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Miklos Brody vs Geza Maroczy
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 2, May-19
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A devastating example of the power of the two Bishops. In this game, the presence of two Bishops justifies the sacrifice of the exchange.

Although the finish is pretty, bad mistakes by both sides removes this game from consideration for a brilliancy prize. Moreover, the notes by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book and by Maroczy in his book on his best games are deeply flawed.

Maroczy's 5...Be7 was the wrong move in this Berlin Defense, and Brody's 6. Qd5, Maroczy's later criticisms notwithstanding, gave White much the better game. Maroczy's 7...Ne6 was even worse (7...Nb4 was essential)and landed him in a horribly passive position that may well have been a win for White with bext play. Also bad was Maroczy's 9...f6 (9...d6 was comparatively best).

But Brody soon forfeited his advantage, first with 10. Rad1 (the simple 10. fxe6 was best), and then--after Maroczy's awful 10...Kh8 (10...fxe5 was clearly necessary) with 11. Ne4 (again missing 11. exf6). Maroczy's 11...Nxe5 was bad (11...fxe5 yet again was best) but Brody somehow missed 13. Bxd7 and played the manifestly inferior 13. Qxe5.

Brody was nonetheless very much in the game through move 17. His 18. Nd3 was aptly described by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book as "A fatal error." But Maroczy failed to seize his opportunity, and neither his later commentary nor that of Rosenthal seems aware of how best to exploit Brody's conceded error.

After 18. Nd3 NxN 19. RxN, the position was as follows with Maroczy to move:

click for larger view

Though emphatically denied by both Maroczy and Rosenthal, Black in fact has a winning exchange sacrifice here with 19...RxB! (Maroczy actually played 19...Qc7 here, eliciting a comment of "very well played" by Rosenthal). Though Maroczy and Rosenthal think the exchange sacrifice here would have been premature, their analysis is flawed.

After 19...RxB, 20. gxR Qh4, White has two choices, neither of which saves the game. If 21. Re1 (the only move considered by Maroczy and probably best) Black could have played 21...Bf5 and then after 22. Qd4 have played 22...Qxh2+ instead of the clearly inferior (and losing) 22...Qh6 considered by Rosenthal and Maroczy. After 22...Qxh2+ 23. Kf1 Be5 is murder (and 23...Re8 probably also wins).

If instead, 21. f4 (considered only by Rosenthal) Black wins after 21...Bf5 (rather than Rosenthal's 21...Qg4+ which leads only to a perpetual check).

So far as I can see, Maroczy's 19...Qc7 blew the win that would have been available to him with 19...RxB!

After 19...Qc7 20. h4, Maroczy gives himself a double !! for his 20...RxB. This was indeed the best move, but Brody could now have wriggled his way out of trouble. After 20...RxB 21. Rd2 Bf5 he should have played 22. Re1. After his 22. Rd2, Brody was lost again, the power of the two Bishops being overwhelming.

But Maroczy blew his chances again. After 22. Rd2, 23...Re8 wins. Although not mentioned by either Rosenthal or Maroczy, 22...Bh3 once again blew the win. And after 24. Bg5 Maroczy's 24...Qg6 was very bad (24...Qh5 was best). And then after 25. f4 Bxf4 (25...Bf5 was much better) Maroczy was in trouble. The position was as follows after 25...Bxf4:

click for larger view

Brody here played 26. Rd3? and lost quickly. But with 26. Rd4! he would have had a clear advantage. If 26...BxB 27. hxB and then if 27...Qxg5+ 28. Qg3 QxQ+ 29. fxQ Brody would have been up the exchange in an ending in which he had all the chances.

Incredible that both Rosenthal and Maroczy missed this opportunity in their commentaries on this game.

I agree with Rosenthal that 28. Rg3 would have been better than Brody's actual 28. Kf1, but the game was lost in either case.

In the closing moves, Rosenthal's comment that "The superior power of the two Bishops working together is classically illustrated" says it all.

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