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Hermann von Gottschall vs Heinrich Wolf
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 7, Jul-31
Vienna Game: Anderssen Defense (C25)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A very poor effort by von Gottschall, who acts like a deer in the headlights throughout. Wolf did nothing exceptionally brilliant of noteworthy other than gratefully accepting what his confused opponent gave him. In chess as in all forms of competition, showing up to play can sometimes be all that is required for victory.

1. e4 e5
2. Nc2

Thanks in large measure to the often brilliant play of Mieses, the Vienna Game was popular at the time of Munich 1900.

2... Bc5
3. Bc4 d6
4. d3

Looking to avoid sharp lines, von Gottschall steered the game into the more placid Giuoco Pianissimo.

4... Nf6
5. Nf3 c6

Wolf was playing to win, so he avoided the symmetrical 5...Nc6. Given his opponent, Wolf also avoided the sharper 5...a5. He no doubt believed (correctly as it turned out) he could win without taking any chances.

6. h3

While this is not in itself a bad move, it is indicative of the nervous play by von Gottschall here. 6. 0-0 was, of course, a good alternative and better suited to an attempt to play for an advantage. As will be seen, von Gottschall never does get to castle in this game, choosing instead a bizarre King wander on move 14.

6... Nbd7

The obvious 6...0-0 looks best. 6...a5 (threatening b5 winning the Bishop) was also a possibility.

7. Qe2

It is hard to fathom what von Gottschall was doing here. 7. 0-0 or 7. a4 (to be able to deal with b5 from Black) were the logical choices.

7... Qe7

Wolf also played tentatively here. 7...b5 or 7...0-0 were the best options.

8. Bd2?

I have given a ? to this move not because it was intrinsically bad (though indeed 8. 0-0 or 8. a4 were better) but because of White's lack of a decent plan. The text would perhaps make sense if von Gottschall intended to castle long, but in fact he never got around to castling on either wing.

8... Nf8

More tentative play by Wolf.8...b5 or 8...0-0 were better.

9. Ng5

von Gottschall hoped that the coming exchange of minor pieces would avoid complications. Had he been playing to win, 9. Na4 or 9. a4 or perhaps even 9. Be3 would have been more sensible.

9... Be6

Wolf was likewise willing to trade off two pairs of minor pieces.

10. BxB NxB
11. NxN QxN

11...fxN would have been more enterprising.

After the above listlessly played opening, the position was:

click for larger view

To this point, chances were about equal.

12. f4

The "?" the Tournament Book assigned to this move is a tad harsh, since White remains OK. But 12. 0-0 or 12. Na4 were somewhat better.

12... exf4
13. Bxf4

While this move is not bad, a more aggressive player would have tried 13. 0-0-0 immediately.

13... Bd4

13...0-0 seems more sensible. But, as I will discuss in my next post on this game, the text seems to have frightened von Gottschall, causing him to go to pieces and achieve a lost game in short order. A look at the position after 13...Bd4, however, provides little reason to expect White's game to collapse with the celerity it did:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

14. Kd2

"??"--Tournament Book.

While this is certainly a bad move, and far inferior to 14. Be3, it doesn't lose the game. Perhaps one "?" would suffice.

von Gottschall was obviously worried after 13...Bd4, it hardly warranted losing the chance to castle or putting his King in jeopardy.

14... 0-0

Unlike von Gottschall, Wolf made sure to bring his King to safety.

15. Qf3

15. g4 was better.

15... d5

Premature. 15...Rae8 and 15...b5 were both much better.

16. exd5 cxd5

A superior plan was 16...BxN+ followed by 17...Nxd5

The position was now:

click for larger view

17. Bg5

A pointless move. von Gottschall could have fought his way back with 17, Rae1.

17... Rfd8

Missing the even better 17...Qb6!, which gives Black an overwhelming advantage.

After the text (17...Rfd8), the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Despite all of his bad play to this point, von Gottschall was still very much in the game. But now he committed an outright positional blunder that (though not remarked upon in the Tournament Book) left his game damaged beyond repair:

18. BxN?

von Gottschall should have retreated his King with 18. Kc1 or 18. Kd1, and he certainly should not have parted with his Bishop. With this trade, White's game could no longer be defended.

18... BxB
19. h4

Making matters worse, 19. Rae1 was his best chance. Alternatively, he might have tried 19. a4.

19... Rac8

Wolf was now ready to pounce.

20. Nd1?

Further mangling his own position. 20. Rac1 or 20. Rhf1 were the best left to him. After 20. Nd1?, the position was:

click for larger view

20... Qc6

20...Re8 was even stronger.

21. c3

Almost every one of von Gottschall's moves at this stage of the game was awful. Rather than weaken his Queen-side, he should have defended with 21. Rc1.

21... b5

The Tournament Book assigns "!" to this move, but in fact the winning move was 21...Qa4! Now, von Gottschall has a chance once again.

22. a3?

Which he promptly blows. He should have played 22. d4!

22... a5

This left:

click for larger view

Things looked grim for von Gottschall at this point, but--as I will discuss in my next post on this game--he managed to run his down further downhill until the only question was how long it would take for him to checkmated.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

The balance of the game was a catastrophe for von Gottschall.

23. Rc1

He had to try 23. g3 or perhaps--in desperation--23. d4.

23... b4!

The decisive breakthrough

24. axb4 axb4
25. Qg4?

It is hard to blunder in a position this bad, but von Gottschall managed to do so. If he wanted to play on, he had to play 25. g3 or perhaps 25. Rf1. From here, he was simply overrun.

25... Re8!

Wolf's play at the beginning of this game was often shaky, but given a won position, he made no mistake.

26. Rf1 bxc3+
27. bxc3?

The only was to avoid immediate loss was 27. Nxc3.

The position after 27. bxc3? was:

click for larger view

Black to move and win:

27... d4!
28. c4

von Gottsschall's position was so wretched he might have tried an exchange sacrifice with 28. RxB to get Black's killer Bishop off the board (though even then his position was basically hopeless).

28... Qb6

This or 28...Qb7 spelled fini.

29. Rc2

This was bad, but nothing else would help either.

29... Qb4+
30. Kc1

This left:

click for larger view

The finish from here was brutal:

30... Ra8
31. Rb2 Ra1+
32. Kc2 Qa4+
33. Kd2 Bd8!

I love pretty quiet moves like this.

34. Rf5 Ba5+

von Gottschall could have saved himself the rest, the position now being:

click for larger view

35. RxB QxR+
36. Kc2 Qa4+

36...Qe1! immediately would have been faster.

37. Kd2 Qa5+
38. Kc2 Qe1+

Talk about a wretched position:

click for larger view


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