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Akiba Rubinstein vs David Janowski
"Dancing the Knight Away" (game of the day Nov-06-2009)
Marienbad (1925), Marianske Lazne CSR, rd 12, Jun-04
Indian Game: Saemisch-Indian (A50)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-11-07  alphee: I got it but was not sure until I saw the solution and not until the end as I stopped at 23.♖h3. I spent a lot of time eliminating 19.♘xf6 for which I could not find the most appropriate answer for black. My guess was black would play something like 19...gxf6 20. ♗xh7+ ♔h8 21. ♖h3 ♖f7 22. ♗g8+ ♔xg8 23. ♕g6+ ♔f8 but was not sure. I did'nt explore the 19...♖xf6 variation as it was followed by 20. ♗xh7+ ♔h8 21. ♖h3 and 19.♕xf6 didn't look as an option. Hence OTB I would have played ♘g5 more by elimination than by conviction.
Jan-11-07  pggarner: Missed it completely; kept looking at 19.Nxf6+.

The beautiful, hard-to-foresee part is that Black won't be able to take the bishop on g8 six moves into the combination.

This opening variation is scary for me since I like to play the Queen's Indian as Black. Instead of spending time fianchettoing his KB, White gets in e4 early and builds a big pawn center.

Jan-11-07  Themofro: With all the peices lined up on the queenside like white's were, it obviuos that the move must be knight somewhere, just a matter of finding the best square. Nice game by Rubinstein.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Cannon Fodder: <chessmoron: There's a lot interchangeable moves here after 19...fxg6. 19...h6 avoids mate but Ne6 and Black's rook will eventually get captured.>

Thanks for posting your analysis, chessmoron. So, is it correct that black, with better play, could cut his losses to going down an exchange? (Not that I'm trying to say winning an exchange isn't important, especially with so much initiative on white's side).

It's a great puzzle anyway. I'll have to make a mental note of this "clearance sac," since I chose Nxf6.

Jan-11-07  TrueBlue: Rg3 also works. Is there a rule you need to sacrifice a piece to get points for solving the puzzle?
Jan-11-07  Fezzik: Regarding the benefit of 19 Rg3 vs Ng5... 19.Ng5!! scores aesthetically higher than does 19.Rg3. However, aesthetics in chess have been pretty much removed by computer calculations.

I'd give full marks to both but prefer the ingenious knight sac. After all, it was the sac that made this game famous. If Rubinstein had simply played 19.Rg3, we wouldn't be looking at the position now!

Jan-11-07  TrueBlue: well, I found Rg3, didn't even consider Ng5. What can I say, I never had any appreication for aesthetics :(
Jan-11-07  LivBlockade: I wonder if anyone considered 19. ♘xc5?? and didn't see that 19...♗xc5+ was check.
Jan-11-07  Fisheremon: <TrueBlue><Fezzik: Regarding the benefit of 19 Rg3 vs Ng5... 19.Ng5!! scores aesthetically higher than does 19.Rg3. However, aesthetics in chess have been pretty much removed by computer calculations.> Perhaps, you didn't read my messages, I'd remind again. Aesthetically 19.Rg3!!, because it leads to a mate attack, 19.Ng5 looked nice, but in the variation 18...Re8 you don't get a mate attack.

More aesthetically must be 18.Nf6+!! (just after Black's blunder 17...f6) leading to immediate mate end.

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  InspiredByMorphy: Blacks piece coordination seems to be on the wrong side of the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Black's opening seemed suspect. Allowing the white light squared bishop and queen to bear down on h7 and the dark squared bishop's control of the a1-h8 diagonal, didn't seem very sound. All it took was a nice knight sac at g5 to rip black's kingside apart, in a beautiful finish.
Nov-06-09  backrank: A splendid, albeit not very surprising finish, since Black has left his K-side entirely undefended by his pieces. To me, it is more surprising how a grandmaster like Janowsky can do such a strategic misjudgement.
Nov-06-09  lzromeu: <InspiredByMorphy: Blacks piece coordination seems to be on the wrong side of the board.>

First White atack on Queen side, then invert the atack to king side and mate fastly. Black couldn´t follow this.

Nov-06-09  Wuster: Masterful.

Rubinstein - one of the best players never to ascend to be world champion. His games are works of art.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Wuster: Masterful.

Rubinstein - one of the best players never to ascend to be world champion. His games are works of art.>

Truly spoken. His combinations are the cleanest, most elegant of any player. But the genius is not so much the combination itself but getting to such positions. (Similar to what Spielmann said of Alekhine.)

Nov-06-09  ungeneral: I think the key mistake for black was Nb6?

With Nf6, black can use the knight to defend the kingside...?

Nov-06-09  Everett: Black has no less than four (!!!) pieces out of play when the combination starts. Quite surprising from someone who has clearly shown better understanding before.

On move 11 or 12 at the latest black needs to play ..Bxc3. That bishop is doing nothing, and cannot return to action quickly. Is keeping white rooks off the e-file the best use of this piece?

14..Ba6 is also inferior. 14..Nf8 followed by Bc8 is better.

15..h6 looks like an improvement, and 16..Nf8 is another one.

Rubinstein has more worthy efforts than this. It was too easy.

Nov-06-09  WhiteRook48: nice for GOTD
Nov-06-09  AnalyzeThis: I thought Janovski's 8...b5 was an interesting move, ahead of it's time. Rubinstein knew what he was doing when he declined the material and played for the initiative.
Nov-06-09  Eduardo Leon: Is there a problem with 23.♗g8? If 23...♕d7 24.♗e6 is decisive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The bishop is taboo-so mate follows.
Jan-14-12  maxx4.68: massacre of the innocents/Poor David
Jul-04-16  1971: Efficient chess. Takes skill.
Jul-04-16  1971: I love these kinds of positions where you just know the kingside attack is coming and it will be swift and crushing. Center closed and black's minors ineffective on the queenside. Just asking for it. Kasparov has an interesting way of looking at the board, he cuts it in half vertically and whichever side he has the piece play advantage is where he attacks. Skill is consciously drawing and tying down the enemy pieces deep in one wing (i.e attacking a backward pawn - impulsive, impatient players will sometimes just abandon their weakness and embark on a bankrupt counter attack which only hastens defeat) then quickly switching the attack to the side where they're helpless. Or noticing pieces are awkwardly placed and finding a plan that never lets them out of their cord, by closing (or opening!) the center for example, Karpov style.

Even better, masterful even, is playing like Anand and basing your entire strategy on just <one> bad enemy piece, a knight with no squares, or a bishop on the wrong diagonal.

A piece placement advantage can be a fleeting one though, and must be vigilantly exploited or leveraged into a stronger threat.

One way avoiding this happening to oneself is #1 king safety and good, solid preparation and understanding the plans and piece placement of your openings. Also fighting for initiative early, not letting the opponent force concessions, like Carlsen does so unassumingly to everyone. Give him one concession and he'll start becoming very demanding at the negotiating table.

Jul-04-16  1971: An absolutely beautiful finish and end position, I can't get enough of this game. Just a model of precision.
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