Friday, January 16, 2009

Tarrasch - Marco, Vienna, 1898

Siegbert Tarrasch was the great explicator of Steinitz’s theories, but the dogmatic certainty with which he expounded them provoked the Hypermodern reaction of the 1920’s. Tarrasch rejected those elements of Steinitz uncongenial to his style (e.g. defense of cramped but sound positions), but in the exploitation of a space advantage and the use of active pieces he had few peers.

Tarrasch - Marco
Vienna, 1898


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 Be7 6. Bd3 Nf6

Usual is 6. ... d5, maintaining the Knight at e4. The move selected by Black leads to a solid but passive position, not happy choice against Tarrasch.

7. 0-0 0-0 8. h3

A player with a space advantage should avoid exchanges (contrariwise, a player with a cramped position should seek to free himself by exchanging pieces), and so White prevents the exchange of the Bc8.

8. ... Be6 9. c4 c6 10. Ng5 Na6 11. Nc3 Nc7 12. f4 h6 13. Nf3

There would be no point in capturing the Be6, as White will soon play f4-f5 and g2-g4, leaving the Bishop with little scope.

13. ... Qc8 14. Qc2 Rb8

Instead, 14. ... d5 15. c5 b6 16. b4 a5 17. Na4 leads to a different but not much better pawn structure.

15. f5 Bd7 16. Bf4 b5 17. b3 c5 18. d5 b4 19. Ne2 a5 20. g4

White has the initiative, and so his pawn advances support an attack, while Black’s pawn on h6 only invites the opening of file by a later g4-g5.

20. ... Nh7 21. h4 Qd8 22. Bg3 a4

At last Black succeeds in opening a line for counterplay, but his pieces lack sufficient mobility to support the Rook.

23. Kh1 Ra8 24. Rae1 Ne8 25. Nf4 Bf6


26. Ne6!

The decisive breakthrough. The Knight cannot very well be captured, e.g. i) 26. ... fxe6 27. fxe6 Bc8 28. Bxh7+ Kh8 29. g5 Be7 30. Qg6 wins; ii) 26. ... Bxe6 27. fxe6 g6 28. exf7+ Rxf7 29. Bxg6 Re7 30. Rxe7 Qxe7 31. Re1, with great advantage to White.

26. ... axb3 27. axb3 Qb6 28. Nxf8 Kxf8 29. g5 hxg5 30. hxg5 Nxg5

Or 30. ... Bxg5 31. f6 g6 32. Bxg6 fxg6 33. Qxg6 and Black must lose a piece.

31. Qh2 Kg8 32. Nxg5 Bxg5 33. f6 g6 34. Bxg6, Black resigns

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