Monday, January 14, 2008

Marshall-Burn, Ostende 1905

What is the goal of the opening? The answer depends on the specific circumstances, but in open games the advantage will go to the player who first activates his Rooks. This is most often accomplished by castl­ing, but one should remember that castling is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Frank Marshall – Amos Burn
Ostende, 1905
C54 GIUOCO PIANO, Krakow Variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Kf1!?
A rare sideline. White wants to avoid the simplification that would result from 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 d5, and the complications of 7. Nc3 Nxe4 8. 0-0 Bxc3 9. d5 (the Moeller Attack).
7. ... Nxe4
Correct was 7. ... d5. White has delayed the activation of his King Rook, and it is more important for Black to prevent White’s expansion in the center than to grab material.
8. d5 Ne7 9. Qd4 Nf6 10. Bg5 Ng6 11. Nbd2 h6 12. Re1+ Kf8
Exploiting the scattered state of the Black forces, White has seized the open file. Black’s last move was unavoidable, for after 12. ... Be7 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. d6 cxd6 15. Qxf6, his position would be wretched.
13. Bd3 Be7
Had he foreseen the sequel, Black might have chosen 13. ... Bxd2 14. Bxd2 d6, with less disadvantage than in the game.
14. Bxg6 hxg5


Similar is 14. ... fxg6 15. Ne5 Qe8 16. Qd3, and the pressure on the e-file decides.
15. Ne5! fxg6 16. Nxg6+ Kf7 17. Rxe7+ Kxg6 18. Qd3+ Kh6
Not 18. ... Kh5, when 19. Rxg7 threatens both Qg6+ and Qh3 mate. The text appears to defend, but now White brings up the reserves. Note the importance of pawn structure even in tactical situations — were it not for the pawn on g5, White would be unable to pry open the key file.
19. h4 g4
Or, as Marshall pointed out, 19. ... Qxe7 20. hxg5+ Kxg5 21. Nf3+ Kg4 (21. ... Kf4 22. g3+ is a mirror variation) 22. Qg6+ Kf4 23. g3+ Kxf3 24. Qf4 mate!
20. h5 Nxh5 21. Qf5, Black resigns
For if 21. ... g4, he is mated after 22. Rxh5+ gx5 23. Qf6.

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