Friday, October 2, 2009
Fritz vs Fred
Fred, of course, is Fred Reinfeld. Fritz is our well-known German friend. Fred Reinfeld died in 1964, while Fritz wasn't “born” until 1992.
There is something of Fred in all human players. We don't see everything there is to see on the chessboard. Fritz doesn't either, but he's a machine – a machine that is tactically perfect within a certain range. Today we're going to turn him loose on one of Fred's annotations.
The diagram position comes from the game Tarrasch-Blackburne, Hastings 1895, and was annotated by Fred in his book Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess, published by Chatto & Windus in 1947. Blackburne is being attacked, and his last move was the reckless 26...g5. Tarrasch was ready:
“A really elegant solution,” writes Fred. Fritz agrees, although he also points out that White can win with the prosaic 27.Bxg5 hxg5 28.Qxg5+ Kf8 29.b4! Na6 30.Bg6 Rd7 31.a3 Nc7 32.h4!, when Black is in a huge bind and cannot stop the march of White's h-pawn. A personal view perhaps, but I suspect that Siegbert Tarrasch's arch-rival Aron Nimzowitsch would have played the position this way.
This loses in simple fashion, but what else can Black do? Fred points out that that White is mating by force after 27...Rxh6 28.Bxg5 Qc7 29.Bf6+! Very nice.
More stubborn was 27...Kxh6, and here is where things get interesting. Fred attaches one of his many exclamation marks to the move 28.Bxg5+, says that White wins, and begins to ramble on about Blackburne's poor handling of the French Defence. Fritz agrees that White can win after 28.Bxg5+, but shows that he must play accurately after 28...Qxg5!. Here is how the win is achieved: 29.Rf6+ Kh5 30.Qh3+ Qh4 31.g4+ Kg5 32.Qe3+ Kxg4 33.Rf4+ Kh5 34.Rxh4+ Kxh4 35.Qg3+ Kh5 36.Qf3+! Kh4 37.Qf6+ Kg4 38.Qg7+ Kf3 39.Kg1! (the star move, helping to close the net around Black's king) 39...Rxh2 (no better is 39...Bc6 40.Qg3+ Ke2 41.Qf2#) 40.Qf6+ Kg4 41.Qxd8 Rxc2 42.Qd1+ Kf5 43.Qxc2+ Kxe5 44.Qh2+ Ke4 45.Qe2+ Kd4 46.Qf2+ Kc3 47.Qxc5 and Black must resign. I don't think Fred saw any of this.
Instead of 28.Bxg5+, White has the more practical 28.Rf6+!? Kg7 29.Qxg5+ Kf8 30.Rh6!, leaving him with two extra pawns and an easy win after 30...Qxg5 31.Rxh8+ Qg8 32.Rxg8+ Kxg8 33.Bxd8. I found this myself, long before I met Fritz.
Now Black is getting mated no matter what he does, and therefore Blackburne resigned (1-0)
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