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Amos Burn vs John Owen
"Fiddling While Burn Roams" (game of the day Jun-13-2008)
Burn - Owen m (1874), Liverpool ENG, Oct-??
Pirc Defense: General (B07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-11-08  outsider: great names, BURN vs OWEN, a pun in itself
Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: One of my favorite chess puzzles. Classic removing the defender.
Jun-13-08  apple pi: clever play on words
Jun-13-08  Samagonka: This game should have been the puzzle for today (11, white to move).
Jun-13-08  cyclemath: I've seen a similar pun before. The BBC book 'The Master Game, Book 2', Jeremy James & William Hartston, 1980, covers a tournament played for BBC TV. In one game featured, Robert Byrne (W) is in a bit of trouble at move 36 against Michael Stean (B). The annotation goes:

"White is now so tied up that the black pieces just have to find something to do and the game seems won. Having entered the white position Stean's rook was described, at the time of the game, as free to roam while Byrne fiddled."

(In fact, Stean failed to find the best responses to Byrne's fiddling, and the game was drawn after 72 moves.)

Jun-13-08  sallom89: very nice game!
Jun-13-08  Dilbertarian: 13... Qd7 is much better. Crafty proposes : 14. Bb5 Qg7 15. Rxh7+ Qxh7 16. Nxh7 Kxh7 17. Bxc6 exd4 18. Bxb7 Rab8 19. Bxd4 Rxb7 20. Nd5 a5
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Ah, the classic h pawn hack! Crude, violent, fun. The chess equivalent of the Undertaker versus Triple H.

Shame, but I think this one is busted. Either of 13. ... Qe7 or 13. ... Qd7 seems to lead to a fairly level game. Chessmaster evaluates the position after 13. ... Qd7 as virtually level (-0.03).

Earlier still, After 11. Ng5? Chessmaster wants to win the d pawn with 11. ... h6 12 Nf3 ed. And then it is black who is attacking and not white. Evaluation is -1.6.

It's probably no bad thing that this is not given as a daily puzzle. With the deep analysis that some of the experts do, they would surely complain that there was no clear winning line.

One thing I have spotted from the research I do for my column is that many of the early swashbuckling games are full of similar errors. The sacrifices are much more speculative than a modern master would play. And with proper defence, games like this would be drawn or even a win for the other guy.

Don't get me wrong - I love these old games. But we need to see them for what they are. They are a snapshot in history and great entertainment. Some of the combinations are wonderful. But on the whole they are not great chess. Think of them as "sports entertainment". And definitely don't try this at home.

But I liked the pun.

Jun-13-08  PinnedPiece: < Samagonka: This game should have been the puzzle for today (11, white to move >

Don't think it can be puzzle if Black has resources that he didn't use correctly from move 11.

Jun-13-08  Riverbeast: Not such a great game, but the best pun I've seen yet
Jun-13-08  jovack: followed by Nd5 mate
this is remniscient of when im playing a noob
Jun-13-08  Calli: <the classic h pawn hack!>

Still found some games in this line being played today. An interesting idea in Alej Guerrero Rodriguez vs U Flanders, 2006 is 7..Nd4 for Black, sacrificing a pawn. Even though he lost, it may be worth it for controlling the diagonal.

Jun-13-08  wanabe2000: Great game. A similar ending was reached in Alekhine vs Lasker, 1934 which has a bishop, knight, and rook mating the exposed king if Lasker had accepted the offered queen.
Jun-13-08  MaxxLange: <Once> Everyone knows that the 19th Century Masters had not developed defensive technique, accepted all piece sacrifices as a matter of honor, and so on. This game is pretty subtle compared to some of their play!

I can agree with your point that it is not great chess by the highest standards, since it is, objectively, marred by errors. But, it is so instructive to see what the threats are in a position, and these games show clearly what can go wrong if you don't defend correctly against the relentless, brilliant attacks that the old guys played. You seem to be a lover of chess history already; I guess all I am saying is, let us beware against the pursuit of perfection taking the love of these great old games from us

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <MaxxLange> You're right - I love these old games and I am very glad that we have to bring them to a new audience. I spend a disproportionate amount of my time replaying the classics (and the dross!) from the 1800s.

But it is all too easy to rewrite history in favour of the victorious. There is a tendency to think that every move that the winner makes is brilliant and every move that the loser makes is poor. And just because the game ends in a flashy combination, it is too easy to think that every move leading up to the conclusion was equally brilliant.

For me, this game is marred by too many simple oversights. 11. Ng5 should lose to 11. ... h6. The queen sacrifice should be no more than a draw with 13. Qd7.

Is this perfectionism? I don't think so. You generally don't have such problems with the games of Morphy, Steinitz or Pillsbury. Their combinations generally stand the test of time.

Some players, such as Alkhine, Lasker and Tal set their opponents so many complex problems that you can forgive them for not finding the best defensive move. But the errors here are so simple that I cannot see this as a great game. Great fun, to be sure, but a flawed gem. Burn played some dodgy moves and got lucky. In my book, this is good theatre, but not great chess.

I am not saying that we should go over the classics with modern chess programs to find all the errors. That would be unfair because the world has moved on since these games were played. But we should see these games for what they are.

There is also a serious learning point here. One of my biggest weaknesses as a player is that I sometimes play "hope chess". I play a combination that looks good, but I have not analysed every possible defence. In other word I am too lazy!

That is why I think we should look for defensive resources as well as attacks, boring though it might be.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I bet the pipe was really blazin' this time! lol

Like the Marshall game,this was out of character for Burn,who usually played it close to the vest and passified his opponents with solid defense and pipe smoke.

Sep-12-09  WhiteRook48: 15 Nd5# to follow
crazy mating net
Sep-28-10  sevenseaman: One of the prettier puns that I came across.

The game spun fast and was ower before I knew.

Jan-07-13  whiteshark: The things you own end up owning you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <For me, this game is marred by too many simple oversights. 11. Ng5 should lose to 11. ... h6.>

Well, it is not so simple to see that (and why) 11...h6! refutes 11.Ng5?!. It is necessary to see that 12.Nf7+ Rxf7 13.Bxf7 exd4 leaves white with just a Rook for two pieces and that white's attack quickly runs out of steam, and also that 12.Ne6 Bxe6 13.Bxe6 is bad for 13...Nxe3 14.fxe3 Qg5! (or 14...Qf6, though here white still has 15.Qg4 to cover the Bishop and avoid the threatening mate.). It was a miscalculation but I would hardly call it "simple oversight". Of course, Owen's helpmate attempt 13...Kg7?? was a blunder missing mate in two but correct 13...Qe7 14.Nxh7 Qxh7! (14...Kg7 15.Nd5! Qd7 16.Nhf6 looks still quite dangerous for black) 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Bb3 Rae8 17.Rxh7+ Kxh7 18.Kd2!? is ok for white who has excellent compensation for Exchange and maintains the initiative, for example 18...Kg7 19.Rh1 Rh8 20.Rxh8 Rxh8 21.Nb5 Rh2 22.Bxa7 Rxg2 23.Nxc7 and white got the second Pawn for Exchange.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Fine pun--one of the best I have seen.
Oct-18-15  Sally Simpson: I think it is Amos awful pun.

Who submitted it, c'mon Owen up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  louispaulsen88888888: I see what you did there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  louispaulsen88888888: what i if told

you read the top line wrong

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Mato has provided brief video of this game:
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