alrick h. man theme tournament

Carlos Repetto Torre - C. E. Norwood [C29]

Alrick H. Man Vienna Gambit Theme/New York, NY USA 1925


This game has long been known and was annotated by Gabriel Velasco in The Life and Games of Carlos Torre (2000). It was one of the best games from the Alrick H. Man Theme Tournament, which was played at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City from December 1924 through March 1925 and required all players to begin their games with 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4. In the game, Torre bravely hands Black some pawns near his King in order to gain time for his own attack down the e-file. A wild fight ensues, with Torre getting the better of it in the end. Velasco concludes: "A pleasant miniature, even if the prettiest variations occurred in the notes."

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Qe2!










Forcing Black to make a decision about the Knight at e4, while eyeing a possible Qb5+ to pick up the undefended b-pawn.

 

6... Nxc3

6... Ng5 7. d4!? (7. h4! is probably better) 7... Nxf3+ 8. gxf3 Qh4+ 9. Qf2 Qxf2+ 10. Kxf2 Be6 11. Be3 1-0 Barle,J-Pavasovic,D/Ljubljana 1994 (30).

 

7. dxc3

The alternate recapture is also fully playable:

7. bxc3 c6 8. d4 Be7 9. Qf2 Nd7 10. Bd3 f6 11. Qg3 Be6 12. Qxg7 Rg8 13. Qxh7 Nf8 14. Qh5+ Bf7 15. Qh3 Be6 16. Bf5 Qd7 17. Bxe6 Nxe6 18. Qh5+ Kd8 19. O-O Kc7 20. exf6 Bxf6 21. Ne5 Qg7 22. Qf7+ Qxf7 23. Nxf7 Rg6 24. Ne5 Bxe5 25. Rf7+ Kb6 26. dxe5 Rag8 27. g3 Ka6 28. Be3 Rg4 29. Rb1 b6 30. Rf6 Re4 31. Bxb6 Rxe5 32. Bf2 Re2 33. c4 dxc4 34. Rb4 Ng5 35. Rxc4 Rd8 36. h4 Ne4 37. Rf4 Rd1+ 38. Kg2 Nd2 39. Ra4+ Kb5 40. Rfb4# Michel - Pomar Salamanca, Mar del Plata 1949.

 

7... c6

a) 7... Nc6 8. Bf4 Qd7 9. O-O-O O-O-O 10. Qe3 h6 11. h3 Be6 12. Bb5 Kb8 13. c4 Qc8 14. cxd5 Bxd5 15. c4 Be6 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Nd4 1-0 Mallahi,A-Quintero,J/Yerevan 1999 (53).

 

b) 7... Bc5 8. Bf4 Qe7 9. O-O-O c6 10. h3 Be6 11. Qd2 h6 12. Bd3 Nd7 13. Rde1 O-O-O 14. g4 Rde8 15. Bg3 Bb6 16. Nd4 Bc7 17. Bh2 Nc5 18. Nf5 Qf8 19. Nd6+! Bxd6 20. exd6 Nxd3+ (20... Nd7) 21. Qxd3 Kd7 22. Qd4 b6 23. Rhf1 Kc8 24. Qf4 Kd7?! 25. Qa4 Ra8 26. Rxe6! Kxe6 27. Qxc6 f6 28. Qc7 1-0 Roeder,G-Wuchterl,R/Germany 1992 (28).

 

8. Bf4 Qa5

Trying to discourage White from castling queenside. But Torre is not easily discouraged.

 

9. h3

White cannot yet gain the edge with the e6 advance: 9. e6!? Bxe6! (9... f6?! 10. O-O-O! with the idea of e7) (9... fxe6 10. h3 Bf5 (10... Bxf3 11. Qxe6+ Be7 12. gxf3 Rf8 13. Bxb8 Rxb8 14. Rg1) 11. Nd4) 10. Nd4 Qd8! 11. Nxe6 fxe6 12. O-O-O!? (12. Qxe6+ Qe7=) (12. Qh5+ Kd7!?) 12... Qf6 13. g3 Be7 14. Bh3 O-O (14... Nd7 15. Bxe6 Nc5 16. Bg4 O-O=) 15. Bxe6+ Kh8 16. h4 Bc5 17. Bh3 Na6 18. Rde1 Bd6 19. Rhf1 Nc5 20. Bg2 Bxf4+ 21. Rxf4 Qd6 22. Qe7 Qxe7 23. Rxe7 Rxf4 24. gxf4 Rb8= 1-0 Moskwinski,T-Wrabel,A/Milanowek 2001 (66).

 

9... Qa4?!

Black's Queen takes a pot-shot at the loose Bishop at f4 while inhibiting the c4 break; but this seems in the end a dubious waste of time, especially since White could simply reply d2, improving the position of his Queen. Torre, however, shows by his response that he already has his eye on the Black King.

 

10. Bg5!

The Bishop hems in the Black monarch, preventing queenside castling and strengthening threats along the e-file.

 

10... Bh5










Keeping up the pin on the Knight, but surrendering control of the e6 square. Torre now reveals a very deep idea.

 

Other tries for Black:

 

a) 10... Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Nd7 12. e6! fxe6 13. Bd3 Ne5 14. Qe2 gives White the open lines he needs to attack.

 

b) 10... Bf5 11. Nd4 Be4!? with the idea of blocking the e-file fails to 12. Qg4! Na6 13. Bd3.

 

c) 10... Be6 looks the most solid, trying to stifle light-square breakthroughs like e6 or c4, but White still has attacking chances after 11. Nd4 Bc5 12. Nxe6 fxe6 13. b4! Bb6 14. Qh5+ g6 15. Qg4 Kd7 16. Bd3.

 

11. O-O-O?!

A brilliant concept, even if it is ultimately flawed. Torre frequently took risks in his games, especially against weaker opponents, and they often paid off.

 

a) 11. e6 f6 12. Be3.

 

b) 11. c4 Qxc4 (11... dxc4 12. O-O-O!) 12. Qxc4 dxc4 13. g4 Bg6 14. O-O-O Na6 15. Bxc4.

 

11... Qxa2 12. g4 Bg6 13. Nd4 Qa1+

Black cannot simply block the e-file with 13... Be4 because White eventually breaks through anyway after 14. Bg2! Bxg2 15. Qxg2 Qa1+ 16. Kd2 Qxb2 17. e6 f6 (17... h6?! 18. Qf2 f6 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Qxf6) 18. Qf3 (18. Rb1 Qa3 19. Rxb7 fxg5? 20. Qf3) 18... Be7 (18... Bc5 19. Rb1 Qa2 20. Nb3! traps the queen 20... Bd6 21. Ra1 Qb2 22. Rhb1) 19. Nf5 fxg5 20. Rb1 Qa3 21. Rxb7 O-O 22. Ra1 Qc5 23. Ra5 Qd6 24. Nxd6 Rxf3 25. Rxe7.

 

14. Kd2 Qxb2 15. e6 f6










15... Be4 16. exf7+ Kxf7 17. Bg2 is similar to lines discussed below.

 

16. e7 Bxe7

If 16... fxg5 17. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 18. Qe6! and Black can do nothing to stop the simple plan of Bg2 and Rhf1+ etc. Also strong is Velasco's 18. Re1 when Black can try 18... Be4 (18... Na6 19. Qe7+ Kg8 20. Bxa6 bxa6 21. Rhf1 h6 22. Rb1! with the plan of Rb7 wins Black's Queen -- Velasco gives 22. Nf5!? but ignores 22... Bxf5 when White's win is not obvious.) 19. Bg2 Nd7 20. Bxe4 dxe4 21. Qxe4 Qa3 22. Rhf1+ Nf6 23. Qe6) 18... Qb6 19. Bg2 etc.

 

17. Re1 O-O?

The critical moment. Getting the King out of trouble looks like the natural defense, but close analysis suggests that Black may have had two tries at refuting Torre's attack -- though the GM would surely have had good practical chances even against best play:

 

a) 17... Be4!? 18. Bg2 O-O 19. Bxe4 dxe4! (19... fxg5? 20. Bxh7+! Kxh7 21. h4!) and it is difficu lt to find a viable way for White to continue the attack, even if Black is not safely out of the woods yet: 20. Qc4+ Kh8 21. Rxe4 Qa3 still looks good for Black.

 

b) 17... Qa3! is probably the best idea: 18. Qe6 Kd8 19. Bf4 Re8 looks promising for the defender.

 

18. Qxe7 fxg5

18... Re8! gives White the most trouble winning, but the following line looks promising: 19. Qxe8+ Bxe8 20. Rxe8+ Kf7 21. Rc8 fxg5 (21... b5 22. Bf4 b4 23. Bd3) 22. Bd3 Ke7 23. Re1+ Kd6 24. Re6+ (24. Ree8 a5 25. Ne6 a4 26. Rcd8+ Nd7 27. Rxa8 Nf6 28. Rad8+ Ke5 29. Re7 Qa3 30. Nc5+ Kf4 31. Ne6+ Ke5 32. Nc5+) 24... Kc5 25. Nb5 a5 26. Nc7 Ra7 27. Rxb8 a4 28. Nb5

 

19. Bd3 Bxd3

 










a) 19... Re8 20. Qd6 (20. Qxe8+ Bxe8 21. Rxe8+ Kf7 22. Rhe1) 20... Na6 (20... Rf8 21. Rb1) 21. Rb1 Qa2 22. Ra1 Qb2 23. Rhb1 snags the queen.

 

b) 19... Rf2+ 20. Re2 Rxe2+ 21. Kxe2 Bxd3+ 22. Kxd3 Na6 23. Ne6 Nc5+ 24. Qxc5.

 

20. Kxd3!?

Torre either had tremendous confidence in his kingside attack or he overlooked a great shot on the other side of the board: 20. Rb1! Qxb1 (20... Qa2 21. Rxb7) 21. Rxb1 would have immediately put the game in the bag.

 

20... Na6 21. Rhf1 Rxf1

Otherwise there is no stopping mate following Ne6, as Velasco notes. Not 21... b6 22. Rxf8+ (22. Ne6? Nc5+ 23. Kd2 Nb3+ 24. Kd3 Nc5+=) 22... Rxf8 23. Qe6+ Kh8 (23... Rf7 24. Qc8+ Rf8 25. Re8) 24. Qf7 Nc5+ 25. Kd2 Rg8 26. Re8 Ne4+ 27. Ke2.

 

22. Rxf1 h6

To stop back-rank threats with Qf7+ and Qf8+ etc. simply transposes to the game continuation.

22... Nc5+ 23. Ke2! h6 24. Rf7 etc.

 

23. Rf7!

23. Ne6?! would have allowed Black to mar his masterpiece with 23... Nc5+ 24. Qxc5 Qb5+ etc.

 

23... Nc5+ 24. Ke2! Ne6!? 25. Qxe6!

Sidestepping the last trap: 25. Nxe6? Qxc2+= and computer analysis proves that Black has a perpetual, as Velasco demonstrates.

 

25... Kh8

 










26. Rxg7!

Mate is forced. Obviously, Qxh6# is threatened and if 26...Kxg7 then 27.Nf5+ Kh7 28.Qxh6+ Kg8 29.Qg7#. Black can only delay matters with Queen checks or Re8, but mate is eventually forced. A very deeply conceived attacking game from Torre and strong evidence of his deeply intuitive understanding of the attack.

 

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Copyright © 2011 by Michael Goeller