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Jackson Whipps Showalter vs Geza Maroczy
London (1899), London ENG, rd 12, Jun-14
Horwitz Defense: General (A40)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: "No, Mr. Showalter...I expect you to resign!"

I love Maroczy's fifth move. He had a knack for the offbeat.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: As keypusher noted almost seven years ago, Maroczy's "offbeat" 5...g5, while perhaps not as good as the "correct 5...Bd6 or 5...c4) set the tone for this game and posed problems for Showalter he was unable to solve. Given Showalter's efforts to set up a Stonewall formation (I hate his 4. c3) Maroczy's move livened up the game without incurring any major risks.

Showalter should surely have responded 6. Nh3 instead of his 6. fxg5 which gave Maroczy exactly what he wanted--a King's side attack.

On the other hand, Showalter's courageous 7. Nf3 was excellent, and Maroczy rightly declined to go in for 7...Qxg2 8. Rg1 Qh3 9. Rg3.

The first real crack in Showalter's armor came with his limpid 10. Nf1 (10. b3 was much better). Maroczy was then in the driver's seat.

But Maroczy erred with 13...NxB, Showalter missed the fine intermediate move 14. h3 that would have led to equality. Tne Tournament Book says that Showalter should not have recaptured Maroczy's Knight with 14. N1xN but instead should have recaptured with his Rook or his Queen. This is all wrong. The question was not which piece to use to recapture but whether to drive away Maroczy's Queen with 14. h3 first. Both the players and the Tournament Book missed this (as did I--but Fritz found it in a nano-second).

Showalter was still in the game until his 21st move. He needed to play 21. Qg2 in the following position:

click for larger view

Instead, Showalter played 21. Ne1 and Maroczy then swept him off the board beginning with his brually effective 21...e5. 21. Ne1 was Showalter's last chance. The rest of the game was a massacre.

Maroczy is generally known as a positional and defensive player. This game shows, however, that he could more than hold his own in a tactical brawl. He chose to precipitate this kind of game with his 5...g5, and he was simply too good for Showalter in the cut and thrust struggle that resulted.

A fun game for Maroczy fans.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One wonders whether Maroczy knew of the efforts by Janowski with 5....g5, played in two of the latter's matches with Showalter not long before this encounter.

From an objective standpoint, I have my doubts about 5....g5, but psychologically, it has the virtue of not allowing White to settle behind the ramparts and get 'his' type of game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <perf> Maroczy almost certainly *did* know those Janowski games; in "Hunderd Schachpartien" he gives 8...f5 a ! and implies that because it prevents e4 it's an improvement on the ...Nf6 that Janowski played.

<KEG> Many thanks for your notes, which I've found helpful. Maroczy doesn't notice 14.h3! either; his comment on 14.N1d2 is "White sets a pretty trap."

I don't know if it's given in the tournament book, but he's referring to the possibilty of 17...Qxg2 18.Rg1! Qxe2 19.Rxg8+ Bf8 20.Bd1!! (20.Rhh8 not enough, although he doesn't say why) Qxe3 and now he gives 21.Nh4 with the ideas of Bh5+ and Ng6 as winning, although Houdini thinks that Black can hold with 21...Ne7! then; instead 21.Ne5 seems to win handily.

A fun game for Maroczy fans, indeed.

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