KEG: A remarkably uninteresting game. Neither side ever comes close to winning, and the players repeatedly avoid any interesting or complicating lines, preferring first to trade pieces and then maneuver in their own territory to little purpose.
1. e4 e5
The Vienna Game, a popular choice in this tournament, especially by Mieses. But neither side here does anything of much use other than avoiding complications.
The only sign of life in this game, but all signs of aggression are soon extinguished.
As Rosenthal notes in the Tournament Book, 3...BxN 4. RxB Qh4+ (4...d6 is better and yields approximately equal chances) 5. g3 Qxh2 6. Rg2 Qh1 7. Fe5 strongly favors White.
4. Nf3 Nc6
Better, and the one chance to get any real edge, was 4...Nf6
Rosenthal'w proposed 5. Na4 was better.
He should have tried 5...Nge7, though the text does not hold any real dangers for Black.
The one really interesting variation here is the one discussed by Rosenthal in his commentary on this game. If 6. fxe5 dxe5 7. Nxe5 leads to trouble--but not the loss Rosenthal claims--after 7...Qd4 since White can survive after 8. Nd3 Bg4.
Seemingly looking to mess up Black's pawn structure,but he apparently changed his mind on move 10 and allowed Black to cure the problem.
8. fxe5 dxe5
Better than Rosenthal's suggested 9. Nxe5 Re8 10. Nf3 since Black then would get much the better game after 10...Nxe4 (much better than Rosenthal's 10...Ng4 11. h3, though Black would still be fine after 11...Ne4).
Fixing Black's pawn structure. 10. d3 was better.
11. d3 Rfe8
This accomplishes nothing except to allow White to trade Bishop for Knight. Better was 12. 0-0 or 12. a4.
Continuing with his misguided plan.
14. 0-0 Bg4
15. Qd2 Qd6
16. Qc3 c5
Mason has forfeited any edge from having White. Black now has better chances, but Rosen immediately gives away much of his advantage by his poor idea of exchanging Queens. There was no reason to expect to win the endgame.
17...Ra7 was better.
18. QxQ cxQ
The position was now:
Black has whatever small chances exist in this uninteresting endgame. As will be discussed in my next post, White from here needlessly gives Black chances that Black repeatedly fails to seize.