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Akiba Rubinstein vs Siegbert Tarrasch
Hastings (1922), Hastings ENG, rd 4, Sep-13
Dutch Defense: Classical Variation (A84)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-18-03  ughaibu: Alekhine commented about this game "Rubinstein has a style much more aggresive than mine".
Mar-07-04  Benjamin Lau: It should not be a surprise then that Rubinstein is one of Kasparov's favorite players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 14 Nxf5 introduces an extended tactical skirmish, then an eerily quiet interlude when Rubinstein seems to be beaten back.

21 Ncd1!! is an unusually subtle regrouping after which all of White's pieces start aiming at the King.

May-08-05  Milo: Obviously, 14...Nxb7 15.Nxe7+. But what happens after 15....Nxb7 ...?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Milo>
One possibility is 15...Nxb7 16. Qd4!, to answer 16...exf5 with 17. Nd5! winning back the piece with a strong position for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <beatgiant, Milo> I would go for 15...Nxb2 16 Qd6 Qxd6 17 Nxd6 Ne8 18 Nxe8 Rxe8 19 Ne4 and I don't see how Black can ever develop his bad bishop and the idle a8♖ without dropping material.

16 Qd4 also looks very good, and is less mechanical, but would require more calculation to keep the bind.

May-09-05  paladin at large: <tamar><14 Nxf5 introduces an extended tactical skirmish, then an eerily quiet interlude when Rubinstein seems to be beaten back.

21 Ncd1!! is an unusually subtle regrouping after which all of White's pieces start aiming at the King.>

Very well observed and stated. This is chess on a big scale. I also found the middle phase eerie.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <This is chess on a big scale.>

Rubinstein has a grand sense of timing in this one.

Tarrasch agrees to the tactics hoping to buy time for his lagging development, but goes too far with his 17th and 18th moves, giving away two tempi.

The trouble is that 17...d6 is not satisfactory either:

if 17...d6 18 e4 Kg7

when White in order to pursue his attack would have found a different way to dislodge the c4 knight

19 Na4 Qc7 20 Nb2 Ne5 21 Bf4 Bd7 22 Qd2 and the weakness at h6 will tell.

Perhaps 17...d5 was worth a shot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <tamar>
I didn't like the looks of 15...Nxb2 16. Qd6 Qa5, but I haven't worked out a detailed line. What did you see?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <tamar>
On 17...d5, the obvious try is 18. e4, for example 17...d5 18. e4 d4 19. Na4 Qa7 20. Bxh6 looks like a very strong attack for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <beatgiant> wrote:

<I didn't like the looks of 15...Nxb2 16. Qd6 Qa5, but I haven't worked out a detailed line. What did you see?>

I saw nothing! I didn't consider that the queen could avoid a trade, but 16...Qa5 is a plausible line hitting the c3 knight.

My thinking was that it would take a lot of steam out of Black's game if d6 were occupied and the b pawn prevented from moving- he would be two pieces down, so that Black would have to trade queens unless he got an immediate material win.

I'm at work (forgive any glaring errors in the following analysis just done from the diagram).

There is a cute tactic to save the knight I think might work:

15...Nxb2 16 Qd6 Qa5 17 Ne7+
Kh8 18 Ned5 threatening 19 Qxf8# and Nb6 too. If 17...Kf7 then 18 Nxc8 must be examined taking the guard from d7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I checked over the variation with Shredder 8 tonight.

15...Nxb2 16 Qd6 Qa5

17 Ne7+ Kf7

(17...Kh8 18 Ng6 double check wins instantly)

18 Ned5!

I erred here by suggesting 18 Nxc8 which would give away part of the advantage. The computer sees d5 as a key square and puts together a forcing sequence with an attack on the exposed King, much like Rubinstein did in the game.

Nc4 19 Qe7+ Kg8 20 Nxf6+ Rxf6

21 Nd5! Rf8 Forced.

(21...exd5 22 Bxd5+ Re6 23 Qe8#)

22 Rfc1 b5 23 cxb6 ep exd5 24 Rxc4!

Still complicated but White will win this.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <beatgiant> Would you say after 17 Bc1 that Black is lost? It sure looks that way to me.

<On 17...d5, the obvious try is 18. e4, for example 17...d5 18. e4 d4 19. Na4 Qa7 20. Bxh6 looks like a very strong attack for White.>

I think you're right, although given enough time to unravel Black has trumps on the queenside with his majority. White just has too many tempo gaining options. Continuing from your line, I like this sequence:

21 Rc1 b5
22 e5 Nd5
23 Qg4+ Kh8
24 Nb2 Qc5 (or 24...Nxb2 25 Bxd5!)
25 Rfd1 with better development and the two bishops.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <tamar>
<Would you say after 17. Bc1 that Black is lost?> It looks close to lost. If there is a defense, maybe it starts by shoring up the kingside with 17...Qh5, but White still has various strong replies and I suspect you can break that defense too with a little bit of study.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Thanks <beatgiant> Tarrasch dug himself a big hole with 3...c5. What possessed him to play this way against Rubinstein?

I am not sure it is salvageable after 17 Bc1, but the best try I've found is 17...Rb8 18 e4 b5 19 Bxh6 Rf7

17...Qh5 goes down as you suspected, but the method is nice.

18 Qxh5 Nxh5
19 e4 Kg7
20 Rd1 Rb8
21 Bf1! b5
22 Rb1 winning the d pawn:

if 22...Rb7 23 Bxc4 bc 24 Rxb7 Bxb7 25 Rxd7


if 22...d5 23 exd5 Bd7 Shredder 8

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <tamar>
Yes, I thought the ending was close to lost after 17...Qh5 18. Qxh5, although I was looking at 18...Nxh5 19. e4 <e5> instead of your 19...Kg7. But then Black's position looks ugly after 20. Bxh6 Rf6.

It looks like Black's been in very serious trouble since at least move 13.

Jun-29-08  Whitehat1963: Is there anything better than 19. a4 and 20. e4? What are the purposes of these moves?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Whitehat 1963> The theme of much of the game is the struggle between the latent power of the bishop at c1 and the well-posted knight at c4 that prevents the bishop from coming into play. 19. a4 hinders the reinforcing ...b5. 20. e4 opens a long diagonal for the bishop (which later allows 26. Qxh6+ and 33. Bh6+) and also sets up the Nc3-d1-e3 maneuver to trade off Black's knight.

That doesn't mean 19. a4 and 20. e4 are the strongest possible moves, of course.

Apr-26-09  WhiteRook48: what was the purpose of Nh6+?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <WhiteRook48> To disarrange Black's pawns and to gain time for Bb2-c1, preserving the bishop. After Black's 13....Nc4 attacking White's bishop at b2 there are a series of in-between moves by both players, starting with Rubinstein's 14. Nxf5. If now 14....exf5 then 15. Qb3 wins the knight on c4, while if 14....Nxb2 then 15. Nxe7+ Kf7 16. Qe2 Kxe7 17. Qxb2 is very much in White's favor. So Tarrasch interpolates 14....Bxc5 15. bxc5 Qxc5 (15....Nxb2 16. Qd6!).

Temporarily White is a piece ahead, but both the knight on f5 and bishop on b2 are hanging. So Rubinstein elects to give the piece back with 16. Nh6+, leaving Black a pawn extra but with a badly broken-up kingside and backward development.

It's fair to point out, though, that Shredder preferred a different way of giving the piece back: 16. Ne4 Qxf5 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Nd6 Nxd6 19. Qxd6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Connecting my last two posts together, with 16. Nh6+ instead of 16. Ne4 Rubinstein made a very committing decision, letting Tarrasch keep that powerful knight on c4, while his own bishop retreated to c1, where it was caged by its own pawns (not to mention the black knight). 19. a4 and 20. e4 were part of a campaign to bring the bishop back into play. So in a sense those moves followed logically from 16. Nh6+.
Mar-29-10  Ulhumbrus: 13....Nc4 exposes the N to attack upon a diagonal which has not been opened yet, the a2-g8 diagonal leading to Black's King on g8. For on 13 Nxf5 exf5 this diagonal is opened and 14 Bd5+ regains the piece with advantage.
Jan-26-14  GREYSTRIPE: There are few Grandmasters as good as Rubenstein. It is clear in his Center-Holds. The corsucant intelligence-quotient of A. Rubenstein is unquestioned and strong as the ocean-tides. The course of time over a chess-game-of-note is the advantage for A. Rubenstein as he is clarity-in-motion. One worthy thing to compliment about Center-Holds-Gains is that Rubenstein made it clear to opponents that Center-Bishops-Rooks is Rubenstein-dominant. Rubenstein is a chess-genius-of-note~ and has the respect of Grandmasters who, like the Grandmaster of Note, have put in the time-studies to be true. The more one studies actual Chess-play, the deeper and greater the cherry-oak of respect is for the Game, the Grandmasters who are True, and the time it takes to be better than a novice. Experience and Rubenstein are found next to each other when intelligent chess-players discuss what to do.

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