Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Plays Like Morphy"

Yosef Dobkin playing Moshe Czerniak, probably in the first round of the 1952 Masters' tournament. Photo credit: Yochanan Afek.

Shaul Hon's opening manual (mentioned in the previous post), while not as good in analysis as Raafi Persitz's work, certainly has its strengths. Its most important role, for the historian, is saving many obscure -- but interesting -- games played in Israel (or mandatory Palestine), which do not appear in most databases or other sources.

One example is the following beautiful game, which (says Hon) Irving Chernev had said has White "playing like Morphy".

Dobkin,Yosef - Greenberg,M. [B18]
Taharut Hayovel ("Lasker" club anniversary tournament), Tel Aviv, British Mandate of Palestine, 1944
[Annotations (including comments after the game): Shaul Hon]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 [4...Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 (analysis by Flohr)] 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Bd3 [It is better to first play 7.h4 to cause a weakness on Black's kingside (7...h6 )] 7...Qc7 8.0–0 Ngf6 9.Re1 e6 10.Ng5 Bxd3? 11.Qxd3 h6?

A bolt from the blue! 12...Be7 [12...fxe6 13.Qg6+ Ke7 (13...Kd8 14.Nxe6+) 14.Qf7+ wins the queen or mates on e6.] 13.Nf5! hxg5 [The rook is still immune due to 13...fxe6 14.Nxg7+, winning the queen.] 14.Rxe7+ Kf8 15.g3 Nd5 [15...g6 16.Bxg5] 16.Bxg5 Rh5 [The rook is yet again untouchable, since 16...Nxe7 17.Bxe7+ Kg8 18.Bd6 Qd8 (for example) 19.Ne7+ Kf8 20.Nxc6+ (or a different discovered check depending on Black's 18th move) wins the queen.] 17.Qa3! Kg8 18.h4 Nxe7 19.Nxe7+ Kh8 20.Qf3

White does not give Black a moment's rest. 20...Nf6 [20...Rh7 is answered by 21.Qxf7 with the threat of 22. Ng6# or else 22. Qg8+ Rxg8 23. Ng6#] 21.Bxf6 Rh7 22.Bg5 f6 23.Re1! Rd8 [If 23...fxg5 24.Qf7!] 24.Qb3!

Forcing Black to sacrifice his queen, due to White's threat of sacrificing his own queen. 24...Qxe7 25.Rxe7 fxg5 26.Qf7 Forcing mate in two. Black resigns (1-0).

This games reminds us of Cherniak's saying: 'Dubkin doesn't know the source of his own strength'. Chernev the famous American analyst, was correct when he said about this game: 'Dubkin plays in Morphy's style.'

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