Chess Openings

Classic Chess Games: Forgacs vs. Cohn

White: Forgacs, Leo
Black: Cohn, Erich
Place: St Petersburg
Year: 1909
Opening: Queen's Gambit

1. d4 d5

2. Nf3 e6

3. c4 dxc4

4. Nc3 Bf6

5. Bg5 Be7

6. e4 h6

In the third move, when Black's pawn on d file captured the White pawn on c4, Black lost one move; which means he is one move to behind in the development of his pieces. Generally in the opening it is best not to make any pawn move that does not contribute to the development of pieces in anyway.

Black loses another move by his last move. Instead of 6 … h6, the correct opening sequence in this situation, should be; O-O, b6, Bb7, and Nbd7.

7. Bxf6

By exchanging the minor pieces at f6 White ensures that Black lost a move by h3. If his Bishop retreated, Black's move would be justified since White too loses a move.

7.. ... Bxf6

8. Bxc4 Nd7

9. O-O O-O

While it may seem that there are no dangers in Black's situation at this point, careful analysis will point to several faults in Black's position. Black does not have a single pawn in the centre, while White is very strong there. Black's pieces are cramped, while White's pieces are highly mobile. These fundamental weaknesses will have a big impact on the game.

White will easily transfer his pieces to king-side via e4, since that square is not threatened as it usually is by the Black's d pawn. By the time Black is able to bring out the white squared Bishop via b6 and Bb7, to put pressure on e4, it would be too late.

White after playing e5 will pose the threats Qe2, Qe4 and Bd3. In order not to move the very weak g6, Black would have to play Re8 and Nf8. White will also bring in the Rook on a file to d1, in order to play d5 and then take control of the open d file. To prevent that threat, Black will have to play c6, but that move will hamper the Bishop at b2 till there is an exchange of pieces at d5.

This game, which will proceed on the above annotated outlines, is a prime illustration of why control of centre is considered pivotal in chess.

10. e5 Be7

11. Qe2 Re8

12. Rad1 c6

13. Qe4 Qc7

This move protects the pawn when b6 is played.

14. Rfe1 Nf8

15. Qg4 b6

16. Qh5 Bb7

17. Re4 Bb4

While Black wants to play c4, he cannot do so because White targets f7 with Rf4. In order to give the Queen access to f7, the Bishop at e7 has to move. Moving it to d8 will not work as the following continuation will make clear; 7 Re4 c5; 18 Rf4 Bd8; 19 d5 exd5; 20 Nxd5 Bxd5; 21 Bxd5, forking Rook and the pawn at f7. White should win quickly from this position.

18. Rg4 Bxc3

19. bxc3 Kh8

This move avoids the Qxf7+.

20. Ng5 Re7

21. Ne4

The utility of e4 square is clear.

21. ... Rd8

22. Rd3 c5

23. Nf6

White intends the menacing Qxh3+ and then Rg8++. If gxf6, end is even quicker, Qxh3+ and Qg7++. However, even if Black avoids those, his end is inevitable.

23. ... Ng6

24. Rh3

White resigns.

Black has nothing to counter Qg5 followed up with Rxh6.