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Milan Vidmar vs Akiba Rubinstein
St. Petersburg (1909), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 4, Feb-19
Queen's Gambit Declined: Queen's Knight Variation (D31)  ·  0-1



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Given 10 times; par: 154 [what's this?]

Annotations by Emanuel Lasker.      [80 more games annotated by Lasker]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-12-04  Swindler: This is indeed a nice game by Rubinstein! He gets his trademark, the bishop pair, and uses it well, and avoiding all traps set by Vidmar. For example not getting tempted by 50...♖xb6? 51.♖xd4! ♔xd4 52.♗f2. Though 64...Rxf2 [Kmoch] would have been simpler.

BTW, shouldn't this be classified as a Queens Gambit Accepted? I guess the move order mess it up.

Mar-25-05  Karpova: does anyone know why they went on playing? 64...rb: and white can resign. rubinstein instead plays on for checkmate with the rook.

Kmoch writes: <apparently rubinstein desired to mate without an added queen, and vidmar was obviously eager to learn if this was possible.>

Mar-25-05  paladin at large: <karpova>yes, it seems odd that they would continue to play. Perhaps Rubinstein was in very severe time trouble and Vidmar continued to play solely on the chance that Rubinstein would not get the moves in, or would blunder. But, I do not know what, if any, time requirements would have been in force at that point in the game. Kmoch's comment seems odd, unless he had first hand knowledge: Maybe Vidmar and Rubinstein made a side bet.
Mar-25-05  Karpova: <paladin at large>

but severe time trouble wouldn't explain why not 64...rf2: since white couldn't even play for time then.

a side bet could be the reason though it seems strange. what should the bet be about? mating with a rook -> just underpromote...

Mar-25-05  paladin at large: <Karpova>I agree, it's a mystery. I have not read a biography of Rubinstein and do not know if his severe introversion - surely known to the other masters - may not have prompted Vidmar to continue just to irk him. Along this line, it is possible that Rubinstein was irritated that Vidmar did not resign, and that Rubinstein decided to rub it in by lengthening it.
Mar-25-05  slapwa: 62. ..., Rh3 would also have been less clumsy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Vidmar was no quitter! See also this game. Vidmar vs Tartakower, 1909
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I was curious if Lasker's notes held up under computer scrutiny.

<Here White might have saved the game: 22.Rxb4 axb4 (Rxb4 23.Bc5+ Kd8 24.Bxb4 axb4 25.Nc5 etc;) 23.Bc5+ Kd8 24.Bb6+ Ke7 25.Bc5+ Rxc5 26.Nxc5 b6 (Bc8; Rb1 ) 27.Na6 Bc8 28.Rb1.> E Lasker

Rybka confirms his line as played is indeed a draw, but gives a startling improvement for Black

26...Rc8! offering the b pawn instead of 26...b6.

Here is the complete line.

After 22.Rxb4 axb4 23.Bc5+ Kd8 24.Bb6+ Ke7 25.Bc5+ Rxc5 26.Nxc5

Rybka now gives 26...Rc8! 27 Nxb7 b3 28 b6 Bb5!!

click for larger view

A fantastic resource. I wonder if Rubinstein would have found it at the board.

The move threatens ...b2 and ...Rc1 so
White's line is forced.

29 axb5 b2 30 Nc5 Rxc5 31 b7 Rxb5 32 Rb1 Kd6! and Black wins.

This possibility gains a tempo for Black. So White's best play after 26...Rc8 is 27 Nxd7. I'll show that line next.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Because of the tactics shown in the last post, Lasker's proposed exchange sacrifice 22 Rxb4 likely would not have saved White.

His best line after 22 Rxb4 axb4 23 Bc5+
Kd8 24 Bb6+ Ke7 25 Bc5+ Rxc5 26 Nxc5 Rc8!

27 Nxd7 Kxd7 28 Rd1+ Ke7 29 Kf1 Ra8 30 Ra1 Kd6 31 Ke2 Kc5 32 Kd2 Rd8+ 33 Kc2 Kc4 Black's King position and the weakness of the queenside pawns looks decisive -1.27/19 Rybka.

Lasker annotated the games from St Petersburg, and going through them affected his appreciation of Rubinstein. Kasparov seems to have had the same experience, and his section on Rubinstein is his freshest and most lively.

It is finding moments like this, hidden within the games themselves, that show what an extra-ordinary player Rubinstein was.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <tamar: Rybka ... gives a startling improvement for Black. ... Here is the complete line.

After 22.Rxb4 axb4 23.Bc5+ Kd8 24.Bb6+ Ke7 25.Bc5+ Rxc5 26.Nxc5

Rybka now gives 26...Rc8! 27 Nxb7 b3 28 b6 Bb5!! ...>


In fact, it took me 'half-an-hour' to just decipher what makes the move tick and why nothing simpler works.

<22.Rxb4 axb4 23.Bc5+ Kd8 24.Bb6+ Ke7 25.Bc5+ Rxc5 26.Nxc5 Rc8! 27.Nxb7 b3 28.b6...>

28...b2 29.Nc5! Rxc5 30.b7... (White queens)

28...Rb8 29.Nc5 Rxb6 30.Rb1... (= I think)

Promotion tactics tend to be mind-bending in the first place; here there are mutual promotion threats, plus a fist-rank weakness!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <In fact, it took me 'half-an-hour' to just decipher what makes the move tick and why nothing simpler works.>

Every so often you come across magical positions where hidden advantages make crazy moves possible. I have found that Rubinstein's games contain an inordinate number of these positions, so it can't be accidental.

White has a lot of plausible tries after 26...Rc8. The "ordinary" wins after 27 Nd3 b3 or 27 Rc1 e5 28 f3 b6 are difficult enough for me, but the win after 27 Nxb7 is definitely out of my league.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <tamar> Well, I am definitely having a great time going over a sample of Rubinstein's games with the help of the "guess the move" feature.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mifralu: White resigned after < 71. ...g5 >

Source "(Neue) Wiener Schachzeitung, March 1909, pp.100-101"

Jun-26-21  tbontb: Early on, 18....Bb4 is more convincing than the greedy 18....axb5 19.Nd6 Kxd6 20.Ba3+. Instead, Rubinstein once again demonstrates the c file is more important than the d file, with a clear Black advantage after 23.Rfd1 Rac8. The last real chance is probably Lasker's 23.Rxb4 continuing ....axb4 24.Bc5+ Rxc5 25.Nxc5 b6 26.Na6. Later, 39....Rf2+ 40.Ke1 Rxf3 seems more incisive but Rubinstein characteristically prefers to prevent any counterplay.

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