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Mikhail Chigorin vs Siegbert Tarrasch
Chigorin - Tarrasch (1893), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 4, Oct-14
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-28-04  Spassky69: Chigorin blew it!! What wins is 48.Qh3! Qc7 49.Qh8! Qf7 50.Ra1! Rxb4 51.gxf6 gxf6 52.Nh4! Rbb2 53.Rxa4 Ke7 54.Ra8 Kd7 55.Nf3 Rb5 56.Ngxe5+! fxe5 57.Nxe5+ Rxe5 58.Rg7! 1-0 which if he found this analysis this might have been his most brilliant win ever!
Jul-28-04  white pawn: Wow... how long did it take you to find that?
Jul-28-04  Spassky69: Well I analyized that back in the day with my team of chess coaches. I just recently anaylzed it with Fritz and it took Deep Fritz 30 minutes to find Qh3!.
Jul-28-04  Calli: An exciting game. White's knights on the Kingside and blacks Rooks Queenside remind me of Pillsbury-Tarrasch played two years later.

<Spas> While its true that 48.Qh3! is supposed to win, the previous move 47...Qd6? is bad. 47...a3 is recommended by annotators with good drawing chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I don't think white has any particular advantage in the position after black's 47th move - so why should he have a forced win? After 48.♕h3 I can't see what is wrong with the simple 48...fxg5. Then what?
If 49.♘fxe5 then black has 49...♗c7, if then 50.♕h8 ♕xe5! . If 49.♘gxe5 ♕h6=pins the queen.
49.♕h8 ♗f6=.

Larsen said that long variations are wrong variations.

Sep-12-04  suenteus po 147: <offramp: ...Larsen said that long variations are wrong variations.> Since I am one to whom long variations do not come easy, I'm tempted to jump up and down and cheer. On the other hand, for everyone who takes the time to work out such long variations, that has got to hurt.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <suenteus po 147:> In the game Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 Botvinnik admitted that he could not analyse far enough ahead at the end. He analysed as far as he was guaranteed perpetual and begn analysing again. It is not a very good game in any case; Capablanca was old and out of form.
Oct-29-05  Petrocephalon: <spassky69> 48.Qh3 was pointed out by Tchigorin himself, and analyzed in depth by both players to a draw. Their main line starts 48.Qh3 Qc7, while in your line they stop at 48.Qh3 Qc7 49.Qh8 Qf7, with the implication that it's not sufficient for white. (This is from Renfield). A computer verification of your analysis should start at 50.Ra1.

<Calli> Incidentally, Renfield punctuates 47..Qd6!

There were some other error by both sides, but it's all the good moves that makes this game interesting. For example, the way Tarrasch manoeuvers the bishop from b7 to b3.

Renfield uses exclamation marks fairly frequently, but awards a rare double exclamation to 25..Kf8.

Jul-17-06  SnoopDogg: <Petrocephalon> Actually the anaylsis (or lines) <Spassky69> posted was by GM Yasser Seirawan who improved upon the Chigorin line and included 50. Ra1! and 52. Nh4! I haven't checked into the line, but I think I'll trust Yaz.
Mar-14-09  zooter: This game is analyzed by Alexander Kotov in his classic "Think like a grandmaster" -- he gives the move 48.Qh3 and has actually seen ahead 20 moves!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I have worked out sometimes 20 moves ahead (only once OTB but mainly following moves from diagrams in game, and THAT is good practice, remembering that in real OTB games one will only be "seeing" a few moves ahead, hopefully the right ones, to more or less quote Capa,...) but it is (almost always) futile do do that. In most cases such long analysis means that errors in analysis creep in. I fact even in much shorter lines I have very badly miscalculated. That happens to players whether in form or not. (Very strong or very weak players)

Soltis gives a good example of how one really often only has to see 1 1/2 moves ahead or 3 at the most, and indeed shows two GMs, Kasparov and Karpov.

Correspondence chess is different. But even there is a limit, and time is still a problem.

The Botvinnk game was a great game. The point is that Botvinnik is being honest. In many cases one cant see so far ahead, and as in Judgement and Planning as in Chess by Euwe he explains that many combinations are a mix of judgement and assessment. There is always a degree of uncertainty.

It is a question of judging whether a resulting position few moves ahead is good or bad in many cases.

Mar-04-12  King Death: < offramp: In the game Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 Botvinnik admitted that he could not analyse far enough ahead at the end. He analysed as far as he was guaranteed perpetual and begn analysing again...>

This is often all that it's practical to do, trying to analyze every line out to the end is impossible anyway and just diverts energy from the practical problems we'll meet in a game.

Oct-05-16  scholes: Alexander Kotov analyses this game in his book think like a grandmaster. He gives 48 gxf6 a question mark. And says Qh3 is winning.

Stockfish says 48 Qh3 is draw and 48 gxf6 is winning.

I guess engines are so strong. The only way to improve is to analyze yourself

Sep-25-19  Straclonoor: 52.Rxf6? final mistake. 52.Ng5 keeps the draw.

Analysis by Stockfish 120919 64 POPCNT:

= (0.00): 52.Ng5 Ke7 53.Rxf6 Nxf6 54.Qh8 Ne8 55.Qh5 Rb1 56.Qf7+ Kd6 57.Qd5+ Kc7 58.Ne6+ Kb6 59.Qd8+ Rc7 60.Nxc7 Rxf1+ 61.Kg2 Rg1+ 62.Kf2 Rf1+ 63.Ke2 Nxc7 64.Qb8+ Kc6 65.b5+ Kd7 66.b6 a1Q 67.Qxc7+ Ke8 68.Qc8+ Kf7 69.Qd7+ Kf8 70.Qd6+ Kg8 71.Qe6+ Kf8

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Ah, yes. Nothing like a nice relaxing game of chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  scutigera: <Petrocephalon>: I'm pretty sure you meant "[Fred] Reinfeld", but thanks for the lovely anagram I never noticed before. For one thing, it's strong evidence that Irving Chernev was Dracula.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Sort of like Pillsbury vs Tarrasch, 1895, but with a happier ending for the defending side.
Oct-31-21  paul1959: 48 Qh3 doesn’t look much until you see Qh8 followed by Nh6. Black is indeed in danger. 48 ... Qc7 looks like the best since White has to find Ra1. <offramp> suggested 48...fxg5 49 Nfxe5 Bc7 is interesting but apparently fails to 50 Rc1. Black has to part with the rook pair on the 7th since 50 .... Re2 is met by 51 Qh5 Qxe5 52 Nxe5 Bxe5 53 Rc8 mating with checks. With only one rook Black has no more defenses.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After 48.Qh3

click for larger view

49. Nfxe5 Bf6
50. Nc4 Rxc4=.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: "Game IV. of the match may be described as a veritable battle of giants, particularly remarkable in its ending.

The game may be compared to a symphony with one theme. On the 10th move, Tarrasch began to advance his pawns on be Queen’s side, and on the 62nd move, when his opponent resigned, he had consummated his purpose by bringing his <a> pawn and <d> pawn to the seventh".

Isidor Gunsberg in "St James's Gazette" of Friday 27th October, 1893.

Feb-14-23  generror: A breathtaking and epic struggle. Chigorin tries to storm the king's castle, but Tarrasch just doesn't quite let him, and even though he several times seems to be on the brink of disaster, his counterattack on the queenside finally decides the game. This really is what chess is all about, all in one game.

Tarrasch has criticized Chigorin's initial plan of attack (i.e., getting his pieces out and try to create some chaos) and the game agrees with him: while Chigorin does manage to put a lot of pressure on the kingside, Tarrasch fends off the attack even though frequently playing inaccurate moves.

For example, the lauded <25...Kf8?> may already have been losing if Chigorin had played <27.Nxf6!>. Now if Black retakes with the queen, the main line ends up with White two pawns up, including a lovely strong passed one on f6, while the horrible-looking <27...gxh6!?> also leads to two pawns for White, but Black having significant counterplay, amazingly via two rooks on the h-file. <29.Nxf6> also seems to have been winning, after <29.Raf1?? Ng8!>, the king is suddenly totally safe and the game completely drawn.

Chigorin now belatedly gets the right idea of taking his pieces back from the kingside and letting has pawns advance, but this takes time, and Tarrasch uses it for an elaborate bishop manoeuvre (Bb7-e8-f7-b3) which eventually gives him complete control over the queenside, a passed pawn, and finally, doubled rooks on the 7th rank, all the while Chigorin is still struggling to play <g5>.

But even after he finally manages, the position is equal and, as it is extremely imbalanced, every player has to be very careful. Tarrasch's <47...Qg6??> for example would have been losing if Chigorin had found <49.Ra1!!>. Fine and apparently Kotov have said that <48.Qh3??> would have won, but actually, it would have blundered the win. Fine starts his justification with the absurd <48...Qc7??>, which of course loses; but after <48...fxg5! 49.fxe5 Bf6 50.Nc4! Rxc4!!>, White's advantage turns out to be very mild, and if he goes <49.f6 Bxf6! 50.Qh8 Qe6!>, the game is completely equal.

Sorry for not giving you the full variations, but I find these tedious to both read and write (and, yes, "long analysis, wrong analysis") and, in any way, it's always better to analyze yourself, to which I can only invite you very cordially -- it's absolutely mind-blowing. Of course, no human would ever find this stuff over the board, this is pure theory, but it's also God-level chess and just as beautiful and unearthly as Allegri's "Miserere" :D

Back to the game, even after <51...a2!!> Chigorin could have still gotten perpetual checks with <52.Ng5!>. But after <52.Rxf6 gxf6>, Black's king is completely safe -- it's funny how that knight g8, like after the 29th move, single-handedly fends off the entire white army. (Maybe that will be the beginning of me revolutionizing opening theory by not every moving the king's knight at all XD) Although of course in this case, the doubled rooks on the 7th rank create a constant and subtle but significant pressure.

So now Chigorin *finally* that maybe he should now concentrate on his defense, but once again it's much too late, plus Tarrasch is now in full swing and plays the remaining game with perfect accuracy, so that the this epic chess drama finally ends after a few more moves.

It's really admirable how patiently and methodically Tarrasch follows his plan, and how Chigorin's somewhat ungrounded attack (not as bad as a McDonnell, but still belonging to the same type of chess) just doesn't manage to break through. Tarrasch is constantly called dogmatic, and he may well have been; but this fixation on attack of those romantic players is, in a way, even more dogmatic.

Whatever, this is definitively a wonderful chess drama and, as all great games, very instructive in many respects. Grab some engine and check it out yourself!

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