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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Siegbert Tarrasch
San Sebastian (1911), San Sebastian ESP, rd 1, Feb-20
Scotch Game: Schmidt Variation (C45)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-06-06  NotABanker: I thought along the lines of moving the king to protect the other pawn and if black took the f6 pawn just push the other one on a5.

Dec-06-06  eblunt: Didn't get it, and missed yesterday as well. I've learned more this week than I have in months.
Dec-06-06  Deevke: Principle of two weaknesses...
Dec-06-06  outplayer: <al wazir> I'd like to see your analysis expressed in moves. I got the answer but I didn't se ...f5+.
Dec-06-06  Aristarchos: Interestingly enough, after 38. ... a5!, f5 is necessary and sufficient for Blacks' victory, but it is not necessary in the next move! In fact, it can be played only one move later to win: 39. Ke4 a4 40. Kd3 f5! (a3? 41. Kc3 f5 42. h5! Kg7 43. Kb3 Kh6 44. Kxa3 Kxh5 45. Kb3 Kg4 46. Kc3 Kg3 47. Kd4! f4 48. Ke4 remis) 41. h5 Kg7! 42. Kc3 Kh6 43. Kb4 Kxh5 44. Kxa4 Kg4 45. Kb4 Kg3 46. Kc4 Kxg2 47. Kd3 f4 etc. Not possible is of course 39. Ke4 Kg6?? because of 40. g4!! remis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: This very elegant ending is one that I know from memory. In fact, this week's theme seemingly being pawn endgames (which I heartily applaud) I already suspected I had the solution when the first thing I saw as the page loaded was the caption: "Nimzowitsch vs Tarrasch". This ending (starting with the exact position of today's puzzle) is given in Glenn Flear's book, Starting Out: Pawn Endgames (Example 130 on page 87).
Dec-06-06  babakova: <I got the answer but I didn't se ...f5+.> Actually f5 and f4 is the whole point...
Dec-06-06  greensfield: <Aristarchos: Interestingly enough, after 38. ... a5!, f5 is necessary and sufficient for Blacks' victory, but it is not necessary in the next move! In fact, it can be played only one move later to win: 39. Ke4 a4 40. Kd3 f5!> what happens after 41.g3 ie 38...a5 39.Ke4 a4 40.Kd3 f5 41.g3
Dec-06-06  who: <aristarchos> that's not true. See

As greensfield points out 41.g3 draws as black can't clean up the kingside anymore, because when he plays ...Kxg3 white will play h4 and queen in time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think the principle is that black's next move is 40...f4,which prevents g3, defending the pawn at h4. ♗lack can then gobble up the pawns one at a time. With pawns at g3 and h4,the back pawn is immune as the h-pawn could promote.The a-pawn holds the white king at bay and prevents any defense of pawns by said king.
Dec-06-06  YouRang: Got it! Very cool puzzle, and I had to think it over for a couple minutes.

Clearly, if Black advances his a-pawn, White must chase it (stay in the 'promotion square'). But White will be able to catch it, and then Black is stuck -- he can't go after the white pawns because as soon as he moves his king, White plays g3!, protecting his h-pawn.

But with the clever resource of 39...f5+!, White is stuck. He must move his king (he's in check), but he can't take or block the f-pawn because then his king has left the a-pawn's promotion square. But on any other move, then Black plays 40...f4!, and now white cannot play g3.

Consequently, while the White king chases down the a-pawn, the Black king can swoop down and eat the unguarded h-pawn, then the g-pawns, and then his f-pawn promotes and wins easily.

Dec-06-06  simsan: <outplayer> I guess <al wazir>s excellent explanation (he clarified the puzzle for me) didn't go into the details of how and why the g pawn's advance is so important to prevent.

The easiest way to illustrate the importance of keeping the g pawn locked on g2 (through f5+ and f4) is by considering what happens if black instead of 39. ...f5+ plays 39. ...Ke5? or 39. ...Kg5? prematurely advancing towards the white pawns.

White could then actually play several moves securing the draw, but one of them is quite easy to illustrate: 40. g4

After this move the white king side becomes a self contained draw-fortress (even without the assistance of the white king). The pawns protect the squares in front of them (so a frontal black king attack is not possible). If the king tries to attack from the side, he will have to go via the square e5 allowing the h pawn to queen.

Thus, in order to clean up the king side black must push his f pawn into the claws of the g pawn. This allows him to safely get to the h pawn but leaves no pawns left on the table (since the a pawn succumbs to the claws of the white king.)

Dec-06-06  sfm: Wonder if Tarrasch really saw it all through to the end when he played 33.-,g6+!!, a move that might have made White falling off his chair. But if Tarrach didn't, well, the move makes little sense. We are watching one of the most beautiful K+R+P endgame combinations ever played. Was 32. -.Kf7(!!) a deadly trap? Can Black still win after 33.Rc5 ?
Dec-06-06  DeepThought: Didn't get f5+, but I really appreciate this week's end game puzzles over the usual Queen sac (Mo-We at least).
Premium Chessgames Member
  egilarne: Found it! Blacks a5 - f5+ and f4 is instructive - making the white pawns weak and easy to pick for the black king. Nice to have endgame puzzles!
Jan-20-07  GeauxCool: Painfully split pawns for white. If he grabs it, he can't stop promotion.
Jan-21-07  rrzugswang: What follows after 34. Pg6+ Kg7 35.Ra3 Rb5+ 36.Kg5 with the thret of Ph5 and Ra6?
Jan-23-07  Cyphelium: <rrzugswang> 34. hxg6+ ♔g7 35. ♖a3 f5 seems to keep the advantage.
Aug-18-07  zdigyigy: At first I thought what a drab game! But the ending was worth the wait. (and some study.)

Aug-22-07  ForeverYoung: sfm you raise a valid point with 33 Rc5. It certainly appears to give White drawing chances. I don't know much about R & P endings, but 3 vs. 2 on the same side is mostly drawn to the best of my knowledge.

It is a fair question to say how much Tarrasch saw when he played 33 ... g6+.

Deutsche Schachzeitung gives "with 34 fxg6+ Kg7 35 Kg4 Kxg6 36 h5+ Kf7 37 Ra2! White had drawing chances."

Tarrasch gives an elegant win after 36 Kh7 Rb5 involving a magnificent zugswang with queens on the board. this is twelve moves down the line!

Aug-22-07  euripides: I think if <33.Rc5> Black should play Rb7 and Ra7; he can then bring his king to the queen's side and White has trouble creating a passed pawn on the king's side because the black rook protects g7, the only weak point. White could try bringing his king to g6 and later Rg8, but it looks too slow.
Dec-25-07  Dr. Siggy: The critical position of this game arouse with Tarrasch's 33... g6+! - a most inspired check, to be sure!

After this move, Nimzowitsch missed a draw nothing more nothing less than three times (!!!): first, with 34. fxg6+ Kg7 35. Kg4!; then, with 35. Ra2 Rb4! 36. g3 Rb3 37. Rxa6 Rxg3 38. Ra6+ Ke6 39. Ra6+ Ke5 40. Ra5+ Ke4 41. Ra6!; and finally with 36. Kh7 Rb5 37. Rxb5 axb5 38. g4 b4 39. g5 b3 40. g6+...

The worse would come after 39. Ke4. Nimzowitsch must have thought that he had brought his King right in time into the a-pawn square; but Tarrasch opened his eyes with 39... f5+!! - another inspired check! After 40. Kd3 (or d4) f4!!, while the White King would still be confined into the same a-pawn square, the Black King would go on and capture both the g- and h-pawns, thus winning.

Jan-13-11  Ulhumbrus: This game provides a suggestion to the answer of what to do in reply to the attack c4. Tarrasch allows Nimzovich to play cxd5 and leave Black with a broken queenside but gains as well some lead in development.

The move 15...c5 obstructs the attack of White's QB on Black's a7 pawn, whilst Black's B on e6 attacks White's a2 pawn, tying White's QR to its defence.

Dec-13-11  AnalyzeThis: 9. c4 was bad. Lasker said that in the opening, you develop your pieces - period.
Dec-13-11  King Death: < AnalyzeThis: 9. c4 was bad. Lasker said that in the opening, you develop your pieces - period.>

This comment is as dogmatic as both players in this game could be in defense of their theories. If a player threatens mate in 1 move, would you still develop a piece because Lasker said so?

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