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Louis Karpinski vs Eugene Delmar
Buffalo (1901), Buffalo, New York USA, rd 7, Aug-15
Russian Game: Modern Attack (C43)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Krapinski drew his first two games and then lost his final eight, including both of his games to Marshall, thus allowing Marshall to finish ahead of Krapinski (in next to last place). This game (in which he managed to achieve a lost position as White within his first 10 moves) explains why Krapinski finished in last place. Delmar had won a pawn by move 13, and the balance of the game is a fairly uninteresting wrapping up of a game that should probably have taken considerably less time than it took Delmar to finish off the hapless Krapinski.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nf6

Marshall had played the Petroff in defeating Karpinski in the fourth round at Buffalo 1901.

3. d4

This, rather than 3. Nxe5, was the choice all three times the Petroff was played at this tournament.

3... exd4

Marshall had played the wild 3...d5?! in defeating Krapinski. The text is less usual than 3...Nxe4, is arguably as good or better.

4. e5 Ne4

Much better than 4...Qe7?! as played by Marshall earlier that same day (in Round 6) in his loss to Napier.

5. Nxd4

5. Qxd4 is probably better.

5... d5
6. Bd3

Krapinski could also have played 6. exd6 e.p. or 6. Be2. The text, however, is also OK and good enough for equality.

6... Bc5
7. Be3

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7... Nc6

Needlessly allowing White to mess up the Black Queen-side pawn structure. 7...0-0; 7...BxN; 7...Bb6; and 7...Qe7 were all better.

8. NxN bxN

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9. BxN?

Very weak. Krapinski apparently missed Delmar's intermediate move on his next turn. White would have better chances with 9. Qe2. And 9. Qf3 would have yielded at least equality to White.

9... BxB!

The move Krapinski overlooked.

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10. fxB?

Again overlooking Delmar's response. Krapinski would have been worse but had a playable game with 10. 0-0 or 10. Bxd5.

10... Qh4+
11. g3?

Yet another bad move by Krapinski. He had to buckle down with 11. Kf1 or 11. Kd2 and try to hang on. Now he loses a pawn and gets a nearly hopeless position.

11... QxB

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What a horrendous position for the player of the White pieces to reach after just 11 moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

12. 0-0 Bh3?

This only helped Krapinski in his efforts to recover. The simple 12...Qxe3+ would leave White pretty badly busted.

13. Rf2 Qxe3

He could also have played 13...Qxe5. Black is still probably winning, but White now has some chances.

14. Qd2 Qb6

Hardly best. Delmar should have played 14...d4 or 14...QxQ.

After the text, the position was:

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15. c3?

Badly weakening his Queen-side. Karpinski would still have had some play with 15. b3.

15... 0-0
16. Qd4 Rae8

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17. Na3?

Another poor effort. 17. Nd2 Qxb2 18. Nb3 Qa3 19. Qh4 Bc8 20. Qb4 QxQ 21. bxQ would lead to a lost ending, but it was better than the text. But now Karinski got lucky.

17... Be6?

17...Re6! would have pretty much left Delmar without resource. But after the text, the position was:

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18. QxQ?

Just awful. After Delmar's last move, Karpinski would have had interesting play with 18. b4. But now he got a hopeless ending down a pawn and never really had any real chances to save the game after this.

18... axQ!

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The text was much better than 18...cxQ. Now, in addition to his extra pawn, Delmar had a half-open a-file on which to operate plus pressure on Karpinski's weak, isolated e-pawn. Resignation would not have been premature here, but given Delmar's faltering play in what follows Karpinsiki's decision to play on does not look too bad.

19. Nc2 c5
20. Re1

20. Rd2; 20. a4; or even 20. b4 were better, though with proper play by Black it should not make much of a difference.

20... Rd8

20...Re7 or 20...Bd7 or 20...Ra8 were stronger. The text didn't accomplish much, but Delmar's game still was a clear win. But to the extent Delmar was planning an upcoming d4, his forthcoming play made a mockery or 20...Rd8.

21. Rf4

Yet another hopeless move by Karpinski. 21. b4 or 21. Rd2 or even 21. b3 would have been better.

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21... Rd7

He could have played 21...d4! or, alternatively, tried another good plan with 21...Rfe8. The idea of doubling Rooks on the d-file was hardly best play.

22. Rd1 Rfd8

Continuing with his doubtful plan and missing another opportunity to play d4. After the text, the position was:

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Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

23. b3?

He should have played 23. Ra4 to forestall 23...Ra8.

23... b5?

After Karpinski's weak 23. b3?, 23...Ra8 would have been nasty. But Delmar seemed reluctant to land a knock-out punch yet. Perhaps he was in time pressure.

24. b4

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24... cxb4?

Hard to believe. Black could have rolled over Karpinski with 24...d4 or 24...g5. Now, Karpinski had at least a ghost of a chance. But not for long!

25. Rxb4

25. cxb4 avoiding the two isolated Queen-side pawns he gets with the text. But worse was soon to come for Karpinski.

25... c6

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26. g4?

Hopeless, and this time Delmar didn't throw him a lifeline. 26. a4 might have given him a chance to rid himself of at least one of his weak pawns. The text, by contrast, created new weaknesses in the White pawn structure.

26... Ra8!

At last. After the text, White will not get to play a4.

27. a3

White's position was now pretty much entirely en prise.

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27... Kf8

27...Re7 immediately was even better.

28. h3 Re7

The Tournament Book gives this move as 28...Rc7. But 28...Re7 looks better. In any case, after Delmar's 30th move, the two scores converge.

29. Rf4 c5
30. Kh2 Rea7

30...g5 was more forceful. After the text, we can again be confident we are working with the correct position (see move 27):

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31. Rdf1?

31. Rb1 offered the best (albeit probably futile) resistance.

31... Ra4
32. Kg3 Ke7
33. RxR

Trading Rooks doesn't leave Karpsinski any chances for counterplay and White's game sure looks hopeless to me from this point. But anything else by Karpinski here would have been even worse.

33... RxR

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Karpinski from here struggled on for another 25(!) moves, the game was now obviously over.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

34. Rf4 Ra5

Delmar was certainly correct in declining to trade Rooks (since his Rook is doing much more on the a-file than White's is doing on the f-file, but 34...Ra8 or 34...Ra6 or even 34...Ra7 were a;; better.

35. Kf2 Bd7

A flexible choice, permitting his Bishop to get to e8 and free the King for action or to go to c6 and support a pawn advance. Meanwhile, the Bishop eyes h5.

36. Ke3 Ke6

36...h5 was even stronger.

37. Kd3 Be8
38. Rf3 Ra4
39. Re3 Bc6!
40. Kd2 Re4!

Leaving Karpinski with an impossible dilemma. Everything for White is hopeless.

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41. RxR

Loss of a pawn (and of the game) is inevitable, but the text is equivalent to resignation. If Karpinski (whose name I seem to have misspelled repeatedly--sorry about that!) wanted to play on, he had to try 41. Rf3. Once the Rooks are off the board, White has no play at all.

41... dxR

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Not much left for White to play for.

42. Na1

If this is the best White has, it was time to call it a day. 42. Ne3 looks "best," but it hardly mattered by this point.

42... Bd5
43. Ke3

He might as well have conceded his 42nd move was junk and just played 43. Nc2.

43... Kex5

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I would be willing to bet serious money I could defeat Magnus Carlsen with the Black position here.

44. Nc2

Bringing the Knight back from the dead.

44... f6

Prolonging White's agony. 44...Be6 or 44...h5 were faster ways to close out proceedings.

45. Ne1 g6

Delmar must have been enjoying his position too much to finish off his helpless opponent. 45...Be6 or 45...g5 were faster.

46. Ng2 f5

Was Delmar trying to make his rask harder. Why else not play 46...g5. After the text, the position was:

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47. g5

This is hopeless. 47. gxf5 was the best slender hope.

47... Bb3
48. Nf4 Bd1

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Hard to explain why Karpinski continued to play from here. This doesn't look like any fun for White at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

49. h4 Bf3

White is already nearly in Zugzwang.

50. Nh3 Kd5
51. Nf4+ Ke5

Delmar must have been looking to repeat moves to gain time on the clock.

52. Nh3 Bg2
53. Nf4 Bf1

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54. h5 gxh5
55. Nxh5 Bh3

55...Bc4 56. Nf4 Bf7 57. Ng2 Kd5 was fastest.

56. Nf6

Absurd. But the "better" 56. Nf4 would have only extended the agony. After the text, the position was:

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The finish now was brutal.

56... f4+
57. Ke2 bf5
58. Kd2

Utterly hopeless, but Karpinski perhaps was ready to move on to end the game and go on to play his postponed 5th round game with Pillsbury (which he also lost).

58... h6

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