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Ernst Gruenfeld vs Savielly Tartakower
Semmering (1926), Semmering AUT, rd 8, Mar-17
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Normal Variation (D21)  ·  0-1



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Given 30 times; par: 74 [what's this?]

Annotations by Aron Nimzowitsch.      [48 more games annotated by Nimzowitsch]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-23-04  dickweed: Well played game by Tartakower, maybe this game is the reason why Nxc4 only occurs once in the database?
Dec-23-04  Shams: 9. Bd3 looks more natural than Be2, wasting time
Dec-23-04  Helloween: I like Ulf's handling of this opening in Ulf Andersson vs Kavalek, 1982, although he only managed a draw.

Personally, I would play the continuation 5.g4 Bg6 6.Bg2 c6 7.Na3 with a nice creamy positional advantage and great development.

Oct-28-05  fred lennox: Since Tartakower considered this one of his best games, and i happen to think one of his very best, i feel obliged to complete the game. 18.Qxd2...Rfd8 19.Qc2...Rd5 20.Rad1...Rbd8 21.Rxd5...Rxd5 22.Rd1.g6 23.Rxd5...Qxd5 24.a3...c5 25.h3...b5 26.f4...c4 27.Qc3...Qe4 28.Kf2...a5 26.f4...c5 27.Qc3...Qe4 28.Kf2...a5 29.g4...h6 30.h4...Qh1 31.Kg3...Qg8+ 32.Kf3...Qh2. 33.g5...h5 34.Ke4...Qxh4 35.Qxa5...Qh1+ 36.Ke5....Qc6 37.Qa7...h4 38. f5...gxf5 39.Kxf5...Qf3+ 40Ke5...h3 41.Kd4...Qg4+ 42.Kc3...Qxg5 Resigns

It is not possible to recognize the comprehension of this amazing talent without appreciating this game.

Oct-28-05  fred lennox: Tartakower titled this game "simple means". This is what he wrote after move 22. <In this ultra-simplified ending tactical finesses must play a big role. Success may hang on one single tempo, or on one little detail.>

Simple means is not the chess to win a brilliancy prize, it is a most difficult attainment. Like a bare headed monk at a confession. He has nothing to show save the sincerity and intensity of his utterances. Every gesture, every inflection tells. Art knows no higher flight.

Oct-28-05  aw1988: <fred lennox> Your posts are really very witty.
Oct-28-05  fred lennox: <aw1988> Thanks. I'll confess somtimes my kibitzing makes even me question my sanity. Then i remind myself no one is completely sane and this makes me feel more normal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: <Nimzowitsch: Tartakower is, in my opinion, without question the third best endgame artist of all living masters.> I'm going to guess Capablanca was above Tartakower, but who was the other one?
Oct-17-08  Shams: <sleepyirv<I'm going to guess Capablanca was above Tartakower, but who was the other one?>>

Nimzo himself, presumably.

Oct-17-08  Shams: strike that, surely he meant Rubinstein.
Dec-28-11  Oceanlake: Lasker was no slouch.
Dec-28-11  ughaibu: Is there a difference between an "artist" and a player?
Dec-28-11  King Death: Nimzovich would've been one to know more than any of us, but it's awfully tough to rate Tartakower ahead of Lasker Rubinstein or Capablanca. Those three were all brilliant in the endgame.
Apr-19-12  bystander: <dec-23-04 Helloween. Personally, I would play the continuation 5.g4 ♗g6 6.♗g2 c6 7.♘a3 with a nice creamy positional advantage and great development.> After this continuation white get a lot of space and c6/b7 are very weak. What about 5.g4 f6 6.gh5x fe5x 7.♗e2 c6 8.de5x ♕a5+ with changes for both players?
Apr-19-12  bystander: <19....♖d5! He makes use of the point d5 in excellent fashion.. (Nimzowitch)> I am not really sure if this is a good move for white. After 19... ♖d5, 20.♖ad1 ♖ad8, white can force a drawish position with 20. ♕c5! Black cannot capture the queen because of mate, so 20.♕c5 b6 (to protect a7) 21. ♖d5x ♖d5x 22. ♕6. Better for black looks 19..c5, 20. ♖fd1 b5.
Apr-19-12  bystander: At move 25) b5, according to Nimzowitch "White's pawn majority is much less easily realizable than Black's (if, for instance 26 f3, then 26...f5, and White's e4 is in bondage), and this is sufficient to explain the loss of the game." Maybe white should be carefull with advancing his pawns e.g. instead of 29.g4 -> 29.♕d4 ♕c2+ 30. ♔g3 ♕e3 and instead of 30.h4 -> 30. ♕d2 ♕h1 31. ♔g3 ♕g1+ 32. ♔f3 and instead of 33.g5 -> 33.♕a5x ♕h3+ 34. ♔e4 ♕g2+ 35.♔d4 ♕b2x.
Jan-09-13  ozmikey: It's a pity that both Nimzovich and Tartakower (in his book of best games) pass over 28...a5 fairly superficially, when actually it opened up the prospect of an intriguing pawn ending. Tartakower mentions that 29. Qxa5 is met by 29...Qc2+ 30. Kf3 Qxb2, with the c-pawn ready to roll. But what happens after 31. Qd8+ Kg7 32. Qd4+ Qxd4 33. exd4?

click for larger view

This ending is by no means as simple as it looks. Black's primary aim must obviously be to bring his king up to attack the d-pawn and then force zugzwang, but this isn't easy. After the obvious 33...f5, to keep the White king out of e4 (and, more generally, limit his/its mobility), White is basically reduced to shuffling his king around, since he doesn't want to "lose" any pawn moves on the kingside (which would give Black a lead in the zugzwang stakes), and g4 at any stage would lose immediately, because Black would then create a passed h-pawn (White couldn't recapture the pawn on g4 with his king, since then the king would be outside the square for the pawn on c4).

So then, after 33...f5, a sample line would be 34. Ke3 Kf6 35. Ke2 Ke6 36. Kd2 Kd5 37. Ke3. Incidentally, 35. d5 is no good because then, after the inevitable match-up of kings on d4 and d6 either side of the pawn, Black triangulates his way to zugzwang (d7-e7-d6) because White only has the e3 square available; again, he can't jump in to e5 as this would set the c-pawn running.

Back to the position after 37. Ke3:

click for larger view

At first glance it looks like 37...c3 will be enough, after 38. Kd3 c2 39. Kxc2 Kxd4 and Black's in. But then comes 40. Kb3! and White's threats on the queen-side force the Black king to head back, after which neither side can make progress.

Zugzwang, of course, won't work: 37...h6 38. h4! and Black's stuck. So it's a draw after all? No, there's a win here, and a very pretty one it is.

After 37...g5!! White has no defence. To take the simple line first: after 38. g3 gxf4+ 39. gxf4 h6! Black DOES get zugzwang on the king-side, after which d4 drops off and Black wins.

And if Black takes the pawn? 38. fxg5 f4+! (the point!) and if 39. Kxf4 Kxd4 the c-pawn touches down, and White's pawns aren't fast enough. Black can play 39. Kd2 instead, but after 39...Kxd4 40. h4 Ke5 41. h5 Kf5 42. g6 hxg6 43. h6 Kf6, Black is just in time to stop the White pawns, and his own pawns carry the day.

A fascinating endgame. I wonder whether Tartakower had considered any of the difficulties of it when playing 28...a5.

Oct-31-21  Sally Simpson: Nimzovitch's note after move 28 which has been discussed above.

"Tartakower is, in my opinion, without question the third best endgame artist of all living masters,"

Tartakower, no doubt flattered called it an exaggeration citing Lasker, Capablanca, Rubinstein and Maróczy, but this was Nimzovitch's opinion and 'artist' differs from 'expert.'

I'd guess he was thinking the other two endgame artists were Capablanca and Rubinstein. Both experts but both often added that occasional wee touch of instructive flourish that makes their games essential inclusion in endgame primers.

I'm here because I needed to look up Tartakower vs Tarrasch, 1926 this game v Gruenfeld is the next one in his book so I reacquainted myself with another old friend I had not seen for about 25 - 30 years.

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