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  Nimzovich - Tarrasch;  St. Petersburg, 1914. 


This is mainly a text-based page ... but with plenty of diagrams. (15-20 game diagrams ... plus analysis.) 

 ***  

Click  HERE  to see a thorough explanation of the  symbols  that I use when annotating a chess game.  

 *** 

 Click  HERE  to replay this game ... on a different web site. 
 (Warning! This is NOT one of my sites!!! If you find or see anything offensive there, I am not responsible!)  
 (I only write this in response to some of the e-mails I have received. My advice is ignore the language, or the bashing of any one  individual ...  if you cannot do this, then do not click on the link!!)  


  Aaron Nimzowitsch (2620) - Siegbert Tarrasch (2662)  
  [D30]  
"Super-GM Event" / preliminaries 
  St. Petersburg, Russia (Round # 5)28,04,1914.  

  [A.J. Goldsby I]  

 The CB medal for this game.  (ni-ta_sp14_medal.gif, 02 KB)


This is a very famous game ... it is literally on dozens and dozens of lists that contain great games.   
(See my web page devoted to "The Best All-Time Games.")   

Many have claimed that this could be Tarrasch's greatest game ... I must vehemently disagree here!   
(Tarrasch played many games that were much better than this one ... see a book of his best games, or his famous ... "300 Chess Games," by Siegbert Tarrasch. See also GM Andrew Soltis's book, "The 100 Best," for more games by this player ... that are probably much better than this one.)  

However - this game was notable for several reasons: 
# 1.)  Both players were - at various times in their lives - perhaps one of the best players of that period and also notable title contenders;   
# 2.)  Both players represented very distinct styles ... that were, more-or-less, diametrically opposed.   
(Tarrasch was a "Classical Style" player, while Nimzovich represented one of the greatest exponents of the "Hyper-Modern School.");
# 3.)  Both players were antagonists. They often clashed ... both over-the-board, and also in print.
# 4.)  The game contains a truly grand combination. And while the "Two Bishop Sacrifice" was first played in a game by Emanuel Lasker, this remains one of the most notable examples of that tactical motif.   

 *************************************************************************  
 *************************************************************************  

I consider the ratings to be VERY accurate here, and are those given to these players by Jeff Sonas. 
{Sonas is one of the world's most respected chess statisticians and an authority on chess ratings. See his web site for more details.}  

(Personally, I would add at least 100 points to both players ... to more closely approximate modern ratings.)  

 ******* 

{Please note that the date that is given to this game by CB's on-line database is incorrect.}  


 1.d4 d5;  2.Nf3 c5; 
Nimzovich - later in his career - would probably NOT open a chess game in such a way. 
(Pawns attacking the center of the board!)  

Of course, for Tarrasch, this is a perfectly normal way to open a game. 
(Tarrasch almost always strived to play ...c7-c5 at the earliest possible opportunity 
  in any double-QP opening!)  

 

Both sides continue to develop in a relatively normal fashion.  
 3.c4 e6;  4.e3 Nf6;  {Diagram?}   
Thus far - perfect symmetry.  

 

 5.Bd3!?,  (develop?)   {See the diagram - - - just below.}    
A perfectly reasonable developing move for White here. 
(The authors of the 'Mammoth Book,' calls this ... "an insipid move."  
 I feel this is just a touch harsh and unfair. Play looks a little similar to the Meran System.)  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos1.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

To me - a move that develops a piece, controls the center (e4), and prepares King-side castling;   
 ... cannot be ALL wrong!  

 

     [ After the moves:   (>/=)  5.Nc3 Nc66.a3! a6!; "~"  {Diagram?}    
        both sides reach a modern line of this particular opening.   
        (The Semi-Tarrasch Defense.)   

       [ See any good, modern opening work, like ECO, MCO, 
         or even NCO for more information. ]   

      *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***  
       I also have a  web page  that contains a fairly thorough opening survey  
       of this particular interesting symmetrical opening system.

       See the note after White's sixth move in that game. (Editor.)  ]   

 

 5...Nc6;  (center?) 
Nimzovich continues to develop here ... which is not a bad idea.  
However, here (and on the next move as well), the pawn capture on d5 was probably 
a little more accurate than the text move.

     [ >/= 5...dxc4!6.Bxc4 a6!; "=" ]  

 

 6.0-0 Bd6!?;  7.b3!?,   {See the diagram ... just below here.}    
This is a rather tame move by Nimzovich, who was already greatly possessed of 
a strongly original and even bizarre mind-set as concerns the opening.  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos2.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

Nimzo - true to form - interprets this opening ... and the correct follow-up for White ... 
 in a very unique way.  

 

     [  Probably a little better than the actual game was:  >/=  7.cxd5, "+/="  ('!')  {Diag?}    
         with very good play for White. ]  

 

 7...0-0;  (King-safety.)    
Perhaps since this game was played in one of the greatest tournaments ever held up until
that time ... both players are {probably} a little nervous.  

Against a lesser player, the great German player and teacher may have played to isolate his 
opponent's QP in this position.  

I should also point out that Tarrasch did NOT believe that the IQP was as weak as some of 
his contemporaries have made it out to be. In fact, he was one of the first to expound the latent 
strengths of a position with an isolated center-pawn.  

     [ Possibly an improvement was:   7...cxd4!?;  "~"  ('!')  {Diag?}    
        with (MAYBE) the better game for Black from this position. ]  

 

 8.Bb2 b6!?;  (fianchetto?)  {D?}     
More symmetry! (Will White play Nc3 next, so as to restore the perfect balance of this game?)   
{Just a small joke.}   

(Tartakower warns that Black should not give White the hanging Pawns, as they could be 
 very dangerous  for the second player here.)  

 

     [ Was   >/=  8...cxd4!?{Diagram?}   more accurate? (I think so.) ]    

 

   ****************************************************************   

Now White should capture on d5, but both players seem intent to play very quietly here. 
(Many pundits have pointed out that Nc3 was also better than the text move that is now 
 selected by White here.)  

 9.Nbd2!? Bb7;  10.Rc1!?,  
This move looks natural - if at the same time - a little unambitious.  

Deep Junior likes the exchange on the d5-square, as do several other programs. 
One pundit thought that White should play a3 followed by Qe2, which seems to 
be a reasonable suggestion at this point.  

     [ Maybe better was:  10.a3,  "~"  {D?}   to possible prevent ...Nb4. ]   

 

Now the latest version of Hiarcs recommends that Black swaps Pawns on d4 ... 
or else plays the (sensible) move of ...Rc8.   
 10...Qe7!?;  11.cxd5!,   {See the diagram - just below.}       
One of my first choices in this position ... and also the FIRST move selected by several 
chess programs!  

(The authors of the Mammoth Book give this a dubious ... but that seems more than a little 
  hyper-critical ... and even downright wrong to me.)  

Reinfeld - among other annotators - gave this move a whole question mark in this position. ('?') 
So it would seem that many annotators are simply following suit ... and doing NO creative or  
individual thinking of their own!  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos3.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

The original tournament book called this a  ... "petite error."  
(It was criticized for freeing Black's game. However - as many of the analogous positions 
 of the TMB System prove - when Black fianchetto's his QB in a double-QP opening, it  
 is often useful for White to exchange on d5 to make it more difficult for Black to get his 
 light-squared Bishop into the game.)   


     [ Or maybe Nimzovich could have tried the following line:    
        11.dxc5 Bxc512.Qe2, "+/="  {Diagram?}   
         and White is slightly better.  

    ***********************************************   
    ***********************************************  

       GM John Nunn - very erroneously - claims that Ne5 represented  
       a large improvement here.  

       For example:   (</=)  11.Ne5?! cxd4!12.Nxc6{Diagram?}    
       Several programs give this as being virtually forced for White ...   
       who am I to argue?  

    *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** ***    

          ( The Mammoth Book instead gives the following continuation:   
             12.exd4?! Nb4!{Diagram?}   
              A substantial improvement over Nunn's feeble line.  

                   ( Nunn's original line is/was: </= 12...Ba3?!; 13.cxd5 Nxe5?;    
                     14.Bxa3 Qxa3!?; 15.dxe5,  "+/="  {Diagram?}    
                     and now Nunn says that Rc4! gives White a strong attack. )   

            13.Bb1 dxc4;  ("=/+")  {Diagram?}    
            A very long analysis that I did several years ago ... showed that Black is at 
            least equal here, maybe even a little better.  {A.J.G.} )  

    *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***   

       (Returning to the main path of our analysis here.)  
       12...Bxc613.Bxd4 Ba314.Rc2 e515.Ba1!?, "="  {Diagram?}     
        I would say ... that after some very EXTENSIVE computer testing ...   
        that Black is OK here!  {A.J.G.} ]  


 

 11...exd5!?;  (hmmm)    
Almost predictably - Tarrasch plays to keep pawns in the center.   

     [ Was   11...Nxd5!?  playable?  (And maybe a little better?) ]   

 

 12.Nh4!?,   (Maybe - '!')    
White forces Black to weaken himself with ...g6.   

Almost amusingly, this is the same kind of maneuver that Tarrasch himself used to win many 
chess games. So in a way - Nimzovich is forcing his opponent to play against himself.  

Nunn - who obviously got up on the wrong side of the bed the day that he tried to annotate 
this game - awards this move the "?!" mark, and calls the play of Knight/f3-h4, ... ... ...  
"An extravagant maneuver." (Not!)   

     [ After years of thought, I now believe that the best line is:   
        >/=  12.dxc5! bxc513.Re1, "+/="  {Diagram?}   
        and White is a shade better. ]   

 

 12...g6;  ('!?')   {Box?}   
This looks positionally forced ... Black should not allow White to get the Knight to f5.  

     [ One author claimed that Black lost if he allowed Nf5. 

        But this is complete nonsense. Viz:  "="  12...Nb4!?13.Bb1 Ba6!?;   
        14.Nf5 Qe615.Nxd6! Bxf116.dxc5 Ba617.Bf5 Qe7   
        18.Bd4 Rad819.Bb1 Nd320.Bxd3 Bxd321.b4, "~"   {Diag?}   
        While White has very good play here, the first player's position is hardly  
         one I  would call over-whelming ... in any way. ]   

 

 13.Nhf3 Rad8!?;   ">>>"      
Centralization - which, in my book, is almost never bad.  

None-the-less, one writer wrote that Black missed a big chance to play ...Nb4 here.  

 

     [ After the moves of:  (</=)  13...Nb4!?14.Bb1 Ba6!?     
       15.Re1, "~"  (Maybe "+/=")  {Diagram?}     
       White seems to be OK ... several programs even seem to  'think' 
        that White is possibly a little better in this position.  

        Fritz 8.0 - after nearly ten minutes of  'thought' -  awards White 
        an evaluation of "+ 0.28," meaning that maybe the move of  
        13...Nb4; was not so hot for Black after all. ]   

 

 14.dxc5!;  (line opening)   {See the diagram - just below.}   
With the long diagonal slightly weakened, this move is definitely called for in this position.   
{It is also the first choice of several strong computer programs here.}  

 *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***  

(COUNTERPOINT:  "White's position is uncomfortable, and a satisfactory continuation 
  is hard to find." - Edward Lasker, in his book.)   

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos4.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

However!!!!! This same move is also the reason that Black has hanging Pawns ... 
and is also responsible for releasing Black's center Pawns ... for the later winning advance.   
(Two sides of the same coin!)  

     [ Also possible was: 14.a3!? ]   

 

 14...bxc5;  15.Bb5!?,  ('Maybe - ?!')    
A rather pointless looking move ... that GM J. Nunn strangely calls ...   
"Relatively best." 

(I cannot help myself ... I won't resist the impulse to quote  Arsenio Hall  here:   
 "Things that make you go  ...  HMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!")  

"Again - very subtly played." - The Book of the Tourney   

  *********************  

     [ Better was:  >/=  15.Re1!,  "+/="  {Diagram?}     
        and White looks to be on top, albeit by a small margin. ]    

 

 15...Ne4!;  (Pow!)   
Tarrasch is not impressed by his opponent's 'threats,' and now {correctly} slams 
the Knight down  ...  occupying the outpost square.  

  '!' - Fred Reinfeld    

     [ {also} Playable was:  15...a6!?; "~"   with a roughly equal position. ]   

 

 16.Bxc6!?,  (dubious?)   
Nimzo - voluntarily - gives up a Bishop in a semi-open position.  

Positionally this is a somewhat questionable concept. But I never felt that this move was so terrible ...   
and the computers see little or no change in their scoring of this particular position after this move.  

The authors of the  'Mammoth Book' ... {see the bibliography at the end of this game}   
(Nunn?) gives this a whole question mark here. (Also, '?' - Fred Reinfeld.)  
I feel - VERY strongly - that this is completely uncalled for, and also totally 
and completely incorrect!  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos5.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

Probably Qe2 or Re1 was a little better here (than what was played in the actual game).   

     [ Or slightly better than the game would be the continuation of:   
        >/=  16.a3!?, ('!')  16...a617.Bd3 f5; "~"  {Diagram?}    
        with a very dynamic position. ]   

 

 16...Bxc6;  17.Qc2,  (Is this move an error? Some commentators even praised it!)    
This looks logical ... and is even the first choice of several computers.   
But perhaps h3 was a little wiser, and might have prevented what {now} happens in the game.   

Nunn recommends the exchange on the e4-square ... which also might have prevented what 
occurred in the game.  

"White's position really looks good and shows no {sign of} weaknesses." - Georgi Marco   
(Writing for a German magazine of that period.)   

 *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***   

As natural as White's last move looked ... it is quite possible that this was ... "The losing move,"  
here for White!! (The combination of three moves by White: Bb5!? Bxc6, and Qc2 {?} were 
probably the factors that allowed his erstwhile opponent to win this game.)  

 

     [ After the following moves:  
        (>/=)  17.h3!? f5!;  "=/+"  {Diagram?}   
        Black is slightly better ... 
        but  there is no immediate forced win in sight for White.   

     **********************************************   

        After the following continuation:   

        </=  17.Nxe4?! dxe418.Nd2 Bb5!19.Re1 Bc7!  
        
  20.Bc3 f5;  "/+"  {Diagram?}  Black is clearly better. ]    

 

 

 17...Nxd2!?;  (why?)  (Maybe - '!' or '!!')    {See the diagram ... just below.}      
This is a rather tame move ... and a little out of character for the great Tarrasch. 
(I would have played ...f7-f5; here ... with seemingly a great position for Black.)    

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos6.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

   '!' - Fred Reinfeld.   '!!' - The Book of the Tournament    

 

However - - - if Black already saw that he had a forced win here ...  
it could be argued that this move deserves about three, four, (or perhaps even five); 
exclamation points for Tarrasch!  

     [ The  'box'  likes:  (>/=)  17...a5!; "~"  {Diagram?}   
        with a good position for Black.   

     ****************************************   

       Also good for Black is:  
       17...Bb7!?18.Rfd1 f5; "=/+"  {Diagram?}   
        with a good game for Black. ]   

 

 18.Nxd2,   {Box?}   {See the diagram - just below.}  
This is very close to being forced for Nimzovich in this position.  
("The guardian of the King's field leaves his post, but for a moment - assuming wrongly 
   that 19.Qb3 was the major threat."  - GM Savielly Tartakower) 

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos7.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

The position looks - at least superficially - to be dry and even somewhat drawish. 
(If White is given just one or two tempi, the White dark-squared Bishop on the long 
 diagonal could mean something for Nimzovich.)  

     [ Grossly inferior would be:  
        </=  18.Qxd2!? d419.exd4?! Bxf320.gxf3? Qh4;  "-/+"  {Diag?}   
        and Black is winning.  ( - GM J. Nunn ... in the 'Mammoth Book.' ) ]    

 

 18...d4!!;  (huh?)    {See the diagram ... just below.}     
Initially this move just looks like a blunder ... since after an exchange of Pawns on d4,  
the Black Bishop on c6 would be hanging.   
('!' - FM Graham Burgess.)  ('!' - {IM} Edward Lasker.)    

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos8.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

However, after a fairly monotonous and boring opening, Tarrasch comes alive and begins to 
sense a few of the latent possibilities here. (According to one Russian Archivist, Black thought   
for nearly one hour here, before playing this shot.)  

 *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***   

"This preliminary pawn offer allows the c6-Bishop to join in the fun"  - [The Mammoth Book Of] 
"The World's Greatest Chess Games," by GM John Nunn, GM John Emms & FM Burgess.   
  (Game # 14; beginning on page # 79.)  

     [ Possible was:   18...Rfe8; "~"  ("=/+") ]  

 

 19.exd4!?;  (Possibly - '?')     
(Good, bad, or in between?)  

I am not sure what to think of this move ... although White could have been asleep here.  
(If so, I am sure that the moves that Tarrasch played next ... quickly woke him up!!)  

One author labeled this as ... "The LOSING move." Of course, he is probably the same 
kind of guy who goes out and buys a padlock for the horse stall ...  
AFTER the animal has been stolen!  

  *******  

NOTE: Fritz 10's evaluations switch from a relatively small advantage for Black ... 
to Black is winning by over three points. So I guess the debate over what the losing move 
would be is finally over!  - A.J. Goldsby I  (Monday; May 07th, 2007)  


 

     [ After the moves:  "="  19.Nc4!? Bb8;    
        The move given by one popular chess program ... 
        of course it is  NOT  nearly as convincing as the line given by John Nunn here!  

 *** 

            ( MUCH  better would have been:   >/= 19...Bxh2+!!;  20.Kxh2 Qh4+;     
               21.Kg1 Bxg2!!;  22.Kxg2 Qg4+!;  23.Kh1 Qf3+!;  24.Kg1 Rd5!;     
               25.Rfd1? Rh5;  "-/+"  {Diagram?}      
               and White cannot avoid mate.  Analysis by - GM John Nunn )      

 *** 

        20.exd4 cxd4; "="    The position is equal, or even slightly better for Black.   
        (Taking on d4 is met by ...Bxh2+; followed by ...Qh4+.)   

    **************************************************************    
    **************************************************************   

       White could try (instead):   (>/=)     RR19.e4!? Qh4?;  {D?}    
        This straight-forward move is just too easily met here.  
        (...f5; "=/+"  or ...Rfe8; was better.)   

        20.g3 Qh3;    "~"  "/\"   
        Black has a slight initiative.  Analysis by - Fred Reinfeld.  

    *************************************************************   

       Maybe White should have tried:    
       >/=  19.Rfe1! Rfe8!;  "=/+"   20.g3!?[] (but) Black is still better here. ]    


 

 19...Bxh2+!;  {See the diagram just below here.}   
Tarrasch finds a very powerful way to open up White's King.  

   '!' - GM John Nunn.   '!' - FM Graham Burgess.  '!' - Reuben Fine.    
   '!!' - Fred Reinfeld.   '!!' - Edward Lasker.     

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos9.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

All very, very, very impressive ... and this combination has been praised for a very long time ... 
by a whole host of chess masters and chess authors.  

[ "The first part of the classic double Bishop sacrifice. It was made famous by the game 
    Em. Lasker - Bauer; Amsterdam, 1889 ... and has demolished many a King-side in the  
    years since. Nimzowitsch was, of course, aware of the idea; but there was little he could 
    do to prevent it." - GM J. Nunn, in the Mammoth Book of games. 
    {See entry No. # one in the bibliography at the end of this game.} ]  

But if you give this position to a really strong program like Fritz 8.0, and let it "cogitate" for 
just a few minutes - the box comes up with something even better for Black!  


     [large  improvement  would be:  >/=  19...Bxg2!!; ('!!!')  20.Kxg2[]{Diag?}   
        Very close to being forced.  

            ( After the moves:  20.f4 Bxf1; 21.Nxf1 Bxf4; "-/+"  White's game looks bleak. )    

       20...Qg5+!21.Kh1[]{Diagram?}   
       There isn't much choice for White in this position.   

            ( </= 21.Kf3?? Rfe8!; "-/+" )     

       21...Qf4!22.Nf3[]{Diagram?}  
       How do you stop the impending mate in this position?   

 *******  

           (  a.)  Of course  NOT  the insane:  </= 22.f3 ???22...Qxh2# 

               b.)  White also loses after:  </=  22.Kg2?! Qxh2+{Diagram?}   
                      Taking first looks best.   

                      23.Kf3 Rfe8!{Diagram?}    
                      This nice 'waiting move' ... cuts off the potential flight of the 
                      hapless White Monarch. 

                      24.Rh1{Diagram?}    Relatively best ... in the given situation.   

                         (The box gives:  24.Qe4!?[],  {Diag?} {sacrificing the Queen!}     
                           but few humans would be happy playing this move.)       

                      24...Qf4+25.Kg2 Re2;   {Diagram?}    
                      and Black is winning ("-/+") easily in this position. 
                      (The only move to avoid mate that the computer can find is for 
                       White to play Ne4 in this position. 
                        ---> I think that I would prefer resignation!)  )   Note added: 09/22/04.  

 ******* 

       22...Qxf3+23.Kg1 cxd4!24.Qc6,  (hmmm)  {Diagram?}    
       Why not? Everything else loses here for White!     

            ( After the moves:  </= 24.Bxd4?! Bxh2+!; {Diagram?}      
              Getting tired of this trick yet?  

               25.Kxh2 Rxd4; ("-/+")  {Diagram?}  & Black has an easy win. )      

       24...Bxh2+!25.Kxh2 Rd5!;  "-/+"   {See the diagram - - - just below here.}   

 

   *****************************  

 An analysis diagram.  (nim-tar_stpet14_an-diag01.gif, 14 KB)

 {Analysis Diagram} 

  *****************************  

 

       Now - in order to prevent the coming mate - White must give up the Queen here. ]  


 

 20.Kxh2 Qh4+;  21.Kg1 Bxg2!!;   {See the diagram just below.}     
Without this move ... the attack would probably come to a grinding halt. 

And although this double-Bishop sacrifice has been done before ... this game 
could easily be its most attractive vehicle.   

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos10.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

A good place for a "look-see."  (A diagram.)  

"A complementary sacrifice:  The King's field is entirely bare."  - GM Savielly Tartakower.   

 

     [ </= 21...Rfe8!?; ('?')  22.d5!,  "+/-" ]   

 

 22.f3[],  {Box?}    {See the diagram - - - just below here.}       
Nunn calls this the only chance.  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos11.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

"This feeble-looking move is all that is left for White."  - Fred Reinfeld  

     [ After the following moves: 
        22.Kxg2!? Qg4+23.Kh2 Rd524.Qxc5[], {Diag?}   
        Nunn - AND ... the computer - say that this is forced.  

             ( But not: </= 24.Rg1?? Rh5#. )     

        24...Rh5+25.Qxh5 Qxh5+26.Kg3 Qg5+27.Kf3 Qxd2; "/+"     
        Black is, in all probability, winning the game here. ("-/+") ]   

 

 22...Rfe8!;  (Maybe, probably - '!!')    
"The last Black piece joins the attack. Tarrasch threatens the instantly decisive 23...Re2."   
  - GM John Nunn  (Who got at least one thing right as concerns this game!)    

Both Nunn and Reinfeld give this move an exclam ('!') here.   

"A beautiful waiting move,"  says Tartakower and J. du Mont. 

 ******* 

 

     [ After the continuation:   </= 22...Bh3!?;  ('?!')  23.Ne4!, "~"  {See the diagram - below.}    

 

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 nim-tar_stpet14_an-diag02.gif, 09 KB

  {Analysis Diagram}  

  *****************************  

 

       Black might even have difficulty trying to find the win. ]    

  *********************  

 23.Ne4!?,  (hmmm)     
Probably the trickiest try here.   

     [ The alternative is:  
        23.Rfe1 Rxe1+24.Rxe1 Qxe1+25.Kxg2 Qe2+ 
        26.Kg1!?, {Diagram?}     
        The sanest-looking move here.   

            ( Or 26.Kg3 Rd5; "-/+" )     

        26...Rd527.f4 Rh5;  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}   
        There is no stopping Black's attack now.  

    *********************************************    

        </=  23.Qd3? Qg3!;  - Fred Reinfeld.   
        24.Ne4!? Rxe4!25.Rf2 Bxf3+26.Kf1 Qh3+ 
        27.Kg1 Qh1#. ]    

 

Black could lose his way with the capture on f3, but Tarrasch has no intention of letting 
Nimzovich slip through his fingers.  
 23...Qh1+!;  24.Kf2 Bxf1;  25.d5!?,   {See the diagram - just below.}       
"Nimzovich struggles on ... "  - GM John Nunn   

His only choice is resignation - against a very bitter rival.  

"Despair," says Reinfeld here.  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos12.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

The one positive aspect to this move is that it opens the long diagonal for White's latent Bishop.   
  ----->  (Too little, too late!!)     

 

     [ </=  25.Rxf1?? Qh2+26.Ke3 Qxc2; "-/+" ]   

 

 25...f5!;  (Nice!)    {See the diagram - - - just below.}       
The first choice of  Fritz 8.0  ...  by about 5-10 points!!!  ('!' - Fred Reinfeld.)   

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos13.gif, 40 KB

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Black takes advantage of the fact that the Black Bishop is immune, as capturing would drop 
the White Q to a check/x-ray attack.  

Nunn claims that:  "Black could have won more easily by  25...Qg2+!26.Ke3, {best} 
 (26.Ke1, Qxf3 '-/+')    26...f5;  when the best that White can hope for is to reach an ending   
an exchange and two Pawns down."  

My only advice to Nunn is to check his brand of tobacco!  
(Make sure it's not that funny, left-handed stuff!!)  

     [ Or  25...Qg2+26.Ke3 f5; "-/+" ]   

 

 26.Qc3,  ('!?')    
An ugly decision to have to make  ...  but at least White is threatening a mate if his opponent   
slips up and makes a mistake.  

The computer finds a way to prevent mate ... but only at the cost of massive losses in material.   

     [ According to the box- it was better to play the following continuation:   
        (>/=)  26.Nf6+!? Kf727.Ne4[]{Diagram?}     
        This is completely forced.   

        ( After: </=  27.Nxe8? Rxe8;  "-/+"  {Diagram?}     
           White can no longer prevent an eventual mate. (5-6 moves.) )     

       27...Rxd5!,  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}      
       Black's position is massively and completely overwhelming. ]   

 

 26...Qg2+;  27.Ke3[],   
The only move available  ...  other than resignation!   

     [ But not: </= 27.Ke1?? Qe2#. ]  

 

 27...Rxe4+!!;  {See the diagram given ... just below.}  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos14.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

"One murderous blow after another."  - Fred Reinfeld
  '!' - Fred Reinfeld.   

 << Mass production in sacrifices! >>  - GM Savielly Tartakower and James du Mont   

 ******* 

 

 28.fxe4 f4+!?;  (hmmm)  {D?}   
GM John Nunn notes that Tarrasch could have mated a little more quickly here. 
{See the line given just below here.}  

 Nunn goes on to state that:    
"Perhaps Tarrasch overlooked it - but in view of the {tremendous} personal animosity between 
 the two players, it is also possible that he preferred the humiliating game continuation ... 
 out of sadism."   - GM John Nunn,  in the [Mammoth Book] of Great Chess Games. 

 

     [ The most efficient method of  execution for Black was:   
        >/=  28...Qg3+!29.Kd2 Qf2+30.Kd1 Qe2#.   

    ***************************************************  

       Black could have also mated in the same number of moves  
       as in the game by playing:  "="  28...Qxe4+!?;   29.Kf2 Qg2+  
       30.Ke3 Qg3+31.Kd2 Qf2+; 32.Kd1 Qe2#. ]   

 

 29.Kxf4 Rf8+;  ('!')    
The move of ...Qh2+; here also {eventually} would win for Black, but this is the most precise   
way to proceed in the current situation.  

 30.Ke5[],  (Ugh!)  {See the diagram given - just below.}    
Ugly ... but completely forced.  

 

  *********************  

nim-tar_stpe14-pos15.gif, 40 KB

  *********************  

 

White's King ... way out in the middle of nowhere, on the fifth rank no less ... 
makes a strange sight here.  

     [ Or </= 30.Ke3?! Qf2#. ]   

 

The rest needs no comment ... (other than to point out that A.N. could have lasted 
one move longer by giving away the Queen on move 31). I should also point out that 
I have taught this game a number of times - the average student does not usually find 
the correct way to mate from here.  

 30...Qh2+!;  31.Ke6!? Re8+;  32.Kd7,    
It does not matter ... nothing will change the end result now.  

     [ Or White could (instead) play:  32.Kf6 Qh4#{Diag?}  
         - Fred Reinfeld. ]   

 

 32...Bb5#.  ('!')    {See the diagram - just below.}   
A wonderful and artistic finish  ...  (a pure mate) to a very lovely combination by 
one the greatest chess teachers of all time. (This game received the  second overall 
BRILLIANCY PRIZE  at this tournament. The editor of the book commented 
that had it not been for Lasker's previous use of this idea 25 years before, he felt 
quite sure that it would have received clear First Prize!!)  

 

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nim-tar_stpe14-pos16.gif, 40 KB

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A grand game by Tarrasch. While the opening is more than a little droll, and the conception 
is not perfect ... it is still very enjoyable and VERY entertaining! Further - having now 
annotated this contest for the "Nth" time, I must rate this as being among Tarrasch's  ...   
"TEN BEST GAMES!!!"  {Any disagreement out there?}   

<< A justly famous game, in which the tension in the centre is suddenly relieved by a diversion 
      on the King-side, which comprises the extremely brilliant sacrifice of the Two Bishops.  
      The fact that it is Black who is responsible for this deed of valour enhances the merit of the   
      performance. >>  GM Savielly Tartakower & James Du Mont   

 **************************************************************************  
 **************************************************************************   

BIBLIOGRAPHY:   

I consulted MANY books while trying to annotate this game. I purposely did NOT use any books that contained material written by either Tarrasch or Nimzowitsch - - figuring neither player was capable of being totally frank or completely unbiased ... as concerns this game.  

I did consult the following books ... given roughly in the order that I pulled them out of my library:  

  ************  

# 1.)  [The Mammoth Book Of]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games,"  
by  GM John NunnGM John Emms  and  FM Graham Burgess
Copyright (c) by the authors, 1998.  
Published by Carroll & Graf, of NY.  Printed by Robinson Publishing of the United Kingdom. ISBN: # 0-7867-0587-6 (paper)  

This is a fantastic book  ...  each game is analyzed in great depth. Additionally all the players are given with a brief introduction, biography, and a brief synopsis of their respective careers. ---> At the end of the game, you are given useful insights and lessons to be learned from each of these royal battles. 
FIVE STARS  

 ** ** ** ** ** **  ** ** ** ** ** **  ** ** ** ** ** **  ** ** ** ** ** **  ** ** ** ** **    

# 2.)  "Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess,"  by  Fred Reinfeld. (Dover)   
Copyright (c) by the author, 1947. Reprinted in 1960 by Dover, New York, NY. (USA)  
Published and printed in Canada by General Publishing Comp, Ltd. (Lesmill Road, Toronto; Ontario.)  ISBN: # 0-486-20644-0 (flex)  

# 3.)  The Official Book of the Tournament / St. Petersburg, 1914.   
Annotations by many.  Edited by S. Tarrasch and G. Marco.
English translation by R. Maxham. Copyright (c) by Dale A. Brandeth.  
Published (1993) by Caissa Editions, Post Office Box # 151; Yorklyn, DE / USA; 19736.  ISBN: # 0-939433-17-6 (hard-back)  

# 4.)  "Chess Highlights of The 20th Century,"   
(The Best Chess 1900 - 1999 In Historical Context);  by  FM Graham Burgess.   
Copyright (c) by the author, 1999. Published/printed by Gambit Books.  (Gambit Pub Ltd; London, ENG.)  ISBN: # 1-901983-21-8 (HB)  

# 5.)  "Aaron Nimzowitsch: (1886 - 1935) A reappraisal,"  by  GM Raymond Keene.   
Copyright (c) 1974. (HB)  Printed by "Bell & Sons, Ltd." in Great Britain for David McKay.  ISBN: # 0-679-13040-3   

# 6.)  "Chess Strategy,"  by  {IM} Edward Lasker.  (Originally printed in - 1915)  
Illustrative Game No. # 41.  [Translated by J. du Mont.]  Copyright (c) by the author. Reprinted in 1959 by Dover. 
(Dover Publications, Inc. 180 Varick Street / New York, NY; 10014 / USA)  Printed in Canada by GPC, Ltd.  ISBN: # 486-20528-02 (flex)  

# 7.)  "The World's Great Chess Games,"  by  GM Reuben Fine.  
Copyright (c) by the author, 1951.  Reprinted by Dover in 1976 - a revised and expanded edition.  ISBN: # 0-486-24512-8  (paper) 

# 8.)  The one and only fantastic book -  "500 Master Games of Chess," by  GM Savielly Tartakower  and  James du Mont. Copyright (c) 1952. 
Originally published by "G. Bell & Sons, Ltd." (London and New York.) 
Later reprinted in 1975 by Dover Publications of New York City, NY. (USA)  ISBN:  # 0-486-23208-5  (Game # 395, page # 505.)  

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Copyright (c) LM A.J. Goldsby I  /  Copyright (c) A.J.G; 1983 - 2013.  

Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2005.  All rights reserved.  

 

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  All games ... the HTML code (was initially) generated with the programChessBase 8.0.  

  Most of the diagrams on this page were generated with the useful little programChess Captor 2.25.  


This is a game that I have worked on many times. I don't mean to be a cry-baby, but the simple truth is I have annotated this game more than once ... a lot more than 3-4 times.  (Maybe around twenty?)  I never finished the long version ... I thought I had saved one version - a fairly lengthy one - on a floppy disk, but when I loaded into the computer a few weeks ago- around July - it was corrupted and completely unreadable. (NUTS!!)  Needless to say ... this did not make me a happy camper!! 

 ******* 

Originally I was going to do a really quick analysis. But most of the pundits did SUCH a poor job of annotation ... I thought that it might be time someone at least tried to do a decent and objective job of analyzing this game. 

I spent about 4-6 weeks on the analysis phase for this game ... but I did not do it all at once. It was done in bits and pieces - spread out over a period of many weeks. I also re-discovered what I already knew ... that electronic databases often have the completely incorrect score for many of these classic games. 

When this game is finished, it will represent the definitive job of analysis. {At least on the Internet.}  
(The serious student should also consult a few of the books given in the Bibliography for this game.)  

 ******* 

I should also point out that I do not quibble with those people that say that the opening was not played very well. I should also remind you that this game was played in 1914. NO databases, NO computers, NO chess programs to analyze the game in, etc. This is also one of the prettiest combinations that Tarrasch ever played! 


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 This HTML page was originally {first} created in August 2004.  It was first posted on this web site,  Monday; September 13th, 2004.   
 The final format was completed on Sunday, September 19th, 2004.   
 (Note: beginning in late 2006, I began a major overhaul of this webpage. I redid many of the variations, added commentary, corrected punctuation, redid all of the diagrams, etc. In short, its a complete rework.)  This page was last updated on:  Sunday, June 09, 2013 02:06 PM .  

 *******

  Copyright (c) LM A.J. Goldsby I 

  Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2013.  All rights reserved. 


  (This game was previewed by 15-20 people.)