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Valentine Green vs George MacDonnell
"Green with Envy" (game of the day Mar-17-2013)
5th BCA Congress, London (1862), London ENG
Philidor Defense: Exchange Variation (C41)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-20-04  Whitehat1963: Green is an appropriate descriptor.
Mar-04-05  soberknight: Serious pun potential.
Feb-14-12  LoveThatJoker: If 28. Kg1 Qf2+ wins.

If 28. Kh1 Bxf5 is winning, however slightly more interesting is 28...Nf2+ 29. Kh2 [29. Kg1 Nxh3+ 30. Kh2 (30. Kh1 Bxf5 is good enough) 30...Rxg2+! 31. Kxg2 Qf2+ 32. Kh1 (32. Kxh3 Bxf5#) 32...Qf3+ 33. Kh2 Nf4 wins as 34. Nh4 (best try) 34...Qh3+ 35. Kg1 Qg3+ 36. Kf1 (36. Kh1 Qxh4+ 37. Kg1 Qg3+ mating) 36...Bh3+ mates shortly] 29...Qf4+! 30. Ng3 (30. Kg1 Nxh3+ 31. Kh1 Bxf5 wins) 30...Ne4 with total suffocation!


Mar-17-13  morfishine: After <22...Rxc1> Valentine lost heart
Mar-17-13  Abdel Irada: The day Valentine was massacred.

In any case: blecch! White should have resigned in preference to playing on when he reached the point of letting Black capture things and making no attempt to recapture.

As for where he began to go wrong, it strikes me that it may have been as early as 6. f4. This move never does seem to have led to any useful follow-up, and indeed the pawn proved to be a target. Safer was 6. Be2, perhaps followed by 7. Be3 or 7. O-O, with a flexible position.

Mar-17-13  morfishine: I'm wondering if White should've played <23.Rxc1> and held his breath:

After <23...Bxf4 24.Qb8+ Kg7 25.Qxb7 Qxg3+ 26.Kg1 Qh2+ 27.Kf2 Bxc1 28.Qxc7 Qe5 29.Qxb6 Ne4+ 30.Bxe4 Qxe4 31.Qxd6> The win needs proving:

click for larger view

Mar-17-13  thomastonk: <Abdel Irada> 6.f4 is not the best, no doubt. But the game should still be equal at this point. However, after 8.. b6? White missed 9.♘c6 ♕e8 10.♗f3, which is or even . So, things didn't went down straightaway.
Mar-17-13  thomastonk: <morfishine> Your line <23...Bxf4 24.Qb8+ Kg7 25.Qxb7 Qxg3+ 26.Kg1 Qh2+ 27.Kf2 Bxc1 28.Qxc7 Qe5 29.Qxb6 Ne4+ 30.Bxe4 Qxe4 31.Qxd6> can be improved, say 26.. Bxc1 and White will be mated.
Mar-17-13  Abdel Irada: <morfishine>: After 23. Rxc1, Bxf4 24. Qxb7 (I see no reason to check here), Qxg3† 25. Kg1, Black first plays 25. ...Be3†, forcing the king back to h1, rather than driving the king to the relative safety of f2.

He then continues 26. ...Bxc1, with the nasty threat 27. ...Bf4, threatening mate with either 28. ...Qh2 or 28. ...Qe1, and it's hard to see how White can defend.

(In fact, I think mate is forced in some eight or nine moves; perhaps someone with a decent engine can verify this.)

Mar-17-13  Abdel Irada: <thomastonk>: True. It appears that Black's 8. ...b6 returned the favor, offering White a chance to regain the advantage dissipated by 6. f4, with interest, no less. Good catch.
Mar-17-13  morfishine: <thomasTonk> & <Adbel Irada> Yes, I was trying to avoid <22.Ne2> but now I see its probably the only way to improve at this late stage:

<22.Ne2 Rxc1 23.Rxc1 Bxf4+> and now <24.Kg1> since after <24...Bxc1 25.Nxc1 Qe1+ 26.Kh2 Qxc1 27.Qb3> White is down a piece + pawn, but out of the mating net

Mar-17-13  Abdel Irada: <morfishine>: It's true that 22. Ne2 stops mate, but that is merely to prefer death by arsenic to death by cyanide. White's pushing up daisies either way.
Mar-17-13  goodevans: This guy Green has now had 4 of his 36 games feature as GOTD including, of course, Feb 14 a few weeks ago.

On of these GOTD wasn't even a pun on his name!

Mar-17-13  Garech: Viva McDonnell, the only Irish World Champion of chess!

Great game.


Mar-17-13  leo.bulero: I completelly don't understand 20 Da4. Instead of guarding the first line, so that black Rook can't "rule" on it, D goes hunting... I am a beginner, but could someone explain to me, what white could have had in mind. In my humble opinion the white D should stay close to the K and somehow help protect him against what happened soon later... Did white had opportunity to somehow defend its K? BTW excuse my English, I come from Poland and can write English in a quality you can see.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: 20. Qa4 wins a pawn for white because it forks the knight on d7 and the black pawn on a7...

click for larger view

Of course, we have seen the end of the game. We know that white loses to a vicious kingside attack, so maybe the white queen sortie on the queenside was not such a good idea. She should have stayed close to the black king to help defend.

But that is with the benefit of hindsight. In the game in real time, could white have known that the black attack would be able to crash through?

I gave the position to my chess engine, Fritz 11. He (it?) was reasonably happy with 20. Qa4, although he reckons that black has the advantage.

Mar-17-13  leo.bulero: @Once thank you so much for the explanation. I am aware that in real tournament situations things are completely different than for us . Neverthelesd, I dare to say that, even in a tournament situation, intuitively I would see the big, big gun pointed at the white K, black pieces well coprdinatef (BTW in Godfather tere was a device mafia used to strangle people, I forgot, how was it called, nevermind, I mean only I ca see this device very close to the whites' neck, when D goes a4 :-) and the original castling non existent. For me it is just hard to believe that on such level a player can send such an important piece as D to the opposite part of the board in such a moment. I am not writing that to say that I would master the situation, organize an effective defence and maybe even take the initiative and win the game. No, I would not. My point was only to share my amazement about the D's long trip. Fritz says it's a good move? What should I say to that? Maybe only that I stop worrying about not yet having this software :-) Anyway thank you so much for your explanation and best regards from Wroclaw, Poland.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <leo.bulero> Your intuition and analysis regarding 20.Qa4? is very good, and I like your humorous mafia analogy. Certainly, it seems that with the enemy at the gates, White's decision to go pawn hunting, was probably not his best defensive choice.

Interestingly, in the B.C.M reprint of B. Suhle's 1864 tournament book, "Das grosse Schachturnier - London 1862", White's 9.h3? and 20.Qa4? were both given question marks, but no annotation was provided.

As noted by <thomastonk>, White missed an excellent opportunity when he failed to play 9.Nc6!. Fritz 13 indicates this was a winning opportunity for White: (2.73) (25 ply) 9.Nc6! Qe8 10.Bf3 Ba6 11.Re1 Nc5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Nfd7, (2.79) (26 ply) 14.Nxe7+ Qxe7 15.Bxa8 Rxa8 16.Nd5.

At move 20, Fritz indicated White's best defensive try was: (-.92) (27 ply) 20.Ne2! Qf2 21.Bd2 Nf6 22.c4 b5!, (-.89) (30 ply) 23.Be1 Qe3 24.Bd2 Qd3 25.Bc3 Bxf4+ 26.Kh1 Ne4 27.Qxd3 Nf2+ 28.Kg1 Nxd3 29.Nxf4 Nxf4, and White with his bishop pair, appears to still have defensive drawing chances.

After analysis, Fritz clearly sided with your opinion regarding 20.Qa4?. However, at that stage of the game, White's position was so difficult, that 20.Qa4? was actually his 2nd best move, only 20.Ne2! was a better choice.

Here is Fritz's analysis for 20.Qa4?: (-1.50) (27 ply) 20.Qa4? Nf6 21.Ne4! Rxe4 22.g3 Ng4+ 23.Bxg4, (-1.72) (29 ply) 23...Qe7 24.Qb5 Re1 25.Qd3 c6 26.Rb1 cxb5 27.Bd2 Rxb1 28.Qxb1, (-1.98) (28 ply) 28...Bg7 29.Qe1 Qxe1 30.Bxe1 d4 31.cxd4 Bxd4, (-2.15) (28 ply) 32.f5 Be3 33.fxg6 fxg6 34.Bd1 Kf7 35.g4 Ke6 36.Kg3 d5 37.Bf3 Ba6, (-2.62) (28 ply) 38.a4 Bd3 39.Bd1 Be4 40.b5 Ke5 41.Bb4, (-2.88) (27 ply) 41...g5 42.Bc3+ d4 43.Bb2, (-3.52) (27 ply) 43...Bg6 44.Ba3 Ke4 45.Kg2 Kd3, is winning for Black.

Improvements in these variations can no doubt be found. However, 20.Ne2! is clearly a much better move than 20.Qa4?. I think White was probably lost after 20.Qa4?, while after 20.Ne2!, he still would have had some drawing chances.

Mar-18-13  Shams: <leo.bulero> <[In the film] Godfather [there] was a device mafia used to strangle people, I forgot, how was it called>

It's called a 'garotte'.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Valentine Green sound like the name of a pro wrestler or maybe even,a lady of the evening.
Mar-18-13  leo.bulero: @Pawn and Two, thank you, I was affraid that I would be laught out as a beginner, who tries to be wise and dictate grandmasters what to do. I am far away from that. Thanks for your kind and informative response!

@Shams thank you so much for reminding me of the proper term of the device used in Godfather :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: It's the perennial chess question. Do we hunker down and defend or can we grab a pawn at the cost of misplacing a piece or two?

Sitting at the board and without the benefit if silicon, that has to be an issue of personal style. Some will grab the pawn and try for the initiative. Others will defend.

In practical play it can sometimes be a good idea to play for the initiative, even if that means playing a second best move. The thinking is that I'm being gradually squished so I might as well drum up some counter play.

Hence Qa4. It's east to criticise because white lost. But I can see why he played it. If he can weather the kingside attack, he has the chance to harass a7 and the Bb7.

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