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New York Ledger/Chess Department/Problem II

Problem II

by A. Rothmaler of Prussia


a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1


(From The Era Tournament by


White to play and mate in three moves.


Solution to Problem I

White: Morphy Black Löwenthal

1. Nxb6+ axb6 (best) 2. Rc7+ Kd8 (best)

3. Qxb6 Qxf2+ (best) 4. Qxf2 Nxf2

5. Ra7 Nh3+ (best) 6. gxh3 Kc8 7. Kf2 and wins.


Game Second

Between Labourdonnais and McDonnell

(Scotch Game)

1 e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Qf6

As was remarked in a note to the first contest, this was McDonnell’s favorite defence to the Scotch Gambit. Later analysis has shown it to be inferior to the now universally accepted moves of 4...Bc5 or 4...Nf6. Another line of play springing from 4...Bb4+ was of frequent occurrence until within a few years; but it is less commendable than either of the moves which we have just mentioned.

5 c3

A feasible move at this juncture, although decried by the leading authorities, who agree in recommending 5 0-0 as a preliminary step to the advance of this pawn.


McDonnell here selects the best move. It effectually prevents the formation of centre pawns by his adversary, and in a measure restrains the action of the White pieces on the queen’s side. If 5...dxc3; 6 Nxc3 Bb4 7 Bd2 Nge7 8 Nb5, and White’s superiority is more marked than in the game as actually played. Again, if 5...Bc5 6 e5 Qg6 (Black evidently could not have played 6...Nxe5 as White would have won a piece by 7 Qe2 followed by 8 cxd5.) 7 cxd5 with a fine game. Had Black in this latter variation played 6...Qe7, White would have replied not with 7 cxd5, as in that case Black could have captured pawn with Bishop [7...Bxd5], but with 7 0-0, having a very strong attacking game.

6 Qxd3 d6 7 0-0 Qg6 8 Bf4 Be7 9 Nbd2 h5

White’s pieces are all in the field, while his opponent’s forces are comparatively undeveloped. Under these circumstances it strikes us that Black loses time by this premature attempt to form an attack upon the White king’s entrenched position. McDonnell’s fondness for attack too often betrayed him into those rash onslaughts, which, with even players, generally recoil against their originator. We should have played 9...Nh6 and then have castled.

10 Rfe1 Bh3 11 Nh4 Bxh4

11...Qg4 would have given rise to some interesting variations.

12 Qxh3 Bf6 13 e5 dxe5 14 Bxe5 Bxe5 15 f4 Nge7 16 fxe5 Qg4 17 Qxg4 hxg4 18 Nb3 Ng6 19 e6 f5 20 Rad1 Nce5 21 Bd3 Rh5 22 Bc2 Ke7 23 Nd4 Kf6 24 Rf1 Ne7 25 b4

Had it been White’s intention to maintain his knight at queen’s fourth [d4], this move would have been plausible enough, but as the knight was immediately retreated to king’s second [e2] and king’s knight third [g3], 25 b4 was clearly a loss of time. He should have played 25 Ne2 at once.

25...Rah8 26 Ne2 Rxh2 27 Ng3 g6

If 27...Nf3+ 28 gxf3 Rxc2 29 fxg4 R8h2 30 Ne4+ Kxe6 (30...Kg6 31 gxf5+ Nxf5 32 e7 Rh8 33 Rd8 and White wins.) 31 Nf2 Rh6 (best) 32 Rfe1+ Kf7 33 Rd7 Re6 34 Rxe6 Kxe6 35 Rxc7 and the result would seem to prove that Black’s adopted the safest course by playing 27...g6.

28 Bb3 Kg5 29 Rde1 Nd3 30 Re3 Nf4 31 Rf2 R2h7 32 Rd2 Nh5 33 Nxh5 Rxh5 34 Kf2 f4 35 Re5+ Nf5 36 e7 Re8 37 Rd7 Rh7 38 Rxc7 Rhxe7 39 Rcxe7 Rxe7 40 Rxe7 Nxe7 41 a4 Kf5 42 a5 Ke5 43 Bd1 g3+ 44 Kf3 Nd5

Black might now have won with ease by 44...Nf5. Suppose 44...Nf5 45 Ke2 (45 Bc2 Nh4+ 46 Ke2 [46 Kg4 f3 47 Kxg3 fxg2 48 Kf2 Nf3 49 Kxg2 Ne1+ again gaining the Bishop] 46...f3+ 47 gxf3 g2 48 Kf2 Nxf3 49 Kxg2 Ne1+ winning the Bishop. If, instead of 47 gxf3 White plays 47 Kf1, Black wins immediately by 47...Nxg2 or 47...fxg2+; 45 Be2 Nh4+ 46 Kg4 Nxg2 47 Bf3 Ne1 48 Bxb7 g2 49 Bxg2 Nxg2 and Black wins.) 45...Ne3 46 B-moves Nxg2 and wins.

45 Bc2 g5 46 b5 Nxc3

Here again Black unaccountably overlooks the road to victory. He ought to have proceeded as follows: 46...g4+ 47 Ke2 Nxc3+ or 47...Ne3 winning easily.

47 b6 axb6 48 axb6 Nb5

The whole of this endgame is a remarkable proof of the fact that the very best of players seem at times to be struck with a singular blindness. The simple move of 48...Nd5 would evidently have at once decided the contest in Black’s favor.

49 Kg4 Nd6 50 Bd3 Ne4 51 Be2 Kd4 52 Bf3 Ke5 53 Be2 Kf6 54 Bf3 Nf2+ 55 Kh5 g4 56 Bxb7 Ke7 57 Bc8 Kd6 58 Bxg4 Kc6 Drawn Game.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.