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Weaver Adams vs Sidney Bernstein
"Dream Weaver" (game of the day Jan-13-2015)
United States Championship (1936), New York, NY USA, rd 7, May-03
Sicilian Defense: Nimzowitsch. Advance Variation (B29)  ·  1-0



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find similar games 3 more W Adams/S Bernstein games
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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-19-09  Jesspatrick: The maneuver 10.Bb5-a4-b3 achieved nothing and practically let Black equalize. Other 10th moves should be considered here. 10.Be2 10.g4!? but 10.a3 with the idea of Bc4-a2 is met stopped with 10...Na5

Now, I speculate that Adams sensed that he'd let his opponent back into the game, and this factored into his decision to sacrifice the Exchange on move 15. The sacrifice has great practical value, since defense is not easy to organize. Also, Bernstein was notorious for getting himself into time trouble. He probably only had minutes left before Adams stunned him with 22.Bh6

Jun-20-14  jrofrano: I have annotated this game available here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Dream Weaver.
Jan-13-15  Abdel Irada: <He probably only had minutes left before Adams stunned him with 22.Bh6>

On the other hand, being stunned doesn't tend to be good for one's game even with plenty of time on the clock.

Jan-13-15  Abdel Irada: Nice finish, incidentally, if Black takes the bishop:

<24. ...Kxg7

25. Qg5+, Kf8

26. Qh6+, Kxe7

27. Qd6#>

Jan-13-15  goodevans: <Jesspatrick: The maneuver 10.Bb5-a4-b3 achieved nothing>

... apart from control of the crucial d5 square and contributing to a healthy lead in development.

<... and practically let Black equalize.>

After 12.Bb3 black's next four moves see him trade off his only three developed pieces for a fragile material advantage. Nowhere near equality in my book.

Jan-13-15  morfishine: A powerful, positional bind as evidenced by Black's almost complete inability to find a constructive move, much less plan

Having played 20...Qe8 perhaps Black should've tried 21...Bd8 (to at the least, remain consistent) and held his breath. He certainly had no time for 21...Rc7


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: This game's checkmating pattern kinda reminded me of Capablanca vs NN, 1918.

Of course, if black plays 24...Kf8, then it's not quite the same.

Jan-13-15  Bycotron: @ goodevans, I had very similar thoughts to Jesspatrick about 10.Bb5 played by white in this game. Your post made me curious to discover the truth of the position and white's 10th move, so I fired up Rybka to help me out.

Rybka supports the conclusion that the move is a very significant mistake by white, let me see if I can explain why.

First of all, it gives black the option of justifying his c7 knight simply by 10...Nxb5 = (Rybka) when white has not increased his development at all and will soon see the position truly is dead equal, eg. 11.Nxb5 a6 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.Rxd6 and I'm certainly not feeling nearly as confident with white as I was before his tenth move! How can he make progress against the stout black position with no weaknesses?

10...a6?! is a gamble by black. As indicated, 10...Nxb5 was the most obvious and probably best way to take advantage of white's slip. Now white can bail out with 11.Be2 when we must still nevertheless acknowledge 10.Bb5?! was a mistake because black now controls b5 which he can either use to expand his Queenside pawns to attack the white King, or place a piece on (eg Nb5) to control important squares in the white camp.

11.Ba4?! b5
12.Bb3 Na5
13.Qe2 Nxb3+
14.axb3 and look how black's position is improved! His Bb7 is free, white's Bb3 is gone, white's King's castle is compromised, and black owns most of the space on the Queenside around white's King!

You indicated that black's next three moves lead "nowhere near equality," thus justifying the entire 10.Bb5 plan, but this cannot be the case.

Look at the position after white's 14th move and black has done more than equalize, he is obviously better and Rybka confirms the advantage has switched hands (from .7 before white's 10th, to .3 before black's 14th). In material terms, white's questionable judgement has thrown away a whole pawn's worth of the advantage.

10.Bb5 was a very significant error by white, but black returned the favor when he played 14...Nd5?! instead of the most obvious move on the entire board 14...b4 when black remains very slightly on top after eg 15.Ne4 Nd5.

Black let white back into the game, white continued to play accurately, and when black slipped again with 20...Qe8 white cleaned up beautifully! White played a beautiful game here, but it was not perfect, and that's perfectly okay. :)

Jan-13-15  Gilmoy: Yah, I thought (at my quick-click replay speed) that <4..Nc7> kind of sucks, <10.Bb5> sucks more (just begging for 10..Nxb5), and <14..Nd5> was the final error. The petty maxim is that Black plays d5 to equalize, hence it follows that <piece>d5 does not fix Black's inherent congestion.

The exchange sac on d5 dovetails too well with K-side attack themes in Sicilian/Spanish (which means White already has several reasons to keep it high on his board-of-smiting). Deflecting e6 frees up canonical Ruy <21.Nf5>. Sicilian has the outright Nd5 sac just to get Nf5 (or, in some move permutations, you sac Nf5 to get Nd5, or offer two on d5/f5 and the one he doesn't get kills him). Theory was surely less prevalent back then (less complete, and much harder to disseminate, acquire, and study).

<Jesspatrick: ... stunned him with 22.Bh6> Well, only for 7-year-olds when their uncle first teaches them Ruy K-side attacks. Once White plants Nf5, deflecting g7 and Q-sees-g for mate is thematic in the position. That's <why> Ruy theory has Nf5 (and the laborious tours to get there), and Black defenses prevent it.

<22.Bh6> g6 surely fails on material (I can't see a mate by force). So that's too late to count as a prevention.

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