Bishop's OpeningC24

Carlos Torre
Erling Tholfsen

Dimock Theme 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4
Marshall Chess Club, New York, 1924

 


1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 c6 7. Bg5 d5 8. O-O-O Be7 9. Rhe1

More usual nowadays is 9.Qh4, bringing the Queen to the Kingside to aid the attack, clearing the file for the Rook to create a pin and an attack on Black's d-pawn, and vacating the d4 square for the Knight at f3. The move played prevents Black from taking the Bishop at c4 (9....dxc4?? 10.Qxd8#) and can still transpose if White plays 10.Qh4.

 

9....Be6 10. Bd3

This was the standard approach at this time, but the Bishop can sometimes be useful at c4. More accurate may be 10.Qh4 and only later Bd3 when necessary.

 

10....Nbd7 11. Qh4 Nc5 12. Nd4 Ng8!

Still considered one of the best defensive plans for Black. Also of interest is 12....Kd7!? when White's best is probably 13.Bf5!, in the manner of Marshall.

 

13. f4!

A simpler approach to the position is 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qg3 g6 when a number of moves have been tried for White, though Estrin's suggestion 15.f4 Nh6 (15....O-O-O?! lost to 16.f5 Nxd3+ 17.Rxd3 gxf5 18.Rde3 Qc7 19.Qg7 Ne7 20.Rxe6 fxe6 21.Nxe6 Rdg8? 22.Qxh8! Qxh2 23.Qf6 Ng6 24.Qxf5 Qh6+ 25.Kb1 Qh4 26.Nc5+ Kb8 27.Qe6 Rg7 28.Qd6+ 1-0 in Lux--Wittenberger, Wuettemberg 1988) 16.Qe3 Qf6 17.f5 is probably best, when White retains the initiative in a complex position.

 

13....Kf8?!

And here Black should exchange with 13....Bxg5! - though things get quite hairy and probably favor White with most accurate play. For example: 13....Bxg5! 14.fxg5 h6 15.Bg6!! Kd7 16.Bxf7 Bxf7 17.Qg4+ Kc7 18.Qf4+ Kb6 19.Qxf7 Qxg5+ 20.Kb1 Qf6 21.Nxd5+! cxd5 22.Qxd5 Rc8 23.Re6+ Nxe6 24.Qb3+ Kc7 25.Nxe6+ Kb8 26.Qg3+ Ka8 27.Nc7+ Rxc7 28.Qxc7 a5 29.Rd8+ Ka7 30.Qb8+ Ka6 31.Rd6+ Qxd6 32.Qxd6+ b6 33.Qd3+ b5 34.a4 Nf6 35.axb5+ Kb7 36.Qf3+ Ka7 37.Qc6 Kb8 1-0 Monkman-Hiarcs3 COMPUTER, London 1995 .

 

In several games from the Dimock tournament, Tholfsen demonstrates a perverse preference for putting his King at f8 as Black or f1 as White. While this can occasionally be a good idea (see Marshall-Forsberg, for example), here it is probably not the best.

 

14. Re5?

A better try is 14.b4! Nxd3+ 15.Rxd3, eliminating the defender of e6, when White is definitely better. After the text move, Black is just able to defend in time and eventually gain his own initiative once his Rook at h8 is liberated with a timely h5.

 

14....Bf6 15. Rde1 Qd6 16. Bxf6 Nxf6 17. f5 Bd7 18. Qf4 Rd8

White threatened to win the Queen at d6 with 19.Re8+! Nxe8 20.Rxe8+, so the Rook provides an indirect defense.

 

19. g4 h5!

Suddenly the Rook at h8 springs to life!

 

20. h3 hxg4 21. hxg4 Nxd3+ 22. cxd3 Rh4!

Who would have thought that this Rook would have such a great future? Now Black assumes the initiative, after which White is essentially lost.

 

23. Nf3 Rxg4 24. Qh2 Ng8 25. Qh5 Qh6+ 26. Qxh6 Nxh6 27. Nxd5 cxd5 28. Rxd5 Rc8+ 29. Kb1 Bc6 30. Rc5 Rf4 31. Ne5 Rxf5 32. b4 f6 0-1

 

The game demonstrates how sharp the Urusov Gambit can be: one slip by either player can lead to disaster. Fortunately, the positions are usually so complicated that both players make mistakes -- and it is only the last player to make a mistake who must lose! Here, unfortunately, that was Carlos Torre, and as a result of his weak 14th move he was no longer in serious competition with Frank Marshall for first prize in the tournament.