SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Russian born (1887)–to Austrian parents— grandmaster Xavier Tartakower is one of my favourite players from the early 20th century. With a chess-playing career spanning more than 50 years, Tartakower locked horns with all of the top players of his time, many of whom he defeated–and frequently.
Every day this week I will present a tactic from his games. Enjoy!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 11th MOVE (11.Kh1):
SCHIFFERS, E An usual position! It appears as though both players are duffers…who have never heard of normal development! However , this is not true: the opening was simply an usual experiment by White gone wrong!Emanuel Schiffers was a very strong master in his own right who was the second best player in Russia after Tchigorin–whom was Schiffers’ pupil(!). He was also Russian Champion for many years. He played a match with Steinitz, narrowly losing.
A surprising and very elegant move that brings reality crashing in on the White player! White now has little better than to play as in the game continuation, for if 12. c4 (defending the Bishop and attackking the Queen) then Black wins with 12… Ng3! 13. hxg3 Qh5 14. Kg1 Bc5 15. Rf2 Qe2 etc.
12. Bxc6 bxc6
White’s only consistent continuation is to take the Greek gift on a8. For if 13. Qd1 (13.Qc2 is even worse after 13…b3! ) 13… Rxa2! 14. Rxa2 Qxa2 the White Knight is trapped! 15. g4 Nd6! and Black will soon have an extra piece for absolutely nothing.
WHAT IS THE FASTEST WAY FOR BLACK TO BRING THE GAME TO A FINISH?
(Curiously, these exact moves were played in other games by other players at different times, the earliest known example in 1866!)