Sunday, March 6, 2011

French Defense: Rubinstein Variation Blackburne Defense

Magdeburg 1927

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, dxe4

The Rubinstein Variation, popularized by the famous Polish chess grandmaster, Akiba Rubinstein.

4. Nxe4, Nd7

The Blackburne Defense, named after Joseph Henry Blackburne, who dominated British chess in the latter part of the 19th century.

5. Nf3, Ngf6
6. Nxf6+, Nxf6
7. Bd3, h6
8. Qe2 ....

Preparing for queenside castling....

8. .... Bd6
9. Bd2, 0-0
10. 0-0-0, Bd7
11. Ne5, c5
12. dxc5, Bxe5?

Theory suggests not to exchange Bishop for a Knight without gaining anything. The Bishop should have taken the pawn instead.

13. Qxe5, Bc6
14. Bf4, Qe7

Getting the Queen out of the way. If 19. .... Bxg2, then 20. Bh7+!

15. Qd4, Rfd8
16. Bd6 ....

The real reason behind White's 14th move. White uses the Bishop to create a solid block at the center.

16. .... Qe8
17. Rhg1, b6
18. Qh4, bxc5
19. Be5!! ....

This comes as a surprise. Black expects 19. Bxc5.

19. .... Qe7
20. g4, c4
21. g5, Nd7

Not 21. .... cxd3, 22. gxf6 and the attack becomes devastating.

22. Qxh6 ....

A brilliancy! A Queen sacrife to promote a pawn. If 22.... f6, then 23. gxf6 Nxf6, 24. Bxf6 Qxf6, 25. Qxf6 and the attack becomes overwhelming.

22. .... gxh6
23. gxh6+, Kf8
24. Rg8+!! ....

A superb innovation.  It is necessary to keep the Black King at g8.   For if 24. h7, then Black neutralizes with 24.....Qh4.

24. ....  Resigns

Black cannot prevent being mated by the h-pawn via promotion.

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