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Magnus Smith vs Alfred Kreymborg
New York Masters (1911), New York, NY USA, rd 6, Jan-27
Sicilian Defense: Classical Variation. General (B56)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  FSR: The line with 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5!, inviting 8...dxe5?? 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qxd8, is often called the Magnus Smith Trap, presumably on the authority of this game. I'm not sure why, since the line had been played before by and against more eminent players,, including in the previous year's world championship match, Schlechter vs Lasker, 1910.
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  Phony Benoni: Black keeps Horwitzing his Bishops, but it don't do him no good.
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  Phony Benoni: <FSR> This game was published in the March 1911 "American Chess Bulletin", p. 59. On p. 62-63 of the same issue there is an article by Smith with analysis of the line, titled <An Innovation Against the Sicilian Defense>. That is possibly where the attribution to Smith comes from.

The move Smith claims as his innovation is <9.Bf4>: He writes:

<"Up to Black's previous move the game is the same as that between Lasker and Schlechter in their recent match. Schlecther ow played 9.e6; Lasker ansered 9...f5 and had the better game. It occurred to me that White shoul obtain the advantage if he could simply hold the position for a move or two, as the situation is such that Black cannot well wait but must force the issue, and I saw that White could thus force his adversary to make a bad move. I accordingly played 9.Bf4preventing the capture of the e-pawn, and it is this simple move which appears to threaten the safety of the Sicilian...

"It thus appears, on careful analysis , that this latest variation of the Sicilian cannot be played with safety, and in view of the fact that some of the other variations yield Black an inferior game, the new line of play is not unlikely to relegate the Sicilian Defense to the limbo of discarded chess opening..">

Such foresight is how you get an opening variation named after yourself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Phony Benoni> Yup, this game and Magnus' analysis obviously sounded the death knell for the Sicilian. RIP.
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  ChessHigherCat: If anybody else was wondering why not 9. e6? black plays f5!

This stuff about the death knell of the Sicilian reminds of "The Cuba Libre Story" I'm watching on NetFlix where they promise to release Lucky Luciano from prison 20 years early and send him back to Sicily so he can help prepare for the US landing in WWII, but he sneaks back to Cuba before being pingponged back to Sicily again.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: If anybody else was wondering why not 9. e6? black plays f5!

This stuff about the death knell of the Sicilian reminds me of "The Cuba Libre Story" I'm watching on NetFlix where they promise to release Lucky Luciano from prison 20 years early and send him back to Sicily so he can help prepare for the US landing in WWII, but he sneaks back to Cuba before being pingponged back to Sicily again.

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  Phony Benoni: Of course, antidotes to the Magnus Smith Variation were found almost immediately, and indeed existed beforehand. Within a month of this game -- and before the Magnus Smith analysis appeared -- Vidmar vs O Bernstein, 1911 at San Sebastian saw the move <6...Bd7>, which neutralizes much of the venom by eliminating any Bxf7+ tricks. (By the way, this is an excellent game by Vidmar which you might find interesting.)

This move also appeared in the game T F Lawrence vs A W Fox, 1911 from the Anglo-American Cable Match in April. Annotating the game in "American Chess Bulletin", June 1911, p. 129, Fox wrote about <6.Bc4>:

<"Evidently leading up the Magnus Smith variation, which continues as follows: 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 d5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Bxd5, etc. The subsequent ply, which yields a win for White, was analyzed exhaustively by Mr. Smithin the March number of the American Chess Bulletin">.

And, about <6...Bd7>:

<"This is the move by which Black evades the foregoing line of play. It is thus seen that a simple transposition of moves at this stage of the defense might spread havoc among athe ranks of the blackforces.">

Not that either Bernstein or Fox invented <6...Bd7>. It first showed up in a game from round, 7 at St. Petersburg 1909, Schlechter vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1909. Here is what Emanuel Lasker had to say in the tournament book about the position after <6...Bd7 7.Bg5>

<"White's move of development, though perculiar, appears quite reasonable. The bishop on c4 is well posted, as long as Black does not play ...e6. In the latter case, however, Black has the weak pawn at d6">

Well, we know not that this comment, though not inaccurate, is certainly outdated, asince these days 6...e6 is by far the most common response to 6.Bc4. But what I find interest is that both Schlechter and Lasker phad prior knowledge of the variation as wel at the 6...Bd7 neutralizer.

In closing, a personal experience with MSV, from a postal game in the 190s against a long-forgotten opponent:

<1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.Qf3 dxe5?>

click for larger view


And I enjoyed analyzing what I would do to him after 10...Kd8, since of course he can't take the bishop due to 12.Be3+. But his move came back:


WIth the following conditional sequence:

"If <12.Bxe5+ Kg8 13.Bxh8 Kxh8>"

At first I had no intention of accepting this -- but, alas, I'm an obliging fellow. And since these if moves resulted in this position:

click for larger view

I decided to be a nice guy. Well, almost.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <CHC>, the conditional sequence offered by your hapless opponent was almost as entertaining as the seppuku featured in J F Campbell vs A Ehrlich, 1990, which, mais certainement, was not <Dr Ehrlich's Magic Bullet>.

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Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Round 6 -- 27 Jan 1911
from 1911 New York Masters by crawfb5
March, p. 59 [Game 63 / 2099]
from American Chess Bulletin 1911 by Phony Benoni

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