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Amos Burn vs Alexander Halprin
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 13, Aug-08
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit (D08)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-18-02  knight: Black cleaned up white's pawns on the queenside but left his king vulnerably exposed in the middle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: 27....♔d8 28.♖e8# would be a picturesque checkmate.
Oct-27-14  ChessLover100: So is Qd7#
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Burn, who had gotten off to a terrible start at Munich 1900 losing two of his first three games, had been fighting back since then and scored five wins and three draws in his next nine games with only one loss. He was only one point behind Marco in the battle for fourth place, and with Marco being held to a draw by Schlechter in this round, Burn had a chance to gain ground. Given that he and Marco were slated to play in the final found, he had a very real chance to obtain fourth place if he defeated Halprin in this 13th round game. This he did in a short tactical duel (helping him ultimately to pass Marco and take fourth prize).

This game is fun to play over, but is filled with tactical oversights that make it look more like a coffee-house game than an important game in a major international tournament.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5?!

The Albin Counter-Gambit that was very popular at Munich 1900, being played eight (8) times, including twice in this 13th round. Burn had gotten back on track in Round 4 when Cohn tried this opening against him.

3. dxe5 d4
4. a3

4. Nf3 is most usual and probably best. The text however, which prevents Bb4+ and prepares b4 is a reasonable try, and was played two other times at Munich 1900, by Showalter in his loss to Cohn and by Cohn against Wolf in the same 13th round in which the instant game was played. Marshall also tried 4. a3.

Burn played the wild 4. e4?! in his fourth round game against Cohn and won, but not because of this move.

4... a5?!

Cohn played this move when confronted with 4. a3 in this tournament, but it seems clearly inferior to 4...Nc6 (as was played by Wolf against Cohn in their game in this same round at Munich 1900). 4...c5 is also better than the text.

5. Nf3 Bc5
6. Nbd2 Nc6

In my commentary on the Showalter Cohn game I said that 6...Bb6 was better. On further thought, both moves seem reasonable, Black having an inferior game in either case.

7. Nb3 Ba7

I recommended 7...b6 in my notes on the Showalter-Cohn game, but the more I look at the move, the less I like the likely resulting doubled c-pawns for Black. The text is also no bargain, so I have concluded that neither move is that much worse than the other.

8. c5?!

Premature, as was 8. Bg5 played by Showalter in his game with Cohn. Sometimes the simplest move is the best, and here the simplest and best move was. 8. e3

8. c5 blocks the diagonal of the Black a7 Bishop, but it ceded the d5 square and left White's f1 Bishop still undeveloped:

click for larger view

8... Bg4

"!"--Tournament Book.

I see nothing brilliant or even commendable about this move. 8...Nge7 preparing to castle (something Halprin never got around to doing in this game, was much better. As Burn quickly demonstrated, The undefended Bishop on g4 was a target, and allows White (in some variations, including the one actually played) to trade Knight for Bishop).

9. Bg5

It was better to take on d4 (with either Knight). The move actually played, however, paid dividends in light of Halprin's next move.

9... Qd5?

Justifying Burn's Bishop sortie. 9...Nge7 or even 9...f6 were better.

10. Nbxd4

Right capture, wrong Knight. After 10. Nfxd4 NxN 11. QxN QxQ 12. NxQ Bxc5 13. Nb5 White would be a pawn up in a likely winning endgame.

But now, Halprin had a chance to get back in the game:

10... NxN
11. Qa4+

"!"--Tournament Book.

This cute intermediate move probably explains Burn's 10. Nbxd4.

click for larger view

The cute text move notwithstanding, Halprin was still very much in the game at this point. From here, however, play got sloppy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

11... Nc6?

Better was 11...c6. White is still better, but Black can defend himself, e.g., 11...c6 12. NxN Bxc5 13. Nb5! cxN QxB Qxe5 and it's still a ballgame.

12. QxB

White now has the two Bishops and the initiative.

12... Bxc5?

12...Nxe5 was essential.

13. Bf4?

Very weak. After 13. Qa4! White keeps his extra pawn.

13... Nge7

Missing another chance to get back in the game. Halprin had to play 13...Nd4, and then after 14. Rc1 Rd8 15. NxN QxN 16. Qf3 b6 (followed by Ne7, 0-0, and Ng6 with counterplay).

After the text, Black is a pawn down and in trouble:

click for larger view

14. e3?

It must have been tempting for Burn to bring his thus-far buried f1 Bishop into the game, but he had to attend to his Queen-side weaknesses first with 14. Rc1, depriving Black of the chance to play 14...Qb3 (sincen his c5 Bishop would be hanging).

Incidentally, White cannot play Qxg7 yet because 14...0-0-0 would solve all of Black's problems.

Black now can start picking up the White pawns on the Queenside:

click for larger view

14... h5?

Halprin should have played 14...Qb3. Then, if 15. e6 Black can equalize with 15...0-0-0! 16. exf7+ Kb8 and Black's threats more than compensate for White small material advantage.

After 14...h5?, White had a simple winning procedure:

click for larger view

15. Qh3?

Hard to believe. With the obvious 15. Qxg7, Black is busted, e.g., 15...0-0-0 16. Rc1 Nb4! 17. Be2 (not 17. bxN Bxb4+ and mates next move) and White is up two pawns and about to win more material however Black plays; or 15...Ng6 16. Rd1 or 15...Rg8 16. Qh7.

After the text, Halprin was suddenly on top.

15... Qb3

Perparing to wipe out White's Queen-side pawns.

16. Rc1?

"!"--Tournament Book

The Tournament Book notwithstanding, Burn had to play 16. e6, though Black would still be better after 16...0-0-0 17. exf7+ Kb8 and White will need to engage in heroics (18. Ba6) to stay in the game.

After the text (16. Rc1?), White was lost:

click for larger view

Black to play and win here is not much of a problem. 16...Qxb2 stands out a mile. If then 17. RxB (best) Qb1+ 18. Kd2 (18. Ke2? Rd8 is even worse for White) Rd8+ 19. Nd4 NxN 20. exN Qb2+ 21. Ke1 (or 21. Rc2 Qxd4+ 22. Bd3 Qxf2+ 23. Kc1 QxB+ and White is down two pawns and facing a murderous attack) Qxd4 22. Rc1 QxB and White is busted).

But Halprin somehow missed all this (perhaps unable to see that the lost piece after 16...Qxb2 17. RxB would be quickly regained with interest) and played:

16... Rd8?

click for larger view

From here, Burn finished off the game nicely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

17. Bc4

This Bishop finally enters the game, and with devastating effect.

17... Qxb2?

One move too late, since White can now castle. Halprin's only slim hope lay in a piece sacrifice: 17...Bb4+ 18. axB Qxb4+ 19. Kf1 Qxb2 20. Re1 b5 21. Be2 a4 and Black, though down a piece, has three passed pawns on the Queen-side--enough to make White sweat for a while.

After the text (17...Qxb2) Black had no way to forestall the coming massacre:

click for larger view

18. 0-0! Bxa3

This was hopeless, but nothing else was much better (e.g., 18... b5 19. Bxf7+; 18...Rf8 19. e6).

19. Ng5

A glance at the position tells the tale:

click for larger view

19... Nd5?

If Halprin wanted to play on, 19...Nxe5 or 19...f5 offered the best chance to hang on for a while.

20. e6

"!"--Tournament Book.

This certainly wins for White, but even more direct and immediately crushing was 20. Rcd1. 20. Nxf7 also wins.

20... Qf6

Hopeless, but even the "better" 20...f5 would not have done much for Black, e.g., 20...f5 21. Nf7 0-0 (anyone got any better ideas for Black here?) 22. Qxh5 and Black can't survive for very long.

21. exf7+ Ke7
22. Rcd1

click for larger view

22... NxB

"?" -- Tournament Book.

The "better" 22...Nc3 would not have prolonged the game for very long after 23. Ne6.

Halprin could have spared himself the rest after 22...NxB:

23. exN RxR
24. RxR Bd6
25. Re1+ Kd8
26. Ne6+ Kc8

click for larger view

27. Nf8+


27...Kd8 would give White his choice of mates (as previously pointed out on this site), and 27...Kb8 loses the Queen to 28. Nd7+

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Featured in the Following Game Collection[what is this?]
Round 13, Game #103
from Munich 1900 by Phony Benoni

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