Click to follow
The Independent Culture
My long experience has convinced me that most if not all of the great combinations are nothing more than miscalculations that turned out well. When Alekhine defeated Reti at Baden-Baden in 1925, was it not simply a case of a lucky fork turning up after he had stumbled unwittingly along a long tactical sequence? When Botvinnik defeated Capablanca, was his K-side attack not launched in some desperation after his poor play on the other wing had lost him a pawn? Here is another case of the lucky brilliancy:

White: Geza Maroczy

Black: Savielly Tartakower

Teplitz-Schonau 1922

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.a3 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Bd3 d5 7.Nf3 c6 8.0-0 Ne4 9.Qc2 Bd6 10.b3 Nd7 11.Bb2 Rf6 12.Rfe1

The best that can be said of this move is that it enables White to play Red1 when he is ready. (Pun: Red1 - ready, get it?)

12...Rh6 13.g3 Qf6 14.Bf1 g5 15.Rad1

Another pointless rook move. He underestimates the danger to his king.

15...g4 16.Nxe4 fxe4 17.Nd2 Rxh2

Objectively a fine move, yet we append no mark of approbation, for this is the start of Black's brilliant miscalculation.

18.Kxh2 Qxf2+ 19.Kh1 (see diagram)

Black must now have realised to his horror that neither 19...Qxg3 20.Nb1! nor 19...Bxg3 20.Bg2 was any good. Belatedly realising that his attack needed reinforcements, he made the best of it:

19...Nf6! 20.Re2 Qxg3 21.Nb1 Nh5 22.Qd2 Bd7! 23.Rf2 Qh4+ 24.Kg1 Bg3 25.Bc3

Fearing the invasion of a black rook on f3 after 25.Rg2 Rf8, White elects to return some material, but 25.Rh2! would have been a better way to do it.

25...Bxf2+ 26.Qxf2 g3 27.Qg2 Rf8 28.Be1

The bishop keeps the rook out of f2. Yet there is still powder in Black's keg.


Perhaps desperation, to eliminate the bishop before it reaches f3, yet here we give Black the benefit of the doubt.

29.Kxf1 e5!

Finally the bishop joins in the game.

30.Kg1 Bg4! 31.Bxg3

Otherwise he is killed by Bf3.

31...Nxg3 32.Re1 Nf5 33.Qf2 Qg5 34.dxe5 Bf3+ 35.Kf1 Ng3+ White resigned.

36.Kf1 Nh1+ wins the queen.