Friday, May 28, 2010

Geza Maroczy

Geza Maroczy was a leading Hungarian chess master. He was also a practicing engineer. He won the “minor” tournament at Hastings in 1895, and over the next ten years he won several top prizes in international events. In 1906 he agreed to terms for a World Championship match with Emanuel Lasker, but political problems in Cuba, where the match was to be played, caused the arrangements to be canceled.

Maroczy’s style, though sound, was very defensive in nature. Few of his games are used in textbooks due to their lack of spark and innovation. However none of his contemporaries could match his defensive skills.  After 1908, Maroczy retired from international chess to devote more time to his profession as a mathematics teacher. He did make a brief return after World War I, with some success, and today the Maroczy Bind (pawns on c4 and e4 against the Sicilian) carries his name.

The following game was one of Maroczy's finest, and known as "Maroczy's Immortal Game".

Wien, 1903
King's Gambit Accepted, MacDonnell Gambit*

* MacDonnel Gambit (4. Bc4 g4 5. Nc3) is different from the Muzio Gambit (4. Bc4 g4 5. 0-0).

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Nf3, g5
4. Bc4, g4
5. Nc3 ....

Like the Muzio Variation, the MacDonnell Gambit sacrifices a Knight in order to obtain attacking position on the king side.

5. .... gxf3
6. Qxf3, d6
7. d4, Be6
8. Nd5 ...

White could take the Bishop and attack outright (8. Bxe6, fxe6; 9. Qh5+ ...).  He has other plans.

8. .... c6

9. 0-0 ....

Another gambit.  White has already sacrificed his two knights!!

9. .... cxd5
10. exd5!! ....

The point of the second sacrifice.  The e-file will be left wide open if the Bishop leaves e6.

10. .... Bf5
11. Bxf4, Bg6
12. Bb5+, Nd7
13. Rae1+, Be7
14. Bxd6!!, Kf8

Black must have thought the storm is over.  He is terribly mistaken...

15. Rxe7, Nxe7
16. Re1!!, Kg7
17. Bxe7, Qa5
18. Qe2 ....

Protecting both the Bishop and the Rook at the same time seeking control of e5.

18. .... Nf8
19. Bf6+!! ....

The Bishop cannot be taken because of Qe5 mate.

19. .... Kg8
20. Qe5!! ....

The beginning of the end for Black.

20. .... h6
21. Bxh8, f6
22. Qe7!! ...

If 22. Qxf6, then 22. ... Qc7.  The text shortens the agony.

22. .... Kxh8
23. Qxf6+, Kg8
24. Re7 ....

Black resigns.  He cannot stop Qg7 mate.

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