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Walter Michel vs Akiba Rubinstein
Semmering (1926), Semmering AUT, rd 16, Mar-28
Queen's Gambit Declined: Queen's Knight Variation (D31)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-10-05  Karpova: 12.a5 was regarded as refutation to 10...qb6 since it excercises pressure on the queen's wing and wins a tempo but it's not that easy as will be seen. the a5-pawn can become a weakness.

19...bc6! rubinstein sacrifices his a-pawn. it's obvious that white already has to take care of his a-pawn.

22...g6! (22...qb7? 23.bh7:+)

23.bc4 white's problem is that ba7: wins after the exchange of bishops and maintaning his nb6 only. but this cannot be reached.

26.ba7:? he captures in the end but now rubinstein comes up with two absolutely brilliant moves!

26...c4!! (27.bc5: ra5:)

27...qc5!! a5 and e3 are attacked, the exchange of queens is not possible. 28.kf2 is the only chance.

31.nd6 (31.gh rc6 and rc8:)

31...rd6: white gets a strong passer but rubinstein's technique is perfect.

33.qc7 (33.qc5 would have been better but white is still lost)

33...qa8! white must capture on h4 and gets mated.

brilliant play by rubinstein!

Jul-21-07  Karpova: After move 22 White's position looks impressive but in fact it's Black who stands better already.
Jul-21-07  Atking: <Karpova: After move 22 White's position looks impressive but in fact it's Black who stands better already.> I like too Rubinstein's way to play. But here it looks too much. White seems simply to have miss the right plan (Which is generally more difficult to find a move) For example instead 26.Bxa6? 26.g4 hxg 27.Qxg4 and h4-h5 with Rh2. If Rubinstein was White here I have strong impression he would have win.
Jul-21-07  Karpova: <Atking>
Sure, 26.Bxa6 was a mistake. Kmoch notes that white should have stayed inactive to keep the game even.

In your line:
26.g4 hxg4 27.Qxg4 Bc6 28.h4 Qb7 29.h5 Bf3 30.h6+ Kh7 white has no winning advantage at all.

Jul-21-07  Atking: Thanks <Karpova> for your answer. I suspected myself the long diagonal but I still have a doubt <26.g4 hxg4 27.Qxg4 Bc6 28.h4 Qb7> Here why not Kf2 or Rf2? The point of "my" h4 was not h6+ which goes nowhere but xg6.
Jul-21-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: In retrospect, 26 Bxa6 is a huge error, which brings a drastic punishment.

Better is 26 Rd1 foregoing the a6 pawn, when it is hard for Black to activate his pieces.

Jul-21-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Maybe 26.e4 with the idea of eventually playing f5 (after say Qe3-g3). <Tamar> is right black can do little in this position and White can take his time while maneuvering for a break.
Jul-21-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Playing such a cramped position, Rubinstein was emulating Steinitz, but looking forward to Kramnik also, who used the latent power of the two bishops to thwart Kasparov in the Berlin. Michel played reasonably up to move 26 but should have been extremely careful about opening up the position for the two bishops.

Most active ways of playing rebound against White, but Shredder focuses in on the e6 square, which is hard for black to defend.

after 26 Rd1 Kh7 27 e4 h4 28 Qd3 Kg7
29 Qf3 Bc6 30 Qe2 Be8 31 Qg4 Bc6 32 Bxe6 fxe6 33 Qxe6 1.89/17


click for larger view

White has restrained Black's play and has good chances of a win with f5.

Jul-22-07  Karpova: <Atking: I still have a doubt <26.g4 hxg4 27.Qxg4 Bc6 28.h4 Qb7> Here why not Kf2 or Rf2?

After 29.Kf2 the Black Queen gains access to h1 and can give a perpetual together with the DSB: 29.Kf2 Bb5 (<to protect d7 though I doubt that 29...Be4 would be that bad>) 30.h5 Qh1 31.hxg6 Bh4+ 32.Ke2 Qe1+ 33.Kd3 Qb1+ 34.Ke2 Qe1+

29.Rf2 (<looks better than 29.Kf2 where the king just interferes with the rook>) 29...Bb5 30.h5 Bxc4 31.Nxc4 Qe4

Jul-22-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <tamar & Calli> Heinrich Wolf in the Wiener Schachzeitung, 16-17/1926, page 262, recommended for White at move 26; <Instead of taking the pawn, White should try to consolidate his position by h3 and Kh2.>

Wolf's suggestion is too brief to indicate how he would proceed after his consolidation. A review by Fritz indicates that your suggested continuations for White at move 26 are better than Wolf's suggestion. White has the advantage, but the position is very difficult for both sides. Perhaps a successful defense for Black can be found even against your continuations.

Jul-22-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Thanks <Pawn and Two> Your library is astounding.

Wolf's suggestion 26 h3 and 27 Kh2 might be improved upon with 27 Kh1 so as to avoid any trouble on the b8-h2 diagonal.

White's plan to sacrifice on e6 looks hard to prevent as Black's light-squared bishop is permanently needed to keep the white rook from d7. (So any counter-attack on e4 is hard to make work.)

Calli gives the other plan for White, which is to maneuver for f5 by e4, Qe3 and Qg3.

Black can prevent this with ...h4, which is the reason I believe Shredder chooses this move relatively early in its variation above.

Jul-22-07  Atking: <Karpova> So finally we got 26.g4 hxg 27.Qxg4 Bc6 28.h4 Qb7 29.Rf2 Bb5 30.h5 BxBc4 31.NxBc4 (Here I will aware of 31.hxg6 first as 31...Bd3 32.gxf7+ ~ 33.Rg2. But ok your move is very natural and good) 31...Qe4 32.hxg And now what? 32...Qxg6 33.QxQg6+ ~ 34.Rd2 Do you not agree that here a player of caliber of Rubinstein will able to win this position if he was White?
Jul-23-07  Karpova: <Atking>
I believe that Rubinstein could have won almost any position.

True, your line looks nice for white. Not sure if it's a win.

A new try:
26.g4 hxg4 27.Qg4 Qb7 (<and now 28.h4 Qe4 and threatening to play Qxe3+ and after 28.Qe4 black has the annoying Bc6 also>)

Jul-23-07  Atking: <Karpova: <Atking> I believe that Rubinstein could have won almost any position.> Probably not the one I use to have... :( <26.g4 hxg4 27.Qg4 Qb7> Yes interesting 28.Bd3 Bc6 (28...Bb5 29.f5! looks good for White) 29.h4 Bf3 30.Qg3 ~ 31.Rf2 again I prefer White (Pressure on g6 always a strong Nb6 (Nc8)). Of course I'm not conviced that we play here the best way to play it on White or Black side but in all Black is contricted and g6 (e6) could be a sudden major weakness. PS: You win clearly on one point. Indeed many kibitzers came to see the game you selected. Sure Rubinstein was great!
Jul-23-07  Karpova: <Atking: <26.g4 hxg4 27.Qg4 Qb7> Yes interesting 28.Bd3 Bc6 (28...Bb5 29.f5! looks good for White) 29.h4 Bf3 30.Qg3 ~ 31.Rf2 again I prefer White (Pressure on g6 always a strong Nb6 (Nc8))>

26.g4 hxg4 27.Qg4 Qb7 28.Bd3 Bc6 29.h4 Bf3 30.Qg3 Qc6 31.Rf2 Be4 32.Be2 Bd8

Black is threatening to take on b6 now and his rook will become active again. The Qc6 prevents Nc8 and supports an eventual breakthrough on c4 while the Be4 strengthens g6.

Jul-24-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <tamar> If White had played 33.Qc5 instead of 33.Qc7??, how then do you believe Black should proceed? Can Black still win?

Kmoch in "Rubinstein's - Chess Masterpieces 100 Selected Games" states; <33.Qc5 offered stiffer resistence. Black would have had to play 33...Bd8 and would still have the by no means easy task of stopping the hostile Pawn.>. Interesting, but not very helpful in determining if Black can win or if White can obtain a draw.

A review by Fritz indicates the two main lines are: 33.Qc5 Bf6 34.d7 and 33.Qc5 Bd8 34.d7.

Fritz indicates Black has some advantage in both lines, and that 33.Qc5 Bf6 34.d7 is Black's best choice.

Here is one variation that shows Black increasing his advantage with the power of the two Bishops: 33.Qc5 Bf6 34.d7 Bd8 35.h3 Qa6 36.Qxb4 Qc6 37.Qd6 Qxd6 38.Rxd6 Kf8 39.e4 Ke7 40.e5 Bxd7.

There is still a lot of fight in the position after 40...Bxd7 and improvements in this variation may be found for both sides. However, I would be interested in your reviewing the position after 33.Qc5 to help determine if it is a win for Black or if White can still obtain a draw.

Jul-24-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <karpova> In your post of 04/10/2005 you have stated; <33.Qc5 would have been better but White is still lost>.

What continuation do you suggest for Black after 33.Qc5?

Note my recent post to <tamar> regarding this question. A review by Fritz indicates Black has some advantage in the position after 33.Qc5, but it is not clear if it is a win for Black or if White can hold the draw.

Aug-04-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Pawn and Two> Shredder 8 vindicates Rubinstein's idea after 33 Qc5 Bf6 34 d7 Bd8 35 h3 Qa6 36 Qxb4 Qc6 37 Qd4+ Kh7 38 Rd1 Qc2+ 39 Rd2 Qb1 40 Rd1 Qf5


click for larger view

when it would be very dangerous for White to play 41 h4 or 41 Kg2 as the white-square bishop and queen combo spring to life, but perhaps White can barely draw with

41 Qb4 Qc2+ 42 Qd2

offering a queen exchange at a slightly more awkward moment for black to attempt a win. -.85/22

Aug-04-07  Atking: <Karpova: 26.g4 hxg4 27.Qg4 Qb7 28.Bd3 Bc6 29.h4 Bf3 30.Qg3 Qc6 31.Rf2 Be4 32.Be2 Bd8 Black is threatening to take on b6 now and his rook will become active again. The Qc6 prevents Nc8 and supports an eventual breakthrough on c4 while the Be4 strengthens g6.> I'm not convinced. Black position is still not enviable even after 32...Bd8 Let's try 33.Nc4 Rd7 34.h5 a) 34...Qd5? 35.Rh2! is already winning b) 34...Bd3 35.hxg6 fxg (35...Bxg6? 36.Bf3 Qc7 37.Rh2) 36.Rg2 g5! 37.BxBd3 RxBd3 38.Qh3 Rd1+ 39.Kf2 Qd7 40.Rh2 Rd2+ 41.NxRd2 QxNd2+ 42.Kf3 Qd1+ 43.Re2 Qd5+ (43...Qxb3 44.Rd2! or 43...Bxa5 44.fxg) 44.Kf2 To conclud I'm agree that black pieces got some activity but white pieces are already on the king. For my part I tried 32...Bc2 but 33.h5 Bxb3 34.hxg fxg 35.Bd3 Qe8 36.Rh2 with always Nc8 as a trick black position seems difficult here too. As I said before I have a great respect for Rubinstein's ability (To say his genius) but that no means we cannot be critical on some of his games.
Nov-19-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: White perhaps could have played 17 Be1 retaining the bishop though he was still doing fine until 26 Bxa6? and still had defensive chances until 33 Qc7?. I really love 27..Qc5! - it is an example of a subtle, unexpected resource which I don't find in my games.

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