01 February 2024

Maczuski -- Kolisch 1863

On Tuesday, I showed a short game to my young students that is the source for exercise 19 in Checkmates and Tactics (2019), a book that presents 150 exercises that I developed in 2006 for scholastic chess players. While doing so, my ignorance grated. I knew nothing about the players, although the name of the losing player was familiar enough that I thought I should know more.

While printing the game score before club, it surprised me that only two games played by Ladislav Maczuski appeared in ChessBase Mega (online was no different). This paltry selection was surprising particularly because the game data indicated it was part of a four game match between the players. ChessBase has 151 games played by Ignatz Kolisch, plus two consultation games. Maczuski's performance in the game against a strong master suggests that he should be better known. Kolisch was "one of the world's leading players from 1859 to 1867", according to David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess (205).

It is not surprising that chessgames.com has more information than almost any where else that I searched. Edward Winter's Chess Notes is also useful. Note 2335 has an 1876 game played by Maczuski as part of a blindfold simul that does not appear in databases. Note 11728 recommends Fabrizio Zavatarelli, Ignaz Kolisch The Life and Chess Career (2015) for "a detailed discussion". Chessgames.com led me to the first publication of the game and a second the next month. ChessBase referenced David Levy and Kevin O'Connell, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Vol. 1 1485-1866 (1981), which also references Schachzeitung (1864). Levy and O'Connell get the date wrong, an error carried forward in ChessBase.

I know more than I did on Tuesday and know how to learn a bit more should I manage to acquire a copy of Zavatarelli's book.

Here is the game.

Maczuski,Ladislav -- Kolisch,Ignaz [C45]
Match Kolisch--Maczuski +2-2=0 Paris (1), 03.1863

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qh4

The fifth most popular reply wins a pawn, but often a great cost


5.Nb5 is an alternative 5...Bb4+ 6.N1c3 Ba5 7.Be2 a6 (7...Qxe4? 8.Nxc7+ Kd8 9.Nxa8 Qxg2 10.Bf3+-) 

5...Bb4 6.Qd3!?

6.Be2 and 6.Ndb5 are more frequently played

Black to move

6...Nf6 7.Nxc6

Also possible: 7.Nf5 Qxe4+ 8.Qxe4+ Nxe4 9.Nxg7+ Kf8 (9...Kd8) 10.Nh5 (10.Bh6 Nxc3 11.Nf5+ Ke8 12.a3 Ba5 13.b4 Bb6) 10...Nxc3 11.Bh6+ Ke7 12.Bg7 Ne4+ 13.c3 with equal chances.

7...dxc6 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 Nxe4

9...0-0 seems prudent, but White does not yet have full compensation for the pawn with the line played.


Black to move

10...Bf5 has also been played here 11.Qe5+ Qe7 12.Qxe7+ Kxe7 13.Bxg7 Rhg8 14.Bd4 (14.Bh6 may be better) 14...Rad8 15.c3 c5 16.Be3 b6  and Black won in 60 moves Trabert,B (2285)--Tomescu,V (2436) Montecatini Terme 1999.

11.0-0-0 Qg5+??

A terrible blunder.

11...Nxc3 12.Qxg7 Nxa2+ 13.Kb1 Rf8 with a slight edge for Black, who went on to win in 65 moves Rizovic,S--Minic,M Vrnjacka Banja 2006.

White to move
This position could make a good exercise.

12.f4! Qxf4+

Black could also play 12...Qe7, but the game is lost in any case.

13.Bd2 Qg4

13...Qh4 14.Re1 0-0 15.Rxe4+-
13...Qf6 also prevents checkmate.

White to move
This position appears in my Checkmates and Tactics book. My students have been solving it, or failing to solve it nearly twenty years.

14.Qd8+ Kxd8 15.Bg5+

The game as it appears in La Nouvelle Régence (image above) would seem to indicate that the last move was not played.

15...Ke8 16.Rd8# 1-0

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