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Wilfried Paulsen vs Johann Nepomuk Berger
Berlin (1881), Berlin GER, rd 10, Sep-09
Center Game: Paulsen Attack Variation (C22)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-09-03  Dougy: Hmmm am I missing something, isn't 37... Rd1 checkmate? Why did white win?
Sep-09-03  Dougy: Hmmm... also 35... Qd1 or 36... Qd1 is checkmate. Surely someone as great as Paulsen would have notice leaving checkmate open three moves in a row...

Also 37. Re8+ forms an easy mating pattern.

Sep-09-03  fred lennox: Black won. I doubt that Paulsen missed it, seems like he was simply enjoying himself.
Sep-09-03  Jonber: Hmm, I’ve checked with three independent sources, and they all list Paulsen as the winner of this game, so, unless Berger lost for some other reason, like time(?), it would appear that he resigned in a winning position and that the gamescore is correct.
Sep-09-03  fred lennox: Excuse me, I thought Paulsen was black. Giving a closer look, the early Qd1# miss does seem strange. Loosing on time with one move to go is strange. For the time would of ran out the move before (most likely). And missing the easy 37 Re8+ is strange too. A good example of a strange game.
Sep-09-03  Benjamin Lau: Just to make sure, none of you think this is LOUIS Paulsen, right? Louis Paulsen (probably) would not make such an error, but Wilfried Paulsen was a lesser player (click on his name, his win percentage is less than mediocre)
Sep-09-03  Jonber: Wilfried Paulsen was Louis’ brother, and not a bad player, though weaker then his brother. Chessmetrics estimates Wilfried’s rating to above 2300. Though the Kan variation in the Sicilian is often called the Paulsen after Louis, it was in fact Wilfried who practised it first. He is also known for his calm nature, and for often thinking very long before moving. In the game W Paulsen vs Zukertort, 1868 he contemplated for 70 minutes before his 27th move!

Anyway, it was Berger who lost the game. I do agree that it’s unlikely that he lost on time though. Were there even time controls at this tournament? Most likely he simply resigned in a winning position. Strange perhaps, but he wouldn’t be the first to do so, and certainly not the last.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I think the gamescore is not correct. I guess that 35.Qg1 was played, not 35.Qg4.
Sep-10-03  Jonber: My database contains versions of this game from three different sources; all versions are identical in respect to gamescore and moves played as the one above. I also checked the game in Chessbase 8.0 Mega and Chessbases online database, both giving the same gamescore and moves.

I’m fairly certain the above gamescore and moves are correct.

Premium Chessgames Member Jonber, just because we find three sources with the same move doesn't make it correct. Errors are frequently copied from one source to another. In any case, we'll leave 35.Qg4? as the move, and much thanks for your good research.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Jonber> The problem is that all that "different sources" have almost certainly one and the same origin. All Internet databases are taking games from another databases. Errors in gamescore are quite usual as nobody cannot control its correctness in millions of chess games and bad gamescores are simply replicated from one database to another. The only reliable source can be any monography or original tournament book.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: By the way, I have even a printed bulletin with complete collection of uncommented games from Berlin 1881 DSB-Kongress (published in 1997 in Publishing House Moravian Chess, Olomouc, Czech republic). It contains the same gamescore (with 35.Qg4). But as I have found out, all their bulletins of historical chess events are nothing else than printed collections of games compiled (surprise!) from public electronic chess databases. Nobody cares whether the gamescores or results are correct or not...:-(

I don't believe that 35.Qg4 happened in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member < Nobody cares whether the gamescores or results are correct or not...> certainly does, unfortunately we don't have the resources to research all of these matters ourselves. In retrospect we join you in the opinion that 35.Qg1 was played, because it's the only rational move that would give Black reason to resign when he did. It's hard to believe a master would resign with an obvious checkmate on the board, but moreover, the move 36...Nxc3 proves that Black was very much aware of White's sensitive back rank. He was perhaps hoping for 37.bxc3?? which of course loses at once to ...Rd1+.

We will change the move to 35.Qg1 unless evidence surfaces to the contrary; and our posts serve to document our decision.

Sep-11-03  Jonber: The sources for the games in my database is listed as:

"Der erste und zweite Kongreß...", Olms 1979, p165-166. Tournament Notes
Wiener Schachzeitung, 1913

None of the games lists another database or any other electronic source.

If we were to change the gamescore or to mistrust written sources just because the move looks “unnatural”, it would hardly be any games left not to change. From an academic standpoint, it hardly seems like a sound scientific process to trust ones own judgment over that of written sources.

Premium Chessgames Member Jonber: There is surely only one original published source of the game, therefore a typo from that source would be replicated endlessly among scores of sources, both modern and old. We won't change a game just because a move is bad, but when a move is ludicrous we are forced to take a closer look. In this case we are speaking of the single worst move which can possibly be made in the game of chess: to resign a game when you have checkmate on the board.

Regarding academic interests, our decision to change the move to 35.Qg1 is very well documented in both the kibitzing here, and the comments of the actual PGN file. Therefore, I don't see any academic conflict: we are adding to what is known about this game, and not subtracting from it. Because of the documentation, we preserve the ability to reserse this decision in the future.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Jonber> Try to find that book which you have mentioned as the source of the game in your database, please. I have not it as well as nobody from my chess friends, which I have asked about it till now, but I will be searching too. It is quite possible that the typo originated in the process of making PGN (or other electronic format) file and that the book contains different gamescore. By the way, I have very good experience with other books published by Olms and I consider its publications as very reliable source.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: By the way, another game from the same event with very strange (I believe incorrect) gamescore is Zukertort vs W Paulsen, 1881
Nov-05-07  ferrio: I really dont know where you guys seem a checkmate, if 37...Rd1 QxR wins for white, and 35 or 36 Qd1 never could happened
Aug-15-09  vonKrolock: after <31...♖b8>

click for larger view

Followed, according to the Tournament Book, by E. Schallopp, published in Leipzig 1883 <32 ♖5e2 ♕a6 33 ♔b1 ♘d5 34 ♔a1 ♕a4 35 ♕g4 ♖d7 <?? - sic> 36 ♘c5 ♘xc3 37 ♘xa4 Resigns.> fac-simile online thanks to. E. Winter, in his "Chess Notes" 6265, August 2009

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