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Amos Burn vs Mikhail Chigorin
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 8, Jun-02
Queen's Gambit Declined: Chigorin Defense. Main Line (D07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-12-05  chess man: A beautiful ending displayed by Chigorin. The position would make a good Monday puzzle but perhaps it's just too easy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  juan31: Así es hermoso final.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A fine win by Tchigorin in a short but very sharp and engrossing game.

Burn and Tchigorin repeat the variation of the Queen's Gambit they played in Berlin 1897. Burn's attempted "improvement" on move 9 gave him little or nothing, but his understanding of the complex position allowed him to obtain a significant advantage. But in the extreme complications that followed, Burn erred and Tchigorin's tactical play from move move 16 on (with one small hiccup) was fabulous and he finished off the game quickly and effectively.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 Nc6

Tchigorin's favorite defense to the Queen's Gambit.

3. Nf3 Bg4
4. e3 e6
5. Nc3 Bb4
6. Qb3 BxN (f3)

As so often the case, Tchigorin was happy to trade off Bishop for Knight.

7. gxB Nge7
8. Bd2 0-0

The position was now:

click for larger view

Both players knew this position well. At Berlin 1897, Burn here played 9. a3 and lost, though not because of this move.

9. Rg1

An aggressive choice, but Tchigorin could have simply played 9...Qd6 and Burn would have little or no advantage. Marco suggests 9. f4 here. Panov suggests 9. 0-0-0. Both moves have their points, as did Burn's 9. a3 back at Berlin 1897.

The text (9. Rg1) seems no better than the alternatives discussed above, but Burn had analyzed the consequences. Perhaps not surprisingly, Burn outplayed Tchigorin over the course of the seven moves and obtained a significant advantage.

9... dxc4

This move is fine. 9...Qd6 looks even better.

10. Qxc4

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book argues that 10. Bxc4 was better here for Burn, but then Tchigorin could have played 10...Qd6 "with the double threat of Qxh2 and Na5" (Marco). Panov contends that after 10. Bxc4 Tchigorin could have played 10...Bd6, but this would be bad for Black after 11. Ne4! since if then 11...Bxa2 White gets an overwhelming attack after 12. Rh1 (or 12. Rg2).

In sum, Burn's move here was best.

10... Rb8

10...Nd5 seems better.

11. f4 b5?!

11...Nd5 seems better. But with the text Tchigorin is setting a nasty trap for Burn.

12. Qe2

Burn avoids the trouble he would face if he played the tempting 12. Nxb5 after which Tchigorin doubtless intended 12...BxB+ 13. KxB a6. But perhaps even better than the text was 12. Qd3. Another good alternative was 12. Qb3.

12... Ng6

Tchigorin underestimates the dangers he faces. 12...BxN was safest and best.

The position was now:

click for larger view

13. Rg5

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book appends a "!" to this move. Marco, by contrast, recommended snatching the b-pawn with 13. Nxb5. But after 13...BxB+ 14. QxB Nh4 Black would have serious counterplay. Best of all for White seems to be 13. 0-0-0 (or perhaps 13. a3).

13... a6
14. Qg4?

This appears to relinquish any advantage Burn had enjoyed. Best was 14. 0-0-0.

14... Be7!

A beautiful rejoinder by Tchigorin, who immediately exploits the awkward position of the White Rook on g5.

15. Rh5

Burn had no choice.

The position was now:

click for larger view

The complications that ensued were fascinating, and will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

After 15. Rh5, the game got very sharp--just the sort of game in which Tchigorin excelled.

15... b4?

But this was a mistake by Tchigorin. "This move, giving up the important c4 square, ought to have given White the better game." (Panov). 16...Nh4 was much better, after which chances would have been about even.

16. Na4!

This move displays Burn's profound understanding of the position. 16. Ne4 superficially looks best, but--as Panov has explained in his commentary on this game--this would have allowed Tchigorin to play 16...Nxd4!! and after 16. exN Qxd4 obtain the better game though being down a piece for two/three pawns.

The text does not allow Tchigorin any such chances, and Burn retains the better game.

16... f5

Aggressive play by Tchigorin. The position was now:

click for larger view

17. Qf3

This move has been criticized by all the commentators on this game, all of whom recommended 17. Qh3. While it is hard to contest the claim that 17. Qh3 would have been better, a close analysis of the position reveals that: (i) Burn would have had the advantage but by no means a won game with 17. Qh3; and (ii) Burn still had much the better position even after the text.

Much of the arguments for the merits of 17. Qh3 only consider weak defense by Black.

For example, if 17. Qh3 h6? Tchigorin would indeed be lost, but not with 18. Qg2 as recommended by Marco (after which Tchigorin could have played 18...Qe8) but by 18. Bc4!

Another response to 17. Qh3 considered by Marco is 17...Qe8. But then Burn would have a significant, though not necessarily winning, game after 18. Bc4 (but not by Marco's suggested 18. Rc1 after which Tchigorin would have been very much in the game after 18...Nxd4!.

After 17. Qh3 Qd5, considered by Panov in his analysis, Burn would have a likely win after 18. b3 (but not after Panov's inferior 18. Rc1 because of 18...Nxf4).

Best for Black after 17. Qh3 was 17...Qd7 after which Tchigorin would have had a difficult but defensible game.

Most importantly, even after the text, Burn has a good game (though not as good as after 17. Qh3 Qd7). But from this point on, Tchigorin plays excellently and outplays his talented opponent.

17... Qe8!

A subtle move that combines defense with offensive (e.g., the potential discovered attack on the a4 Knight). Burn most have overlooked this resource in his calculations. He now goes badly astray, losing all of his advantage with his next move and falling into a totally lost position with his error two moves later. The consequences of Tchigorin's clever 17...Qe8 soon make themselves felt.

In fairness to Burn, the position at this stage is so complicated that the commentators seem bewildered. To the extent I may have found the best lines for White, it must be recalled that I have had a few says to consider the position plus the chance to review my lines with the help of computer analysis.

18. Qh3?

As Marco noted in his commentary, Burn has lost a move as compared with 17. Qh3. Rosenthal in the Tournament Book claims that Burn here should have played 18. b3, but this would allow Tchigorin to turn the tables with 18...Nxf4! and if then 19. exN Nxd4 with the better game for Black.

The only move by which Burn could have retained the advantage was the careful 18. Qd1 (simultaneously defending both the a4 Knight and the h5 Rook). But this was a hard move to find when Burn was looking for a King-side attack.

The position was now:

click for larger view

Here Tchigorin displayed his tactical genius with:

18... Nxd4!

Burn obviously overlooked this move. He must now play with great care to avoid disaster.

19. exN QxN

click for larger view

The crisis of the game had arrived, and the game from here was decided within the next few moves. I will cover this crucial stage of the game in my next post on this site.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Following Burn' error on move 18 (18. Qh3) and after Tchigorin's 19...QxN, dangers loomed for Burn. But he made the "obvious" move, and got crushed immediately by Tchigorin:

20. Rxh7?

Burn doesn't see what Tchigorin has cooked up for him. If he had, he would have defended himself against disaster with 20. b3 (or perhaps 20. Bc4 or even 20. Rc1). But after the text...

20... b3!

A beautiful conception. White has no defense.

21. a3 Qxd4

The spectacular 21...Bb4 also wins, but the prosaic text is even more deadly.

The position after 21...Qxd4 was:

click for larger view

The only chance to hand on here for Burn was 22. Bc3. But instead:

22. Qh5?

This lemon should have been immediately disastrous, but in this completely winning position position Tchigorin missed the best line.

22... Kf7?

In fairness to Tchigorin, he is still winning eve after this poor move, but 22...Qxb2 (as recommended by Panov) or 22...Bh4 would have ended proceedings. Now, Burn has perhaps a fighting chance.

23. Bc3 Qe4+
24. Be2

24. Qe2 was much better.

24... Rg8
25. Qh6?

Burn must have been shell-shocked to play such a move. He obviously needed to defend his pinned Bishop at e2 to have any chance at all. (25. Rc1 was "best" for White in this awful position). Now, the game was over, the position being:

click for larger view

25... Nxf4!

Absolutely decisive. The rest does not require any comment.

26. Rxg7+ RxR
27. QxR+ Ke8
28. Qh8+ Bf8
29. Qe5 Nd3+


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