Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chigorin-Pollock, New York 1889

Though he pioneered many ideas in advance of his time, Chigorin was best known in his own era as a fierce attacker. Here he makes good use of one of his favorite weapons, the Evans Gambit, in which White sacrifices a flank pawn—which may become of importance in the endgame—for rapid development and a strong pawn center.

Chigorin – Pollock
New York, 1889

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Bc5

Inaccurate. The most reliable answer to the Evans is 5. ... Ba5 6. d4 exd4 7. 0-0, and now not the greedy 7. ... dxc3 (the “Compromised Defense”) but rather development with 7. ... Nge78. cxd4 d5.

6. 0-0 d6 7. d4 exd4 8. cxd4 Bb6 9. Nc3 Na5

At the time a popular defense in the “Normal Position” of the Evans. It eventually became clear that, while eliminating the Bc4 was desirable in principle, Black in his undeveloped state could not afford the time lost.

10. Bg5 f6 11. Bf4 Nxc4 12. Qa4+ Kf7 13. Qxc4+ Be6 14. d5 Bd7 15. Ne2 Qe8 16. a4 Ne7 17. Be3 Ng6 18. Bxb6 cxb6 19. Qb4 Qe7 20. Ng3 Rac8 21. Nd4 Rc5 22. f4 Rhc8 23. Qd2 Rc4 24. Ne6 Nh4 25. Qd1 Bxe6 26. dxe6+ Kg8

Black has eliminated the intrusive Knight at e6, but the pawn that replaces it is at least as annoying. Instead, 26. … Qxe6 27. Qh5+ Ng6 28. f5 gives Black several pawns for the piece, but his King remains unsafe. He should have tried 23. ... Nf8.

27. Qg4 Ng6 28. Nf5 Qc7 29. e7 Kf7 30. Rad1 Qc5+ 31. Kh1 Rc6


32. e5

Breakthrough! With all the Black pieces tied down—the Knight must shield the g7 pawn, and the Queen and Rook are tied to the defense of the d6 pawn—White opens lines to the Black King.

32. ... fxe5

No better was 32. ... dxe5, in view of 33. Rd8 (threatening 34. e8Q+) Nxe7 34. Qxg7+ Ke6 35. Nxe7, and there is no good defense to 36. f4-f5 mate.

33. Nxd6+ Rxd6 34. fxe5+ Rf6 35. e8=Q+ Kxe8 36. Qd7+ Kf8 37. exf6, Black resigns

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