Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Game of the Day 3

Time to move away from Lasker, and on to "My Best Games 1905-1954" by Tartakower. Takrtakower, like Alekhine, wrote 2 volumes of best games, and these are both included in this book. I decided to pick a random game, so as I'm 51 years old, I chose game 51 from volume 1, Tartakower-Marshall New York 1924.

Of course, New York 1924 goes down as being one of the greatest tournaments in history. It was a star studded field with Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine all playing. Marshall finished 4th behind the big 3, while Tartakower struggled and could only finish 8th. In his book, Tartakower entitles every game and he called this one:

Transmission of Weaknesses

The position he had in mind was this one. Black has a weakness on d5, but it isn't easy to direct an attack against it, so Tartakower changes the weakness to c6 which can be attacked easily on the c-file. 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Ne5 Bd7 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Rc1 and the position has changed significantly.

Black's c-pawn is immobile as it must protect d5, so it becomes a fixed weakness that can be piled up on. Meanwhile, Black has no counterplay so White can be said to have a stable plus. It is not enough to win, but Black is on the defence here. Marshall played 17..Qf6 here which perhaps wasn't best (maybe 17..Qb6 was a better direction to try).

Tartakower played 18.e3 relieving himself of any possibility of losing the e-pawn and a move he would probably need to play anyway if he continues with a slow build up. Tartakower makes no mention of another possibility in this position. 18.e4!? taking advantage of the fact that Black's d-pawn is pinned. After a trade of pawns on d5, a new weakness has been created, an isolated pawn on d5, while White will also have a 2-1 majority on the Queen side. A typical line would continue after 18.e4 Nb6 19.exd5 cxd5 20.a4 Rad8 21.a5 Nc8 when Black is feeling the squeeze.

Tartakower was quite wordy in his analysis, which might appeal to some and not to others. However, this is a theme which occurs in many games, and also a missed opportunity that spoils advantages. It is a skill to play against a weakness, and a bigger skill to transfer the weakness to a more easily attacked point. Here's the full game with Tartakower's analysis which is well worth a read. He rips into Marshall somewhat!


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