was preferable." (Sergeant/Watts).
Both 13. b4 and 13. Bd2 are reasonable. As with Pillsbury's choices on move 12, the proper decision depends on style. I would bet that Kasparov would have played 13. b4 and that Karpov would have played 13. Bd2---and both would have been right!
14. NxN+ gxN
The position was now as follows:
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So Pillsbury has managed to mess up Mieses' King-side pawns, but Mieses has all the attacking chances. For now, Pillsbury must decide what to do with his Bishop.
"Expecting 15...Re8 after which 16. Kf1 would restore the balance." (Tartakower/Du Mont).
But as will be seen, Mieses has no intention of settling for 15...Re8 here. For that reason, discretion was probably the better part of valor here for Pillsbury, who should probably have played 15. Bd2, difficult as it is to expect Pillsbury to settle for that sort of move in this game.
"!" (Sergent-Watts). "!!" (Rosenthal in the Paris 1900 Tournament Book). "A master move." (Schlechter). "Black with this move has a considerable advantage, which more than compensates for the exchange which he gives up. Gunsberg, however, condemns the move as hasty and says that 15...Re8 instead would probably win [huh???--KEG." [Sergeant-Watts]. "The piercing of the critical sector is well worth the exchange." (Tartakower/Du Mont). "The scope of the method of play intended with 11...d4 now first comes to light." (Marco).
I hate to be a spoil-sport, but--speaking purely objectively--Mieses' move, exciting as it is, should probably not have led to anything more than equality had Pillsbury not played hastily on his 17th turn. Black could have retained his small edge with 15...Re8 (which--contra Gunsberg--most certainly does not win for Black).
One thing is for sure, after 15...d3, another critical moment in the game had arrived. I will discuss the exciting continuation in my next post on this game.