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Curt von Bardeleben vs Hermann von Gottschall
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 15, Aug-11
Spanish Game: Open Variations (C80)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Munich 1900 was painful for Bardeleben. He was sick for much of the tournament, resigned positions in games in which he was not lost, and made horrible errors in several other games.

In this last-round encounter, by which time neither player had any chance of a good prize or even a good record, Bardeleben misread the position at move 29 and--thinking he was going to win a pawn with a Queen fork--needlessly lost a piece. When his oversight became apparent to him, Bardeleben resigned and ended his time at this unhappy (for him) tournament). The game was closely contested until Bardeleben's blunder on move 29.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 Nxe4
6. d4 b5
7. Bb3 d5

The standard position in the Open Ruy Lopez.

click for larger view

8. a4

The move that nearly cost Lasker the World Championship in his 1910 match with Schlechter. 8. dxe5 is normal and best. Lasker played the text (8. a4) in four of his five games with Schlechter, drawing all four games.

8. a4 was introduced by Tchigorin in the 1880's It was later tried by Pillsbury, Janowski, Maroczy, Burn, Marco, Tarrasch, and Schlechter. Schlechter found the correct answer to 8. a4 in games 2 and 8 of the 1910 match, and 8. a4 has pretty much been abandoned since then.

8... Rb8

Best is 8...Nxd4 as played by Schlechter in games 2 and 8 of the 1910 match with Lasker. Schlechter played the (inferior) text in Games 4 and 6. After 8...Rb8, White gets the better game.

9. axb5 axb5
10. dxe5 Be6
11. c3

The typical White strategy in White, making room for his Bishop to retreat to c2 and fighting ton control d4.

11... Bc5

Schlechter played 11...Be7 in Game 4 of his match with Lasker, but switched to the text in Game 6. As in other lines in the Open Ruy Lopez, both moves have their point.

12. Nbd2

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12... NxN

Since he needn't fear 13. NxN; 12...Bf5; 12...Bb6; and 12...0-0 were all better.

13. QxN

Better than 13. BxN, since the Queen here is poised for Qg5 if Black plays Qd7 and allows White to launch a King-side attack (as occurred in this game).

13... 0-0
14. Bc2

Transposing back to Game 6 of the Lasker-Schlechter 1910 match (Schlechter had played 12...0-0 and then traded Knights on his 13th turn).

14... Re8

Inferior to Schlechter's 14...Qd7. Perhaps best of all was 14...Bg4.

After 14...Re8, the position was:

click for larger view

This position was reached in Pillsbury-Albin, Hastings 1895. Pillsbury here played 15. b4 and eventually won. The same position was reached in Marco-Tarrasch, Ostend 1905. Marco played 15. Qf4 (probably best) and drew.

15. Ra6

"?"--(Tournament Book)

Both Pillsbury's 15. b4 and Marco's 15. Qf4 (also the choice of the Tournament Book) were better. After the text, Bardeleben should have lost whatever edge he had as a result of Black's poor 8...Rb8.

15... Qd7

Rather than wasting time defending the c6 Knight with his Queen, von Gottschall should have equalized with the simple 15...Bb6.

16. Qg5

The wrong way to attack. 16. Ng5 was much better and would have given Bardeleben much the better game. Alternatively, Bardeleben could have restricted the Black Bishop with 16. h3 before commencing his own King-side operations.

16... Ra8

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

17. RxR

Bardeleben missed a neat little trick here that would have given him the better game. He should have played 17. Qh4! von Gottschall would then have had to play the weakening 17...g7, since 17...RxR? would lead to immediate catastrophe: 18. Qh7+ Kf8 19. Qh8+ Ke7 20. Bg5+ f6 21. Bxf6+! gxB 22. Qxf6 mate.

17... RxR
18. Rd1

Giving up whatever was left of his edge. 18. b4 was a better try.

18... Ra1

von Gottschall might have tried 18...b4 here.

19. Nd2

This move (with Nb3 in mind) was surely tempting, since having a Black Rook on a1 is rarely pleasant for White. But 19. b4 was still a better try.

19... Qe7

19...Be7 was surely better. After the text, Bardeleben--who could hardly have been expected to agree to trade Queens here-- once again had attacking chances:

click for larger view

20. Qf4

Missing 20. Qg3 was some pressure. Since Bardeleben--who was (to put it mildly) in awful form in this tournament--played Qg3 on his next move, the text among other things was a waste of time.

20... Bb6
21. Qg3

As he should have played the move before.

21... b4

Trying to precipitate a crisis on the Queen-side. 21...g6 and 21...Qd7 was other reasonable choices for von Gottschall here.

22. Nb3 Ra8

An unnecessary retreat. 22...Ra2 was stronger.

23. Bg5 Qe8

23...Qf8 was probably better.

After 23...Qe8, the position was:

click for larger view

24. Kh1?

This move turned out to be even worse than it looks (which is pretty bad). Bardeleben would have had some prospects of making something good (for him) happen with 24. Bh6! 24. Nd4 was also much better than the text.

Apart from missing chances to attack, the text (24. Kh1?) puts the White King on a square in which it is soon to be subject to a fatal check. This hardly seems likely now, but a peek ahead to von Gottschall's 31st move reveals what I mean.

24... bxc3!

Much better than 24...Ra2 immediately since Bardeleben could then have equalized with 25. Bh6 g6 26. Qh4.

25. bxc3 Ra2

Now Bardeleben had to take time to protect his c2 Bishop.

26. Rc1

Better than 26. Rd2.

The position after the text (26. Rc1) turned out to lead to the key position in the game:

click for larger view

von Gottschall could here have gotten somewhat the better game with 26...Qc8 or 26...Qa8 or even 26...Bd7 or 26...Ne7. Instead, he played the wild:

26... d4?!

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As will be clear from the tragedy (for Bardeleben) that followed, Bardeleben thought that 26...d4?! was a blunder that lost a pawn to an eventual Queen fork. His misreading of the above position led to loss of a piece and his immediate loss.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

27. Nxd4 BxN
28. cxB Nxd4

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So far so good for Bardeleben. With 29. Bb1, he would have chased away von Gottschall's intruding Rook and had the better game.

But Bardeleben remained seduced by the undefended Black Knight on d4. Could he simply win this piece with a Queen fork after 29. Bxh7+? So Bardeleben carelessly tried this combination, not noticing the very large fly in the ointment:

29. Bxh7+??

"?"--(Tournament Book)

29... KxB
30. Qd3+

As the Tournament Book correctly notes, 30. Qh4+ fails to 30...Kg6 31. QxN KxB. But Bardeleben (mistakenly) thought he had a better check that would allow him to come out a pawn ahead:

31. Qd3+

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Bardeleben apparently thought this wins back the lost piece since if the Knight moves to f5 (the only way to save the piece) it is pinned and can be snared with g4. But to return to a theme discussed in my previous post, keep an eye on the White King on h1.

31... Nf5
32. g4

click for larger view

Bardeleben thought he would now regain his piece and end up a pawn to the good. von Gottschall's reply must have been a shattering blow"

32... Qa8+


click for larger view


Bardeleben finally noticed that 33. Kg1 gets killed by 32...Ra3. And if then 33. Qc2 trying to maintain the pin (33. Rc3 allows the Black Knight to escape and thus loses to 33...RxR 34. QxR Nh6) the Tournament Book's 33...Qf3! terminates resistance (e.g., if 34. gxN Bd5 puts White in a mating net from which he cannot escape).

A painful albeit fitting close of Bardeleben's experience at Munich 1900.

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