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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Siegbert Tarrasch
Nuremberg (1896), Nuremberg GER, rd 6, Jul-25
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  1-0



Annotations by Joseph Henry Blackburne.      [148 more games annotated by Blackburne]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Blackburne crushes Tarrasch, plain and simple. Pretty game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part I

Neither plain nor simple, I realize now (with Shredder's help). Here are some Tarrasch and computer comments to go with Blackburne's notes. As with several games from the 1908 championship match, Tarrasch's position remains playable longer than he thinks. After a quiet opening, Blackburne patiently maneuvers for f2-f4. It's not a terribly dangerous plan, and even after f2-f4 is finally played Tarrasch retains opportunities for counterplay. But he drifts, and finally around move 30 Blackburne's assault grinds forward and and crushes Tarrasch in impressive fashion.

I also show alternative wins towards the end, not as a criticism of Blackburne, but simply for whatever tactical value kibitzers may find in it. Tarrasch's comments are in plain text; Shredder's/mine are in brackets.

<Position after 14. Qd1.>

click for larger view


Here Black could obtain an advantage through the following continuation, through which he believed erroneously that only exchanges and equality could be obtained: 14....d5 15. Ncxe5 dxe4 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. Ne1 (not 17. Ne5 on account of ...Qd5) Qd5. <Exchanges and equality are precisely what results after simply 17. dxe4 Nxe4 18. Rc2.>

After 15. Bg5

Necessary in order to prevent the now still stronger advance of the Queen's pawn. <The advance remains playable: 15....d5 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. exd5 Rad8 18. Ne3 Nf4 19. c4 c6! or 16. exd5 Qxd5 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Rd2 e4! 19. Ne1 a5 20. Ne3 Bxe3 21. fxe3 Qg5!.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part II

After 17....Nf4

From this move Black promised himself too much. Black had nothing better now than 17....Bxe3 18. fxe3 Qe6 19. Raf2 d5 with a good attack in the center and on the Queen's wing. Also in the next moves Black should still take the knight. <Shredder thinks that ...Nf4 is OK and that ...Bxe3 would lead to a slight advantage for White. Probably either move is playable. Deutsche Schachzeitung recommends ...c6, and that seems to be a good move too.>

18. g3! Ne6

The combination 18....Nxd3 19. Nd5 Qe6 20. Qxd3 c6 21. Rd2 turns into an advantage for White.

19. Nh4 g6?

<Shredder does not agree with Tarrasch's self-criticism. It continues to think Black is fine.>

20. Kh1 Kh7

Here for the last time Black had the opportunity through 20....Bxe3 to equalize the game. The open f-file was by far not so dangerous as the advance of the f-pawn, which White now prepared with great care.

21. Neg2! Rf8 22. Rc2 Qd8 23. f4 exf4 <Tarrasch prefers ...Ng7> 24. gxf4 Ng7

On 24....f5 25. Nxg6 Kxg6 26. exf5+ Rxf5 27. Qg4+ Kf6 28. Nh4 etc. could win quickly. <Not sure I trust the translation here (and a few other places); "could win quickly" doesn't sound like Tarrasch!>

25. Qg4 Qc8 26. Qg3 <Shredder notes that White can play 26. f5! forcing 26...g5 27. Nf3 f6. But Blackburne may have decided that was too blocked up. >

26....Nh5 27. Qf3 Nf6<?>

Now Black finally gets into real trouble. 27....Qd7 (aiming at the a-pawn) 28. a5 Qb5 is still OK.>

28. d4<?>

<28. e5 at once is much stronger.>

28....Qg4 29. Qd3 Rad8

click for larger view

With other moves the black position is also completely untenable. <Maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but Black is going downhill.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part III

30. e5 dxe5 <This is why Black played ...Rad8, of course, but he should not open White's f-file for him> 31. fxe5 Nd7 <Better ...Nd5> 32. Re2 <White can ignore the threat and play 32. Rcf2, because 32....Nxe5 33. Qc2 Qg5 34. Rf4 wins.>

32....c6 33. Re4 Qg5 34. Qh3 <34. Ref4 is stronger, because 34....Kg8 can be met by 35. e6! winning> 34....f5<?> <After this Black's position goes from losing in the long run to losing here and now> 35. Nf3 <35. Re3 Rg8 36. Rg3 Qe7 37. Nxg6 is another way> 35....Qe7 36. Rh4 Rh8

After 36....h5 37. Nf4 is likewise sufficient.

37. Nf4 <37. Rxh6+ Kg7 38. Rxg6+! Kxg6 39. Nfh4+ Kf7 40. Qxf5+ Nf6 41. Qg6+ Ke6 42. Rxf6+ Kd7 (42....Kd5 43. Ne3#) 43. Rf7 may not, per Blackburne, be elegant, but it is awfully effective>

37....Kg7 38. Rg1 <38. Nxg6 Kxg6 39. Rg1+ Kf7 40. Rxh6 Rxh6 31. Qxh6 wins -- everything wins! The rest of the game is just a massacre. Here is a diagram showing the full horror after 43. Qe4.>

click for larger view

<After 45. Rfxg6, mate is forced.>

Sep-01-14  Xeroxx: Nice game.
Dec-17-17  WorstPlayerEver: Maybe Tarrasch should have tried a Zwischenzug ☺

<20. Kh1 Kh7

Here for the last time Black had the opportunity through 20....Bxe3 to equalize the game. The open f-file was by far not so dangerous as the advance of the f-pawn, which White now prepared with great care.>


I admit it; you have great sense for drama. Guess you were doing pretty cool with Shrwedder. But 20... a5 is a nice little Zwischenzug afaiac 21. b5 Bxe3 (last opportunity aye?) 22. fxe3 Qe7 and Black is ok.

Dec-17-17  WorstPlayerEver: 23. f4 exf4

I think Beebee is right here: 'Exchanging gives White the superior position.'

23... Qd7 again ein Zwischenzug, jawohl!

23... Ng7 (24. Qg4 a5 25. f5 g5 26. f6 Ne8) is like saying: 'It was a crappy game anyway, let's make it a little worse.. I lost it, soit! Enough of this nonsense!'

Dec-17-17  WorstPlayerEver: PS 'Es war eine verr├╝ckte Spielbeschreibung sowieso, lassen sie uns es ein wenig schlimmer machen.. Ich hab es verloren, soit! Genug von diesem Unsinn!'
Dec-17-17  Nosnibor: Blackburne hat den Angriff ab sehr stark und zielbewabt gefuhurt.

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