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Paul Saladin Leonhardt vs Amos Burn
Karlsbad (1911), Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) AUH, rd 9, Sep-01
Italian Game: Classical. De la Bourdonnais Variation (C53)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-23-05  J.A. Topfke: This was the first game analyzed on the Basic Principles of Chess Strategy CD by Aleksey Bartashnikov. Bartashnikov appears to be an unrated player but he has a Russian sounding name so that compensates I suppose. The CD is a good introduction to the basics of chess strategy for beginners to intermediate players as the title would suggest. It has light annotations and clear explanations and I would give it a thumbs up for its target audience. Amos Burn was identified as “Ivar Bern” for some strange reason, but the game is a good illustration of the strength of the pawn center. Armed with Fritz and Junior as a thinking crutch I decided to waste a few hours of my life and look at the game in closer detail.

The main line is 4…Nf6, but Burn decides on what I believe is called the Labourdonnais Variation, 4…d6, attempting to make a strongpoint out of the square e5. The problem is, after 5.d4 Black is practically forced to exchange pawns and give up the center because, as the Bartashnikov CD points out, 5…Bb6 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Bxf7 costs a pawn. After 5…exd4 6.cxd4 White’s two center pawns at d4 and e4 dominate over Black’s single center pawn at d6.

The CD doesn’t mention the more common 6…Bb4+ after which development could continue 7.Nc3 (7.Kf1!? is Lasker’s line) and:

A)7…Bg4 8.0-0 Nf6 9.d5 Bxf3 10.gxf3 as in Kramnik-Salov, Hoogovens blitz 1998. Here Black took the knight with 10…Bxc3, but he could have set an enticing little trap with 10…Ne5 11.Qa4+ Qd7 and probably White should defend f3 with 12.Be2 because 12.Qxb4? doesn’t win a piece, it gets mated after 12…Nxf3+ 13.Kh1 Qh3.

B)7…Nf6 8.0-0

B1) 8…Bxc3 9.bxc3 Nxe4 was analyzed by Greco who gave 10.Re1 (the computer prefers to attack with 10.d5 Ne7 11.Qd4 Nf6 12.Bg5 but Greco’s pre-laptop analysis looks stronger) 10…d5 11.Rxe4!? dxe4 12.Ng5 0-0? (12…Ne5! was found by Fritz and Junior: 13.Bb3 h6 14.Nxe4 Ng6 15.Ba3 Ne7 though White still has the initiative) 13.Qh5 h6 (13…Bf5 14.Bxf7+ Kh8 15.Nxh7 ) 14.Nxf7 Qf6?! (14…Rxf7 15.Bxf7+ Kh8 16.Bxh6 also wins for White) 15.Nxh6+ with a forced mate.

B2) 8…0-0 9.Bg5 Bxc3 10.bxc3

8…Bg4 9.Be3 0-0 could transpose to the game after 10.Bb3 or it could take on an independent nature after 10.h3, for example 10…Bxf3 11.gxf3 Ne7 12.Bg5 Qd7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Kh2 Albin-Mortimer, New York 1894.

The aim of 9.Bb3 is to avoid the center fork trick, for instance 9.Be3 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 d5.

Weakening the kingside with 10…h6 may not be the most strategically sound move. More popular is 10…Re8. After 11.Qd3 Bh5 12.Rae1 h6 13.Nd2 the move 13…Bg6 was seen in Leonhardt-Teichmann, London 1904 and 13…Ng4 was seen in Ruck-Petrov, Siofok EU-ch U20 1996. An interesting alternative pointed out by the Fritz Openings Book tab is 10…Qc8, which the tab awards an exclamation mark, intending to land the queen on h3 after …Bxf3 and gxf3. After this move some of the possibilities are:

A)11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bc2 (12.Qd3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Qh3 and then 14.Bf1? disconnects the rooks and fails to 14…Bxd4 so 14.Qd1 Bxd4 15.Bxd4 Nxd4 16.Qxd4 Qxf3+ with a quick draw to follow in Stein-Lukacs, Copenhagen op 1987) 12…Ba5, threatening to remove one of the defenders of e4.

B)11.Re1 Re8 12.Qd3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Qh3 14.Qd1 Nh5!? with the idea the bishop is overloaded with protecting both d4 and f4, however after 15.Bc4 the other bishop is able to fall back to f1 and defend against the mating threat on g2.

C)11.Qd3 Bxf3 12.gxf3 Qh3 13.Qd1 (13.Bd1? Nxd4! 14.Bxd4 Ng4!) when 13…Nxd4?! isn’t sufficient for the draw because after 14.Bxd4 Bxd4 15.Qxd4 Ng4 16.Rfe1 Qxh2+ 17.Kf1 c5 18.Qd2 Qh3+ 19.Ke2 Ne5 20.Qf4 everything is covered.

Oct-23-05  J.A. Topfke: Bartashnikov gives the variation 11…Bxf3 12.gxf3 Qd7 13.Kg2 Nh5 (with the threat of 14…Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Nf4+) 14.Nd5 Ne7 as “worth of attention (sic).” He never discusses the doubling of the f-pawns which didn’t seem to bother any of the masters in the variations quoted above, but mentions the open g-file as “White gets a new possibility to attack the Black’s king (sic).”

In the simul game Lasker-Meyer, Germany 1913, White played 12.a3 to prevent …Nb4, a thought Leonhardt maybe should have entertained on his 12th and 13th moves and likely did as he played this way on his 14th move.

The move 14…Qf8 looks awkward enough, I imagine with the idea of vacating the e7 square for the knight on c6. Fritz/Junior prefers 14…Be6 without fear of the fork 15.d5?! which doesn’t work because 15…Ne5 attacks the queen, so 15.Bc2.

15.f4! White’s plan is to push e5, and pushing the f-pawn, which carries the threat of trapping the bishop with f5, h3 and g4, helps in that regard.

With 16.h3 White indicates he will be initiating a kingside attack. The computer programs point out White can win a pawn on the queenside with 16.d5:

A)16…Ne7?! 17.Bxb6

A1)17…axb6? 18.Nb5 Rd7 19.e5 dxe5 20.fxe5 Nexd5 (20…Nfxd5? 21.e6!) 21.exf6

A2)17…cxb6 18.Nb5 Ng6 19.Nxa7

B)16…Bxe3+ 17.Qxe3 Ne7 18.Qxa7

Perhaps some of the stronger players can comment on whether grabbing the a-pawn is a detrimental positional mistake that allows Black a few extra moves to re-shuffle his pieces or the logical culmination of a well-played strategic attack. To me though, the instructive value of this game lays in the fact White’s control of the center allows him to attack on either flank with seeming success.

Oct-23-05  J.A. Topfke: My guess is that 16…Kh8 is a waiting move. Perhaps he can try something like 16…Ne7 but the point is White’s pawn center doesn’t allow Black to place any of his pieces in the center of the board.

18.Kh1 doesn’t seem necessary. Maybe attacking with 18.g5 Nh7 (not 18…hxg5? 19.fxg5 because the knight is pinned in front of the f7-square) 19.Kh2 is more straightforward.

Another way to hit at the center would have been 18…c5!? 19.g5 Nh5 (threatening to fork the king and the rook) 20.Kh2.

After 19.e5 Black’s position is beginning to look hopeless but maybe he could sac a pawn and try for some form of counterplay with 19…Ne4 20.Ndxe4 dxe4 21.Qxe4 f5. And if Black has to rely on a move like 20…f6 then his position really is hopeless. 22.Bf4 is an important move to not allow Black’s only active piece, the dark-squared bishop, to move to a more active square and control the h2-b8 diagonal. Likewise, Black doesn’t want to trade off his only active piece with 24…Bxd2 because, to quote Bartashnikov, “after that the opponent has no way to protect the dark squares.”

22…Ng8 and 24…Qe7 is a long-winded attempt to allow the bishop to fall back to c7, but 25.Qg3 prevents this plan. After that probably Black’s best hope is 25…Bxd2 26.Bxd2 b6 (with the idea of …c5) 27.Bd3 Ng5 28.Bb4 Qb7 29.Bd6 Ne4! and the d-file is cleared after 30.Bxe4 dxe4 31.Nc3 Bxe6! 32.fxe6 Rxe6 33.Bf4 Rxd4.

Analyzing with the computer has its pluses and minuses. One of the things I have learned from watching the computer is how it will maintain the pressure in situations when it has a positional advantage as opposed to simply cashing in. Junior agrees with the move played in the game, 27.b4, and Fritz likes 27.Ndb3, but is it too soon to cash in? 27.Nd7 threatens to trap the queen with Bd6:

A) 27…Bxd7? 28.Bd6

A1) 28…Bc7 29.Bxc7 Bc8 (29…Rc8 30.Bd6 Qd8 31.exd7) 30.Bxd8 Qxd8

A2) 28…Qxd6 29.Qxd6 Bxe6 30.Qxc6 Bd7 31.Qxd5

B) 27…Rxd7 28.exd7 Qxd7 29.Rxe8 Qxe8 30.Re1

And 27…Nf8, played in the game, doesn’t stop it either. 28.Nd7 is still answered by 28…Rxd7 because 28…Nxd7? loses to 29.Bd6. However it is educational to see that White’s center pawn formation, which led to a kingside attack, later in the game allows him to switch over to a queenside attack to open lines for his rooks with 28.a4!? Black could try and keep the position closed with 28…Bxc5 29.dxc5 Ba6 30.a5 but with only one piece and one pawn off the board, what a bind! The game move, 29.Ndb3, is winning, as is 29.Nd7 and 29.axb5.

29…axb4 30.a5 Ba7 (30…Bxc5 31.Nxc5 with the idea of Bc7) 31.Bc7.

30…Bxa5 31.bxa5 Qa7 32.Bc7 Ba6 33.Nxa6 Qxa6 34.Bxd8

31.Nxc6! prompts Black to sacrifice the queen with 31…Bxd4 because 31…Qb7 32.Nxd8 Rxd8 33.bxc5 is losing anyway.

34.Rxe5! and if 34…fxe5 then 35.Bxd8.

The queen sacrifice 41.Qxb7!? makes things real simple because after 41…Bxb7 42.Rd8 the passed pawn can’t be stopped.

Oct-23-05  Calli: 12...Be6 (Forster) is much better

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