Friday, November 27, 2020

The Grandmasters of Old Could Play Some Great Chess


And these would be grandmasters you may not of heard of. Here is a game from 1906 played in a tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia. White was the Hungarian GM Carl Schlechter and Black was a Russian GM Fyodor Dus-Chotimirski. 

Not exactly two players who's names roll off the tongue of some of the most knowledgeable of us of chess history. In one of the strongest tournaments ever held to that time in history, these two men finished tied for 8th-10th and 13th alone respectively out of 19 players. The tournament was won by world champion Dr. Emanual Lasker and Akiba Rubinstein - with both finishing with 14.5 points.

So, two middle of the road GM's, but what a brilliant positional battle they fought. Enjoy. Notes by Dr. Lasker himself, Igor3000 the engine, and your humble scribe where Igor has only advice and no commentary.

1. e4          c5

2. Nf3        Nc6

3. d4          cxd4

4. Nxd4      Nf6

5. Nc3        d6

6. Bc4         Bd7

7. Bg5         e6

8. O-O         a6

9. Nxc6        .......

Black intended Ne5, but White should not have exchanged his well posted knight.

9. .......         Bxc6

10. Qe2        Be7

11. Rad1       b5

12. Bd3         O-O

13. e5            Ne8

14. Bf4          d5?!

Better for Black was 14. ....b4 15. Nb1, g6 16. Rfe1, d5 (+.2 but now +.4 of a pawn for White).

15. Qg4         g6

16. Ne2         Ng7

17. Nd4         Bd7

18. Rfe1        Qa5

19. Bd2         Qb6

Of course not 19. Qxa2 20. Ra1, Qxb2 21. Reb1 and good bye Queen!

20. Be3          Qc7

21. f4?!          f5?!

Better for Black was 21. ......f6 22. Nf3, b4 23. Qh4, Bb5 24. Qf2, Rac8 with a very even game.

22. Qe2          g5?

The threat of this move is of no importance, while it clearly weakens the point f5 which is threatened by White's g4 and the diagonal which is commanded by White's white squared bishop. (+1).

23. Kh1         g4

24. a3            ......

The advance of the Black King-side pawns is less than useless says Dr. Lasker, and apparently Schlechter knew it too. They look scary to your humble scribe!

24. ......          h5

25. Bd2          h4

26. Bb4          Rf7?

Better was 26. ......Be8. (+1.6)

27. Bxe7         Rxe7

28. Qf2            Ne8

29. Qxh4         Rh7

30. Qf2            Ng7 

31. g3              Kf7

32. h4              gxh3

33. g4!             Rh6

If 33. ......    fxg4 then 34. Bxh7 A deflection pinning!

34. gxf5           exf5

35. Rg1            Rg8

36. Kh2            Qd8?

In a bad position and time on his clock dwindling (remember, no increment or delays in those days), the errors start occurring. (+3)

37. Rg5            Ne6?

Black needed 37. .....Rgh8 for a last chance at counter-play. (+6)

38. Nxf5           Resigns


  1. Fans of chess-related movies should check out "The Queen's Gambit" currently on Netflix. It's based on the book of the same name by Walter Tevis.

  2. Thankyou Anonymous. Yes it is a good movie even if you know nothing about chess.