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Geza Maroczy vs Jacques Mieses
Monte Carlo (1903), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 3, Feb-13
Sicilian Defense: Four Knights Variation (B45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-01-09  Dr. Siggy: Reuben Fine, "Basic Chess Endings", New York 1941, pages 157-8, about <the outside passed pawn in endings with Bishops of the same color>:

"In N endings this was the most important group, chiefly because a Knight cannot block a pawn at a distance. But since a Bishop can, such an advantage is not quite so overwhelming here, although still usually sufficient to win."

This game "[...] is an elegant illustration of the typical winning method. White has what is commonly called a Queen's side majority, which is the same thing as a potential outside passed pawn. Maroczy established a decisive superiority by 21. g4! (His first concern is to force a weakness or an advance on the King's side) [...].

"Thus we see that the chief difficulty in winning with an outside passed pawn is that of penetrating the enemy defenses with the King. For this reason some pawn exchanges are desirable (this is an exception to the general rule that pawn exchanges diminish the winning chances of the superior side)."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: At move 13, Fritz indicates the position was nearly equal: (.21) (22 ply) 13...Ba6+ 14.Bd3 Bxd3+ 15.cxd3 Kb7 16.Rhc1 Rd5 17.Rc3 Rb5 18.Rac1 Rxb2+, or (.24) (22 ply) 13...Be7 14.Rhd1, (not 14.Bxa7? c5!), 14..f5 15.Bf3 c5 16.Bxb7+ Kxb7.

Mieses played 13...c5, and he was at a slight disadvantage after: 14.Bxb7+ Kxb7 15.Rad1 Be7 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Rd1.

Fritz indicates Black's best at move 17 was: (.33) (22 ply) 17...Rxd1 18.Kxd1 Kc6 19.b3 g5 20.f3 h5 21.h3 f5, with only a small advantage for White.

Even in the game continuation, White's advantage was very small: (.40) (22) 17...Kc6 18.Rxd8 Bxd8 19.Kd3 Kd5, (.26) (24 ply) 20.b3 f5, or as played: (.26) (24 ply) 20.c4+ Kc6.

The position after 20...Kc6, as noted by <Dr. Siggy>, was used by Reuben Fine, in "Basic Chess Endings", to illustrate a Bishop and Pawn ending, where an outside passed Pawn may be of decisive advantage.

Fine was of the opinion that Maroczy established a decisive superiority in this game by 21.g4. Fine stated, <His first concern is to force a weakness or an advance on the King's side.">

It will be interesting to see if modern computer analysis agrees with Fine's assessment of the position. I will post that analysis next.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: After 21.g4 f5, Reuben Fine claimed that this was a win for White. Hard to prove.

After 21.g4, Larry Evans suggested 21...a5 22.Kc2 a4 to prevent the White king from penetrating to the a4 square.

The other idea after 21.g4 is 21...Be7 22.Ke4 (22.g5 Bd6 and 23...f5) 22...Bf6 23.Bc1 Bd4, which should hold for Black.

Instead of 23...a5, perhaps better is 23...fxg4 24.hxg4 h5 25.gxh5 gxh5 26.Ke4 a6 and 27...Bf6 (27.Ke5 Bc7) and White cannot break through.

Instead of 25...e4+, perhaps it is better to leave the Black pawns along and now play 25...Kb6 or 25...Bc7 and not allow the White king in.

Instead of 27...Bf6, perhaps better is 27...Bc7 (to support ...f4) 28.gxf5 gxf5 29.f3 f4 and 30...e3.

It looks like Black throws away the pawn and the game with 29...f4. Perhaps Black can hold after 29...exf3+ 30.Kxf3 Be5.

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