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Amos Burn vs Wilhelm Cohn
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 4, Jul-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit (D08)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-18-02  knight: White kept the enemy d-pawn securely blockaded, got in the moves b4 and c5 blocking the dark squared bishop,and used his extra pawns on the kingside to bring home the point.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Burn had suffered two painful losses in Rounds 2 and 3 at Munich 1900 and stood at 1-2 entering this game. Cohn, by contrast, was tied for the lead with two wins and a draw in the first three rounds. All that changed after the beating Burn administered to Cohn here. After Cohn's weak 5th and 8th moves, Burn never gave him a chance. As knight observed on this site over 16 years ago, Burn's blockading of Cohn's d-pawn was a key theme in this short and sharp game.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5

The Albin Counter-Gambit. Cohn apparently decided to avoid a positional contest with his experienced opponent and instead decided to try a tactical brawl. This strategy did not work well for Cohn in this game.

3. dxe5 d4

This pawn was destined to remain blockaded and stuck on this square for almost the entirety of the game.

4. e4

MCO-13 assigns this a "?!" It certainly seems unnecessary since White has a good game after the natural 4. Nf3. Perhaps Burn wanted to avoid any prepared lines Cohn may have had in store. Given what follows, it appears that Cohn had not thought through the nuances of Burn's move, especially given that he was probably lost by move 8.

4... Nc6!

So far so good for Cohn. this move should yield him a reasonably good game.

5. f4

Burn adopts the sharpest line. He would have been fine with 5. Nf3 or 5. Nd2, though neither of these moves would promise much more than equality for White. The text could have led to wild complications had Cohn adopted the most forceful response.

The position was now:

click for larger view

5... Bc5?

5...f6 is the crucial line here. MCO-13 calls 5...f6 "troublesome for White." Another sharp (and possibly stronger move) is 5...g5?! After the text, Burn has things his own way for the balance of the game. It is remarkable how quickly Cohn's position deteriorated after the text.

6. a3

6. Nf3 was of course also good. But as will be seen, Burn is preparing a Queen-side pawn storm with b4 exploiting the vulnerable position of the Black bishop on c5. Although Burn did not actually play b4 until move 18, this threat looms during the next stage of the game.

6... a5

Anticipating b4 from Burn. If Cohn wanted to play for maximum complications, he could have tried 6...f5?! Under the circumstances, however, the text seems best.

7. Nf3 Bg4

This superficially dynamic-looking move in fact gets Cohn nowhere. Better were 7...Qe7 or a belated 7...f6.

8. Bd3

Blockading the Black d4 pawn. 8. h3 and 8. Nbd2 were reasonable alternatives.

The position at what turned out to be a key stage of the game was:

click for larger view

8... f6?

It is now too late for this expedient. Cohn should have played 8...g5 if he wanted to contest Burn's center and King-side. Alternatively, he could have played the more defensive 8...Nge7. The text precipitates a crisis for which Cohn's position was not ready.

9. exf6 Nxf6
10. h3

He might have tried e5 immediately (or perhaps 10. 0-0) here, but Burn was in no hurry and slowly built up an overwhelming attacking position.

10... BxN
11. QxB 0-0
12. 0-0

12. e5 was probably best. But as noted above, Burn was in no hurry to pull the trigger in his strong position. And sure enough, Cohn quickly melted, easing Burn's task.

12... Qe7

12...Nd7 immediately was much better.

13. Nd2

Again delaying e5, which would also have been good here.

13... Nd7
14. Qe2

Burn needed his Queen to protect the e-pawn when it gets to e5 and also needed to get his Queen off the f-file. 14. Qg3 was probably a slightly better way to accomplish these goals.

14... Qh4?

If Cohn wanted to make a fight of it, he had to try 14...g5, scary as that move appears. The text did little to advance his cause, the position now being:

click for larger view

From here, as I will attempt to show in my next post on this game, Burn demolished Cohn quickly and efficiently, and with a brilliant finish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Beginning in the diagrammed position with which I ended my last post, Burn finished off Cohn nicely.

15. e5!

Burn pawn advance was brutally effective.

15... Rad8

Cohn might have tried to anticipate the coming invasion with 15...Bb6 ot 15...g6. Alternatively, he might have tried an exchange sacrifice with 15...Rxf4. Any of these would have been better than the text, but it is doubtful that they would have saved Cohn.

16. Ne4!

A powerful post for the Knight. Burn could also have won with 16. e6 or even with the slower 16. Nf3.

16... Bb6?

Burying his own Bishop. From here on, the game was target practice for Burn. Cohn should have at least tried to put up a fight with 16...Be7 or 16...Rde8 or even 16...Qe7. The text is dreadful.

17. Bd2

17. f5 was faster, but as previously noted, Burn was not to be hurried in his march ton victory.

17... Nc5

He might have anticipated Burn's next move with 17...a4. The "attack" on the d3 Bishop get Black nowhere here.

The position was now:

click for larger view

18. b4!

A crusher!

18... axb4

Trading pawns is tantamount to resignation here. If Cohn wanted to play on, he should have played 18...NxB or 18...NxN.

19. axb4 NxB
20. QxN

This left:

click for larger view

20... Ra8

A bad move. I do not give it a ? because the "better" alternatives were also hopeless.

21. RxR RxR
22. c5! Ba7

The position was now:

click for larger view

I give the position only to display the comically awful plight of Black's a7 Bishop. Note also the continued blockade on the Black d4 pawn, and the myriad of attacking possibilities Burn now had to overrun the tangled Black position.

The finishing touches Burn administered to Cohn from here will be discussed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

I could have ended my last post with the puzzle: "White to play and win." The problem with such a puzzle is that by this stage of the game Burn had so many winning plans that almost any likely answer would be correct.

23. Qc4+

This certainly works. But then, 23. Ng5 and 23. b5 were also killer moves.

23... Kh8
24. Ng5

Burn could also have won with 24. b5 here.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Among other things, Burn was now threatening mate in four via Phildor's legacy (i.e., 25. Nf7+ Kg8 26. Nh6+ Kh8 27. Qg8+ RxQ 28. Nf7 mate.

24... h6

This prevented the Philidor mate, but loosened the position for the final blow.

25. Nf7+ Kh7
26. f5

Cohn could only have prolonged the game from this point by ruinous loss of material. Cohn's actual move was hopeless.

26... Re8
27. f6

"!"--Tournament Book.

This left:

click for larger view

27... gxf6
28. Ng5+

"!"--Tournament Book.

Burn's finish was pretty. But the "!" is questionable since he had a number of other forced mates available (e.g., 28. Qd3+ or 28. Qc2+).

The position was now:

click for larger view


Cohn's resignation came none too soon.

If 28...fxN or 28...hxN, White mates quickly with 29. Qf7+.

If 28...Kh8 Burn would have won with 29. Qf7 threatening mate in one and the e8 Black Rook (e.g., 29...hxN 30. Qxf6+ Kh7 31. Qf7+ Kh8 32. QxR+ and mate in 3).

Finally, if 28...Kg6 White mates in one with 29. Qf7#

A fine finish by Burn

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