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NN vs Esteban Canal
Barcelona (1935)
King Pawn Game: Alapin Opening (C20)  ·  0-1



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find similar games 2 more NN/E Canal games
sac: 8...Bxc2 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-26-04  aw1988: Wow, I'm thinking a weakness with c2...
Oct-26-04  aw1988: I give up.
Oct-26-04  aw1988: GAH! Missed smothered mate entirely! I was thinking "after the double recapture on c2"... :(.
Oct-26-04  EyesofBlue: The rare, but always fun... "smother mate."
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It looked like Canal was "in the Zone" in this one! Queen saved but king lost.
Oct-26-04  Saruman: arggh a bit slower today 3 seconds...
Oct-26-04  ChessPraxis: Remember - let your king BREATHE!
Oct-26-04  Calculon: Is Ne2 the losing move or just one in a series of bad moves? It seems to serve no purpose; it costs a tempo to free the King's bishop.
Oct-26-04  Shah Mat: ahh smothered mate puzzles. how i love them!

for a nice little database of smothered mates (with java!) check out this site.

Oct-26-04  beenthere240: People who don't see smothered mate opportunities or threats in their actual games probably aren't looking for and miss them. The famous Fischer D. Byrne "immortal" game incorporates smothered mate threats, for example.
Oct-26-04  azaris: <People who don't see smothered mate opportunities or threats in their actual games probably aren't looking for and miss them.>

To be fair, if the other side can play a smothered mate they're usually winning anyway so missing it isn't that big a deal.

Oct-26-04  dac1990: You really have to start feeling sorry for poor NN.
Oct-26-04  GoodKnight: <Shah Mat>

Thanks for that website - I enjoyed looking through the games.

Oct-26-04  Knight13: Good shot. NN is always busted anyway.
Oct-26-04  Knight13: I think this puzzle is in the book "More Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps 2" by Bruce Pandolfini. I've seen this game or puzzle somewhere.
Oct-26-04  beenthere240: Broke down and looked it up:

Nomen Nescio, abbreviated to N.N., is used to signify an anonymous or non-specific person. The literal translation is "I don't know (his) name".

Oct-26-04  Stonewaller2: <Calculon> I wouldn't be as down on 2. ♘e2, meant to support ♙d4-d5, as I would be on 7. ♗d2?. In the event, 7. ♘g3, preventing ... ♗f5 (though I wonder how many of us would have found Black's 7th instead of his 8th, and/or how fast) and intending ♘fe4, looks better.
Oct-26-04  rover: I've always thought this was a Capablanca combination. Maybe it's the same pattern but a different position?
Oct-26-04  BluE DicE: A very pretty mate. I got this one pretty fast, because it reminded me of some positions I studied when I was learning.

I'll find myself looking for that elusive Smothered Mate, but the oppurtunity rarely occurs in my games.

Jul-30-09  jsheedy: Has NN ever won a game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Game Collection: N N's best games
Aug-31-11  DrMAL: Ole NN tried his hand at Alapin's Opening, after 4...Qa5 it looked like a gnarly version of the Scandinavian. 6.a3 or 7.Ng4 were entirely too unpatzerish instead he decided to go for choke.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheTamale: I guess 7. Bd2 is the clunker here. I must say, I never would have suspected as much were I playing the White pieces.
Sep-01-11  DrMAL: Well, 8.Rc1 was even more of a clunker (instead of 8.Ne4) but 9.Rxc2 for mate in 1 instead of 9.Qxc2 won the prize.
Jan-24-13  Amarande: <Calculon: Is Ne2 the losing move or just one in a series of bad moves? It seems to serve no purpose; it costs a tempo to free the King's bishop.>

It's generally not regarded as best (2 Nf3 typically is), and is something barely ever to be seen at high levels, but even to refer to 2 Ne2 as unsound, let alone losing, would be to go rather too far. It's hard to get a clearly lost game in two moves, especially with White - you pretty much have to fall into the Fool's Mate or hang a piece in order to do that, even against a strong opponent.

Indeed, this somewhat reserved development of the Knight has some positive features indeed. In the double e-pawn openings, it's often desirable for White to make a delayed advance of d2-d4, and also for White to place a Knight at f5, especially when Black castles short as he normally does. Both the developments to e2 and f3 seem equal in this regard (both are two moves from f5, and both support d4), but the development to e2 has a couple of particular advantages:

* Black cannot as easily disrupt White's plans to play d2-d4 with the pin Bg4, which often sees White in major openings (e.g. the closed Ruy Lopez main line) spending a move to play h3 in order to prevent it. With the Knight on e2, there is much less need for prophylaxis against the pin - for one, BxN will not damage White's Pawn structure if the Queen moves out of the pin as would be the case were the Knight at f3, and for two, there's the additional option of f3, particularly viable if White castles long (which is already frequent in openings where N-K2 is played by either side before developing the KB).

* The approach to f5 from e2 is via g3, which is a much safer square. OTOH, developing the Knight to f3 normally requires that it approach f5 via h4, a normally unsupported square. The difference is manifest when one considers Black's normal development - Nh4 will probably have to be supported by a preparatory move, lest Black win the e4 pawn with Nf6xe4 followed by snapping up the unprotected Knight (either with an unmoved Queen or with a Bishop developed to e7). Thus, the upshot is that White usually ends up after Nf3 having to use the Queen Knight to occupy f5, which takes an additional tempo (it taking four moves to bring the Knight from b1 to f5, versus three when starting at g1).

In addition, the KB may not really be of much use at all depending on White's attacking plan. Realistically, in the majority of double e-pawn games, this Bishop gets its day in the sun, if at all, early in the game and becomes much less relevant after the opening stages. This is easily appreciated by the fact that the focus after Black castles normally shifts from f7 to g7 - a dark square - or h7, for which the natural attacking diagonal for a White Bishop is obstructed by the e4 pawn. As a result, even in openings like the Ruy Lopez where this Bishop is initially developed grandly, one frequently sees it move into inactivity during the middle game (at c2 in the Lopez, for instance, the Bishop's role is largely limited to being an additional reinforcement for e4). So, blocking the Bishop may not turn out to be a significant handicap anyway.

As for the game at hand, the real clunker is indeed 7 Bd2?, after which White cannot avoid significant material loss. The least evil is then 8 Qc1 (not 8 Qb1 Nxc2+ 9 Kd1 Ne3+ catching the Queen after all) Nxc2+ 9 Kd1 Nxa1, after which there is still a game to play, but White has lost the Exchange and the ability to castle and although Black should by no means expect to win quickly, the result is not in doubt.

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