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Ernst Gruenfeld vs Albert Becker
Trebitsch mem 17th (1934), Vienna AUT, rd 12, Dec-13
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Classical Variation (D69)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-10-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Gruenfeld outsmarted Becker all game long. First, he showed that 18...Rad8 was not the clever tactical twist Black thought it was and secured a powerful center. Then he plays a clever trap in 27.h4--clever in that after 29...Qd8 and 31...Qe7 Black still thinks all is well (30.Qxf4??,Qxh4+). Gruenfeld then finishes with a combination that ensnares a piece (31...Qf6 might have defended better).
Jan-10-13  Rhialto: I wonder what Gruenfeld intended after 30...Rxd5 31.ed (31.ef Rd4) 31...Qxd5! and if White saves the Exchange Black has a fair amount of compensation - and at least he isn't getting mated anymore. Maybe I'm missing something after 32.Rd6 Qc5? 33.Rc1 Qb4 looks like nothing.
Jan-11-13  Rhialto: After checking with a computer it seems 30...Rxd5 is certainly viable for Black, but quite weak as Black should think about winning rather than surviving.

Gruenfeld played well until 26.Qg3? which already allowed 26...Bxf5 27.Rf1 Qh6! Then 26...h6? 27.Rc6 is winning, thanks to the shot 27...Qg5 28.Bxf7! Kxf7 29.Qb3+ Ke7 30.Rg6, whereas 27.h4? is not good. 27...Bxf5! 28.Qf4 Rd4 29.Rc6 was another mistake, as White needed to admit he was "wrong" and force simplification. After 29...Qd8 Black is much better, and now 30.Rf1?? is, it turns out, a massive blunder that loses at once to 30...Bxe4! 31.Bxe4 f5.

Black missed his last chance to win by 31...Qb8 pinning the rook. Instead 31...Qe7?? allowed the winning combination after which he had no chance.

Of course this is not so obvious sitting at the board. But it's instructive to note that what seems like a smooth victory is occasionally a bit more bumpy than it appears. Gruenfeld was a strong enough player that I suspect he knew full well he had blown his edge, and was more or less casting about hoping clever tactics would save him - as indeed they did.

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