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Peter Arsenievich Romanovsky vs Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich
Leningrad (1925), Leningrad URS
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation General (C16)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-13-07  Timothy Glenn Forney: Wow 10.Nxd5 setting up the pawn fork to win,what a great combination.This is a tactical masterpiece!
Jun-15-07  Wolfgang01: The bishops final moves look funny and nice. Poor Ilya!! He lost all four games against Romanovsky!!
Jul-29-09  acolyte: Why 6. ...Kf8?
Aug-17-10  sevenseaman: A good flowing game where White retains control all the time. 26. Bf8 is pleasing and decisive.
Mar-11-12  backrank: This is Game 1 in 'The Russians Play Chess' by Irving Chernev, and one of the only 3 (out of 50) games in that book that were played in the 20s (the book covers the period 1925-1945).

Several times in this game, Black seems to seize the initiative and even to gain the upper hand, but each time he does so, Romanowsky shows him that he has seen further ahead than his opponent.

<acolyte>'s certainly right: ... 6. Kf8 was unnecessary. I guess Black wanted to keep his Bc8 in order to protect the pawn e6, which he had rendered a bit weak by f7-f6.

7. ... Qa5 threatens Qxb5. With remarkable coolness, White simply replies 8. Be2. Black thinks to build an imposing center by fxe5, since White can't recapture (9. Nxe5?? Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Qxc3+ and 11. ... Qxe5). But White, even more coolly, plays 9. 0-0! Black, of course, protects his precious pawn e5 by a natural developing move: 9. ... Nc6. Doesn't Black have the better of it now? But this is where the fireworks start: 10. Nxd5! This is only a sham sacrifice, since White regains the piece almost immediately, but isn't Black able to keep both center pawns? After 13. ... Bxb4 again White can't capture Nxe5, since Bc3 would gain material for Black. Can 14. Rb1 (played by White) be any good, as Bf5 immediately gains a tempo? 15. Rxb4!! is a real sac this time, a positional one, which is aimed at destroying Black's pawn center and opening lines and diagonals towards the black King. But does it really work? By 17. ... Qe4 Black seems to force either the exchange of Queens, or to seize a strong initiative after 18. Qb2 (Be2 had to be protected) Rc8, menacing Rc2. But again, Romanowsky has seen farther ahead. He plays 18. Qb2! anyway. With 19. Bh6! Rg8 20. Qf6+! White plays two beautiful moves based on pins (however, I somehow feel that Black's last chance would have consisted in immediately the exchange by 19. ... gxh6 20. Qxh8+). After 20. Bb5+ Blacks lacks a satisfactory reply (20. ... Kd8 21. Qd6+; 20. ... Nc6 21. Bxg7 and 22. Re1; 20. ... Bd7 21. Bxd7+ Kxd7 22. Ne5+ and Black must finally lose his Ne7 with check). Therefore he tries to return the exchange with 20. ... Rc6. However, that last attempt doesn't soothe his opponent. After 21. Bxg7 Black doesn't know how to meet the deadly threat of Re1. Finally, he loses the Ne7 (which gets out of one pin just to get into another) and the game.

Wonderfully consistent attacking play by Romanovsky, a masterpiece that deserves to be much better known.

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