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Akiba Rubinstein vs Amos Burn
Ostend (1906), Ostend BEL, rd 8, Jun-13
Queen's Gambit Declined: Barmen Variation (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-19-05  psmith: <RookFile> Burn's page includes some nice games including one in which he beat Alekhine.

I suspect most of us who post here would have been his punching bags, not the other way around.

Aug-19-05  psmith: <RookFile> Check out move 33 in MacDonald-Burn, 1910. Amazing!
Aug-19-05  RookFile: <psmith>: I was responding with a general observation about Burn
to cu8sfan. You're right that in
this game, after Nxf7, Burn is toast,

In fairness to Burn: just the amount of time he played in his career is longer than the lifespan of a lot of people. He did have some very good results in his career, winning against Alekhine, as you noted, and winning Cologne 1898. But, like everybody else, Burn had his strengths and weaknesses.

Aug-19-05  Calli: Burn is caught napping. He should have played 15...Qd6 to protect the obvious threat to e6. Combo is not exactly the Sunday puzzle in difficulty to spot.
Aug-19-05  Calli: For excellent game by Burn see Burn vs O Bernstein, 1906 from the same tournament.
Aug-20-05  RookFile: <pssmith> I thought further about this game, and actually it DOES illustrate Burn's weakness at always accepting sacrifices.

After 17. Nxf7, Burn might have played 17.... Qd7 or Qb6. Let's take 17... Qb6 for example.

The game then might plausibly continue: 18. Qxe6 Qxe6 19. Rxe6 Kxf7 20. Bxd5 Rcd8 21. Bb3 Rxd4.

This is a huge improvement over the game, where Burn just takes the knight sacrificed without thinking, and resigns a few moves later as white is piling up on black's rook.

White might instead play 18. Ne5, just relying on being a pawn up. Black plays 18... Nf4 19. Qe4 Bxe5 20. Qxe5 Kh8 here. Yes: black is a pawn down, probably objectively lost. Yet his knight is on a beautiful square, and he's still fighting.

But, for our buddy Burn, he doesn't think about these things. Rubinstein sacs on f7? Oh, I'll just take the knight. No other move is worthy of consideration. LOL

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile: Amos Burn - what a nice punching bag he was.> That is one way to see it. A different way to view it is that at Ostende 1906 Burn was (i) 57 years old, but (ii) he still made the finals and finished tied for 4-6 out of 36 participants.

Ostende 1906 was a tournament with a weird structure to accomodate all 36 players. The basic structure was that of a bunch of 'Sheveningens' with the lowest point getters of each group eliminated after each round, and then a final. But it was more complicated still.

In the first round, Burn started realy strong (+6 -1 =2) with wins over Maroczy, Johner, Fahrni, Forgacz, E.Cohn, Saburov; draws with John, Marco; and a loss to Rubinstein. In the second round Burn slowed down a bit (+2 -1 =3), with wins over Perlis and Spielmann; draws with Teichmann, Mieses, Suechting; and a loss to Marshall. In the third round, Burn scored 3.5/7 (I do not have x-table for that round). After also a one round of play in the final, results (counted cummulatively from all rounds) settled at:

1. Schlechter (21/30, 70%), 2. Maroczy (20), 3. Rubinstein (19), 4-6. <Burn>-Bernstein-Teichmann (18, 60%), 7. Marshall (16.5), 8. Janowski (16), 9. Perlis (14)

The group of masters eliminated in the earlier rounds included well known players such as Blackburne, Spielmann, Duras, Leonhardt, Marco, Forgacz, ...

Over all, not a bad outing for our serior citizen Amos Burn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Jeremy Silman was nicknamed "Little Amos" by the other players in a tournament he was playing in. (trying to get a GM norm.) Add <Rookfile's> <Amos Burn - what a nice punching bag he was.> And you'll get it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile: ... I thought further about this game, and actually it DOES illustrate Burn's weakness at always accepting sacrifices.

After 17. Nxf7, Burn might have played 17.... Qd7 or Qb6. Let's take 17... Qb6 for example. ...
White might instead play 18. Ne5, just relying on being a pawn up. Black plays 18... Nf4 19. Qe4 Bxe5 20. Qxe5 Kh8 here. Yes: black is a pawn down, probably objectively lost. Yet his knight is on a beautiful square, and he's still fighting. >

I don't know about all that. For instance, 17...Qb6 18.Ne5 Nf4 19.Qd2 Bxe5 20.Rxe5 Rd8 21.Rd1 ... looks like an easy win for Rubinstein.

click for larger view

(Black's move.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Gypsy> Here is a little additional information on the Ostend 1906 tournament and Burn's results.

In the 3rd stage, Burn scored (+1 -2 =1). He scored a win against Swiderski, a draw with Salwe and losses to Schlechter and Znosko-Borovsky.

In the 4th stage, Burn scored (+1 =2). He scored a win against Leonhardt and draws with Bernstein and Janowski.

In the 5th and final stage, Burn scored (+2 -2 =4). Burn scored wins against Bernstein and Perlis. He had draws with Schlechter, Maroczy, Rubinstein and Marshall. He lost to Teichmann and Janowski.

Ostend 1906 was one of the largest tournaments of all time; 36 competitors and a total of 326 games.

A competitor would play a total of 30 games if they qualified for all 5 stages of the tournament. Only 9 players qualified for the 5th and final stage. The final 9 and their tournament point total: Schlechter - 21; Maroczy - 20; Rubinstein - 19; Bernstein, Burn & Teichmann - 18; Marshall 16.5; Janowski - 16 and Perlis - 14.

In the final round of the tournament, Schlechter had a bye and Maroczy had Black against Bernstein. In this crucial last round game, Maroczy twice obtained a winning position, only to blunder each time, losing the game and his chance to tie Schlechter for 1st place.

The unusual structure of dividing the competitors in 4 groups of 9 and then eliminating the lowest scorers after the 1st, 2nd and 4th stage of the tournament resulted in some uneven and in my opinion, unfair results.

After the first 2 stages, 16 players advanced with scores ranging from 10.5 out of 15 (Schlechter & Burn) down to 7.5 out of 15 (Swiderski) and 7 out of 15 (Fahrni).

Mieses & Duras, who had each scored 8 out of 15 were in the group that was eliminated after the 2nd stage.

Blackburne, who had an excellent start, scoring 9 out of 15 (+6 -3 =6) was also eliminated after the 2nd stage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Pawn and Two> Thx for the great info!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In the tournament book, "Ostend 1906 -International Chess Tournament", a note by Bachmann from the Manchester Guardian, agrees with Calli. Bachmann states that 15...Qd6, hindering the knight sacrific, is the correct move for Black at move 15.

After 17.Nxf7, Bachmann states; <Very good, Black loses the exchange. This move is surely a very obvious one and ought to be sufficiently known by this time. We remember many years ago in the tournaments of the British Chess Association, Burn falling victim to this rather shallow threat. History repeats itself.>

Jun-18-06  Bartleby: <pawn and two> Do you own the Tournament Book? If so, anything else you can us about it? I know it's been selling on direct order from places like Chess Digest for $50, and was *the* major event of 1906, but until recently incomplete in historical record.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Here are excerpts of what Lasker had to say about Ostende 1906:

<...Under the circumstances, the tournament resolved itself into a contest of endurance. The older players suffered most from the ordeal. One by one they sank by the wayside. The longer they held out the more pitiable was their breakdown. Maroczy, after a bad start, swept magnificently to victory, but suddenly collapsed, put a Rook 'en prise' in one game, overlooked an easy win in another, and had to be satisfied with second place. Janowsky made a briliant start and then broke down. ... Blackburne, Marco, and Chigorin were soon hopelessly floundering in the dust after the first and second stage had been reached ...

...The young masters were given their chance to show what they had learnt and the examination was most satisfactory. In fact they came dangerously near annexing the position of examinators themselves. And of their ranks, Rubinstein, proved himself what his name implies, a veritable gem. Mr. Gunsberg [tournament organizer] may thank his stars that the twenty-three-year-old Russian happens to have the cut of a genius. This fact redeems the tournament. If Mr. Rubinstein keeps what his courage, prudence and imagination promise, the tournament at Ostende will long be remembered as his debut on the stage of international chess. ...

The hero of the tournament was Schlechter. It was his first undisputed victory, and as Schlechter is very popular all over the chessworld, the whole chessworld was glad for him. He scored 21 points out of possible 30. For a fist prize winner, this is a meager percentage, seventy-five percent being the rule. But, it may be argued, the list of entries included such names as Maroczy, Rubinstein, Burn, Bernstein, Teichmann, Marshall, Janowsky, Perlis, Blackburne, Marco, Chigorin and others of good sound, and to meet many of them twice and still win seven out of ten is a great achievement. In any case, achievement can not be measured by mere successes. They must lie in the manner in which success is won. And from this standpoint Schlechter cannot be too highly complimented, his freedom from mistakes, his courage in trailing the weak traces of winning combinations and the his absolute renunciation of "Swindling" process giving him a style that will always command admiration and always be his.>

Jun-18-06  RookFile: Gypsy: I proposed (among other things)
18. Ne5 Nf4 19. Qe4 Bxe5 20. Qxe5 Kh8
and commented: "Yes, black is a pawn
down, probably objectivity lost. Yet his knight is on a beautiful square, and he's still fighting."

You propose for white instead 17...Qb6 18. Ne5 Nf4 19. Qd2 Bxe5 20. Rxe5 Rcd8 21. Rd1 and think this
is an easy win for white.

A couple of points:

1) I prefer the immediate 20.... Kh8
for black in this line.

2) It's not clear how your alternative is better for white than the first line I proposed.

3) The same comment would probably apply to what you did: "Yes, black is a pawn down, probably objectivity lost. Yet his knight is on a beautiful square, and he's still fighting."

4) Black was already in trouble for allowing 17. Nxf7. Nobody is making a claim that there is some line where black can equalize. The point is: how to defend tenaciously, how to extend resistance, far beyond the exactly 6 moves black put up before he RESIGNED.

5) Although black is in a grim situation, he can still fight. He's down a pawn, but conversion of such in a major piece ending can be a problematic process, due to the need of the side with the advantage to shelter the king to avoid perpetual check.

6) If black can ever achieve a trade of white's d pawn for his e pawn, his drawing chances probably at least double. This is because the side where white has a pawn advantage is his king side - conversion of the pawn requires pushing those kingside pawns, which opens up opportunitys for black to infiltrate and look for that perpetual attack on white's king.

With just one error, black is back in the ballgame. After my proposed 20..... Kh8, white might continue 21. Rae1 Rf6, and now make the mistake 22. g3? allowing 22.... Nh3+ 23. Kh1 Nxf2.

So to repeat: white is much better. The whole point is to FIGHT, and find a line that keeps black in the game, and gives him a chance. That's all you can hope for with black. Any of the lines we've looked at are a lot better than going down in 6 moves and resigning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile> I went over both of your principal variations and decided that for being one or two pawns up, White pieces stand surprisingly awkwardly poised for further play. So I gave it a bit of thought and came up with the 17...Qb6 18.Ne5 Nf4 <19.Qd2> Bxe5 20.Rxe5... variation. The d2 seems to the ideal square here and White queen protects or attacks many important squares from there -- f2, b2, d4, c2, e2, f4, even d3 and g5. The overall harmony of play of White pieces also improves (to my eyes at least). Regardless whether Black plays 20...Rd8 or 20...Kh8, White generally seems to have pleasant choices (as the phrase goes) which way to collect the e6-pawn and/or gradually trade down heavy pieces.

So, do not take it as a criticism of your lines; they'v got more bite than I initially thought were in the position. The prophylactic Qd2 is just a contribution to the analysis.

Jun-19-06  RookFile: No problem gypsy: I think the Qd2 line is fine. But I'm curious as to how you see the e6 pawn being rounded up...
Jun-19-06  RookFile: No problem gypsy: I think the Qd2 line is fine. It's one pawn, unless white can round up the e6 pawn as you say without compensation. However, I don't see a simple way that this occurs. Do you?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile> Well, let's look at the <17...Qb6 18.Ne5 Nf4 19.Qd2 Bxe5 20.Rxe5 Kh8> variation. After the rather mundane <21.Rae1> I do not see a sustainable defense: After 21...Rf6 or 21...Rce8, 22.d5 already looks strong; and after 21...Rc6 probably 22.R1e4.

There still are tactics to fret about, but defense should all be there. Say, 21...Rce8 22.d5 Nd3?! 23.Qxd3 Qxf2+ 24.Kh1... and White has f1 sufficiently covered.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Bartleby> Yes, I do have the tournament book for Ostend 1906.

Two previous books were published on this tournament in 1906/07. One book, by von Bardeleben contained only a few games. Marco's book contained the first 4 rounds (72 games) and 4 additional games from the 5th round. Marco's book was published as Vol. 1 for this tournament. Marco appealed for subscribers, but appartently was unable to raise adequate funding to publish the remaining games. Marco died in 1923 and no game notes or manuscript materials for Ostend 1906 have ever been located.

The current book does include all of the contents of Marco's original book.

After many years of research about 230 of the 326 games have been located and are included in the current tournament book. Many of the missing games were played in the later stages of the tournament. In the 5th and final stage, only 20 of the 36 games are available.

The current book includes annotations by many of the leading players of the era. Most games are annotated, but several only have light notes.

The current book includes a tournament review and a biographical sketch for each of the competitors. Also included are pictures of the tournament venue and a small picture of all but one of the competitors. A picture of a postcard with signatures of all of the competitors was also included.

The book is expensive, but if you want a book of this important chess event, this will probably be the best available. I hope I am proven wrong, but it seems unlikely that the missing games will ever be found.

Jun-19-06  RookFile: gypsy: I'm very surprised that after
17.... Qb6 18. Ne5 Nf4 19. Qd2 Bxe5 20. Rxe5 Kh8 21. Rae1 Rf6, you are recommending 22. d5. Very surprised.

I'll look at this tonight when I'm off work, but my memory is, I had looked at this possibility before and concluded it's not something white wants to do. Unfortunately, my chess skills have dulled a little, so I can't analyze this in my head very well without a chessboard like I used to be able to.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile> It is always healthy to check me on tactics. Thx for taking the pains.

(Btw. I am packing for a long travel. Will try to check in here and there, but may be off line for fair stretches of time.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile> The immediate d5 in the Rf6 line probably is premature and White should keep piling on: <17...Qb6 18.Ne5 Nf4 19.Qd2 Bxe5 20.Rxe5 Kh8 21.Rae1 Rf6> 22.R1e4 Rcf8 23.Qe3...
Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: Rubinstein must have Burned his opponent
May-09-15  A.T PhoneHome: The threat of 24.Rc8 is lingering.
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