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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Siegbert Tarrasch
"Tarrasch the Thought" (game of the day Apr-28-2014)
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 5, Apr-28
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tarrasch Defense. Pseudo-Tarrasch (D30)  ·  0-1



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Given 72 times; par: 51 [what's this?]

Annotations by Raymond Keene.      [405 more games annotated by Keene]

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sac: 19...Bxh2+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: A bit too famous for a puzzle I would say. But the game is great.
Jan-13-21  Brenin: This would be a good puzzle if it wasn't so well-known. Recycling it every couple of years doesn't help. And, of course, the obvious 19 ... Bxh2+ isn't objectively the best move.
Jan-13-21  AlicesKnight: Too famous, but good to see again. The king-hunt is as spectacular as the ecclesiastical immolation.
Jan-13-21  Damenlaeuferbauer: This is a world-famous game and one of the greatest achievements of my compatriot, the immortal Dr Siegbert Tarrasch. The "Praeceptor Germaniae" played 19.-,Bxh2+! 20.Kxh2,Dh4+ 21.Kg1,Bxg2! 22.f3 (22.Kxg2,Qg4+ 23.Kh1,Rd5 24.Qxc5,Qh5+ 25.Kg2,Qg5+ 26.Kh1,Rxc5 27.dxc5,Qxd2 -+) 22.-,Rfe8 23.Ne4,Qh1+ 24.Kf2,Bxf1 25.d5,f5 26.Qc3,Qg2+ 27.Ke3,Rxe4+! 28.fxe4,f4+ (28.-,Qg3+! 29.Kd2,Qf2+ 30.Kd1,Qe2# would end 2 moves earlier) 29.Kxf4,Rf8+ 30.Ke5,Qh2+ 31.Ke6,Re8+ 32.Kd7,Bb5#. Just a consideration: Probably the Latvian/Russian jew Aaron Nimzowitsch thought (much) more dogmatically than the assimilated German jew Dr Siegbert Tarrasch!
Jan-13-21  saturn2: Interesting <Damenlaeuferbauer> remarks Tarrasch was jewish but says nothing about his opponent.
Jan-13-21  Brenin: <agb2002>: Thank you for the additional puzzle. After 65 Rxf7 Bxf7 66 Kxf7 d4 67 Kg7 d3, once both Ps have queened then 70 Qf6+ Kh5 71 Qh6 is mate, thanks to the Black P on g4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I wake quandary what to do? Bxh2 give affect petulance bandover uniform bejewel giveoff Bxg2 ghoul acrid mind against quite evolution I wake dr quandary facet lost mops brawn give gave read dear dare against quandary niggle gang v juh its raj jahtop finish mack bell witz tray have gave pg3 food give thought aorta jabba avid label exd4 flubb find figure aghast bold quibble give abridge give length a hack race buckle good with grown vote give totadd ditch arrive head hatch it is pothole in the road watches it mephisto oks it in tut body click bane Bxh2 cuff!
Jan-13-21  TheaN: Pretty sure I've seen this before, so the double-bishop sac idea was obvious, yet I was still a bit sloppy.

I chose Tarrasch' 19....Bxh2+!? which is flashy but risky: 20.Kxh2 Qh4+ 21.Kg1 Bxg2! 22.f3! is the only defense which I didn't consider (22.Kxg2 Qg4+ 23.Kh1 Rd5 24.Qxc5 Rh5+ 25.Qxh5 Qxh5+ 26.Kg2 Qg5+ -+). This requires 22....Rfe8!! which is an incredible reload. The main point is 23.Ne4 (else Re2) Qh1+ 24.Kf2 Bxf1, and the bishop is immune due to Qh2+. After 25.Nf6+ Kh8 -+, White's out of options.

The prosaic <19....Bxg2!> is more clinical, given it's more forcing. If White doesn't take it, Black will have Qg5, and 20.f4 Bxf1. However, <20.Kxg2 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Qf4!> forcing <22.Nf3 (else Qh2#) Qxf3+ 23.Kg1 cxd4! -+> and Black demolished the king side without sacrificing anything.

Jan-13-21  TheaN: Still, from a human perspective I'm not sure which is better, Bxh2+ or Bxg2.

Bxg2 with best play leads to a position where Black's demolished the king side and is up a pawn with not really any play for White, but it's not finished yet (19....Bxg2 20.Kxg2 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Qf4 22.Nf3 Qxf3+ 23.Kg1 cxd4 -+).

Bxh2+ with best play leads to Q+R vs 2R+B with a passed pawn for both sides (the isolani being White's (2R+B)) (19....Bxh2+ 20.Kxh2 Qh4+ 21.Kg1 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Qg4+ 23.Kh2 Rd5 24.Qxc5 Rh5+ 25.Qxh5 Qxh5+ 26.Kg2 Qg5+ 27.Kh2 Qxd2 -+). In effect, <this> line seems more crushing even though White could still play on, and the f3? line requires Black to calmly play Rfe8!, which adds a layer of difficulty.

Imo, if Black sees 22.f3 Rfe8!, then the Bxh2+ line is better between humans. Objectively, Bxg2 is.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If I initially analysed the idea beginning with ....Bxg2 and evaluated it as leading to a position in which I had an extra pawn and, moreover, my opponent had no counterplay, I would certainly plump for the line in a practical game; why give one's opponent any chances at all? If, on further inspection, I spotted the finesse that Tarrasch did in the game continuation, then ....Bxh2+ it is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: You know hold fire a fact h2 or g2 easy it is no?
Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: I love how the final moves of the attack are played with Nimzowitch's queen threatening checkmate on g7 but unable to carry out the threat.
Jan-13-21  Morty212: Hey everybody, can someone please explain to me why White’s king didn’t capture both of Black’s bishops when they had the chance? Thank you for any help!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <Morty>, can you see the annotations by GM Keene while clicking through the game? It looks like you are referring to move 22 by White; if

22. Kxg2 Qg4 +
23. Kh2 Rd5
and White's position is lost.
Jan-13-21  Morty212: <Williebob> thank you this was a big help, and I was referring to move 22 by white, I just couldn’t see black’s Rd5 response until you said so! Thanks again
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <Morty>, you are welcome. Relatively few games in this database feature master annotations, but I recommend checking them out wherever they occur.
More importantly, I recommend clicking through the kibitzing! With important or 'classic' games, you will nearly always find many excellent contributions from the community, and you will find that there are many strong analysts here - not just Stockfish :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: Farthest along I ever got with this. I saw the ♗ sac oh h2 and the check with the ♕, but figured there'd be a preparatory move or two before ♗xg2.
Jan-13-21  R4f43l L3 M4550n: I see 19...Bxg2! and follow up is relatively easier to understand because it's only involves Q and B, but the game continuation is more energic and instructive!
Jan-13-21  RandomVisitor: After 15...Ne4

Note how 4 pieces are between the black bishop on b7 and the pawn on g2. By move 18 all 4 pieces have been removed, setting up the finale.

Maybe 16.Re1 or 16.h3 first and white is ok:

click for larger view


<51/66 13:12 +0.07 16.Re1 h6 17.Bxc6> Bxc6 18.Qc2 Bb5 19.Nxe4 dxe4 20.Nd2 Rfe8 21.h3 Bd3 22.Qc3 Be5 23.Qxe5 Qxe5 24.Bxe5 Rxe5 25.Rc3 Ba6 26.Nc4 Bxc4

51/38 13:12 0.00 16.h3 Bc7 17.Bxc6 Bxc6 18.Qc2 Nxd2 19.Nxd2 d4 20.Qxc5 Qxc5 21.Rxc5 dxe3 22.Nc4 e2 23.Re1 Rd1 24.Bc3 Rfd8 25.Rxc6 Rxe1+ 26.Bxe1 Rd1 27.f4 Rxe1+ 28.Kf2 Rg1 29.Kxe2 Bxf4 30.Rc8+ Kg7 31.Ra8 Bh2 32.Ne3 Bf

Jan-13-21  Agferna: I am sure Tarrash perfectly saw 28...Qg3+, Qf2+ and Qe2#. With 28... f4+ he just wanted to rub it in, forcing the long white king walk ending in mate, while white was left with a frustrated mate threat. Cheers
Sep-23-21  DouglasGomes: 19... Bxg2 permits a mating attack forcing material loss in very few moves, not merely winning a pawn

19.. Bxg2 20. Kxg2 (20. Rfe1 Qg5 21. Re3 (21. f4 is hopeless) Bh3+ not the strongest but wins material) Qg5+ 21. Kh1 Qf4 22. Nf3 Qxf3+ 23. Kg1 Bxh2+ 24. Kxh2 Rd5 [White has to give up the queen to avoid mate]

Jan-18-22  f.alonso01: I am currently reading the book " Chess Opening Names" by Nathan Rose and the paragraph below is written in the Tarrasch Defence section.

" The 1914 game between Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch would stand on its own as a classic purely for its aesthetic beauty, but the enmity makes it even more significant. On move 28, with Nimzowitsch’s position hopeless, Tarrasch had a straightforward way to checkmate in three moves. But instead, he decided to toy with his vanquished opponent for a while, like a cat playing with a mouse before putting it out of its misery. Schadenfreude is a German word which means “pleasure derived from someone else’s pain”, and Tarrasch wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to experience some. He relished twisting the knife into Nimzowitsch for that bit longer as he delivered a striking mate in five."

Dec-31-22  generror: Yeah, but just because somebody writes it doesn't mean it's actually true. Edgar Winter shows that chess writers just love to embellish and add myths. Why should Nimzowitsch allow himself to be mated when he could just have resigned? Is there any first-hand source to give substance to this nice little Tarrasch the sadist story?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <generror: Yeah, but just because somebody writes it doesn't mean it's actually true....>

Had never read the above account; Reinfeld merely commented in his annotations that Tarrasch missed a speedier conclusion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Tarrasch possibly missed the quicker mate on move 28 due to time trouble (the first time control was 30 moves in 2 hours.)

We can suspect time trouble because apparently Tarrasch over an hour on his 18th move.

Nimzowitsch vs Tarrasch, 1914 (kibitz #74)

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