Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
David Janowski vs Semion Alapin
Monte Carlo (1901), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 7, Feb-14
French Defense: Steinitz. Bradford Attack Variation (C11)  ·  0-1



Get this game explained with Decode Chess
explore this opening
find similar games 7 more Janowski/Alapin games
sac: 25...Qxg4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: To see the raw PGN for this game, click on the PGN: view link above.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-14-05  capanegra: Typical Janowski gambling: forces a drawn position until he meets his own end. However, he did very well in Monte Carlo 1901 and finished first ahead of Schlechter, Chigorin, Mieses, Blackburne, Marshall and others (only lost this game with Alapin, and a beautiful game against Mason). But the first price didn't last too much, as he lost all the money at the Monte Carlo casino.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Alapin has been credited with introducing the move 9...Bxg1.

Timman in his book, "Curacao 1962"' states; in the game Fischer vs Benko, 1962, <this somewhat surprising swap on g1 was first played in Janowski-Alapin, Monte Carlo 1901. Black gives up the bishop pair in exchange for very active piece play.>

Actually, Alapin was introducing the move 9...Bxg1 to tournament play. The move had already been played in a correspondence game between Vienna and Pola.

In the Fischer - Benko game, Fischer improved on Janowski's play with 11.Bd2. However, he then erred by playing 12.Nb5. Fischer could have maintained White's edge with 12.0-0-0.

Timman states regarding 11.Bd2; <This quiet developing move is far stronger than Janowski's wild push 11.g4. After 11...Nxd3+ 12.cxd3 Nc6 13. gxf5 Rxf5, Alapin managed to get an advantage.>

I think this last remark of Timman's is rather misleading. I agree that Fischer's move 11.Bd2 is stronger than Janowski's move 11.g4. However, after 11.g4, White's game is still ok and Fritz 9 confirms this belief.

After 11...Nxd3+ 12.cxd3 Nc6 13.gxf5 Rxf5, the position is still about equal. Fritz 9 evaluates this position as (.20) (16 ply) and recommends the game continuation of 14.Bd2 a6.

While it is true that Alapin finally got the advantage and won the game, it was not due to his position after move 13.

In an even position at move 23, Alapin erred with 23...Nxh4 and then with 24...Qf5, giving Janowski a winning position. It was only due to later errors by Janowski, that Alapin succeeded in winning this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Janowski missed a clear win at move 25.

Fritz 9 evaluates the position after 24...Qf5 as (4.51) (21 ply) and gives the following continuation: 25.Qxh4 Kh7 26.Qg3 Qf7 27.Bc3 b6 28.f5 Ba6 29.f6 Rag8 30.Qh3.

Leopold Hoffer in "The Field" stated, <If he wished to avoid the draw, he should play 25.Qxh4 Kh7 26.Qg3 Qf7 27.Rg6 Ra6!, but this position is difficult for both players!>.

Hoffer's line also wins for White after 28.Bc3, but it is not as good the above line with 27.Bc3.

Sep-17-06  psmith: <Pawn and Two>: why should I trust Fritz's evaluation over Timman's? We aren't talking about a tactical position with forcing variations, but a positional evaluation.

Where do you get the evaluation of the position after 23. Rg4 as "even"? My older Fritz (5.32) evaluates it as at least somewhat better for Black, and some analysis aided with Fritz 5.32 seems to confirm this. But ideas seem more important than variations here. Black can play Ba6 or Bb7 and d4, when his Bishop is better than White's. Black has no difficulty defending g7 with his Rooks and Queen and should slowly build a plus.

Sep-17-06  psmith: <Pawn and Two>: For example 23. Rg4 b6 24. Qf3 Bb7 25. Nxf5 Qxf5 26. Rc1 Rxc1+ 27. Bxc1 Ba6 28. Rg3 Rc8 29. Bd2 d4 when Fritz 5.32 thinks this is somewhat better for Black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <psmith: why should I trust Fritz's evaluation over Timman's> That is a good question. Using Fritz 9 I have found many erors in analysis and evaluations by grandmasters. However, I don't think a general rule can be made, so each analysis and evaluation would have to be be individually reviewed and compared.

As indicated in my earlier post, Timman was analysing and evaluating the game Fischer vs Benko, 1962. He provided analysis, including variations and evaluations at several points in this game.

Timman did not provide a continuation or evaluation for the above Janowski - Alapin game. His comment at moves 11-13, is not possible to analyze or compare, as he did not give a continuation, plan or evaluation. Fritz 9 at (19 ply) gives an evaluation of (.21) and a continuation 14.Bd2 Rf7 15.0-0-0 Bd7 16.Kb1. My opinion is this is an approximately equal position that does not offer serious winning chances for either side. Alapin was the first to blunder, but Janowski did not take advantage of his winning position at move 25, and finally lost after trying to win a game that should have been drawn.

Timman did provide a considerable amount of analysis and evaluation for the indicated Fischer - Benko game. We can compare and analyze that information.

After move 14...Na4 Timman states, <A vicious sortie whose main point is that 15.b3 fails to 15...Qd4, and White is annihilated.>

But where is the annihilation? After 15.b3 Qd4 16.c3 Nxc3 17.Bxc3 Qxc3+ 18.Kb1 Qb4 19.Qe3 a5, Fritz 9 evaluates this position as (-.28) (18 ply) and indicates a continuation of 20.Qd2 or (-.31) (18 ply) 20.Bb5. Certainly the position favors Black, but the advantage is small and it will still be a hard fight, not an annihilation.

Everyone agreed, Timman, Fritz and apparently Fischer, that Fischer's 15.Bb5 was White's best chance for holding the position.

After Black played 15...Nd4, Timman stated, <With 15...Nxb2 16.Kxb2 a6 he could have got a large advantage with very simple means. But he had opted for the text to launch an even sharper attack. He was, in fact, playing to the gallery.>

But where is Black's advantage after 15...Nxb2 16.Kxb2 a6 17.g4 axb5 18.gxf5 Qc5? Fritz evaluates this position as (.38) (18 ply) and gives a continuation of 19.Qc3 Qxc3+ 20.Bxc3, or (.39) (18 ply) 19.a3 exf5 20.Qc3 Qxc3 21.Bxc3. According to Fritz, Benko's move of 15...Nd4, was the best move in the position.

While two errors of grandmaster analysis in one game should not cause one to always trust a computer program, one should at least be cautious and do some checking of anyone's analysis, human or computer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <psmith: Where do you get the evaluation of the position after 23.Rg4 as "even"?>

The evaluation of even was given by Fritz 9. There are a number of variations showing an equal evaluation. If we follow the line you have given:

23.Rg4 b6 24.Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5, Fritz 9 now prefers 26.Rdg1 Ba6 (.08) (21 ply) 27.Rg4g3 Raf8 28.Ka1 Rf8f7 29.a3 Kh8 30.Qe3 Rc2 31.Qxb6 Bxd3 32.Qxa5. Fritz's evaluation after 32.Qxa5 is (.00) (17 ply).

or a variation that only a computer would like: 26.Rdg1 Ba6 (.00) (21 ply) 27.Rg1g3 Rac8 28.Qe3 Kh8 29.a3 Rc2 30.Bc3 Rxh2 31.Qg1 Bxd3+ 33.Ka2 Bc4+ 33.Ka1 Qh5 34.Rxg7

Finally, even in the complete variation that you have given, Fritz 9 has found an equalizing line: 23.Rg4 b6 24.Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Rc1 Rxc1+ 27.Bxc1 Ba6 28.Rg3 Rc8 29.Bd2 d4.

Fritz evaluates this position as (.00) (20 ply), and gives the continuation: 30.a3 Kh7 31.Ka1 g6 32.Ka2 Rc7 33.Qa8 Bxd3 34.Qd8 Rc2.

Sep-26-06  psmith: <Pawn and Two> I do not understand the way you make use of the computer program. You say that in the line I gave "Fritz has found an equalizing line" and then give a sequence of moves, none of them at all forced, leading to an evaluation of equality based on a bunch more ply of hidden analysis, but with no discussion of plans or ideas behind the moves you give. In the last line you give, Black seems to be operating without a plan, while White just shuffles his King around and waits for Black to allow him to get a perpetual. Maybe in fact Black has no way to make progress, but this kind of "analysis" really doesn't show much. In positions requiring positional evaluation and long-term planning there is such a thing as a horizon effect on computer analysis.

In the variation that you give last in which you say that "Fritz has found an equyalizing line" you have:

23.Rg4 b6 24.Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Rc1 Rxc1+ 27.Bxc1 Ba6 28.Rg3 Rc8 29.Bd2 d4 30. a3 Kh7 31.Ka1 g6 32.Ka2 Rc7 33.Qa8 Bxd3 34.Qd8 Rc2. In this line Black just seems to play into White's hands, allowing a perpetual. But what if Black is not so cooperative? For example, what happens after 32... h5? Now Black has prevented the perpetual and will invade on c2 with his Rook, perhaps after ...a4. Meanwhile White has no attacking plans and just has to wait for Black to weaken himself. I have been analyzing this with Fritz 5.32 -- but 32... h5 is not its suggestion, but rather my own idea; but when I play this, the machine starts to think things look good for Black after all. For example 32...h5 33. h3 a4 34. h4 Rc2 35. Qe2 Rc7 36. Qf3 Bb7 37. Qf2 Bd5+ 38. Kb1 (38.Ka1 Rc2) Rd7 39. Ka1 Bb3 and Black stands better. No, that is not forced, but it illustrates Black's possibilities. So what does Fritz 9 think of 32...h5?

Sep-26-06  psmith: <Pawn and Two> Further, in both the variations you give as leading to equality: 23.Rg4 b6 24.Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Rdg1 Ba6 27.Rg4g3 or 27. Rg1g3, 27... Rd8 (idea of replying to Qe3 with d4) seems like a better move for Black than the ones you consider. For example:

27. Rg1g3 Rd8 28. h3 d4 29. Ka1 Rdc8 Black is better.

27. Rg4g3 Rd8 28. Ka1 Rdd7 29. h3 Kh8 30. Kb1 Rd8 31. Ka1 d4 and Black is better.

Again, nothing forced here, but I think if Black is careful he can secure an advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <psmith: what does Fritz 9 think of 32...h5?>

In the variation you provided, after 23.Rg4 b6 24.Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Rc1 Rxc1+ 27.Bxc1 Ba6 28.Rg3 Rc8 29.Bd2 d4 30.a3 Kh7 31.Ka1 g6 32.Ka2 h5, Fritz 9 gives this position an evaluation of equal out to a depth of ply 21.

In this position White cannot make any active plan and with the possibility of an horizon effect, it remains to be seen if Black can make anything of this position. Fritz 9 suggests a continuation of 33.Kb1.

In the other two variations, here are the replys to your suggestions:

Line 1 - this line includes Fritz 9's preferred moves of 26.Rdg1 and 27.R4g3.

After 23.Rg4 b6 24. Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Rdg1 Ba6 27.Rg4g3 Rd8 28.Ka1 Rdd7, Fritz 9 now suggests the move 29.Rg6 and indicates that White is better.

Line 2 -

After 23.Rg4 b6 24.Qf3 Bb7 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Rdg1 Ba6 27.Rg1g3 Rd8, Fritz 9 now suggests the move 28.Ka1 and gives an evaluation of equal out to a depth of ply 20.

Let me know what continuations you have for Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Janowski was leading the field going into this 7th round game at Monte Carlo 1901. He was the only player who had not yet drawn even a single game (he had five wins and one loss). Meanwhile, Alapin was one of two players who was still undefeated (Tchigorin being the other). With Alapin's win in this contest, both players kept their streaks alive, Janowski still not having drawn a game (and thus having avoided any replays under the rules extent at Monte Carlo 1901) and Alapin was still undefeated (having drawn seven games and--with this win--having won three with one drawn game yet to be unplayed).

Janowski [at 5-2] was still the nominal leader even after losing this game. But his first place standing was unclear, Tchigorin being 4.75--1.75 with two games to replay, and Alapin and Gunsberg at 4.75--1.75 with one game each to replay. Close on their heals were von Scheve at 4.5-2.5 and Schlechter at 4.25--2.25. As was obvious, a close race to the finish in the final six rounds was inevitable.

Janowski need not have lost this game. He held a winning advantage (with Queen for Rook and Knight after a nice combo), and should at least have drawn one he blew what should have been a decisive advantage.

This was the only game Alapin ever won from Janowski. Not counting this game, Janowski feasted on Alapin, winning five and drawing two in their other seven games (including his two defeats of Alapin at Vienna 1891). The win in this game helped Alapin finish fifth. Janowski sloughed off this loss, and ended up winning the tournament with Schlechter second.

Note: My references in what follow to the "Tournament Book"are based on the commentary by Hoffer and by Alapin himself that appear in the Tournament Book.

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Nf6

The Classical French was more popular than 3...Bb4 at this time.

4. e5

Janowski opted here for the Steinitz Variation.

4... Nfd7

"The fixed pawn center gives Black sufficient counterplay." (Gligoric).

5. f4

"The most natural move which Steinitz himself preferred." (Gligoric)

5... c5

click for larger view

6. dxc5

The text was played by Bobby Fischer against Pal Benko at Curacao 1962 (the annotations to which by Jan Timman already mentioned on this site are excellent both regarding the Fischer--Benko game in general and regarding this opening variation in particular). The move has long since been nearly abandoned in favor of the much better 6. Nf3. The text, however, was frequently played by Steinitz, Blackburne, Pillsbury, Tarrasch (most notably in his 1905 match against Marshall) and Rudolf Spielmann. It was later played by Santasiere, and on one occasion by Nigel Short.

6... Bxc5
7. Qg4

This move, revived by Fischer in the above-mentioned game with Benko, was Blackburne's favorite. It was played on occasion by Steinitz, Tchigorin, Lasker, Pillsbury, Tarrasch, and even Capablanca. 7. Nf3 as recommended by Gligoric is surely sounder. But the text, when based on prior preparation (as was likely the case in the Fischer-Benko game), can be murder to face over the board. As Timmon theorizes, Fischer probably had studied this Janowski--Alapin game and had prepared an improvement.

7... 0-0
8. Bd3

"The usual move, but in future he may prefer 8. Nf3 [likely best--KEG] because of the innovation on move 9." (Tournament Book).

Timman notes that Tarrasch played 8. Nf3 in one of his match games against Marshall in 1905, and that according to Bilguer chances are then "approximately equal."

After Janowski's 8. Bd3, the position was:

click for larger view

8... f5

8...Nc6 may be somewhat better, but Alapin had a surprise in store for Janowski on his next move.

9. Qh3

9. Qe2 may be sounder. But the text was repeated by Fischer in the above-mentioned game against Benko, and allows the "innovation" (in tournament play at least) by Alapin (repeated by Benko) which gives the game its theoretical interest, the position now (after 9. Qh3) being:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: 9... BxN?!

"Alapin was introducing the move 9...BxN to tournament play. The move had already been played in a correspondence game between Vienna and Pola." (Pawn and Two on this site)

"At first sight this capture seems to be inadvisable, since Black parts with a well-developed piece for an undeveloped one, bringing White's Rook on the file on which it supports the g-pawn. Alapin, however, is an authority on questions of theory, and must have his reasons for adopting this move, which was recently played in a correspondence game." (Tournament Book)

Benko played this same move in his 1962 game against Bobby Fischer, eliciting the following comment by Jan Timman (after some historical background):

"Black gives up the bishop pair for very active piece play. Another option, by the way, was the alternative 9...Nc6, after which the game starts moving in the direction of the game Tarrasch--Marshall."

The best choice may well be 9...Bb6. 9...Qb6 is another good option. The text leads to fascinating play. On any reckoning, it is sound.

19. RxB

click for larger view

10... Nc5

Looking to eliminate White's two bishops.

Although not mentioned by any of the commentators, 10...Qb6 is probably best for Black here. White's best response is probably 11. Ne2 after which Black can play 10...Nc5 with at least equal chances.

After 10...Nc5, the position was:

click for larger view

11. g4?!

If. 11. Be2 (to avoid the Knight for Bishop trade) Nc6 threatening Nd4. (Tournament Book).

Fischer here played 11. Bd2 against Benko, eliciting the following comment by Timman:

"This quiet developing move is far stronger than Janowski's wild push 11. g4. After 11...NxB+ 12. cxN Nc6 13. gxf5 Rxf5 Alapin managed to get an advantage."

"I think this last remark of Timman's is rather misleading. I agree that Fischer's move 11. Bd2 is stronger than Janowski's move 11. g4. However, after 11. g4 White's game is still OK and Fritz 9 confirms this view." (Pawn and Two on this site in 2006).

The more powerful engines available today confirm Pawn and Two's assessment. Fritz 15 rates 11. Bd2 as (0.07) and 11. g4 as (-0.05)[22 play search). Stockfish rates 11. Bd2 as (0.38) and 11. g4 as (0.00).

In my view, both Fischer and Janowski were correct. Against a strong player such as Benko, the prudent 11. Bd2 looks right. For a player whose forte was attack such as Janowski, however, 11. g4 seems to fit the bill.

In any case, both Janowski and Fischer got into trouble shortly after their respective choices, but later managed to outplay their opponents and achieve "won" positions (which Janowski nonetheless contrived to lose while Fischer converted).

11... NxB+
12. cxN

"Stronger than 12. QxN which was played in the [correspondence] game alluded to." (Tournament Book).

After 12. cxN, the position was:

click for larger view

12... Nc6

12...d4 and 12...Qb6 were other good options for Black here, all of which should lead to approximate equality.

13. gxf5?!

Fixated on attack on the g-file, Janowski got complications. Simpler and probably theoretically best was 13. Bd2. The text, however, is certainly and was not the reason Janowski got into trouble.

13... Rxf5

"!"--(Tournament Book)

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Did 24...Qf5 really happen? If so, then 25.Qxh4 wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: <Honza Cervenka> Yes, 24...Qf5 really happened and yes, 25. Qxh4 would have won, as previously pointed out on this site by <Pawn and Two>. Good catch by both of you. As I will discuss when I get to that point of the game, the Tournament Book also considered 25. Qxh4 as an alternative to 25. Qg3, but apparently underestimated the power of the move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

14. Bd2

click for larger view

"The chief weakness of the White position is the passivity of his QB." (Tournament Book)

14... a6

The Tournament Book was on the right track at this point, but the variations if suggested were often absurdly mistake: "Black decides to lose a tempo in order to avoid the following variation which would lead to a draw:

14... Bd7

[This move suggested by the Tournament Book (which gave ia a "!") is fine, and pretty clearly better than the move actually played by Alapin (14...a6). Also good for Black and sufficient for equality were 14...Nd4; 14...Rf7; and 14...Rb8---KEG]. The analysis of 14...Bd7 by the Tournament Book was, however, simply wrong:

"15. Nb5

[This move should lose. Best was 15. 0-0-0 which leads to approximate equality on the line appearing in the Tournament Book, e.g., 15...Be8 16. Nb5 Wd7 17. Nd6 Rh5 18. NxB QxN, though the Tournament Book's claim that it leads to any significant advantage for Black seems wrong--KEG].

15... Nxe5

[Another bad suggestion by the Tournament Book. 15...Qb6! is much better and should lead to a win for Black--KEG]

16. Nd4

[Or 16. Nd6--KEG]

16... Qb6
17. Rxg7+

[Or 17. Qe3--KEG]

17... KxR
18. NxR+ exN
19. fxN Qg1+

[Simpler and sufficient for equality are 19...Qxb2 or 19...Kh8--KEG]

20. Ke2 QxR

[A blunder by the Tournament Book. Black is probably OK with 20...Qg4+. After this move, Black is lost--KEG]

21. Qh6+

Followed by perpetual check." (Tournament Book)


After 21. Qh6+, White should win, not agree to a draw by "perpetual check," e.g., 21...Kg8 22. Qg5+ Kf7 23. Qf6+ Kg8 24. e6 Qg1 25. exB Qxh2+ 26. Kd1 Qg1+ 27. Be1 Qb6 28. Qe7 Qxb2 29. d8(Q)+ RxQ 30. QxR+ Kf7 31. Qxd5+.

In any case, Alapin's actual move, 14...a6, was hardly terrible and left the position as follows:

click for larger view

15. 0-0-0 Rf7
16. Ne2 Ne7

16...Bd7 and 15...a5 were good alternatives.

17. Nd4

The Tournament Book devoted a lot of energy to analyzing 17. Ng3. The analysis was awful, but the conclusion--that 17. Ng3 "doesn't promise White much"--was correct. The text is better and gives White a small edge, the position now being:

click for larger view

17... Nf5

17...Bd7 or 17...g6 were more accurate, though the text was hardly fatal.

18. Nf3

Contrary to the analysis in the Tournament Book, 18. NxN would give White the better chances.

18... a5
19. Kb1 Rc7
20. Ng5

He could also have played 20. Rg5.

20... h6

click for larger view

Chances in this unbalanced position were about even. From here, however, play got ragged--and quite exciting. The real contest was about to begin.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

21. Nf3

This reflexive move by Janowski could have allowed Alapin to get the better game. Instead, 21. Ne4! [a hard move to find over the board] would leave White with at least equal chances since 21...dxN [I see nothing better] 22. dxe4 leaving:

click for larger view

Black can only maintain the balance (and avoid giving back the piece) with 22...Qh4 which allows White to draw after 23. Qg2 Nd4 24. Be3 Nc6 25. Qg6 Rf7 26. Rg4 Qxh2 27. Rg2 Qh3 28. Rg3 etc.).

If instead Black tries to hold onto the piece, he gets crushed immediately (e.g., 22...Ne7? 23. f5! unleashing the d2 White Bishop and leaving Black helpless; or 22...Nh4? 23. Bxa5! (and the skewer and discovered attack are brutal).

But let's get back to the actual game after Janowski's 21. Nf3:

click for larger view

21... Qe8

"Compulsory else Rg6 and doubling of Rooks." (Tournament Book)

Wrong again. The text squandered Alapin's chance of obtaining the better game. He should have played 21...Bd7. If then 22. Rg6 Black has the very strong 22...Bb5 and Black's defensive and counter-attacking prospects leave him in much better shape.

After 21...Qe8 the position was:

click for larger view

22. Nh4

"Black's reply of Qh5 to change the attacking pieces being expected by White, he tempted the opponent to that course, seeing a favorable result eventually. The combination is pretty and will be appreciated as such." (Tournament Book).

Janowski's conception is indeed "pretty" (even if flawed). Simplest and best for White here is 22. Bc3. The only alternative considered by the Tournament Book was 22. Rg4?, which would have allowed Alapin to seize the initiative with 22...Qb5. The Tournament Book only considered the feeble 22...b6 which would allow White to recover with 23. Nh4 (but not with the Tournament Book's suggested 23. Rdg1 which allows Black to get excellent chances with 23...Qa4 (rather than the Tournament Book's suggested 23...Ba6).

22... Qh5
23. Rg4

click for larger view

This position was the subject of an excellent exchange on this site between <Pawn and Two> and <psmith>. Pawn and Two contends that this position is "equal." psmith, citing his "older Fritz,: gives the position as "at least somewhat better for Black." My more recent version of Fritz [Fritz 15] rates the game as very slightly in Black's favor (-0.14 on a 24 ply search). Both Pawn and two and psmith make good points, and my simple-minded conclusion is that the position was difficult and both sides had chances. I would expect the stronger player to win from either side of the board here.

Given the many errors that followed from this point, the issue of whether the game was theoretically even or whether Black had some small edge had little to do with the outcome, or even with what followed in the next several moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

23... NxN?

As both <Pawn and Two> has noted on this site, this was an error that could have led to trouble for Alapin.

Best for Black here is 23...b6. This alternative move is discussed at length in the Tournament Book, which contains some very flawed analysis. The best analysis of the move is that by <psmith> and by <Pawn and Two> on this site:

After 23...b6, 24. Qf3 (suggested by psmith and Pawn and Two) is superior to the Tournament Book's 24. Rdg1 (discussed below): 24...Bb7 (24...Ba6 may be a small improvement--KEG] 25. NxN QxN 26. Rdg1 with equality (slightly better than Pawn and Two's 26. Rc1).

24. Rdg1 as given by the Tournament Book is not all that bad, but the Tournament Book's analysis is pretty rotten: 24...Ba6 25. Qf3 Raa7 (Black can maintain a small edge with 25...Rac8) 26. Ng6? [This is very bad and should lose. White would be fine with 26. a3 or 26. Be1) 26...Nd4?(missing the pretty 26...Rc2!, which wins since 27. KxR loses the Queen to 27...Nd4+) 27. Qe3 Nf5? [awful, Black would be OK after 27...Nc2 or 27...Nc6) 28. Qf3? (missing the very strong--and fairly obvious--28. Qxb6) 28...Nd4? (once again missing a chance to win via 28...Rc2!.

In any case, and for better or worse, Alapin played 23...NxN, leaving the position as follows:

click for larger view

24. Rdg1!

click for larger view

24... Qf5?

As both <Pawn and Two> and <Honza Cervenka> have pointed out on this site, this should have led to Alapin's defeat in light of 25. QxN. The only way to hold the game for Black here was to play 25. QxR, after which--similar to what eventually occurred in the game--Black would have Rook and Knight for Janowski's Queen.

But after 24...Qf5? instead of the winning 25. QxN, Janowski played:

25. Qg3?

click for larger view

25... QxR

"This could not be avoided, as after: 25...Qf8 26. RxN! [even more crushing here are either 26. QxN or 26. Rxg7--KEG]; if 25...Qf7 26. QxN." (Tournament Book)

26. QxQ Nf5

click for larger view

27. Qd1

One of many plausible continuations for White here. Perhaps better are 27. Rc1 (discussed at length in the Tournament Book), 27. Qg2 and 27. Qg6.

27... a4

27...Bd7 or 27...b5 were arguably better.

28. Bb4 Bd7
29. Bd6 Rcc8

click for larger view

"It is curious that such a pretty combination should yield so inadequate a result. Black, although with only two pieces [Rook and Knight--KEG] for the Queen has an almost impregnable position." (Tournament Book).

The description of Black's position by the Tournament Book as "impregnable" is probably an oversight. Two things are certain: (1) White has no easy way to make progress; and (2) Janowski (White) should certainly not have lost this game.

To have any chance for a win here requires technique and (what Janowski lacked) patience.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VI

30. h4?!

"?"--(Tournament Book)

This move may be theoretically unsound, but it was played at the end of the move 30 time control when Alapin was in time trouble. Best is probably 30. Qd2; playing on both wings and preparing d4 while protecting f4 (or maybe 30. Qe2 or 30. a3, which will eventually have to be played anyway). Under the circumstances, the text made life hell for Alapin:

click for larger view

30... Be8

"The text was the last move of the first session an Black, under time pressure, was unable to calculate the [30...Nxh4] line." (Tournament Book).

But we've got all the time in the world. So what about 30...Nxh4. Even all the time in the world is not always sufficient to come to grips with a complicated position. Indeed, the Tournament Book's analysis of 30...Nxh4 is awful:

"31. Be7

[This should lead to nothing but trouble for White. The at first sight paradoxical 31. Qe1 is best and leads an exciting but probably equal line (e.g., 31...Nf3 32. Rxg7+ [anything else loses] KxR 33. Qg3+ Kh7 (33...Kf7?! gives White good chances after 34. QxN) 34. QxN Rg8 35. f5 Rg1+ 36. Kc2 Rag8 37. Kc3 R1g3 38. Qf2 d4+ 39. Kxd4+ R3g4+ 40. Kc3 f5 )

31... Nf5
32. Bf6 Kh7

[Awful move from the Tournament Book.. Black is--if anything--better with 32...Bb5. Not, he's lost]

33. Qg4 Rc7"

[More bad analysis. 33...Be8 is the only real hope. After the suggested 33...Rc7?? Black gets demolished beginning with 34. Qg6+.

In sum, with best play, 30...Nxh4 would have led to an exciting and unclear position with all sorts of tactical chances for both sides. One can see why, with time short, Alapin avoided this and why Janowski's 30. h4?! was a decent shot. He now gets a pawn on h5.

Anyway, let's get back to the actual position after 30...Be8

click for larger view

31. h5.

So Janowski's gambit paid off to the extent that he now has attacking chances with a nasty pawn on h5. But the gain was small, and Black was not in any immediate jeopardy.

31... Kh7

Needlessly burying his head in the sand. While the text is hardly fatal, Alapin (with time trouble now behind him) should have tried 31...Bb5 or 31...Ra6 (preparing to double up on the c-file).

click for larger view

32. a3

"The two pawns against one on the Queen side [??--KEG] being the only chance of a possible winning combination (the king's side is too secure), he should have tried to keep the possibility of establishing a passed pawn open. After the text move there is only a drawn position left, and Jaowski should have proposed it, Alapin being at this stage quite willing to accept it. The remainder is a reckless attempt to achieve the impossible." (Tournament Book)

This looks like Monday-morning quarterbacking to me. Notably, the Tournament Book does not propose anything better than 32. a3 for White. Perhaps 32. Bb4 or 32. Qe2. In any case, I would guarantee that Lasker, Capablanca, Fischer, or Carlsen would try to make something of the position for White, and there was no reason for Janwoski call it a draw at this point. Indeed, Alapin's play from this point was often weak, and Janowski's move was not really all that bad (though I agree that this formation is not what White should want).

32... Ra6

32...Bb5 was a decent alternative.

33. Qg4

Pursuing a will-of-the-wisp. 33. Bb4 was better.

33... Rac6

The cute 33...Rc2 was also worth a look (Obviously if 34. KxR? Ne3+ leaves White struggling to draw). But then 34. Qd1 forces Black to retreat with 34...Rc8 or try the speculative 34...Rh2.

After 33...Rac6 the position was:

click for larger view

Now things got really messy, including the sometimes uncertain game score.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VII

34. d4

"?"--(Tournament Book)

Did Janowski really think that Alapin--with time trouble past--would fall for 34...Nxd4 35. Qxg7 mate?

Janowski could have maintained the balance with moves such as 34. Qd1 or 34. Bf8. But now the position was:

click for larger view

34... Kg8?

"He might have risked 34...Rc2 threatening Rh2." (Tournament Book).

Yes indeed. 34...Rc2 is best and not at all "risky." After 34...Rc2 35. Bc5 Rh2 36. Rg2 Bxh5 37. QxN+ exQ 38. RxR Bf3 Black would have been the one with winning chances.

The text essentially announced that Alapin was satisfied with a draw. Given his prior record against Janowski, this was perhaps not entirely surprising.

35. Bb4?

Tempting fate. 35. Qd1 or 35. Bc5 were the ways to hold the fort.

35... Kh7?

Again declining the chance to play 35...Rc2 which yet again would have given him the better chances (e.g., 35...Rc2 36. Qh3 Rf2 37. Bc3 [before the other Rook can get to c2] 37...Rxf4 38. Rg4 Rf2 39. Rg1 Re2). This may not win for Black, but Janowski would have had to sweat it out. After 35...Kh7?, Janowski was again off the hook.

36. Bc3

Closing the c-file and preventing Rc2. But the position was still interesting:

click for larger view

Janowski was now better, and now it was Alapin's turn to sweat.

36... Rc4

Perhaps best was the wild 36...RxB 37. bxR Rxc3 where Black has only two minor pieces and a pawn for Janowski's Queen but has what looks like sufficient pressure to hold the game.

37. Qh3

Perhaps 37. Rh1 or 37. Rg3 offered better prospects.

37... R8c7

Still thinking only of defense and missing the good counterplay he could have enjoyed with 37...b5.

38. Rd1 Rc8

Still hiding his head in the sand. But here there was nothing much better.

39. Rh1 R8c6

More dithering, and again missing the chance to play b5.

40. Qd3

Janowski was also at sea, unable to find a way to make progress.

click for larger view

40... Kg8

According to the score on this site, Alapin in fact played 40...Kh8.

In either case, Janowski's next move was not the strongest.

41. Qf3 Kh7

Continuing his "strategy." The good news is that this move was given in both accounts, so we once again know what the position was:

click for larger view

42. Rd1 Kg8

More dithering, and still ignoring the chance to play b5.

43. Rg1?!

Again offering a pawn:

click for larger view

Thus far, Janowski had been trying to avoid the draw Alapin so eagerly sought. I what followed, Janowski went off the deep end, and he was lost within just a few move as will be seen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post VIII

43... Kh7

43...Nxd4?? would lose after 44. BxN RxN [45...Rc7 is sightly better but obviously hopeless] 45. Qg4 Rc7 46. Qxe6+ Bf7 47. Qd6 Rdc4 48. e6 and White wins].

But Janowski's last move was indicative of the wild attitude that was about to cost him the game.

44. Qg4?

Was Janowski in time trouble (there was a move 45 time control). The text should not have got him anywhere. But Alapin also erred.

44... Rc7?

This gave Janowski chances. Better were 44...Rc8; 44...b5; or even the wild 44...RxN?!

45. Ba5?

45. Qh3 or 45. Rg2 were better.

45... R7c6

click for larger view

Time trouble was now over. Despite all the doubtful play, both sides were OK and chances were about even. But from here Janowski self-destructed.

46. Bb4?

"?"--(Tournament Book)

"This sacrifice is incorrect. He should have played 46. Bc3 [I agree--KEG] but was perhaps afraid [needlessly--KEG] of 46...RxB [46...Rc7 and 46...Rc8 would also maintain the balance] 47. bxR Rxc3 48. Kb2 Rb3+ [48...Rd3 was simpler] 49. Ka2 [and White, if anyone, would be better--KEG]."

But after the needless pawn sacrifice...

46... Rxd4

click for larger view

Janwoski's stock had fallen, but he was still in the game until:

47. Bf8??

This should have been fatal. Janowski could probably have still held the game with 47. Bc3 or 47. Rg2.

47... Rc7

This may be sufficient to win, but the real killer was 47...Rcc4. But now the position was:

click for larger view

48. Bd6?

Janowski would have had chances with 48. Rc1, 48. Rg2, or perhaps even 48. Bb4.

48... Rcc4

Better late than never.

But I really like 49...Rc2 (50. KxR Ne3+). But it hardly mattered because Janowski now made things a whole lot worse for him by playing:

49. Bf8?

click for larger view

The best chance was 49. Rf1 or maybe 49. Bb4.

49... Rc7?

I don't get it. Why not 49...Rxf4, after which even the great optimist Janowski might have considered throwing in the towel . But, now there was hope for Janowski. But not for long.

50. Qf3 Rcc4

My idea of 50...Rc2 would also be strong.

51. Qg2

This should have been the end for Janowski. 51. Rf1 looks like the only hope. After the text, the position was:

click for larger view

White is busted. But the game did not end here. Exactly how it did conclude is a bit murky given the varying versions of the final moves. I will discuss this craziness in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IX

51... Rxf4

This is almost certainly sufficient to win, but better yet was 51...Bxh5.

52. Qe2

As the Tournament Book correctly pointed out, 52. Bxg7 fails to 52...Rg4 53.QxR RxQ 54. RxR NxB and Black--with Bishop, Knight, and protected passed d-pawn for Janowski's Rook should win.

52... Rce4
53. Qc2

click for larger view

From here, there are varying accounts of the next few moves. According to the Tournament Book, play continued as follows:

53... Rg4

53...Bxh5, as given on this site, is better.

54. RxR RxR
55. Qc8

53. Bb4 is much better.

55... Bxh5

Sufficient to win, but 55...Rg1+ is even stronger.

According to this site, play went as follows:

53... Bxh5 (best)
54. Qc8 Rg4

Or 54...Rxe5

55. RxR RxR

Once thing is for sure, 53...Rxe5?--as noted in the Tournament Book--loses. But not because of the Tournament Books's 54. Bxg7 (which allows Black back in the game after 54...Rc4) but because of 54. Rxg7+ Kh8 (the f5 Knight being pinned) 55. Rg1!

In any case, everyone agrees after after Black played his 55th move the position was:

click for larger view

56. Qxe6?

Janowski was apparently in time trouble. While he was almost certainly lost anyway, 56. Qxb7 was the only plausible way to play on.

56... Bg6

Sufficient, but more immediately crushing were 56...Rg1+ or 56...Nd4.

57. Ka2

57. Kc1 was a better try, but almost certainly hopeless as well.

57... Ne3!

click for larger view

Janowski was apparently in too much time trouble (i.e., the move 60 time control) to realize the time had come to resign.

58. Qb6

Truly hopeless. But nothing else is of any use. The text only sped Janowski's demise.

58... d4!


59. Qc7

Janowski's time was doubtless about to expire, else he would either have resigned or played 59. Bc5

59... Bc2!

click for larger view

"White lost on time. It is clear that the threat of mate by Bb3+ and Rg1+ will cost him the game." (Tournament Book).

While there are ways for White to struggle on for a few moves, resignation was--in any case--overdue.


NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
French Steinitz. Bradford Attk (C11) 0-1Stockfish, KEG annotate
from French C11s Clipped Fredthebear by fredthebear
French Steinitz. Bradford Attk (C11) 0-1Stockfish, KEG annotate
from Alapin - Bird - Colle // The Players by fredthebear
Monte Carlo 1901
by suenteus po 147
by Saniyat24

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC