|KEG: In a meeting between two tacticians, it was predictable that: (a) the game would be short and violent; and (b) the better tactician would win. Both expectations were borne out. Janowski had defeated Winawer in their four previous battles, and he won again here in this their final confrontation.|
Contrary to what the Tournament Book said, the opening and middle game were closely contested. As only Chessical seems to have discerned, it was with his 19th move that Winawer got in trouble. He had, if anything, the better game until 19...f6? He may well have been lost after this, and was certainly doomed after 20...Qe7. His 22...g5? was, to quote Chessical, a "panic move." Janowski then finished off the game quickly (i.e., within three moves).
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
The Berlin Defense remained popular as of 1901.
4. 0-0 d6
4...Nxe4 (successfully played by Kramnik in several games in his 2000 match against Kasparov) is most popular and probably best. The text, however, is playable and was a favorite of Tchigorin. It was later played by Lasker in his match against Tarrasch (Lasker picking up two wins before switching to 4...Nxe4 in his other Berlin Defense games in the match, getting two draws and a loss). Lasker later tried the move against Schlechter in their 1910 match (Lasker drawing two and losing once). Lasker also lost after playing this move in his game against Dr. Bernstein at St. Petersberg 1914. [I am not saying 4...d6 was responsible for any of these wins or loses] The move was thereafter played in important games by Capablanca (including at New York 1924 against Lasker in a game they drew), and became a favorite of Max Euwe in the 1920's.
5. d5 exd4
5...Bd7 has been more frequently played here, but the text is definitely playable and gives Black a reasonable though passive position.
6. Nxd4 Bd7
This transposes back to more normal lines.
This passive looking move is in fact probably best. It has been a favorite of Blackburne before this game was played, and was later played by Janowski himself and later--with great success--by Capablance (defeating Euwe at London 1922 and Alekhine at St. Peterburg 1914 and drawing with Emmanuel Lasker at New York 1924). Perhaps move famously, Bent Larsen lost a crucial game after playing this move against Mikhail Tahl in their 1965 match.
Already contemplating King's side attack. Lasker won after playing this move against Walbrodt at Hastings 1895, and Schlechter lost to tail-ender Vergani at the same tournament. Capablance successfully played this move in several simultaneous exhibition games in 1911.
Alekhine tried the reckless 8. Nf5?! against Capablanca at St. Petersburg 1914 and lost quickly. Euwe played the time-losing 8. Re1 against Capablanca at London 1922 and lost. Lasker played 8. b3 in his drawn 1924 game against Capablanca, and Tahl won against Larsen,also after playing 8. b3.
Best here may be the simple 8. NxN (followed by 9. Ba4) or 8. Be3 (with perhaps 9. NxN to follow).
After the creative 8. Nde2, the position was:
click for larger view
"Only driving the Bishop to a better square. The intention, however, was, as the sequel shows, to exchange Bishop for Knight; but the whole conception is erroneous since White establishes a strong center." (Tournament Book)
Actually, the minor piece trade initiated by this move made good sense, especially against a wizard of attack with two Bishops such as Janowski.
When I fed the position to Fritz and Stockfish, both thought the text was best.
In sum, the comment by the Tournament Book on this move was nonsense.
"Ba4 is more common." (Tournament Book)
Since this exact position has rarely been reached (and never before this game so far as I can find), the comment is more nonsense.
9. BxN was a reasonable alternative.
Continuing his plan to trade Knight for Bishop.
Sharp and a bit reckless, but what else should we have expected from Janowski?
As per his plan.
The choice between the text and 11. QxN is close. Janowski played to open the c-file and secure his center.
After 11. cxN, the position was:
click for larger view