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James Ferguson Smyth vs Hermann Helms
"Helm's Deep" (game of the day Dec-09-2009)
Practice game (1915), Manhattan CC, New York, NY USA, May-28
Dutch Defense: General (A80)  ·  0-1



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Given 6 times; par: 25 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Ah, Herman Helms' Immortal Game. He was much more a writer than a player (however, his win vs. Marshall featured some fine ending play), but just one game like this one would make anyone's career worth all the losses.
Dec-09-09  RandomVisitor: Black missed 19...Qg5! as after 19...Qh5 20.Be4 white is better.

20...Bxg3 is mate in 4.

Dec-09-09  RandomVisitor: All of these improvements are worth a look: 10.Nb5






Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: The mating combination is clever, and the pun rings true. Notice the two towers next to the white king, for whom there is no return. (This time, the dark tower triumphs.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: It looks like I have become a part of's fixed assets having "" label instead of my user name...:-)))
Dec-09-09  newzild: Apart from the cute 22...Qg2+! the move I liked most in this game was 12...Nxd4! followed by the Qh4 fork of h2 and white's centralised minor pieces to recover the sacrificed material.
Dec-09-09  charlietheman: >Random Visitor< 13. Nxd4 is awful
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: What a finish:discovered check,double check,and mate!
Dec-09-09  David2009: <RandomVisitor: Black missed 19...Qg5! as after 19...Qh5 20.Be4 white is better.>

click for larger view

Smyth-Helms 1915, 20? 20 Be4! Bxe4 21 Rxe4! is an amazing save. However IMO the position is still difficult for White, e.g. Kg8 22 Rh4 Qf5 23 Qxf5 R3xf5 24 Bd4 e5 25 Bc3 a4 26 Bb4 Bxb4 27 axb4 Rf3 and we reach

click for larger view

Smyth-Helms 1915, 20 Be4 variation, 28?. White moves are my suggestions, Black moves are by Crafty (see link below): of course, there may be better White moves. Playing White, I eventually and with some difficulty found a way of drawing this position against Crafty (starting 28 Re4 Rb3 29 Rxe5 Rxb2 30 Ra5).

Crafty links to the positions at move 20 and 28 are and respectively. You are white, drag and drop the move you want to make.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: Black with his superb attacking skills left the White King in peril & ultimately doomed.
Dec-09-09  chillowack: Beautiful finish!
Dec-09-09  felixd: Very nice sacrifice!
Dec-09-09  WhiteRook48: weird
Dec-09-09  psmith: <RandomVisitor> 12...Rxf3! is very nice. It leads to this, I think:

12...Rxf3! 13. gxf3 (13. Bxf3 Nd4 14. Qd3 Bxh2+! 15. Kxh2 Qh4+ 16. Kg1 Nxf3+ 17. gxf3 Rf8! and there is no defense) 13...Nxd4 14. Qd3 Qh4 15. f4 Qg4+ 16. Kh1 Bxe4+ 17. Qxe4+ Nf3! 18. Qxa8+ Kf7 19. Be3 Qh3 20. Qxf3 Qxf3+ 21. Kg1 Bxf4 22. Bxf4 Qxf4 with a winning position for Black. (with help from Fritz 5.32)

Dec-09-09  dumbgai: The dark tower wins in this one.
Dec-09-09  Amarande: Shades of L Forgacs vs Tartakower, 1909 with a Queen sacrifice thrown in, an even faster victory and with the Black pieces no less.

Allegro con brio!

Dec-09-09  Shams: <David2009> well done, sir.
Dec-09-09  Eisenheim: interesting end - right away while reviewing it, taking the rooks with the B while the white squares are week. my instinct was 22 Bxb7 instead
Dec-10-09  Amarande: <Eisenheim>: There is no saving clause.

If 22 Bxf3, of course, then Bxf3 and mate at g2.

If, as you suggested, 22 Bxb7 Bxg3! is still curtains. White can only prevent the mate at h2 by capturing the Bishop, but -

a) 22 fxg3 Rxf1+ 23 Rxf1 Rxf1#

b) 22 hxg3 Rh5 and mate at h2 is inevitable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Interesting site. Some might consider the game to be "Out of This World!", but <YOUR-YCKQ29RWMW> does seem to be taking it a bit far.
Apr-29-12  Whitehat1963: What a great finish!
Apr-30-12  lost in space: Nice final mate!

click for larger view

Sep-27-12  ForeverYoung: After 20 ... Qh3 is threatening ... Qg2+!! With 21 Be4 white blocked it, but it appears he forgot about it when he played Bxf5. Not that there was any defense at that point though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Anthony Santasiere made an oil painting of the final position, which for many years was hung on a wall at the Marshall Chess Club.
Jun-21-21  Granny O Doul: @Graham: Not the final position, but just before Black plays 22...Qg2+. Unfortunately, he neglected to include White's bishop on e3, so we get a position where any reasonable move wins.
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