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Asmundur Asgeirsson vs William Albert Fairhurst
Folkestone Olympiad (1933), Folkestone ENG, rd 13, Jun-21
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Berlin Variation (E38)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I got the first three moves, but I didn't see the force of 27...Rxf2+ or the follow-up. So would I have played this line OTB in a serious game anyway?

Sure I would. You believe me, don't you?

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Nice little three pieces vs. the Queen attack.
Jan-09-14  Patriot: Material is even. White threatens 24.Rxe2 or 24.Qxd5.

23...Bxf3 24.Rxe2 Rc1+ 25.Bf1 Bxe2 26.Qxd5 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+ 28.Kg1 Rf1+ 29.Kg2 Bf3+ 30.Kxf1 Nxg3+ 31.hxg3 Bxd5

There are other variations of this, but I think this works.

Jan-09-14  Patriot: In one variation I noticed, 28.Kh3 Bg4+ 29.Kxg4 Nf6+ with a fork.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I met Fairhusrt he was at my club in the 80s. He was old then. He had played Capablanca and many of the masters. He was several times Scottish champion and once the British Champion.

His company (Engineering) rebuilt the Bridge over the River Tee. The first one callapsed (it was cast iron or not strong enough and sheered off when a train carrying many passengers went into the river and many died - following that the engineer in charge comitted suicide).

My father went to the Nice Olympiad to watch the players as well as a trip back home. Fairhurst was on board one, but my father said he was a pain in the rectum as he kept disappearing for England without telling the team.

He must have been a pretty bright cookie though. I couldn't solve (accurately) this although I found the main moves. Bxf3 was clearly the first move though and a knight fork came into it.

Jan-09-14  chupawan: Patriot:

maybe better is 28.Kh3 Bf1+ 29.Kh4 Rxh2+ 30.Kg4 Nf6+

Jan-09-14  M.Hassan: "medium"
Black to play 23...?
Materials are exactly equal.

I found two lines of solutions both starting with 23...Bxf3 and continuing with 24.Rxe2 Rc1+ It was a gut feeling that Black lets go of his Queen to get advantage:

A) 25.Bf1 Bxe2
<if 26.Qxd5? Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+ 28.Kh3 Bf1+ 29.Kh4 Rxh2+ 30.Kg4 Nf6+ and picking up the Queen next>

27.Kg2 Rxf2+
28.Qxf2 Nxf2
29.Kxf2 Bc4
Black is a piece and a pawn ahead

B) 25.Re1 Rxe1+
26.Bf1 Ng5 threatenig mate on h3
27.h4 Nh3+
28.Kh2 Rxf1
29.Kxh3 Rh1#
Time to check

Jan-09-14  gofer: Does the queen sacrifice work? It looks good!

<23 ... Bxf3!>
<24 Rxe2 Rc1+!>

25 Bf1 Bxe2

click for larger view

<25 Re1 Rxe1+>
<26 Bf1 Be2>

click for larger view

Both variations lead to almost the same position, where black has a small back rank weakness, but white is going to lose its final minor piece and a pawn for not very much. Fortunately Pd5 is immune, so black can know that it will have a secure passed pawn at the end of the exchange.

27 Qxd5? Rxf1+ 28 Kg2 Rxf2+ 29 Kg1/Kh1 Rf1+ (Kh3 Bf1+ 30 Kh4 Rxh4 31 Kg4 Nf6+ ) 30 Kg2 Bf3+! 31 Kxf1 Nxg3+ (Kh3 Nf2+ is worse)

So what should white play if not 27 Qxd5?

<27 Qb6?/Qa7?/Qa4?/Qe5? Rxf1+>

<28 Kg2 Rxf2+>

30 Kh3 h5 mating or winning the queen

<29 Kg1/Kh1 h5>

The white king is stuck on the first rank and susceptable to all manner of threats. Black on the other hand has a passed pawn and significant mating possibilities.


Nailed it!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

White threatens 24.Rxe2 and the d-pawn is defenseless.

The first idea that comes to mind is 23... Bxf3 24.Rxe2 (24.Bxf3 Qxe1+) 24... Rc1+

A) 25.Bf1 Bxe2

A.1) 26.Qxd5 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+

A.1.a) 28.Kh1 Bf3+ 29.Kg1 Rg2+ 30.Kf1 (30.Kh1 Nf2#) 30... Nxg3+ 31.hxg3 Bxd5 - + [R+B+P].

A.1.b) 28.Kg1 Rf1+ 29.Kg2 Bf3+ 30.Kxf1 (30.Kh3 Nf2+ 31.Kh4 Bxd5 - + [R+B+N]) 30... Nxg3+ 31.hxg3 Bxd5 - + [B+P].

A.1.c) 28.Kh3 Bg4+ 29.Kxg4 (29.Kh4 Rxh2+ 30.Kxg4 Nf6+ and 31... Nxd5 - + [R+N+P]) 29... Nf6+ and 30... Nxd5 - + [R+N].

A.2) 26.Qa7 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+

A.2.a) 28.Kh1 Bf3+ 29.Kg1 h5 followed by Rxb2, Rd2 or Rxh2 with mate threats.

A.2.b) 28.Kg1 h5 with the same idea as in A.2.a.

A.2.c) 28.Kh3 Bf1+ 29.Kh4 (29.Kg4 f5+ 30.Kh4(5) Rxh2#) 29... g5+ 30.Kh5 (30.Kg4 f5+ 31.Kh5 Rxh2#) 30... Rxh2+ 31.Kg4 Be2#.

A.2.d) 28.Qxf2 Nxf2 29.Kxf2 Bc4 - + [B+P].

A.3) 26.Qe5 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+

A.3.a) 28.Kh1 Bf3+ as in A.2.a.

A.3.b) 28.Kg1 h5 as in A.2.b.

A.3.c) 28.Kh3 Bf1+ as in A.2.c.

A.4) 26.f3 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rf2+

A.4.a) 28.Kh1 Bxf3+ 29.Kg1 Rd2 30.Qxd2 (else 30... Rd1+) 30... Nxd2 - + [B+N+P].

A.4.b) 28.Kg1 Bxf3 as in A.2.a.

A.4.c) 28.Kh3 Bxf3 creating a mating net.

A.4) 26.f4 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rf2+ 28.Kh3 (28.Kh1 and 28.Kg1 as in previous lines) 28... h5 with the threat 29... Bg4+ 30.Kh4 Rxh2#.

B) 25.Re1 Rxe1+ 26.Bf1 Be2 looks similar to A.

Jan-09-14  morfishine: Remove the Defender

<23...Bxf3> 24.Rxe2 Rc1+ 25.Bf1 Bxe2 26.Qxd5 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+ 28.Kh3 Bf1+ and Black wins due to 29.Kg4 Nf6+ forking the Queen or 29.Kh4 g5+ 30.Kh5/g4 followed by 30...Nf6+ again forking the Queen

PM: Ha Ha! White tries 28.Kh1 & 29.Kg2 hoping to keep his threats alive (against the back rank and the Knight) but Black has seen further ahead with 29...Bf3+ 30.Kxf1 Nxg3+ snaring the Queen; or 30.Kh3 Nf2+ also winning the Queen


Jan-09-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: My main line is

24 ... Bxf3
25 Rxe2 Rc1+
26 Bf1 Bxe2
27 Qxd5 Rxf1+
28 Kg2 Rxf2+
29 Kf1 Rf1+
30 Kg2 Bf3+ and wins the queen via a discovered attack.

The notes I wrote before getting that far are below.

While this is not 100% worked out, it would probably suffice for me to try the sacrifice over the board.


The obvious try is

24 ... Bxf3
25 Rxe2 Rc1+


26 Re1 Rxe1+
27 Bf1 Be2

looks like it puts Black ahead in material, but it also leave White with a tempo to do hostile stuff such as

28 Qxd5, with the triple threat of mate, Qxe4 and Qd2.

A similar situation arises after 26 Bf1 Bxe2.

24 ... Bxf3
25 Rxe2 Rc1+
26 Bf1 Bxe2
27 Qxd5 Rxf1+
28 Kg2 Rxf2+
29 Kf1 Rf1+
30 Kg2 Bf3+ and wins the queen via a discovered attack.

Jan-09-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Yee-ha!! I nailed a Thursday perfectly!
Jan-09-14  zb2cr: Missed this one. I did see the first move, and the follow-up, but, like <Phony Benoni>, I got hung up after 26. Qxd5 and didn't see the proper response.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Hmm. I thought 23...Nxg3 would be a good move, but there were better moves out there.
Jan-09-14  WoodPushkin: Greetings

Play w/o the queen as position is everything. Plus Black ultimately wins queen back or w/ stronger play say...

25. f3

The d pawn decides the game. This of course requires correct moves by Black and should be played through at least twice to properly understand the changing positional requirements.


Analysis Calculation Execution: STUDY!!
Yes love

Jan-09-14  landogriffin: @ Richard Taylor: Thanks for the background info, very interesting.

For posterity, I believe the bridge he designed was for the River Tay (not to be confused with the Rivers Dee or Tees!).

Jan-09-14  SimonWebbsTiger: Errr, Fairhurst did not play at the Nice Olympiad 1974 on board 1.

The actual team composition is easily checked in the Batsford book of the event....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: <SimonWebbsTiger>

Jan-09-14  SimonWebbsTiger: @<Stonehenge>

thx for the clarification. I assumed Taylor was talking about a British team. :)

Jan-09-14  BOSTER: White should be careful creating the diversion 23.Re1, attacking the black queen when his knigjt was under attack. Such way fair hurt desttoyed white fortress.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < landogriffin: @ Richard Taylor: Thanks for the background info, very interesting.

For posterity, I believe the bridge he designed was for the River Tay (not to be confused with the Rivers Dee or Tees!). >

Tay. Thanks. Yes. The original bridge collapsed in a storm, it was a cast iron type. The designer committed suicide as their was a large loss of life as a passenger train was traveling over it at the time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < SimonWebbsTiger: Errr, Fairhurst did not play at the Nice Olympiad 1974 on board 1.

The actual team composition is easily checked in the Batsford book of the event.... >

No, he was there as you can see. My father was also on trip. He had retired and decided as part of his trip to watch the Olympiad. But like Fairhurst he went to revisit parts of England he knew. Now I only met Fairhurst a couple of times. He seemed o.k. to me. But as you might realise in the chess world everywhere it is constant war - you can forget the cynical "Gens una sumus."....

The Ego rules in chess.

But I'm NOT detracting from Fairhurst he was clearly a very strong player who drew with Capa etc and I know nothing of his life as such. His lecture on the two Bs was interesting. he seemed a nice enough fellow.

I don't know why everyone is analysing this comparatively simple positonso much - giving the computers some exercise!!

The only games by him on here I looked at by him seemed a bit dull. Perhaps he "engineered" his wins...

Jan-09-14  James D Flynn: 23……Bxf3 24.Rxe2 Rc1+ 25.Bf1 Bxe2 26.Qxd5 Rxf1+ 27.Kg2 Rxf2+ 28.Kh3 Bg4+ 29.Kh4(if Kxg4 Nf6+ wins the Q) g5+ 30.Kxg4(either this or Qxg5+ Nxg5 leaves Black a R and a minor piece up) Nf6+ 31.Kxg5 Nxd5 wins.
Jan-09-14  mel gibson: Move 23 for white - 23 Re1 was a mistake.
The computer says 23 Ne5 & leaves the game even.

To be fair I didn't see the solution to this problem as 23 Re1 looked so good.

Jan-09-14  randhomykchess: Black missed: 28....♗f3+ a) 29.♔g1 ♖g2+ 30.♔f1 (30.♔h1 ♘f2# or 30....♖xg3#) 30....♘xg3+ 31.hxg3 ♗xd5; b) 29.♔g1 ♖d2 winning in both situations.
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