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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An Instructive Game by Euwe

     Euwe needs no introduction, but his opponent in this game, Daniel Noteboom, is almost unknown except for an opening line that's named for him. Click HERE for the pronunciation of his name. Click HERE to hear the pronunciation of Euwe's name.
    Daniel Noteboom (26 February 1910 – 12 January 1932) was born in Noordwijk. He was a rising star in the early 1930s and gained notoriety with an impressive debut at the 1930 Chess Olympiad, scoring 11.5 – 3.5. 

     But after playing at Hastings 1931/32, he tragically died of pneumonia in London at the age of 21; a tragic end to what looked like a promising career. His trademark was aggressive play and he left his legacy with the wild and complex variation in the QGD, Semi-Slav: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c6 4 Nf3 dxc4 5 a4 Bb4 6 e3 b5 8 axb5 Bxc3 9 Bxc3 cxb5 10 b3 Bb7. 

     A match between Euwe and Noteboom was played in Amsterdam in 1931 and Euwe, near the height of his powers, won easily with a +3 -0 =3 score. 
     Take a look at the following position where Noteboom has just played 16...Nc5. In his book Strategy and Tactics in Chess, Euwe devotes a section to Directing the Attack on Fixed Pawns. He wrote, “We are concerned here with an action based upon the immobility of a hostile Pawn. This action does not necessarily lead to the capture of the Pawn in question, but may, for instance, result in an open file or other advantage.” 

    Looking at the above position, I would never in a million years have come up with the correct plan. Euwe attacks the c-Pawn! It's interesting though that all my engines (Crafty, Fritz 12, Houdini 2, Stockfish 6 and Komodo 8) instantly come up with the correct plan and assign white the advantage. 
     The interesting thing about the position is that after about 15 minutes Komodo 8 thinks white's advantage is only about half a Pawn, but Euwe comments that the advance of the b-Pawn leads to an immediate decision. 
     This brings up three questions. Is Komodo's evaluation too low and therefore incorrect? Did black go wrong earlier? And, finally, did black miss a major improvement later? 
     Because I am not in Euwe's league, I cannot answer exactly where black started to go wrong. But, it seems though that by the time the time the above position was reached that black had drifted into a lost position. Already after 11.Rad1 black was way behind in development while white had completed his and controls the d-file, so black apparently needs to look for an improvement even earlier.

1 comment:

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