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Jackson Whipps Showalter vs Wilhelm Cohn
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 12, Aug-07
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit (D08)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-20-02  knight: For better or worse white had to try to 12.g3 to finish development,12.Qd2 looks like a waist of time. 17.Ke2 was a funny move and 18.Qe1 was downright lol.
Nov-17-08  withingrace: more or less i wonder the sanity of white through this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: 17.Ke2 might have been forced. With 16...a5!, Cohn set up the threat of 17...Ba5 and after 17.Nd2,Ba5; 18.Qc2,Rfd8 leaves White trussed up like a roast chicken.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Showalter and Cohn were in the middle of the standings when they met in this 12th round game, Showalter standing a half-point ahead at 5.5-5.5 to Cohn's 5-6. As it turned out, this game decided 6th place, Cohn finishing a half-point ahead of Showalter who ended up tied for 7th place with Berger, Janowski, and Wolf.

Showalter must have been tired or out of sorts, since his play was atrocious. His efforts to find a novel way to meet Cohn's Albin Counter-Gambit were feeble, and he was lost by move 17. The assessment by <withingrace> who wonders about Showalter's sanity is not far off the mark.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5

The Albin Counter-Gambit, which was played several times at Munich 1900.

3. dxe5 d4
4. a3

A reasonable line that appeared for one of the first times. It was later played from time to time. Marshall played it against Mieses at Monte Carlo 1901 in a game won by the latter.

4... a5

4...Nc6 or 4...c5 are better.

5. Mf3 Bc5
6. Nbd2 Nc6

6...Bb6 preserving options was perhaps a little better.

7. Nb3 Ba7

7...b6 was better.

The position was now:

click for larger view

So far so good for Showalter, who surely had the better game at this point. But from here he played atrociously. He never got around to developing his King-side, let alone castling. Indeed, Showalter's f1 Bishop remained on its initial square until the end of the game. In effect, Showalter chose to play the rest of the game a piece down.

8. Bg5

He should have developed naturally with 8. e3, after which he would have had every reason to be pleased with his game. Moving his dark-square Bishop accomplished nothing, especially since he traded it off for Cohn's Knight just two moves later.

8... Nge7
9. c5

Another poor move. 9. e3 would have given him a decent game. But Showalter seemingly decided to conduct the game without the use of his f1 Bishop.

9. g3 was another reasonable option.

9... h6
10. BxN

So much for his 8. Bg5 as any kind of sensible plan.

10... QxB

The position was now:

click for larger view

Showalter's e5 pawn must fall, and any advantage he had enjoyed was gone.

11. Rc1 0-0
12. Qd2

<kinght> says that: "For better of worse White had to try 12. g3 to finish development. 12. Qd2 looks like a waste of time."

I agree that 12. Qd2 was misguided and that 12. g3 was better. But best for White here is 12. Qd3, blockading the Black d-pawn and preparing for an eventual e3.

12... Bg4

"!"--(Tournament Book).

I see no reason to celebrate this poor move. 12...a4 would have nicely forced the issue for Black. 12...Rd8 was also better than the text. This Bishop sortie only succeeded thanks to awful play by Showalter.

13. Nbxd4 BxN

"!"--(Tournament Book).

This was indeed best, but why the "!" ?

14. NxB

Showalter could have rectified his prior sins with 14. gxB, which would allow him to play f4 and to get his Rook on the open g1 file with some advantage. The text allowed Cohn to equalize with ease.

14... Bxc5
15. Qc3

"??" -- (Tournament Book).

I see nothing terribly wrong with this move, though I agree with the Tournament Book that it was about time for Showalter to consider playing e3 and getting his f1 Bishopinto the game.

15... Bb6

This left:

click for larger view

Despite some questionable play, Showalter still had about even chances here. But from this point, as I will discuss in my next post on this game Showalter's play was beyond awful, and he was dead lost within two moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

16. e3?

As <An Englishman> has aptly noted, Cohn was planning to play 16...a4 to set up the threat of Ba5. Showalter should have avoided all this with 16. a4. After the text, Cohn was able to proceed with his idea, and Showalter was getting in trouble.

Given Showalter's failure to this point to advance his e-pawn and develop his f1 Bishop, the text may look superficially attractive. But this positional consideration must yield to the tactical resources now at Cohn's disposal.

16... a4

"!"--(An Englishman).

17. Ke2?

<knight> calls this a "funny move." I call it awful.

Here I must disagree with An Englishman. 17. Qe2 was "forced." Showalter had several better options: e.g., 17. Kd1; 17. Qc2; and 17. Qc4. Showalter's position would not have been pretty after any of these choices, but he would still have been in the game. After the text, I do not see how he could have saved the game, the position now being:

click for larger view

Looks dreadful for White, doesn't it! But stay tuned, it got worse.

17... Ra5!

Preparing to play gang up on the e-file.

18. Qe1?

"downright lol" -- (knight).

Showalter may already have been lost, but he might have been able to offer some resistance with 18. Qc2 or 18. Rd1 or maybe 18. b4.

How bad was 18. Qe1?, have a look at the position after this lemon:

click for larger view

If there were awards for worst development schemes for White, Showalter would definitely be in the running for high honors.

18... Nxe5

Even better was 18...Qe6 or 18...Rb5. But the text was good enought.

The position was now:

click for larger view

19. NxN

To have any chance of survival, Showalter had to try 19. Qb4. His prospects would still have been dismal, but what followed after the text was a massacre.

19... RxN
20. Qb4

Hoping for some relief through the exchange of Queens. But this was a pipe dream. If he wanted to continue the struggle, Showalter might have tried 20. Rc3.

20... Bc5

Good enough to win, but 20...Qd7! (threatening Ba5 and Qd2+) would have been crushing.

21. Qc3

Showalter might as well have snatched the a-pawn with 21. Qxa4. Alternatively, he might have tried 21. Qf4 or 21. Qc4. But none of this was likely to change the result.

After the hopeless 21. Qc3, the position was:

click for larger view

Black to move and win:

21... Re8!

Ganging up big-time on White's e3 pawn.

22. Kd1

What else?

This left:

click for larger view

From here, as I will discuss in my next post on this game, Showalter finished brilliantly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Oops, I meant to say that COHN finished brilliantly.

Cohn's winning combination after 22. Kd1 is very pleasing to play over:

22... Bxe3!

"!" -- (Tournament Book)

22...Rd8+ also wins (23. Kc2 Bxe3; 23. Ke2 Qg5; 23. Bd3 Red5), but the text is prettier.

23. fxB Rxe3

This left:

click for larger view

24. Qc4

24. Bd3 might have allowed Showalter to hang on a bit longer, but to no avail (24. Bd3 Rd8).

24... b5

"!"-- (Tournament Book)

24. Qd7+; 24...Qd6+; and 24...Qf6 also all win easily.

25. Qb4

The Tournament Book notes that 25. Qxb5 loses to 25...Qe4. This is true, but 25...Rd8+ would be even stronger and faster.

It really made no difference at this point. Showalter was busted.

25... c5

This certainly did the trick, but 25...Qe6; 25...Qd7+; and 25...Qg5 were all faster routes to victory.

The position was now:

click for larger view

26. Rxc5

As the Tournament Book noted, 26. Qxc5 would have run into 26...Re1+ 27. Kd2 Rd8+ 28. Bd3 Qe2+ and wins (actually, 28...Re2+ is even better since it is then mate in 2).

26... Rd8+

26...Re1+ is--if possible--even more crushing.

27. Kc2 Rb3

"!"--(Tournament Book)

27...Re1 is faster, but once again Cohn's move was more than sufficient.

This left:

click for larger view

Time to resign.

Note the White f1 Bishop and h1 Rook still sitting on their original squares.

28. Rd5

Abandoning the Queen to her fate, but if Showalter had moved his Queen to the King-side 28...QxR+ would have followed.

28. Bd3 was probably "best" here, but almost as hopeless as the text.

28... Rc8+
29. Kb1 RxQ
30. axR Qe4+
31. Rd3 Rd8


The final position was:

click for larger view

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