Thursday, January 24, 2008

Schlechter-Marco, Monte Carlo 1904

The post-Steinitz era was seen by many as a time of dull play in comparison to the previous century, culminating in Capablanca’s prediction of a “draw death.” But the greatest masters of the period were still able to rise above the uniformity of style and produce such sprightly games as this.

Schlechter - Marco
Monte Carlo, 1904

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 0-0 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Rc1 a6

With the obvious intention of meeting 8. Bd3 with 8. ... dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 and 10. ... Bb7.

8. c5 b5 9. b4 c6 10. Bd3 a5 11. a3 Re8

The difference between the respective Queen Bishops is enormous, and the opening of the a-file is of little value to Black, for open lines will always benefit the better developed side. Strategically, Black’s only hope is to enforce ... e6-e5.

12. 0-0 Nh5 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Ne5 Nxe5 15. Bxh7+ Kf8 16. Qxh5 Nc4 17. Bd3 Qf6 18. Bxc4 bxc4

The extra pawn means little, but every exchange exacerbates the problem of the Bishop at c8. White must avoid the position becoming to blocked, though, for his Rooks will need open files.

19. b5 Bd7 20. bxc6 Bxc6 21. Rb1 g6 22. Qh6+ Ke7 23. Rb6 Kd7 24. Qh3 Qg5 25. Rfb1 Rh8 26. Qf3 f5


27. Rxc6! Kxc6 28. Nxd5!

The second sacrifice cannot be accepted -- 28. ... exd5 29. Rb6+ Kc7 30. Qxd5 and Black will be mated, e.g. 30. ... Rhb8 31. Qd6+ Kc8 32. Rc6+ Kb7 33. Qc7#.

28. ... Rab8 29. Nf4+ Kd7 30. Rb7+ Rxb7 31. Qxb7+ Ke8 32. c6, Black resigns

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