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Wilhelm Cohn vs Heinrich Wolf
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 13, Aug-08
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit (D08)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Possible continuation: 17.Ne4 Bc7 18.Rad1 0-0 19.Nc5 Bc8 20.h3 Rxd1 21.Bxd1 Rf4 22.Ne4=

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Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A short but interesting draw featuring two players in the middle of the draw late in the Munich 1900 tournament. I am generally not a fan of short draws when there are still a number of pieces on the board. But <whiteshark> has given a very plausible line showing that the game was truly even.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5

The Albin Counter-Gambit. As I have discussed in my commentary on the game played between Burn and Halprin in the same (13th) round, the Albin Counter-Gambit was very popular at Munich 1900.

3. dxe5 d4
4. a3

The same move was played by Burn against Halprin in the same round (which had been played by Showalter against Cohn in an earlier round at Munich 1900). 4. Nf3 is more usual, but the text--which avoids Bb4+ by Black and prepares b4, is a very reasonable choice.

4... Nc6

Much better than 4...a5 as played in Showalter-Cohn and Burn-Halprin. 4...Ne7, aiming for either Nf5 (defending the advanced Black pawn on d4), or for Ng6 (attacking the White pawn on e5) was also good.

5. e3

Though it was tempting to develop the f1 Bishop, 5. Nf3 immediately was best. After the text, White has little chance of hanging onto his extra pawn on e5.

5... Bf5

"!"--Tournament Book.

Nice as it was to get Black's White-square Bishop into play (always a problem piece in d-pawn openings), 5...Nge7 or 5...dxe3, and perhaps also 5...Be6, were better.

After the text, White can simplify to a favorable (for White) endgame.

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6. Nf3 dxe3
7. QxQ+ RxQ
8. Bxe3

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White is clearly better in this "endgame," especially since Black needs to devote time to capture White's extra pawn on e5.

Black is at a key moment in the game. How best to develop his forces while dealing with the White pawn on e5 and prevent White from building up an attack while Black attends to his various housekeeping tasks.

8... Neg7

This is one idea: get the Knight to g6. Other possible moves were 8...Nh6, 8...Bg4, and 8...a6. I tend to favor the text.

9. Nc3 Ng6

Looking to win the e5 pawn ASAP. But Black should first take care that White not get a strong attack on the Queen's side. 9...a6 was therefore probably best.

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White should here have launched an attack with 10. Nd5 or 10>Nb5. Strangely enough, and as the ensuing moves demonstrate, neither player recognized the strength of such an attack.

10. Be2

Missing the above-mentioned chances to atack.

10... a6

This does not stop Nd5. Wolf should therefore have taken care of first things first and taken the e5 pawn with one of his Knights.

11. 0-0

Missing his last chance to go on the attack (with 11. Nd5). After the text, White retained a small advantage, but his chances of seeking a win seriously receded.

11... Ngex5
12. NxN NxN

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White still has some small chances, but the eventual result (a draw) was already in sight at this point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

With material equal and a balanced pawn structure, can anything be made of the position. Cohn did not press very hard to make something of his small advantage.

13. Bf4

This does--in conjunction with the minor piece exchange on move 14--result in an isolated pawn for Black but at the cost of trading Bishoop for Knight. 13. Rfe1 or 13. Rad1, getting the White Rooks to the central files was more promising if Cohn wanted to do more than get a quick draw.

13... f6

Trying to avoid an isolated pawn by 13...Bd6 would only make things worse and probably result in an isolated pawn anyway, e.g., 13...Bd6 14. Rfe1 Be6 15. Ne4 0-0 16. NxB cxN 17. b3.

14. BxN

According to plan. 14. Rad1 Bd6 was the main alternative, and does not seem to lead to much for White.

14... fxB
15. Bf3

If Cohn wanted to make something of Black's isolated e-pawn, 15. Rfe1 was best. But even if White won the e-pawn, Black's two Bishops would serve as adequate compensation, e.g., 15...Kf7 16. Bf3 c6 17. Rxe5 g6 with Bg7 to follow; or 15...c6 16. Bh5+ g6 17. Rxe5+ Kd7 18. Rd1+ Kc8 19. RxR+ KxR 20. Bf3 Bg7.

In sum, 19. Rfe1 was probably the only chance to play for a win, but would leave all the tactical possibilities in the hands of Black.

15... c6
16. Rfe1

The move now comes too late to cause Black any even small real worries.

16... Bd6

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1/2 -- 1/2

The "possible continuation" offered by user whiteshark looks quite plausible to me and goes a long way towards demonstrating the difficulties of playing for a win from the final position. White might try b4 on his 17th, 18th, or 19th turn in whiteshark's line, but I doubt that a Queen-side push would lead to much for White.

A draw is the legitimate result, but with White having the sounder pawn structure and Black holding the two Bishops, I would bet that an enterprising player such as Fischer or Carlsen would play for a win here from either side of the board.

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Round 13 (Wednesday, August 8)
from Munich 1900 by Phony Benoni
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit.
by checkhov

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