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Siegbert Tarrasch vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Vienna (1898), Vienna AUH, rd 9, Jun-13
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Hedgehog Variation (C66)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-13-09  outplayer: <nuwanda>It's not that obvious. I asked my brother(who is not chessholic as I am) what he would play in the diagrammed position. He wanted to play 22.Ne4. You have to calculate the variation ( a bare trunk again) to see if the exchange sacrifice works.
Mar-13-09  dghins: Re4 also wins for white
Mar-13-09  Patriot: e6 seemed to jump off the board. But a little calculation was necessary to see if the exchange sac works.

22.e6 Bxe6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Qxg4+ Ng7 25.Qg6

This prepares Qh7+ and Bg6 sealing the net. White has such a strong attack for compensation of the exchange, that I didn't even bother to look further. The f-file is open for the rook. The dark-squared bishop is ready to attack on g7 perhaps in some lines, or go to c5, etc.

Mar-13-09  goodevans: <stacase: Difficult? I don't think so! The e5 pawn had a "Move Me" sign taped to its back. So 22 e6 was a no brainer. The next two moves fell into place. Were it my game, I would have won!>

It took me less than 20 seconds to get that far, but then I got stuck!

Mar-13-09  TheTamale: Well, I got the first move, which is all I hope for on a Friday.
Mar-13-09  StevieB: e6 was obvious, but I didn't see the capture with Bxe6 figuring fxe6. Otherwise, I was there for the solution, just a little different tact. Happy weekend all!
Mar-13-09  YetAnotherAmateur: <<mike1>Don't think 26.Rf1 is necessary. 26. Qh7+ Kf8. 27.Bg6 and curtains.>

Another way black can get out of trouble with your final position (without Rf1 first) is 27. ... Bd6. In other words, it's not anywhere near as firm as Rf1 and the threat of Bh4#.

Mar-13-09  njchess: I've examined this position for about two minutes and concluded that the only solid candidate is 22. e6.

From there I calculated 22. e6 Bxe6 23. Rxe6! fxe6 24. Qxg4+ Ng7 (24. ... Kf8? 25. Qxh5 Bf6 26. Bc5+ ) 25. Qg6 Bf6 26. Rf1 Rf8 27. Be3 . White has an extremely strong attack and Black has little if any counterplay. Time to check.

Mar-13-09  njchess: 25. ... Rb4 was a pleasant surprise. Steinitz never found Bf6, not that it mattered much.

Steinitz really overreaches with 14. ... g5 and is punished accordingly.

Mar-13-09  The Rocket: I saw e6... followed by bxe6, rook takes e6!, fxe6, Qgx4+, and then qjg6 in about 2 sec
Mar-13-09  zanshin: Again, partial credit for me because I quickly saw White's 1st 3 moves starting with <22.e6>. Then, as usual, I stopped analyzing so I could start patting myself on the back ;-) I don't think it's just me - the puzzles this week have not been going from easy to hard.
Mar-13-09  notyetagm: 22 ?

click for larger view

I am sure that Topalov would approve of 22 ♖e1x♗e6!.

22 ♖e1x♗e6!

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A pawn sac set up a rook sac that set up ab opening of the black's king position abd quick defeat.
Mar-13-09  SpoiltVictorianChild: Like most people, I got the first four moves, but when I saw Rf1 in the text, I had to stop and think why...

Not a very hard Friday, imo.

Mar-13-09  YouRang: The idea of Qxg4+ with support from my bishops looks promising -- except that Pg4 is protected by black's LSB.

So, how about eliminating that protection: <22.e6 Bxe6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Qxg4+ Ng7>. Now that my pawn is out of the way, I have 25.Bd4 (threat: Qxg7#) Bf8.

Rats, my board vision is fading. The f-file is open and black's pawn is now on e6, so I have good looking moves like Rf1 and Ne4 in store, and maybe I can make inroads at h7. It looks promising enough that I might be willing to play the moves I have so far, even if I don't see how to finish.

But, as far as the puzzle in concerned, I don't see how to finish. :-(

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Material is even but the black king is seriously exposed. The invasion attempt 22.Qd2-Qh6 is met with 22... Bg5. Another possibility is 22.Qe2 but after 22... Nf4 23.Qe4 Nxd3 White only has improved Blacks position. The direct 22.e6 looks more promising:

A) 22... Bxe6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Qxg4+ Ng7 (otherwise 25.Qxh5 )

A.1) 25.Bd4 Bf6 26.Bxf6 Qxf6 27.Rf1 Qh6 28.Ne4 Rf8 and Black seems to hold.

A.2) 25.Qg6 (threatening Rf1, Qh7)

A.2.a) 25... Bf6 26.Rf1
A.2.a.i) 26... Rf8 27.Qh7+ Kf7 28.Bg6+ Ke7 29.Bc5+ Kd7 30.Rd1+ . A.2.a.ii) 26... Rb4 27.Bc5 Rf8 28.Bxf8 .
A.2.a.iii) 26... Kf7 27.Bh4 Ke7 28.Qxg7+ .

A.2.b) 25... Bf8 26.Qh7+ Kf7 27.Bg8+ Ke7(f6) 28.Bh4+ .

A.2.c) 25... Rf8 26.Qh7+ Kf7 27.Bg6+ Kf6 28.Ne4+ Ke5 29.Qxg7+ .

A.2.d) 25... Rb4 26.Rf1 Rf4 (26... Bf6 transposes to A.2.a.ii) 27.Qh7+ Kf7 (27... Kf8 28.Bg6 ) 28.Bg6+ Kf6 (28... Kf8 29.Qh8#) 29.Bh4+ Ke5 30.Qxg7 Bf6 31.Bxf6+ Rxf6 32.Rxf6 Qxf6 (32... Qd4+ 33.Rf2+) 33.Qxf6+ Kxf6 34.Bxe8 .

A.2.e) 25... Kf8 26.Rf1 Nf5 27.Be3 Bf6 28.Bxf5 exf5 29.Bh6+ Ke7 30.Rd1+ .

A.3) 25.Rd1

A.3.a) 25... Bd6 26.Bh4 Qd7 27.Ne4 with attack.

A.3.b) 25... Qc8 26.Qg6 (threatening Bd4, Rf1 and Qh7) Rb4 26.Rf1 is similar to A.2.d.

A.3.c) 25... Rxb2 26.Bg6 Qc8 (26... Bd6 27.Qh3) 27.Qh3 and the knight seems to be lost after Qh7+.

B) 22... fxe6 23.Qxg4+ Ng7 24.Re5 Bf6 25.Rh5 e5 26.Qg6, threatening 27.Rh8+ Kxh8 28.Qh7#.

C) 22... Bc8 23.Qxg4+ Ng7 24.exf7+ Kxf7 25.Qg6+ with a winning attack.

Line A.2 seems stronger than A.3.

Mar-13-09  chopbox: Mike says
<mike1 Don't think 26.Rf1 is necessary. 26. Qh7+ Kf8. 27.Bg6 and curtains.> I've seen two responses to this, each stating problems with not doing 26.Rf1, but neither works.

A. <2ndNature> suggests <26. Qh7+ Kf8 27. Bg6 <Rh4>
28. Bxh4 Qd4+
29. Kh1 Qxh4+ >

but this is foiled by 29. Bf2 instead of 29. Kh1.

B. <YetAnotherAmateur> suggests <27. ... Bd6> but this is foiled by 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qxg7#.

I am very interested in Mike's original conjecture but I'm not a good enough chess player to see it through. Why did Tarrasch bother with Rf1 ? Perhaps he was concerned that it gave Black enough time for 27. ...Bf6 after which it looks (at least to me) like White will have to move the rook to f1 anyway.

Anybody else see anything?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: "What if black plays 21...Nh7?! instead of Nh5? Does 22 e6 still work?"

<kozo> <I think so, or at least it doesn't suddenly stop working. 21. ... Nh7 22. e6 Bxe6 23. Rxe6 fxe6 24. Qxg4+.

Now Kh8 is impossible because of Qh5, leaving Bg5 and Ng5. After Ng5 white has Rd1, winning a piece on g5, and if Bg5 white plays Be3.>

Heres the text position after 24Ng7.

click for larger view

Here's the alternative position if 21. ... Nh7 22. e6 Bxe6 23. Rxe6 fxe6 24. Qxg4 Ng5. Black seems safer now. His knight is twice-protected.

click for larger view

<kozo>, I agree with you, that white still wins by pounding at that g5 square. I see 25 Ne4 Rb4 26 Be3 Kg7.

click for larger view

Now comes a massive material exchange with 27 Bxg5 Bxg5 28 Qxg5+ Qxg5 29 Nxg5.

click for larger view

White is up an exchange and has as superior pawn position.

Mar-13-09  chopbox: Well, my own conjecture a couple posts ago (that perhaps Tarrasch moved 26. Rf1 because he was concerned with 27. ...Bf6) is pretty clearly wrong too (as 28. Bc5+ pretty much blows that out of the water).

So is <mike1> right then that Tarrasch didn't need 26. Rf1?

Mar-13-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: The most compelling feature of this position is the shaky defensive arrangement of black's pieces on the kingside, with the knight on the rim and the important g-pawn vulnerable. White's light-squared bishop is actively placed whereas black's bishops are passively placed, but black's pieces have the potential to be mobilized quickly on the K-side if white does not act promptly.

In this position, it's tempting to play the exchange sacrifice 22.e6 Bxe6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Qxg4+ Ng7 as a positional sacrifice without much thought. But often "obvious", intuitive continuations have big flaws. (Remember that Qh4+ spoiler that many of us, including me, missed a few weeks ago. What - white resigned? Not black resigned? It wasn't just a spite check?). In a blitz game or time pressure, I'd probably take the intuitive approach, but here I'll do some concrete analysis to try to find any holes:

22.e6 Bxe6

Impossible is 22...g3 23.Ba7 winning a piece. Unpalatable is 22...fxe6 23.Qxg4+ Ng7 24.Rf1 with a dominating position at no risk. White threatens Qg6 (or Qh3) and black can't play 24...e5 because of 25.Bc4+.

23.Rxe6 fxe6
24.Qxg4+ Ng7 So far, all forced

I looked first at Rd1 and Rf1, but the direct approach looks clearer:

A. 25...Bf6 26.Qh7+ Kf8 (Kf7 27.Bg6+ Ke7 28.Bc5+ Kd7 29.Rd1+) 27.Bc5+ Be7 (or Kf7 28.Bg6#) 28.Rf1+ Nf5 29.Rxf5+! exf5 30.Qh6+ ! Kf7 (or g8) 31. Bc4+ Be6 32.Bxe6#

B. 25...Bd6 26.Qh7+ Kf8 (or Kf7 27.Bg6+ Kf6 or d7 28.Bh4+ wins the queen or 27...Kf8 28. Bh4 Bc5+ 29.Kh1 wins the queen in view of 30.Qh8#) 27.Bh4 Bc5+ 28.Kh1 Qd7 (Be7 29.Rf1+ Nf5 30.Rxf5+ is like variation A) 29.Bg6 Qf7 30.Qh8+! Qg8 31.Rf1+ and mate next.

C. 25...Qd6 26.Qh7+ Kf8 (or 26...Kf7 27.Bg6+ Kf6 28.Bh4+ Ke5 29.Qxg7+ Kf4 30.Rf1+ Ke3 31.Bg5+ Bxg5 32.Qxg5+ Kd4 33.Ne2#) 27.Bg6 Bf6 (or d8) 28.Ne4 and black can resign in view of Bc5+

Well, that was a lot of work, but I'm convinced.

Time to see what happened.

Mar-13-09  ruzon: I agree with <mike1>, that Rf1 seems unnecessary, and <chopbox> said everything I was about to say, leaving more time in my day for a snack. I'm happy to say I saw all of White's moves up to Rf1.
Mar-13-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: I examined 25...Rb4 extensively as a response to 25.Rf1, but I forgot to reexamine it when I switched to 25.Qg6.

Not quite full credit.

Mar-13-09  squizz: What would happen after 22. Bh7+ ?
Mar-13-09  patzer2: Tarrasch's demolition of pawn structure sacrifice combination, beginning with 22. e6!, sets up a decisive attack on the resulting weakened Black's King-side.

It also solves today's Friday puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult):

Tarrasch vs Steinitz, 1898 (22.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Kg8 has 3 legal moves, all dark squares. The White Qd1 is on the d1-h5 diagonal with the Black Pg4 and Nh5, with the Pg4 protected only by Bd7. The White Pe5 can interfere with the protection, immediately suggesting the candidate 22.e6, with 23.Rxe5 following, if Black captures 22Bxe6. The disorganization of the Black pieces for defense of Kg8 supports 22.e6 as a desirable candidate. The White Kg1 is secure from checks.

Candidates (22.): e6


(1) 22Bxe6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 [else, drop a B]

24.Qxg4+ Ng7 [else, drop B+N for R]

[<Here, I went for 25.Qh3, which is winning but inferior, because as Toga II 1.3.1 points out, it permits the defense Ng7-f5.>]

The tactical motif of the attack is exploitation of the weak light squares around Kg8, pertaining even if White does not have to sacrifice the exchange:

(2) 22fxe6 23.Qxg4+ Ng7 etc., much as above.

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