05 August 2016

Corte -- Bolbochán 1946

Reviewing Informant Annotations

The miniature Corte -- Bolbochán, Mar del Plata 1946 is the first game in Leonard Barden and Wolfgang Heidenfeld, Modern Chess Miniatures (1960). It also appears as game 404 in Irving Chernev, The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (1955) and as game 1060 in Encyclopedia of Chess Miniatures (2015). The Encyclopedia, published by Chess Informant, is by Branko Tadic and Goran Arsovic.

Despite its appearance in these three well-known books, the game is absent from the ChessBase database. The event in which the game took place is also unclear. See "Giuoco Fortissimo" for more about the history of this game. It was written before I had copies of Modern Chess Miniatures and Encyclopedia of Chess Miniatures.

The game is the earliest that I can find with 10.Ba3, which had been suggested by James Macrae Aitken in a 1937 article in British Chess Magazine.* Hence, the move 10.Ba3 is sometimes called the Aitken variation. Chernev notes that Aitken had suggested this move (193). Barden and Heidenfeld offer that Corte -- Bolbochán is part of the reason 10.Ba3 is considered stronger than 10.Qb3, which had been known since before Greco (see "Materialism").

Of the three books on my shelves that offer annotations to this game, Encyclopedia of Chess Miniatures (ECM) shines both for its economy and for its focus on the game's critical points.

Corte, Cesar -- Bolbochan, Jacobo [C54]
Mar Del Plata, 1946

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.0–0 Nxc3

It is well-known today that 8...Bxc3 is better. ECM offers the critical line, 9.d5 Bf6 10.Re1 O-O 11.Rxe4 Ne7 12.d6. This line was played as early as Salwe -- Rubinstein, Vienna 1908, which Black won rather quickly.

9.bxc3 Bxc3?!

9...d5 is an improvement. ECM gives 10.cxb4 dxc4 11.Re1+ Ne7. At least 39 games have been played from this point. The earliest in the ChessBase database is Piotrowski -- Moller, Hannover 1902. Max Euwe, The Development of Chess Style (1966) credits Moller with the introduction of the move 9.d5, but after 8...Bxc3 (4).

10.Ba3 d5 11.Bb5 Bxa1 12.Re1+ Be6 13.Qa4 Rb8?

The alternative given in ECM was played in Schlesinger -- Roeberg, Hessenliga 1994 and led to a draw in 37 moves. 13...Qd7 14.Ne5 Nxe5 15.Bxd7 Nxd7 16.Rxa1 Kd8 with a slight advantage for White.

It is not so easy to give up one's queen, but it is preferable to losing the king. Even so, giving up a queen for a rook, minor piece, and pawn is "a balance of material that is usually sufficient," according to Ernesto Inarkiev in his Informant 128 article about Sergey Karjakin at the Candidates (18).

14.Ne5+- Qc8 15.Bxc6+ bxc6 16.Qxc6+ Kd8 17.Nxf7+ Bxf7 18.Be7# 1–0

Chernev offers only the reference to Aitken, "to give his king elbow room" after Black's move 14, and the conclusion of the game as a comment after 16...Resigns (192-193). Barden and Heidenfeld offer the alternative to Black's move 13 now found in ECM, carrying the line to move 18, and the comment concerning 10.Ba3 referenced above.

*David Hooper and Keneth Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess (1996), 5.

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