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."
Forcing Black to make a decision about the Knight at e4, while eyeing a possible Qb5+ to pick up the undefended b-pawn.
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.
b) 7... Bc5 8. Bf4 Qe7 9.
Trying to discourage White from castling queenside. But Torre is not easily discouraged.
White cannot yet gain the edge with the e6 advance: 9. e6!? Bxe6! (9... f6?! 10.
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.
The Bishop hems in the Black monarch, preventing queenside castling and strengthening threats along the e-file.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
To stop back-rank threats with Qf7+ and Qf8+ etc. simply transposes to the game continuation.
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.
Game in PGN
Copyright © 2011 by Michael Goeller