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Jacques Mieses vs Adolf Albin
Monte Carlo (1902), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 2, Feb-04
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A quickie win by Mieses aided by some utterly wretched play by Albin, who had a strategically lost position as early as move 7.

To his credit, Mieses never let Albin recover. The only negative thing I can say about Mieses' play here is that he missed some faster ways to close out the game, including a nifty combo on move 14.

1. e4 c5

Given Mieses' brilliance on the White side of the Vienna Game, Albin's decision to try the Sicilian was understandable, though he was obviously not well-versed in that opening.

2. Nc3 e6
3. g3

click for larger view

This line had been favored by Paulson, Steinitz, and Blackburne, and was later adopted by Tarrasch, Tchigorin, and Rudof Spielmann.

3... Nc6

3...d5 is stronger.

4. Bg2 Nf6
5. Nge2

Given the almost immediate success Mieses achieved, it is perhaps churlish to note that 5. Nf3 was better.

5... d5

5...Qb6 was probably stronger. But the real problem with the text was Albin's intended 7th move after the upcoming pawn trade.

6. exd5 exd5
7. d4

click for larger view

7... c4?

"??"--(Tournament Book)

"This same error was made by V.T. Mueller in a game against Teichmann." (Tournament Book).

I am not familiar with the game cited in the Tournament Book. So far as I am aware, the text has not otherwise have been played. Small wonder. With White's light-square Bishop on g2, the text did not block any key diagonals for White. Meanwhile, the Black d-pawn is weakened. In effect, Black now has all the disadvantages of an isolated d-pawn without any of the benefits (i.e., an open c-file on which Black could operate).

7...cxd4 was best and would lead to an entirely acceptable game for Black.

After 7...c4?, the position was:

click for larger view

White may already have a won game already. But Albin's extraordinarily weak play from here quickly assured Mieses' ultimate victory.

8. Bg5 Bb4

Albin was already in bad shape, but this made matters far worse. He should have played 8...Be6 or 8...Be7.

9. 0-0 Be6
10. Nf4 BxN

Black has nothing better.

11. bxB

click for larger view

The game is almost certainly lost for Albin, but he now managed to ruin any small chances he had to hang on:

11... Ne7

He had nothing better than 11...Qd6 or 11...Qd7. After the text, Black's position was indeed wretched:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

12. Re1

This doesn't jeopardize White's win, but 12. BxN was stronger. But not to worry, Albin immediately made things worse for himself with:

12... Qd7?
13. BxN

Mieses could also have played 13. RxB with a combination similar to the one described in my note to White's 14th move. But the text at this point--wrecking Black's King-side pawn structure--was even better.

13... gxB

click for larger view

14. Qe2

Missing a much faster win with 14. RxB! fxR 15. Qh5+ Ng6 (15...Kd8 16. Re1) 16. NxN Qf7 17. Re1 0-0-0 18. Nf4 QxQ 19. NxQ e5 20. Nxf6 and White, with two minor pieces plus pawn for Black's extra Rook has an easily won ending.

But once again, Mieses' actual move worked wonderfully given Albin's response:

14... Bg4?

"?"--(Tournament Book)

"An obvious blunder which loses a pawn [actually--two pawns--KEG] with a bad position besides." (Hoffer)

Black's best hope lay in 14...Rf8 or maybe 14...Kd8. After the text, Mieses had a simple combination which put his win beyond doubt, the position now being:

click for larger view

15. Nxd5!

The coming Knight fork is decisive.

15... BxQ
16. Nf6+ Kd8
17. NxQ KxN
18. RxB

click for larger view

With a superior position and two extra pawns, White has an easy win made easier thanks to further weak play by Albin.

18... Rab8

If Albin wanted to play on, he had to try 18...Nc6. What followed was sheer carnage.

19. Rae1 Nc8
20. Bd5

click for larger view

Now (at least) another pawn must be lost, and Albin could have safely resigned.

20... Nd6

This only made matters worse, but the game was beyond repair for Black anyway.

21. Re7+ Kd8
22. Bxf7 a5?

Hopeless and worse than futile, but trying to discuss a better plan for Black is a waste of time.

23. Bh5

click for larger view

Black is now three pawns down. With his next move, he walked into a Rook fork and lost yet another pawn:

23... Nf5?
24. R7e5


It was definitely time for Albin to call it a day.

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