03 November 2016

Tarrasch -- Schlechter 1894

[T]his game becomes an instructive example of how a minor advantage can be nursed and finally converted into a win.
Siegbert Tarrasch, Three Hundred Chess Games (1999 [1895])
Seigbert Tarrasch's first game against then twenty year old Carl Schlechter is an instructive positional game in which White uses greater space to build an attack against the king. He annotated the game for the final chapter of his Three Hundred Chess Games, originally published as Driehundert Schachpartien (1895). White's systematic destruction of all Black counter-play is the theme of a lesson that Jeremy Silman developed for the chess software Chess Mentor, and which is now available on Chess.com. Silman's lesson expands upon his discussion of this game in How to Reassess Your Chess, 3rd ed. (1993), 139-141.

Sabina Foisor also has created a YouTube video of the game, although her game score differs from that of the ChessBase database, Three Hundred Chess Games, and Silman. Nonetheless, her fifteen minute video is a good introduction to the players and to the main themes in this game.

Tarrasch,Siegbert -- Schlechter,Carl [C66]
DSB–09.Kongress Leipzig (1), 1894

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.0–0 Be7 7.Re1 Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.Bxd7+

Black to move


9...Nxd7 Silman, How to Reassess Your Chess, and Foisor both point out that this move is now considered a better effort for Black to achieve equality.

10.Qxd4 0–0 11.b3 Rfe8 12.Bb2 Bf8 13.Rad1 Qc6 14.Rd3 Re6 15.Rde3 Rae8

White to move

The beginning of Silman's Chess Mentor lesson.

"Black has completed his development and the positions are almost symmetrical. White's attack seems to have reached a dead point. It is hard to see how White is going to increase his minor advantage" (Tarrasch, 348).


Taking away g4 from Black's knight.

16...Qb6 17.Qd3 c6 18.Na4 Qc7 19.c4

The point of moving the knight to the rim was to secure d5 with this pawn push.


19...a6 with the idea of b7-b5 would have been better (Foisor).


Prepares to use the g-file for the heavy pieces and also steps away from any tactics along the a7-g1 diagonal.
This and the subsequent six moves are somewhat of a riddle to Black. White has a very specific plan, ... White must not allow Black to break out of the steadily increasing blockade by playing for access to c5. ... White's attacking plan is play the knight to f5 via c3-e2-d4, but to execute this plan he has to overcome a lot of difficulties.
Tarrasch, 349
Black to move

20...f6 21.Qc2

21.Qb1 was better.

21...Ne5 22.Nc3 Nf7

White to move


"The only bad move that White makes in this game" (Jeremy Silman, Chess Mentor).

23.Qb1 is Silman's recommendation.

23.Ne2 allows 23...f5, according to  Tarrasch.

Silman's Chess Mentor course offers a separate lesson looking at this position from the Black side.

Black to move


Tarrasch gives the line 23...d5 24.exd5 Rxe3 25.Rxe3 Rxe3 26.fxe3 Qg3, which is the solution to Silman's exercise. However, Tarrasch suggests that the king's presence on h1 takes the sting out of this little combination. Silman, on the other hand, claims that Black equalizes.

24.Rd1 Qb6 25.h4!

25.Ne2 Ng5 "will attack the e-pawn and thus force the knight to return" (Tarrasch, 349).

25...Ne5 26.Rg3 Nf7 27.f3

"Before the knight can complete its journey, the e-pawn must be guarded. Now there is no way for Black to keep the knight from reaching its destination" (Tarrasch, 349).

27...Nh8 28.Ne2

White has plenty of time because Black's counterplay is dead.

Black to move


28...Qf2?? 29.Bd4.


Here Foisor goes astray in her account of the game with Rgg1.

29...Qf7 30.Nd4 R6e7

"The Black pieces are crowded together like a flock of sheep with the wolf standing at the door ready to break inside" (Tarrasch, 349).

31.g5 fxg5 32.Rxg5 g6 33.Nf5

Black to move


33...Re6 34.Qc3 Re5 35.f4 Tarrasch.

34.f4 Rxf5 35.exf5 Bg7 36.fxg6 1–0

1 comment: