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Leo Forgacs vs Savielly Tartakower
"Forgacs' Unforgettable Game" (game of the day Sep-29-2005)
St. Petersburg (1909), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 18, Mar-11
French Defense: Classical. Tartakower Variation (C13)  ·  1-0



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Given 27 times; par: 36 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-29-05  Hidden Skillz: forgacs according to my experience is relatively unknown from what ive seen.. but his attacks were imo always unique and very imaginative
Sep-29-05  jkiipli: this Tartakower-guy always gets beated, never seen a game he has won
Sep-29-05  ughaibu: Maroczy vs Tartakower, 1922 Happy birthday Jkiipli
Sep-29-05  Ulhumbrus: Tartakower's mistake may have been to combine king side castling with ...c4, or ideed to castle on the king side at all. 12...0-0-0 may be right, and even necessary if White's king side attack prevails even after instead of 13 ..c4.
Sep-29-05  prinsallan: Alekhine vs Tartakower, 1933 ...and once more Jkiipli ^^
Sep-29-05  kevin86: White's pieces seemed to jump out of nowhere, from a game dominated by long pawn chains. Double check and mate turned our to surprise the loser.
Sep-29-05  EmperorAtahualpa: A nice game of the day, but let us not talk about the pun!

On Tartakower's part, I don't understand 19...g6. Why not 19...h6?

Sep-29-05  sfm: <On Tartakower's part, I don't understand 19...g6. Why not 19...h6?> I had exactly the same thought! Then I realized that black probably didn't like 20.Nh7 and 21.Nf6
Sep-29-05  EmperorAtahualpa: <sfm> Huh? I don't get it. After 20.Nh7 Black can simply move 20...Kxh7, right?
Sep-29-05  sfm: could let some time pass by and then let it be a "White to move" puzzle after black's 24th. I think that the only instantly winning move 25.R1f5! is hard to find.
Sep-29-05  Hidden Skillz: check out this one L Forgacs vs Duras, 1910
Sep-29-05  Kwesi: <EmperorAtahualpa> bishop on c2 prevents 20...Kxh7 if 19...h6
Sep-30-05  EmperorAtahualpa: <Kwesi> Darnit, I need to wake up. :) For some reason I was assuming that the g-pawn was on g6.
Feb-23-06  Castle In The Sky: This game is listed in How Not to Play Chess, Eugene A. Znosko-Borovsky
Nov-26-07  Poisonpawns: Fantastic game,also mentioned in Max Euwe & Kramers` The Middlegame.Brilliant and thematic attack
Jul-08-08  Amarande: 13 ... c4 is in and of itself apparently fine; Black's error is in not making a timely ... f5 to arrest White's pawn advances.

Note that the Pawn sacrifice at f5 is virtually a forced acceptance. If 17 ... b3, say (17 ... bxc3 18 bxc3 does not change anything) then 18 f6!! gxf6 (else 19 Qg5 forces mate) 19 Qh6! bxc2 20 exf6! Qxf6 21 Qxf6 and not only has Black lost his Queen but there is no defense to Ng5 and Qh6.

The only alternative to 17 ... exf5 that does not lead to a quick disaster is 17 ... f6, but then Black loses a Pawn by force. White continues with 18 exf6 and, no matter what way Black recaptures at f6, with 19 fxe6 and Black may not recapture:

* 18 ... Qxf6 19 fxe6 Bxe6? 20 Ng5 wins a piece.

* 18 ... Rxf6 19 fxe6 Bxe6 20 Ng5 Rxf1+ 21 Kf1 Rf8+ 22 Kg1 and Black loses the pawn at h7 as he must guard his Bishop.

* 18 ... Rxf6 19 fxe6 Rxe6 20 Ng5 Rxe1 21 Rxe1 and again both Black's h7-pawn and a more important piece are attacked.

* The prettiest variation is 18 ... gxf6 19 fxe6 Bxe6? which loses more subtly. The crux here is that White now plays 20 Qh6!, which creates an overload on the Black Queen in addition to the pin on the Bishop. As a result, Black's Bishop is no longer guarded and the forced win ensues: 20 ... Nd8 21 Ng5! Ra6 (If fxg5 21 Rxf8+ mates; if Re8, Black still loses a piece because the Black Queen is in *front* of the less valuable defender viz. 22 Bxh7+ Kh8 23 Bf5+ Kg8 24 Bxe6+ Nxe6 25 Rxe6 ) 22 Bxh7+ Kh8 23 Bf5+ Kg8 24 Bxe6+ Nxe6 25 Nxe6 Rxe6 26 Rxe6 Qxe6 27 Qg6+ Kh8 28 Rf4! and the mate at h4 can only be delayed for a few moves.

If (in the main game) instead of 18 ... fxg4, Black tries to keep the White Knight out, the game would probably develop on something of the following lines -

* 18 ... h6 19 gxf5 f6 (else f6! still shatters all) 20 e6! Bc8 21 Kh1 Qd6 22 Rg1 Kh8 (the threat was Qxh6) 23 Qg2 Rg8 24 Nh4 Ne7 25 Re3 bxc3 26 bxc3 Rb8 27 Qg4 Rb2 28 Rh3! Rxc2 29 Ng6+ Nxg6 30 Qxg6 Qf8 31 e7! Qxe7 32 Rxh6+! Or 29 ... Kh7 30 Nxe7 Qxe7 31 Qg6+ Kh8 32 Rxh6+!

* 18 ... f6 19 gxf5 fxe5 20 dxe5 Bxf5 21 Ng5 Bg6 22 Bxg6 fxg6 23 Qe3 bxc3 24 bxc3 Rab8 25 Rf4! Rxf4 (on Queen moves, 26 e6 wins; on other moves, 26 Rh4 and there is no good defense to Rh8+! KxR 27 Qh3+ etc.) 26 Qxf4 Qb7 27 Rf1! and there is no good defense to 28 Qh4 and 29 Qh7 mate. (If 27 ... Nd8 28 Qf8 mate!)

After 19 Ng5, all is cooked. (19 ... h6 20 Nh7 etc. )

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: This game has always impressed in the way it evolved. Notwithstanding the provocative 5...Ne4!?, the first 16 moves look pretty straightforward to me, with Black developing his pieces to natural squares and thematically pushing his queenside pawns. Then, out of this routine start comes 17. f5!, and within a few moves it appears White has an unstoppable attack. It used to have me wondering why White can't just do this every game against the French (well, at least whenever Black plays O-O).
Jul-23-08  arsen387: what a beautiful, extraordinary mate!
Oct-27-10  sevenseaman: A wonderful game? OK. A complicated game? Not quite; its more like 'The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes' Every time it came to 'Why can't Black just take that?' I found he really couldn't.

To me it looks more like a composition. If it isn't, then all the more mysterious and amazing.

What pleasure! Blessed are those who can play chess like that. For me it will be enough if I can grasp it, even if that comes about with loads of difficulty.

Aug-12-12  Karpova: After 17.f5

click for larger view

Dr. Emanuel Lasker: <A beautiful sacrifice, which is not only quite correct, but also the strongest continuation at his disposal. White threatens now f5-f6. Also 17.g4 would be strong, but the reply 17...f5 would have enabled Black to offer a prolonged resistance.>

On 18.g4

Dr. Emanuel Lasker: <The beautiful second sacrifice is the point of the first.>

From the St. Petersburg 1909 tournament book, translated by Richard Teichmann.

Dec-26-14  SeanAzarin: If Tartakower plays 16... P-B4!!, he kills Forgacs' attack before it can get started.
Apr-30-15  mezei86: Hi there,
Why does black not play 20....h3. , winning white's knight, and the game??

I'm sure I've missed something, (probably obvious) but cannot find it. If anyone can shed light on this for me , that would be great. Love this whole game, but I just don't get that one move.

Apr-30-15  Nerwal: 20... h3 21. ♗xg6! (Tartakower)

I also like 21. ♘h3!? ♔h7 (21... gxh3 22. ♕xh6 and g6 will soon collapse) 22. ♘f4 as d5 hangs or g6 falls.

Apr-28-22  Whitehat1963: What a great final position!
Feb-16-23  dehanne: 17.g4 is winning while after the actually played moves black can hold after 19...h6.

19...g6 is dreadful.

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