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Carl Schlechter vs Isidor Gunsberg
Monte Carlo (1901), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 11, Feb-23
Semi-Slav Defense: Accelerated Move Order (D31)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Crowaholic: Or just 43. Bxf6#>

Well, yes, then I don't get to set up my other discovered check...

Can I wriggle out of not spotting a mate in 1 by claiming artistic licence? Maybe not. <Blushes>

Good spot!

Apr-23-09  Arbiter58: After some while I could see 37 Nxd5! with a very complicated set of variations which I can assess totally

37 .. Rxd5 seems clear (not 37 .. Bxh5 because of 38 Nxf6+ Kh8 39 Rxh5+ Bh6 40 Bxh6+ Kg7 41 Ng4+ and then neither Rd4 nor Rf6 help e.g 41.. Rf6 42 Bxf6 Qxf6 43 Rxd7 or 41.. Rd4 42 Rxd4 Rxd4 43 f6+ Qxf6 44 Rxf6 Rxg4 45 Rf4 )

37 .. Rxd5 38 Rxd5!?

now again not 38 .. Bxh5 because of 39 Rxd4 Kh8 or h7 and 40 Bxd8 .

also 38 .. Bf7 seems difficult for black because of 39 Rxd7 Qxd7 and 40 Rd3

where I am struggling is

38 .. Rxd5 . The fancy 39 Qxe8 Qxe8 40 Bxd5+ doesn't work, because of 40 ..Ne6 41 Bxe6 Kf8 and after Qb5 black has counter play and probably might even win.

which leaves 39 Bxd5 Qxd5 and 40 Qxe8 with white being an exchange up and having a better position, but I am not sure if it could actually win this.

There probably is a better solution out there which I overlooked.

Now let's see the game.

Apr-23-09  FlashinthePan: 44.a4!! An apparently insignificant move, which in fact prevents Black from setting up a blockade of Pa4 + Bb3 (if Bxa4?? Qc4+ and wins the bishop), thus forcing victory.
Apr-23-09  GreenFacedPatzer: I got it!

Well, sorta kinda mostly, which is the best I'm likely to do on a Thursday. I found 37 Nxd5, worked it out to checkmate if 37 ... BxQh5, and then pondered the better defense that follows after 37 ... Rxd5. There were, I admit, too many defensive variations for me to follow them all to the bitter end, but I didn't find any way for black to survive---so I would have played the attack, in a real game. Got the first few moves of the game continuation, though, and the general sense of the attack.

I'll give myself 60% credit for this one.

Apr-23-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: Actually, I should have been more assertive in my last post. After the line 37.Nxd5 Rxd5 38.Rxd5 Rxd5 39.Qxe8 Qxe8 40.Bxd5+ Ne6 41.Bxe6+ Kf8 42.Rd3, I should have said that white has excellent winning chances:

click for larger view

The threat of 43.Rd7 is very serious. Chessmaster gives 43...Ke7 44.Kf2! Qc6 45.Rd7+ Qxd7 (of course not Kf8? 46.Rf7+ Kg8? 47.Rxf6+ Kh8 48.Rf8+ Kh7 49.Rf7) 46.Bxd7 Kxd7 47.a4 and the endgame with the "tall pawn" on g7 looks awful for black.

Apr-23-09  Gambit All: I found it! It's the first time that I solved the puzzle on a difficulty level higher than 2 stars. The highlight of my day! Yes, it's been a slow day. I noted black's under defended F7 square and the ♕ and ♗ bearing down on it and found my way from there.

Of course it's one thing to find this combination when being primed to look for one, and quite another to analyze so precisely after hours of sitting over the board through a slow building positional game like this one; with repositioning and redeployment of Pieces, and only 1 Piece off the board from each side after 36 moves. I know I couldn't have "seen straight" long enough to find this sequence if I'd had to play the game up to this point.

:) - Credit to Gunsberg for playing "Alekhine's Gun" years before Alekhine invented it. As in many sports, greatness is underappreciated when it comes in defeat.

Apr-23-09  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium):

Schlechter vs Gunsberg, 1901 (37.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Down a P. The Black Kg8 is stalemated. White has a battery Rh3 and Qh5. The White Bb3 pins Pd5 to Kg8, and Bc3 aims at the Black K-position, in particular h8. The White Ne3 and Rd3 require activation, although Rd3 could reload the h-file battery after Ne3 moves. The Black Be8 threatens Qh5. The White Kg1 is secure from check.

Candidates (37.): Qh8+, Qh7+, Nxd5

White needs some central action to support the battery on the h-file by overburdening the Black battery on the d-file.

37.Nxd5 (threatening 38.Nxf6+)

(1) 37…Bxh5 38.Nxf6+ Kh8 39.Rxh5+ Bh6 40.Rxh6+ Kg7

<[Toga regards as a better defense

40…Rh7 41.Nxh7+ Rd4 42.Rxd4

with mate soon. I went for 41.Nxd7+, which mates, whereas Toga gives

41.Ne8+ Kxh6 42.Rh3#]>

(2) 37…Rxd5 38.Rxd5

<[Toga prefers 38.Bxd5, although 38.Rxd5 and 38.Bxd5 have almost the same evaluation of 1.9 P.]>

Black must capture something to maintain material parity.

(2.1) 38…Bxh5 39.Rxd7+

(2.1.1) 39…Kh7 40.Rxh5#

(2.1.2) 39…Kh8 40.Rxh5+ Bh6 <[Nh7 41.Rxd8+ Bf8 42.Bxf6#]>

41.Rxh6 Nh7 42.Rhxh7# or 42.Rdxh7#

(2.1.3) 39…Bf7 [Ne6 40.Bxe6+ is no better] 40.Bxf7#

(2.1.4) 39…Ne6 40.Bxe6+ Kf8 [other moves are like above variations, but worse]


Black is down 2R, although White might have better.

(2.2) 38…Rf7 39.Nxf6+ Bxf6 [Rxf6 40.Rxd8] 40.Bxf6 Qxf6

41.Rxd6 Qg7 [Qxd6 42.Qh8#] 42.Rh6 (threatening 43.Rh8+)

42…Qd4+ [Nh7 43.Rxh7] 43.Kh1

Black has run out of checks, and White is about to mate.

(2.3) 38…Rxd5 39.Bxd5+ Qxd5 40.Qxe8 Qxf5

White has R for N+P, with a superior position.

I missed the game defense, as usual.

Apr-23-09  WhiteRook48: chose 37. Nxd5 because 37...Bxh5?? 38. Nxf6+ Kh8 39 Rxh5+ Nh7 40 Rxh7#
Apr-23-09  petrie911: 39. Qxf7+ seems more forceful than what was played. The best Black can do is 39. ... Kxf7 40. Rxd7+ Ke8 41. Rxd8 Kxd8, where White's up a full rook and has the two bishops.
Apr-23-09  TheBish: Schlechter vs Gunsberg, 1901

White to play (37.?) "Medium" (2.5 stars)

Like yesterday, I only had one candidate move (since 37. Rxd5 fails and a queen retreat goes nowhere), so it was just a matter of calculation.

37. Nxd5!! Now Black can accept the "Greek gift" at the cost of a brutal attack, or give up the exchange:

A) 37...Rxd5 38. Rxd5 and now:

A1) 38...Bxh5? 39. Rxd7+ mates after either 39...Bf7 40. Bxf7# or 39...Kh7 40. Rxh5# and 39...Ne6 40. Bxe6+ followed by winning the queen is crushing.

A2) 38...Rxd5 39. Bxd5+ Qxd5 40. Qxe8 Qxf5 41. Re3. This seems to hold out the longest; White is ahead an exchange for a pawn and Black's pieces are horribly placed, but mate is a long way off. Still, just a matter of technique for a master.

A3) 38...Bf7? 39. Qxf7+! Kxf7 (39...Rxf7 40. Rxd8 is worse) 40. Rxd7+ and White emerges a full rook up.

B) 37...Bxh5 38. Nxf6+ Kh8 39. Rxh5+ Bh6 40. Rxh6+ and now:

B1) 40...Kg7 41. Ne8+! Kxh6 42. Rh3 mate.

B2) 40...Nh7 41. Rxd6 (almost anything wins here) and White finishes quickly here since 41...Rxd6 42. Rxh7 is mate, and 41...Qf8 42. Nxh7+ Rg7 (or Qg7) 43. Nxg5 mate.

B3) 40...Rh7 41. Nxh7+ Rd4 42. Rxd4! and mate in a few moves.

There is another option for Black, but it fails badly:

C) 37...Bf7 38. Nxf6+ and now:

C1) 38...Bxf6 39. Qh8+! Bxh8 40. Rxh8 mate.

C2) 38...Rxf6 39. Bxf7+ and now Black must choose between 39...Rfxf7 40. Qh8+!, mating as in line C1, or 39...Rdxf7 40. Rxd8, losing his queen for a knight.

That should just about cover the bases. What a devastating attack!

Apr-23-09  muralman: I got it all the way. I am starting to think like a chess player (I'm not). The last move took me the longest. Then, I started thinking oh well, let's clear the board. Endangering pawns with the queen is a great pressure move. I was happy Schlechter agreed. I could see checkmate was nowhere close at hand anyway. I just don't know why Gunsberg hung on so long.

This is how I tackle these puzzles. I do my best to deduce the first move. In this case I could see my queen was under attack. I could also see my bishops had the board in a vise, and the H1 rook was backing my queen.

Taking out the d5 pawn was very logical. The night there was menacing the guard pawn at f6 while allowing my white bishop a clear shot.

Making that move, I now click the puzzle in. I forshortened the window, so only the chess board is visible. Now I can see my advesary's moves. I have to admit, sometimes I am surprised by their moves. It makes it all the more exciting, because I have to rethink my line.

That is three out of four. Yesterday I went awry right after the second move.

Apr-23-09  Buttinsky: Also prefer 39.Qx+
Apr-23-09  MaczynskiPratten: At move 37, every one of White's players is in its best position and plays an essential role. The only piece that didn't seem immediately vital was the Bishop on c3 - but lo and behold, if Black plays Bf7, the Bc3 plays a key role in the mating patterns involving h8 (which was the one part of the puzzle I missed).

Schlecter was known as the "drawing master" but this shows his combinative vision too. He well deserved his shot at Lasker's world title. But a sobering thought that he died of starvation towards the end of World War 1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A GREAT game by Schlechter. He carefully and systematically built a winning position and then--after a small hiccup or two--pulled the trigger with a brilliant tactical flourish including a lovely Queen sacrifice.

Schlechter had played his worst game of the tournament in the previous round in losing to Janowski, and it was now a virtual certainty that he would not be able to catch Janowski, but he was also in a battle for the next three prizes (second through fourth places) with Tchigorin and von Scheve. With this win in the replay of his 11th round draw with Gunsberg, Schlechter caught up with von Scheve to tie for third. With his win in the final round, coupled with Tchigorin's final round loss and von Scheve's inability to defeat Winawer, Schlechter ended up taking second place at Monte Carlo 1901.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6
3. Nc3 e6
4. Nf3 Bd6?

"?"--(Tournament Book)

As <openingspecialist> rightly says, "4...Bd6 is no good."

"The text costs a tempo." (Tournament Book).

Better for Black--and quite playable was 4...Nf6 or 4...dxc4.

After 4...Bd6?, the position was:

click for larger view

It is to Schlechter's great credit that he never let Gunsberg recover from this small opening misplay.

As <An Englishman> notes, from here on Schlechter had a "persistent edge."

The major problem with 4...Bd6? is that the Bishop has to retreat to e7 just two moves later (or get traded off for a White Knight).

5. e4

"!"--(Tournament Book)

Following in the footsteps of Pillsbury (Pillsbury-Marco Nuremberg 1896 and Pillsbury-Walbrodt, Vienna 1896); and Marshall (Marshall-Napier,, 1896). White won each of these games after this same move. Tarrasch won with the same move in 1910.

5... dxe4

5...Ne7, 5...h6, and 5...dxc4 are no significant improvement on the text.

6. Nxe4 Be7

"The loss of time is self-evident now." (Tournament Book)

6...Bc7 might have been somewhat better, but White would be better in any case.

The position after 6...Be7 was:

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7. Bd3 Nf6
8. 0-0 NxN

Marco played 8...0-0 here and lost against Pillsbury at Nuremberg 1896. Lipschutz here played 8...Nbd7 and drew against Showalter in 1895. In any case, White has a significant advantage.

9. BxN

click for larger view

White's superiority is obvious, but converting this edge into a win is by no means easy. Schlechter's patient approach is worthy of study and great admiration.

9... Nd7
10. Qe2 Nf6
11. Bc2 0-0

click for larger view

So far so good. But how should White try to exploit his space advantage? Time to watch Schlechter's positional judgment at work.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

12. Bd2

"Intending Bc3. The alternative maneuver of b3 followed by Bb2 would be less effective, as the pawn stands better in its original position." (Tournament Book)

There are many plausible plans for White here. 12. Rd1 with Ne5 to follow is a variation of Schlechter's actual plan. The more direct 12. Qd3 is another live possibility (12...g6 13. Bh6 Re8 14. Rfe1). White could also just play 12. Rd1. Schlechter's plan was also strong.

12... Re8

"If 12...c5, then 13. dxc5 Bxc5 [better are 13...Qc7 or 13...a5--KEG] 14. Rad1 [or, better still, 14. Bc3--KEG]." (Tournament Book).

Best for Black here were probably 12...b5 or 12...b6.

13. Rad1

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13... g6

"Of doubtful value at this juncture. This arrangement of the pawn allows White to reinforce the attack with f4." (Hoffer).

Best is still 13...b5, or maybe 13...Qc7. Gunsberg's idea to re-position his Bishop to g7 is too slow and creates a King-side weakness that Schlechter quickly pounced upon.

14. Bc3

All according to plan. 14. Rfe1; 14. Bg5; and 14. Ne5 immediately were all plausible alternatives.

14... Bf8

b5 was still probably best.

15. Ne5

In the grand tradition of Pillsbury. White's attacking chances are now quite formidable:

click for larger view

15... Bg7
16. f4

The possibility of f5--which Schlechter did not actually play until move 34--now looms as a threat and undergirds much of the following moves.

16... Nd7

click for larger view

17. Rf3

Utilizing the horizontal powers of the Rook as a means of applying more pressure on the fragile Black King-side. Schlechter could also have achieved something similar with 17. Rd3.

17... Nf8

"17...NxN 18. dxN Qb6+[18...Qc7 offers much sturdier resistance--KEG] 19. Qf2 [19. Bd4 looks even stronger] Rd8 [Black's best chance lay in 19...QxQ+ 20. KxQ Bf8 22. g4--KEG] 21. QxQ [21...RxR+ QxR 22. Rd3 looks like a winning line for White--KEG] 21...RxR+22. BxQ axQ 23. Rd3 with the better game for White." (Tournament Book)

18. Rg3

18. a4; 18. Rh3 and 18. Re3 were strong alternatives.

18... Qe7
19. a3

A fine offensive/defensive move. It prepares an eventual b4,while keeping an eye on b4 with his a-Pawn.

click for larger view

Jul-15-20  sudoplatov: 18.Rg3 was quite obscure to me. I would have played 18.Rh3 but Schlecter probably figure out that g6 may be less easy to defend than h7. I did guess all White's moves up through 17. I like to ask myself, WWSFP? Stockfish suggested 18.Re3 (but saw h4 and h5 later in the same principal variation.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <sudoplatov>: I also was thinking of 18. Rh3, and that may perhaps be best, but Schlechter's 18. Rg3 makes sense in light of his plan which involved advancing the h-pawn. This advance, of course, would not have been possible had he played 18. Rh3. Schlechter seems to have recognized the potential upcoming weakness on g6 (thanks to Gunsberg's 13...g6, and may also have anticipated a later chance to play Rh3 (as Schlechter in fact did on his 26th move) after the h-file gets opened.

The position after 17...Nf8 leaves White with a variety of possible moves. What I find most notable about 18. Rg3 is how it forms part of Schlechter's overall plan, which kept his opponent Gunsberg on his heels from 4...Bd6 until the end of the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

19... a5

"?"--(Tournament Book)

"Black wished to prevent Bb4 of b4, but it was better to play 19...f6 and then b6." (Tournament Book)

In fact, 19...f6 20. Ng4 [20. Nf3 or perhaps 20. Nd3 may be best] b6 would be no picnic for Black. Maybe Gunsberg should have conceded that his last two moves were of doubtful value and considered 19...Qc7 or 19...Nd7.

No matter what Black had played, Schlechter would have enjoyed a strong bind on the position.

After 19...a5, Gunsberg now had weaknesses on both wings:

click for larger view

20. Qe1

Once again, Schlechter had a number of strong moves at his disposal, including: 20. c5; 20. Qd2; and 20. Re1 (and, of course, the text).

Schlechter's choice was based on his plan of attack on the King-side. It eyed both h4 for the Queen, and also forced Gunsberg to spend time defending his a5 pawn. As always, Schlechter was in no hurry as he built up his attack.

20... Qc7

Probably the weakest of the plausible ways to defend the a5 pawn. Better in this regard were 20...a5 and 20...f6 (followed by b6 once the White Knight vacates e5).

21. h4?!

21. c5 may well have been best, but Schlechter was persistent in pursuing his plan.

21... f6

While this was probably best, it weakened his g6 pawn, and thereby helped justify Schlechter's attacking conception.

22. Nd3 Re7

click for larger view

Another cross-road is reached. How is White to turn the screw a notch tighter? 23. c5; 23. Qf2; and 23. Bb3 all look attractive, but Schlechter proceeded with his scheme and played:

23. h5?!

click for larger view

Schlechter's move may not be theoretically best, but it must have been a nightmare to confront over the board. In any case, it led Gunsberg astray:

23... Bd7?

Like it or not Gunsberg had to play 23...gxh5.

24. hxg6

24. Qf2 would also have been very strong here for White.

24... hxg6

24...Nxg6 provided better chances. The position after the text was:

click for larger view

Yet again, Schlechter had a variety of strong approaches here at his disposal:

25. Qf2

25. b4 and 25. c5 were both powerful, but here too Schlechter adhered to his plan. The text allows the Queen to support an eventual f5 or, alternatively, to jump to h4 depending on Black's reply.

25... Be8

With the Black g6 pawn now doubly defended, Schlechter decided to gang up on the h-file:

26. Rh3

Schlechter's 18. Rg3 had accomplished its purpose, so the Rook now tried the h-file.

26... b6
27. Qh4

click for larger view

Schlechter had now achieved one of the alignments towards which he had been aiming.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

27... Rf7

The alternatives (e.g., 27...Rd8; 27...Rd7; 27...Qd8; 27...b5) are about equally unsavory.

28. d5

"!"--(Tournament Book)

"Bringing the Bc3 into the attack and preventing f5 which would be followed [now] by mate in two [i.e., 28...f5 Qh8+! BxR 29. Rh8 mate--KEG]." (Tournament Book)

The text does indeed give White a strong attack, but even stronger were 28. c5; 28. g4; and 28. Re1; e.g., (A) 28. c5 b5 29. Nf2 f5 30. d5 BxB 31. d6 Qa7 32. RxB; (B) 28. g4 with c5 to follow; or
(C) 28. Re1 Bd7 29. c5 b5 30. f5 g5 31. Qh5.

There is no immediate win for White in any of these lines (or following Schlechter's 28. d5), but Black is definitely on the ropes.

After 28. d5, the position was:

click for larger view

28... exd5
29. cxd5 cxd5
30. Nf2

Now all of Schlechter's pieces are working in harmony and poised for attack. This was well worth the (temporary) sacrifice of a pawn.

30. f5 immediately was also strong, but it Schlechter's logical building up of his forces for attack is wonderful to behold.

30... Rd8
31. Ng4

"!"--Tournament Book)

The alternative, of course, was 31. f5. While that would have been a nasty move for Gunsberg to meet, I prefer Schlechter's patient systematic approach.

After 31. Ng4, the position was:

click for larger view

31... Rd6

This was best. Gunsberg could also have played 31...Qc5+ and then 32...Rd6, but the text looks best.

Schlechter's skill can perhaps best be seen by considering the lines Gunsberg correctly avoided, and which flummoxed even the commentators in the Tournament Book:

(A) 31...Qxf4? 32. Rf1 ["decisive"--Tournament Book]. This would indeed be the end of the road for Black.

(B) 31...d4. This is the key variation which Schlechter must have considered and which Gunsberg correctly rejected. The resulting lines are difficult and fascinating: 31...d4 32. Bb3 ["!"--Tournament Book] This is indeed best play, but quite scary for Black. 32...dxB [Black must take the Bishop to have any chance--KEG] 33. RxR?--This move, suggested by the Tournament Book, should lose. Correct and close to winning is the spectacular:

(B-1) 33. Nh6+! BxN [forced] 34. QxB RxR+ 35. Kh2! [35. BxR gets crushed by 35...Rh7] Nh7 [forced] 36. QxN+ Kf8 37. Qh8+ Ke7 38. Re3+ Kd6 39. QxB Qd7 40. QxQ+ RxQ 41. BxR cxb2 42. Rb3 Kc5 43. Bc2 Rd2 44. Rxb2 after which, despite White's extra piece, it is unclear whether he can win

Let's return now to the move the Tournament Book recommends in this line: 33. RxR? This would leave the following complex position:

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Black has three possible moves here: 33...cxb2; 33...QxR; and 33...c2. Let's consider all three:

I) 33...cxb2?

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This move loses. The Tournament Book only considers 34. Rd1, which does win and spawns some incredible variations. The best response is 34...Qxf4 which loses after 35. Rf3 Qc1 36. Qe1 Qc5+ 37. Nf2. The Tournament Book only considered 34...Qc1?? which loses spectacularly: 35. Nxf6+ (even stronger than the Tournament Book's 35. Nh6+ BxN 36. QxN QxR+ 37. Kh2 ["!!""--Tournament Book] Qh5 38. RxQ gxR 39. Ba2 (but not the Tournament Book's 39. Bc2? which allows Black to escape after 39...Rc7!) BxN 36. QxB QxR+ 37. Kh2 Qh5 38. RxQ gxR 39. BxR+ BxB 40. Qxb6

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

II) 33...QxR

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Unlike 33...cxb2?, this move wins for Black instead of losing:

34. Nh6+ [This is the move suggested in this line by the Tournament Book. 34. bxc3 is probably better, but also appears to lose after 34...Bd7 35. BxR+ KxB 36. Ne5+ Kg8 37. NxB QxN after which Black's King is safe and his Bishop and Knight probably carry the day against White's Rook. So I will consider what would transpire after the Tournament Book's 34. Nh6+] BxN 35. QxB Qd4+ 36. Kh2 f5 which looks to me like a win for Black rather than a win for White.

The best move of all for Black after 33. RxR, is one not considered at all by the Tournament Book:

III) 33...c2!

click for larger view

This solves the problem of the pin of the Rook and leaves Black in control after:

34. Bxc2 QxR

Black's King is now still hemmed in, but he is up a piece and should win.

From this I must conclude that 33. RxR? loses, and that White's best winning chance after 31...d4 lies in 32. Bb3 dxB 33. Nh6+ in the line I spelled out in my last post.

This all brings us back to Gunsberg's actual move of:

31... Rd6

This left:

click for larger view

Now that we have vindicated Gunsberg's judgment in playing 31...Rd6, let's return to the actual game as we approach the incredible climax.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 33.f5 seems to be more accurate than 33.Rdd3 allowing 33...Bd7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VI

32. Bb3?

Schlechter had played splendidly to this point. But here and on his next move [surprisingly, since the move 30 time control had just passed] , he momentarily seems to have taken his eye off the ball. The text gave Gunsberg a chance to regroup.

Best here for White is 32. f5! Black then obviously could not respond 32...gxf5 because 33. Bxf5 would be crushing. So Black would then have had to weaken his King-side further with 32...g5 and then after 33. Qf2 Black would have his hands full trying to fend off such threats as Nh6. This may not necessarily lead to a win for White, but I would sure hate try to hold this against a patient attacker such as Schlechter.

After 32. Bb3?, the position was:

click for larger view

With 32...Bd7, Gunsberg might well have been out of the woods. But he too erred with:

32... Bc6?

This move (which, among other things, blocks his own Queen's mobility on the c-file) should have been fatal, the position now being:

click for larger view

33. f5 is strong here, but better still for White is 33. Ne3 with 34. f5 to follow. I do not see how Gunsberg could then have held the game, e.g., 33. Ne3 Ba8 34. f5 g5 (pretty much forced) 35. Qf2 Qd8 36. Qf3 Nd7 37. Nxd5 Kf8 38. Qh5 Nc5 39. Nxf6 RxR+ 40. BxR BxN 41. Qh8+! RxQ 42. RxB+ Ke7 43. f6+Kd7 44. Bg4+ Ne6 45. BxN+ KxB 46. RxQ and White can probably win the ending despite Bishops of opposite colors.

But, for whatever reason, Schlechter again faltered here with:

33. Rdd3?

click for larger view

Now, Gunsberg would be fine with 33...Bd7 (undoing the damage of his last move) 34. Bxd5 Qc5+35. Ne3 BxR 36. QxB Ne6 37. b4 Qc7 38. Qg4 g5 39. fxg5 fxg5 40. BxB KxB 41. BxN RxR 42. Qxg5+ Kf8 43. Qh6+ Ke7 44. Nd5+ RxN 45. BxR Rf4 46. Qe6+ and draws.

But Schlechter here committed one final fatal blunder:

33... Qd8?

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Schlechter did not allow Gunsberg any more chances after this misplay.

34. f5

"!"--(Tournament Book)

He could also have played 34. Ne3 here first and then 35. f5. In any case, after the text, Black was sunk:

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34... g5

Black had nothing better. If 34...gxf5 35. Rdg3! and Black is done for.

35. Qh5

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: I see that <Honza Cervenka> beat me to the punch on this [we must have been posting approximately simultaneously] and pointed out the superior moves 33. f5! for White and 33...Bd7! for Black.

Well done!

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VII

35... Be8

Gunsberg was perhaps thinking that the potential discovered attack on White's Queen when the f7 Rook moves will stop Schlechter's attack cold. If so, he was soon in for a major shock!

36. Ne3

36. Rdg3 also looks like a winner. But the text was also a powerhouse of a move.

36... Rfd7

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"From this move attacking the Queen Black personally expected a moment of respite, but he must have been surprised that White could leave the Queen en prise." (Tournament Book).

i see that this position was the problem of the day on this site some time ago. As expected, many users found the winning move--as did Schlechter:

37. Nxd5!!

"!"--(Tournament Book).


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Incredibly, Black is hopelessly lost whatever he does.

37... RxN

The only move to prolong the game. As note in the Tournament Book and pointed out by <Honza Cervenka> on this site, if 37...BxQ 38. Nxf6+ Kh8 39. RxB+ Bh6 (if 39...Nh7 40. RxN mate) 40. RxB+ Kg7 [Black can delay mate by a few moves with 40...Rh7 or 40...Nh7, but neither move holds any hope for Black] 41. Ne8+ ! KxR 42. Rh3 mate.

And, as has also been pointed out on this site, if 37... Bf7 Black gets demolished by 38. Nxf6+ after which Black can avoid immediate mate [i.e., 38...BxN 39. Qh8+!! and mate next] only by ruinous loss of material,e.g., 38...RxN 39. BxB+ RdxB [39..RfxB leads to mate in two after 40. Qh8+] 40. RxQ.

After Gunsberg's 37...RxN, the position was:

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38. RxR

38. BxR+ also wins. Schlechter's move left the position as:

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38... Bf7?

Now Black gets massacred. Needless to say, 38...BxQ 39. RxR+ Ne6 40. RxQ+ would also have been horrible for Black. But even with best play, i.e., 38...RxR, Black is sunk: 39. BxR+ QxB 40. QxB Qxf5 41. Qd8 (or 41. Qc6) Black has no serious chance to hold, though the game might continue for a while.

After 38...Bf7??, Gunsberg could only wait to see what manner of execution Schlechter would select:

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39. RxR

As numerous users on this site have already noted, Schlechter had a faster and more brilliant finish with 39. QxB+ [yet another Queen sacrifice!] KxQ (if 39...RxQ 40. RxQ and the game is over) 40. RxR+ Ke8 41. RxB! and Black can only delay but not avoid mate.

The text is a bit slower and less spectacular, but certainly did the trick.

39... QxR

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From here, Schlechter finished the game in beautiful fashion/

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VIII

40. Rd3!!

"!"--(Tournament Book)

"Gaining an important move." (Tournament Book).

I love these quiet killer moves. 40. BxB+ also wins (40...QxB 41. QxQ+ KxQ 42. Rd3 leaving White up the exchange and with a complete bind on the position). But the text is faster and far more satisfying.

Schlechter's 40. Rd3! was so lovely, a diagram is plainly warranted to savor the position:

click for larger view

40... BxB

Everything else also loses: e.g., (A) 40...QxR 41. BxB mate; (B) if 40...Qe8 or 40...Qe7 or 40...Qc7 or 40...Qb7; then 41. BxB+ QxB 41. QxQ+ KxQ 42. Rd6.

After the text, Gunsberg's Queen was gone, and he might have spared himself the rest:

41. RxQ NxQ

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42. Qe8+ Nf8
43. Qc6

43. Qd8 or 43. Qe7 were faster, but with the move 45 time control approaching, Schlechter was undoubtedly happy to keep it simple.

43... Nh7
44. a4

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Further resistance was obviously futile.

A fine effort by Schlechter that--coupled with what happened to Tchigorin and von Schleve in the final round--enabled Schlechter to take second place at Monte Carlo 1901. This result, coming as it did after Schlechter's tie for first place at the stronger Munich 1900 tournament, marked him as one of the world's elite, and a possible future challenger for Lasker's title.

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