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Fred Dewhirst Yates vs Akiba Rubinstein
Hastings (1922), Hastings ENG, rd 8, Sep-19
Spanish Game: Closed. Bogoljubow Variation (C91)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-24-05  halcyonteam: WOW, coolest pawn storm i have seen
Jun-24-05  Shokwave: Yates never saw it coming...he had to be crowing about the fate of the d5 pawn, until he saw those pawns march forward.
Jul-18-07  Karpova: 18.Nf5?! gxf5? 19.Qxg5 Nf6 20.Bh6! (<Threatening Qg5+ and Qg7# while 20.Bg5 Re8 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Qxh7+ would merely win a pawn>) 20...Kh8 21.Bg5
Aug-10-07  euripides: With 11...c6, Rubstein attacks the head of the pawn chain and allows White to inflict a backward pawn on d5 by 12.dxc6, with a formation very like an e5 Sicilian (though perhaps better for Black as White's minor pieces have limited access to d5).

At this date the e5 Sicilians probably had a bad reputation, though they had featured in the Lasker-Schlechter match. Judging from this database, Opocensky (of the Opocensky variation - e5 in the Najdorf) was already playing the Sicilian but not mainly in the e5 form:

search "opocensky sicilian"

So I wonder whether this idea had been played much in the Ruy Lopez, or whether Rubinstein was ahead of his time here.

Aug-10-07  euripides: ... I find that Yates himself tried something similar three years later against Lasker, but under much less favourable circumstances and perhaps only as a desperate measure:

Lasker vs Yates, 1925

Jun-06-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The system with 8 d4 is sometimes referred to as the Yates variation as he was the first to use it regularly. 11..c6 was a new move that has now become the main line. The disadvantage of 14..Nc4 is that White can offer the exchange of knights with 15 Nd2 gaining time (Rubinstein apparently recognized this as when the same two opponents reached this position three years later he played 14..Qc7). Yates did not take advantage instead playing 16 Nf1? which led to Black taking over the initiative. 18 Nf5?! was a waste of time; 18 a4 looks more useful. 20..Nf6!? winning the b-pawn was an alternative though the way Rubinstein played it seems more thematic. 22 b3 would have been a tougher defense.
Jun-07-13  Nerwal: 11... c6 is a new move, but the idea doesn't seem to be : Spielmann vs Marshall, 1911. And 11... c5 has also been played before which could lead to the same structure in case of 12. dxc6 : Tarrasch vs A Selezniev, 1923.

This position is discussed in Watson's Secrets of Modern Strategy (p. 113), and is one of many exemples of his bias against the old masters. Statistics are quite questionable as the position was rarely played before 1935 (and the best players then played 11... c6 or at least 11... c5 anyway), and there is also the fact that many modern players tend to repeat previous games irrespectively of the value of the line. More to the point is that classical players like Marshall and Rubinstein pioneered the modern c6 idea and people eventually followed their path, while Keres and Estrin much later still tried the academic plan of ♘e8 preparing f5 without much success. As Kmoch wrote it, played immediately this plan is actually positionally terrible, weakening the light squares and trading white's bad bishop; again Watson discusses a position according to only one specific positional factor, here the pawn breaks offered by the structure of pawn chains, while discarding all the others, and then concludes triumphantly : "there we are, rule independence !".

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