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William Hodges vs Charles Edward Ranken
"Ranken Fail" (game of the day Sep-07-2020)
Provincial t (1851), London ENG, rd 2, Jun-??
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Slow Variation (C52)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  Honza Cervenka:, white was William Hodges.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: A rather odd title for a game in which so much happens on the diagonals.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 30...Bd4 would have given black a beter game.
Sep-07-20  Jamboree: Obviously 30. ... Qa2?? was a pointless and unnecessary blunder, hanging the queen for a rook. Most any other move for black would have left him with a better endgame with 2 Bs vs. a R. Even so, after the game continuation, black "blundered" again after white's 32nd move with 32. Qxa2 Resigns?

Why resign? After 32. ... Ka1!, black will eventually get his B to c6, then with correct timing get in a6 and move the other B to f6 or some other square where it isn't hanging, and then white will have a heck of a time trying to break the fortress.The only way will be to try to trade off two sets of pawns on the kingside and then try to force the remaining extra white pawn through. However, that will take many many moves, and meanwhile black will be trying to massage the A pawn up the file as well, and it could be quite difficult to stop with just a queen, while the K on its own would have to try to successfully trade off the other pawns.

It could be that with extreme precision and patience white could squeeze out a win from the game's final position, but it is not guaranteed. Black definitely should have played on to make white prove he could do it.

Sep-07-20  Brenin: Oh, dear! After the unwise 21 Nxd6 (21 Bxf7+ first was better) Black was in control, and 30 Qf4 would have kept his advantage. At the end, <Jamboree>, surely White's K-side pawn majority will be critical, though it could take a while to force the win. I imagine that Black, disgusted at throwing away a win, didn't fancy a couple of hours of hopeless defence.
Sep-07-20  Nosnibor: The pun does not show much reverence to to the priest.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.>

Besides, in 1851, Charles would only have been one of the rank and file.

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  AylerKupp: <<Jamboree> Why resign? ... It could be that with extreme precision and patience white could squeeze out a win from the game's final position, but it is not guaranteed. Black definitely should have played on to make white prove he could do it.>

Perhaps. But clearly with Q vs. 2B White has a commanding advantage. At d=40 Stockfish 12 indicates that White likely has a winning advantage, with a best evaluation of [+11.54] which was steadily rising until I stopped the analysis. Maybe if I had let it run longer Stockfish would have found a forced mate from the position after 32...Kh1, but I don't think it matters unless Stockfish fails to recognize a fortress-like position. And Stockfish 12 is supposed to be better at recognizing those types of positions.

And if Stockfish had been playing another engine the other engine would have continued playing until either mate or the GUI adjudicated the position as won for White. But, as <Brenin> indicated, this was a game between 2 humans, and after blundering badly with 30...Qa2?? Black likely "didn't fancy a couple of hours of hopeless defence." He expressed it a lot better than I could.

Of course, it's always possible that White could have blundered just as badly in turn if the game had continued, but that's not likely. Unfortunately Tartakower had not yet been born when this game was played so Ranken did not have Tartakower's maxim "No one ever won a game by resigning." to guide and encourage him.

Heck, <I> once resigned a game when I had a likely forced mate against my opponent with an overwhelming material advantage, thinking I was being mated instead, and I knew Tartakower's maxim. Although it was a long time ago and I don't really remember, I suspect that in the moment, disgusted and frustrated by thinking that I was being mated, I didn't think of it.

Sep-07-20  Brenin: Each day I learn something new from CG. In 1869 the Rev. Charles Ranken (by then vicar at Sandford-on-Thames) and Lord Randolph Churchill (future British Chancellor of the Exchequer and father of Winston) co-founded my second chess club, that at Oxford University. In 1889 Ranken was co-author of Chess Openings Ancient and Modern; a copy of this was one of the most heavily-annotated of Bobby Fischer's books, according to Frank Brady's biography.
Sep-07-20  RandomVisitor: 20.Nh4 was likely better, then 21.Bxf7+:

click for larger view

NNUE evaluation using nn-308d71810dff.nnue enabled

46/56 02:22 0.00 20.Nh4 Qh5 21.Bxf7+ Qxf7 22.Qxf7+ Kxf7 23.Nxd6+ Kf8 24.Ng6+ (the point of 20.Nh4) Kg8 25.Nxe8 now:

click for larger view


46/20 04:15 0.00 25...Bxe8 26.Rxe8+ Kf7 27.Re5 Kxg6 28.Rd5 Nb8 29.c4 Kf6 30.c5 Ba5 31.Rd3 Bb4 32.Rf3+ Ke7 33.Re3+ Kf7 34.Rf3+ Ke7

45/21 04:15 0.00 25...Kf7 26.Nh8+ Kg8 27.Nd6 Kxh8 28.Nxb7 Kg8 29.c4 Kf8 30.c5 Bc7 31.Nd6 a5 32.Re3 Nd4 33.h3 Bc6 34.Nc8 Bd5

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