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Eugene Delmar vs William Ewart Napier
Buffalo (1901), Buffalo, New York USA, rd 9, Aug-16
King's Gambit: Falkbeer Countergambit. Charousek Gambit Accepted (C32)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-16-16  offramp: An interesting game that White played very well, but it gives the impression of being played by two not very talented 10 year olds.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Napier was a full point ahead of Delmar and Howell going into this penultimate round game. With Howell losing to Pillsbury this round and with this win over Napier, Delmar drew even with Napier for second place and pulled a point ahead of Howell. Delmar and Napier won their past round games, so they ended up tied for second prize with Delmar having the satisfaction of having won the only decisive game between them in this tournament.

The game itself was effectively over by after Napier's blunder on move 7. Delmar's innovation of 7. a3 had little to recommend it, except that it apparently led Napier to overrate his chances and throw away a piece with 7...Bc5?

The assessment of <offramp> that this game "gives the impression of being played by two not very talented 10 year olds' is a bit harsh; but only a bit.

1. e4 e5
2. f4 d5

The Falkbeer Counter-Gambit which was still popular at the time.

3. exd5

click for larger view

3... e4

The most usual response, but the less frequently played 3...exf4 is arguably best.

4. d3 Nf6

The normal move here. 4...Qxd5 is also entirely playable.

5. dxe4 Nxe4

click for larger view

6. Qe2

This unusual and doubtful move was first played in Charousek-Pillsbury, Nuremberg 1896. Though Charousek drew that game, 6. Nf3 is most usual and best. Remarkably, Delmar managed to win this game without ever moving his g1 Knight.

6... Qxd5
7. a3?

click for larger view

So far as I am aware, this is the only time this move was played. It has little to recommend it (7. Nd2 is best) except that induced Napier to blunder away the game on his response.

7... Bc5?

click for larger view

8. Nc3!

As simple as that! White now wins a piece, and the game:

click for larger view

8... Bf2+

If Napier thought this provided him some sort of compensating attack, he was quickly disillusioned.

9. QxB

click for larger view

9... NxQ?

Objectively, 9...NxN 10. bxN 0-0 was marginally better since White's Queen-side would be shattered, but Black would still be down a piece. In fact, Black is simply lost and could have resigned here. After the text, the next few moves by both sides were forced.

10. NxQ RxR
11. Nxc7+ Kd8
12. NxR

click for larger view

Quite a strange position! You don't see this very often.

Black from here can try to muster a coffee-house attack, but the game was over.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

12... Re8+
13. Bc2 Nc6

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14. Bd2

14. Kf1 or 14. Nf3 would be faster.

click for larger view

14... Nd4

This only speeds the end. If Napier wanted to play on, he might have tried 14...Bf5 or 14...Bg4, not that the outcome would have likely been any different.

15. Ba5!

Allowing White to pin the Black Knight on d4.

15... b6
16. Rd1

16. 0-0-0 would also have been crushing.

The position after 16. Rd1 was:

click for larger view

16... Re4

16...bxB 17. RxN+ would not have been much better.

17. Nxb6

Even faster would have been 17. Bc3.

The position after 17. Nxb6 was:

click for larger view

At this point, with the game pretty much decided, the accounts of the game vary. I will give the moves as they appear in the Tournament Book, rather than those that appear on this site. The accounts merge at White's 21st move (i.e., at the time that Black resigned):

17... Bg4

Neither this, nor 17...Ba6 (the move recorded on this site) or 17...Kc7 (arguably "best") offer any real hope for Black.

After 17...Bg4 the position was:

click for larger view

18. RxN+

18. Nd5+ is even more devastating, but the text likewise left Black without hope.

18... RxR
19. BxB Re4+

Since 19...axN would run into 20. Bxb6+ winning the Black Rook.

20. Be2 axB
21. Bxb6+

click for larger view


Once White picks up the Black Knight on h1, he will have three minor pieces and two or three Pawns (including three passed pawns on the Queen-side) for the Black Rook.

Not surprisingly, Napier decided to call it a day at this point.

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