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Siegbert Tarrasch vs Amos Burn
Ostend (Championship) (1907), Ostend BEL, rd 12, May-31
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-05-04  capanegra: Unique position: smothered mate to a queen!
Mar-06-04  drukenknight: is it too early to resign?
Sep-23-11  Thecheesykid: Could spare the queen with 30... Be5+ 31. dxe5 Qg7. This still loses black a bishop and a rook for nothing, practically the same point loss! But it's there... black's lost from this position, so a resign is probably wise.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Both players would be super-GMs by today's standards, so playing on after losing a queen for a knight would have been hopeless.
Feb-26-13  RookFile: Well, I think Tarrasch would have been a notch above Burn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One would imagine that Burn got his pipe going in this one before committing seppuku-fat lot of good it must have done, though!
Feb-26-13  RookFile: I find that move a4 of white's hard to meet. More and more I resist that move ...b5 in these Ruy Lopez schemes (although it's absolutely necessary in the Sicilian). The bishop drops back to b3 or c2 and it's just as lethal there. Meanwhile, congratulations, black has weakened his queenside. Remember Fischer's first game against Spassky in 1992 - bottom line is Fischer plays Nb1 with the idea that the b5 pawn goes bye-bye.

To me, the Modern Steinitz Defense (a6 but not b5, pawn on d6, Bishop on d7) has a very sound positional basis. An ideal outcome for black is to trade the pedestrian d7 bishop for white's bishop on a4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: White has firm control of the center throughout while Black has minimal counterplay. Note 15. Kh2 & 18. Ng1 are deep preparations for g3 & f4 busting open the Kingside by first protecting the Ph3.

The Bb3 is a beast!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: I just found this position in "The Complete Chessplayer" by Fred Reinfeld, without a game citation (per his usual). His comments from Chapter 6 = "Strategy In the Middle Game," translating descriptive to algebraic:

click for larger view


"When a player is able to set up his two center Pawns abreast on the fourth rank, he assures himself of an excellent development for his pieces. Most players are aware of this. What is less well known is that this type of Pawn center has a very hampering effect on the opponent's development.

In Diagram 187, for example, White's overwhelming Pawn center makes it impossible for any Black pieces to move to [f5], [d5] or [c5]. It is no coincidence that Black's pieces are huddled together on the last three ranks. The present lack of mobility is not quite conclusive; but what makes Black's cramped position catastrophic is that there is no prospect of *future* freedom.

White's position is free and comfortable. His Bishop on [b3] has a particularly effective diagonal pointing down to Black's vulnerable spot [f7]. Nor can Black drive away the Bishop with [... Na5] (because of RxN); while [... Be6] is equally impossible (because of [d4-d5]). White's freedom of action, as contrasted with Black's crabbed immobility, is based on the Pawn formation: White's Pawn center tells the story.

How is White to proceed; what is his plan? The process is pretty much the same as the endgame phase: White increases his mobility, seeks new lines, tries to cut down Black's sphere of action more and more. The logical plan for White is to direct more pressure on the center, leading to the opening of a new line. The indicated move for this purpose is [f4]. So White proceeds (from Diagram 187):

18. Ng1 <In order to make way for the [f Pawn].> g5 <With this desperate move he prevents [f4] - but only for the time being. At the same time, [... g5] has weakened the Black King's position and deprived his Knight on [f6] of valuable Pawn support. This is an instructive moment, very typical of such positions. The player with greater freedom threatens to seize even more terrain. The underdog tries to prevent him, but only at the cost of creating an organic weakness in his position.> 19. g3! <White is stubborn. He will advance the [f] Pawn after all.> Bf8 20. f4! gxf4 21. gxf4 exf4 22. Bxf4 Nd8 <White's plans have worked out admirably. His position has become much freer, the opened [f] file beckons for occupation, and Black's King has forfeited much of his security with the departure of the [g] Pawn.> 23. Rf1 Ne6 24. Be3! <The simplest way.> Bg7 25. Rf2 Nh7 26. Raf1 <The relentless pressure accumulates on the [f] file. Black's pieces are still a jumbled mess.> Re7 27. Qd1 Qf8 28. Ngf3 Be8 29. Nh4! <Absolutely decisive, the threat being [Ng6] (fork plus pin!), winning the exchange, or the Queen for a Rook and Knight. Baffled by these troubles, Black commits a fearful blunder. This, by the way, is very common in bad positions. The difficulties, purely technical though they may be, seem to have a definite effect on a player's spirits, and this makes him prone to blunder,> Neg5?? <By further opening up the diagonal of White's Bishop on [b3], Black makes [30 ... fxg6] physically impossible in reply to White's next move.> 30. Ng6! <As Black's [f] Pawn is pinned, he must suffer ruinous loss of material. A very convincing example of the power of an overwhelming center.>"


Thank you Mr. Reinfeld. =)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Volcach: Ugly game from both sides in my opinion, but still had some instructive moments for me:

<18 Ng1!> It's interesting how Black's attempt to stop f4 only makes that move stronger. People talk about fighting ghosts in Chess and that's something I need to incorporate into my own games, goading people into reacting to the threat of creating a threat. Even inaccurate moves like Ng1 create imbalances. It's so interesting looking at grandmaster games, when after three GM moves the machine calls inaccuracies or even mistakes before declaring the fourth move of the plana brilliancy. AFter g5, suddenly the White king is justified on h2, and the Ng1 becomes a great move. Having a plan is more important than making "good" moves by machine standards.

<28 Ngf3!> Qh5 doesn't creat immediate threats and might allow some tempo gains in the future, it also allows some counterplay with b4 and the hanging b3 Bishop becomes an inconvenience. Obviously still crushing for White, but I think there's something to be learned in keeping the Bishop defended and allowing the minor pieces to make threats. Queens threaten checkmate, knights threaten forks and material gains. There's no checkmate, so threaten material by activating the Knight

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