I would like to start this series of articles by examining attacks by Yates taken from his Best Games collection. Though none of them is perfect, they are a good illustration of Yates’ attacking flair.
The first game was played against Isidor Gunsberg at the 1914 British Championship at Chester and featured an attack that Winter called “probably the finest ever made in the British Championship”
Yates,F.D. – Gunsberg,Isidor
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Be7 10.Be3
“New in 1914” according to Winter
10…0–0 11.Nbd2 Nxd2 12.Qxd2 Na5 13.Bc2 Nc4 14.Qd3 g6 15.Bh6 Nxb2 16.Qe2 Re8 17.Nd4 Nc4 18.f4 Bd7 19.Rae1 c5 20.e6
The start of a dangerous attack.
20…cxd4 looked like the acid test to me.
a) 21.Qg4 Bxe6 22.Rxe6
“followed by Bxg6 wins” according to Winter. This is not hard to refute!
was my move while Stockfish’s 22…d3 raises a smile!
b) 21.exf7+ Kxf7 22.f5
is very tempting, but the exchange on f7 frees Black too much.
I couldn’t break this with White
23.Qf3 Rxe1 24.Rxe1
24.Qxd5+ Be6 25.fxe6+ Rxe6 26.Rxf6+ Qxf6
24…Bxf5 25.Bxf5 gxf5 26.Qxf5 Kg8 27.Re6
27.Qe6+ Kh8 28.Qf7 Ne5 (28…Nd6 29.Re8+ Nxe8 30.Qf8#)
Stockfish 27…Bg7 28.Bxg7 Kxg7 29.Qg4+ Kh8 30.Qxd4+ Kg8 31.Qg4+ Kh8 was my main line
28.Qxf6 Qxf6 29.Rxf6 Ne4 wins
The best move is to crank up the pressure with
c1) 21…Bf6 22.Qf3 fxe6
can now be met by
23.fxg6 Ne3 24.Bxe3 dxe3 25.Qh5
26.Rxf6 Rg7 27.Rf7
c2) 21…Bf8 22.exf7+ Kxf7 23.fxg6+ Kg8 24.Qf3 wins;
c3) 21…Qb6 22.exf7+ Kxf7
Amazingly mate in 8 as I was pleased to discover!
23.fxg6+ Kg8 24.gxh7+ Kh8 25.Bg7+ Kxg7 26.h8Q+
c4) 21…fxe6 22.fxg6 Bf6 23.Qh5
23.Qf3 is also very strong transposing to 21…Bf6 22.Qf3 fxe6 23.fxg6
23…Qe7 24.g7 Bxg7
24…Ne3 25.Bxe3 Qxg7 26.Rxf6 dxe3 27.Bxh7+ wins
I was pretty impressed with White’s attack, but Stockfish found a defence I hadn’t spotted…
c5) 21…Bxe6 22.fxe6 f5
still frightened me though!
Whilst I was checking my lines with Stockfish, he also pointed out the lovely defence
20…Bf8 21.Bxf8 cxd4 when 22.e7 Qb6 23.cxd4 Qxd4+ followed by …Rxf8 if necessary is very pleasant for Black!
Black’s choice in the game was somewhat weaker, but Yates also did not react in the very best way
This is still a fearsome attack, but I didn’t want to put the queen to g4 as it opens the queen to attack from the bishop on d7 in many lines. 21.f5 cxd4 22.Qf3 transposing to the line above was the strongest continuation in my opinion.
This was one of 2 moves I considered, but Stockfish found an amazing extra idea!
22.exd7 Nxg4 23.Rxe8+ Qxe8 24.dxe8Q+ Rxe8 d4 and h6 hang
White’s rook on e3 and queen on g4 are both on tactically awkward squares which inhibits the flow of White’s initiative.
a1) 23.f5 dxe3 24.fxg6 (24.exf7+ Kxf7 25.fxg6+ Kg8) 24…fxe6
This looks pretty scary for Black. However, Stockfish just sees a win for Black!
a2) 23.Rg3 Rxe6 24.f5 Rc6;
a3) 23.cxd4 Rxe6 24.Rxe6 fxe6 25.Bxg6 hxg6 26.Qxg6+ Kh8 27.Rf3 (27.Qh5 Qe8 28.Qh3 Kg8 29.Rf3 Kf7) 27…Bxd4+ 28.Kh1 Qf6
It’s hairy, but Black just seems to be better!
b) 21…Bxe6 22.Nxe6 Rxe6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Qxe6+ Kh8
followed by …Qd6 attempts to deal with the threats in a quieter way. It was the line I settled on and also looks good for Black.
25.f5 Qd6 26.Qf7 Ne5 27.Qb7 Rb8 28.Qa7 g5
It’s now getting very risky for Black.
was the line I wanted to play. Black is still doing well
23.Bxe3 dxe3 24.fxg6 (24.exd7 Qxd7) 24…Rxe6 25.gxf7+ Kxf7 26.Qh5+ Ke7)
23…Kxf7 24.fxg6+ Kg8 25.gxh7+ Kh8 26.Qg6
a) 26…Nxc2 27.Rxe8+;
27.Rxe8+ Qxe8 28.Rxf6 Qxg6 29.Rxg6 Nxh6 30.Rxh6 dxc3 31.Rd6 Bg4 32.Rxd5
32.h3 Be2 is fine for Black according to Stockfish. I was less certain, but I thought it should be OK!
However, Stockfish finds something much better:
27.Bxe3 dxe3 28.Bf5 Rd6 29.Bxd7 Qe7 with …Bxc3 to follow
Losing on the spot. 23…fxe6 was better though 24.fxg6 is still rather nerve-wracking!
24.fxe6 Qb6+ 25.Kh1
A typical example of Yates’ attacking skill: although Black had chances to defend, it was no easy task in a practical game. Yates’ game against Azstalos at Trieste 1923 showed similar aggression.
Yates,F.D. – Asztalos,Lajos
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.d4 exd4 10.cxd4 Bg4 11.Be3 d5 12.e5 Ne4 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Na5 15.Bc2 Nc4 16.Bc1 Re8 17.h3 Be6 18.Nh2 Bf8 19.Qd3 g6 20.Qg3 c5 21.Bg5 Qd7 22.Qh4 b4 23.f4 bxc3 24.f5
An extremely ingenious idea. Engines take a long time to evaluate the idea properly.
24…Bxf5 25.Bxf5 Qxf5 26.Ng4 Re6
26…Bg7 27.Nh6+ Bxh6 28.Qxh6 f6 29.exf6 Qd7 is dangerous for Black
was presumably what Black wanted to avoid by drawing the rook first to f4 with 27…Qe4. However, as we shall see, there was a flaw to Black’s reasoning!
28.Rxf7 h5 29.Raf1 Qxd4+ transposes to 27…Qe4 28.Rf4 Qd3 29.Rxf7 h5 30.Raf1 Qxd4+.
28.Nh6+ Bxh6 29.Qxh6 Qxd4+ with check! 30.Kh1 Qxe5 is just good for Black.
29…cxd2 30.Nf6+ Rxf6 31.Qxf6 looked pretty dangerous to me…but Stockfish stays cool! 31…Qxd4+ 32.Rf2 Bh6 33.Rdxd2 Bxd2 34.Qxf7+ Kh8 35.Qf6+ with a draw by perpetual
30.Rc1 Qxd2 31.Nf6+ Rxf6 32.Qxf6 Qxd4+ 33.Kh1 Ra7 34.Rxc2 c4 35.Re2
is balanced according to Stockfish
28…Qe2 29.Rf2 Qe4 30.Nh6+ Bxh6 31.Qxh6 With the additional Rf4–f2 manoeuvre with tempo, White avoids …Qxd4 with check! This means that Black cannot stop Bf6
When analysing, my hand couldn’t resist
a1) 29…Kxf7 30.Qxh7+ Ke8 (30…Bg7 31.Nh6+) 31.Rf1 Qxf1+ 32.Kxf1 looked very good to me and Stockfish confirms;
a2) 29…Qxd4+ 30.Be3;
A very useful move covering the strong retreat Qf2 with gain of tempo (30…c2 31.Qf2)
31.Be3 Stockfish 31…Nxe3 32.Rxf8+ Rxf8 33.Rxf8+ Kg7 34.Rg8+ Kxg8 35.Qd8+ Kf7 36.Qd7+ Re7 37.Nh6+ Kf8 38.Qd8+ Kg7 39.Qxe7+ Kxh6 40.Qf8+ Kg5 41.Qf6+ is a draw by repetition
The only move I looked at and leads to a draw according to Stockfish. 31…c2 is the very best move according to Stockfish though very unclear
a311) 32…c2 33.Bxe5 Qd1 34.Qf2 Qxf1+ 35.Qxf1 hxg4
This looked like it might still be a little tricky until I spotted the following idea
36.Rh7 Kxh7 37.Qf7+ Kh6 38.Bf4+ g5 39.Qxe6+ wins
a312) 32…Rxf6 33.Qxf6
looked very good to me, but Stockfish claims a draw
33…hxg4 34.Rxf8+ Rxf8 35.Qxf8+ Kh7 36.Qe7+ Kh6
The move I couldn’t refute… It’s also Stockfish’s #1 choice!
33.Rxf3 Qd1+ 34.Kh2 Kxf7
35…Ke8 36.Rxf8+ (36.Nf6+ Kd8 37.Nxd5+ Kd7 I really wasn’t sure about this, but Stockfish just claims a win for Black) 36…Kxf8 37.Qf2+ Ke8 38.Nf6+ Rxf6 39.Qxf6 leads to a draw by repetition according to Stockfish
Looked pretty solid for Black… and Stockfish confirms
37.Qh7+ Ke8 38.Qb7 Rd8 39.hxg4 d4
Back to 35.Ne5+
35…Kg8 36.Rg3 Ra7 37.Rxg6+ Rg7 38.Rxg7+ Bxg7 39.Bxg7 Kxg7 40.Qg5+ Kf8 41.Qd8+ Kg7 42.Qg5+
is another draw by repetition;
a32) 32.R7f4 Qd3
32…hxg4 33.Rxd4 cxd4 is Stockfish preference with a winning advantage for Black
looked pretty fine for Black. Stockfish confirms;
a331) 32…Qd3 33.Rxf8+ Rxf8 34.Rxf8+ Kxf8 35.Qd8+ Kg7 (35…Re8 36.Bh6+ Kf7 37.Qf6+ Kg8 38.Qg7#; 35…Kf7 36.Nh6+ Kg7 37.Qg8+ Kf6 38.Qf8+) 36.Bh6+ Kh7 37.Qc7+ mates
a3321) 33.R7f4 Be7
The move I couldn’t break, and once again Stockfish confirms (33…Qd3 34.Rxf8+ wins!)
34.Rxe4 Bxh4 35.Rxe5 Rxe5 36.Nxe5 Re8 37.Nxg6 Rxe3 38.Nxh4 d4
I thought this was probably losing and Stockfish agrees
a3322) 33.Rxf8+ Rxf8 34.Rxf8+ Kxf8 35.Qd8+ Kg7 36.Bh6+ Kh7 37.Qc7+ Nd7
38.Qxd7+ Re7 39.Nf6+ Kxh6 40.Ng8+ Kg5 41.Nxe7 c2;
33…Nxf7 34.Qxf7+ Kh8 35.Qxf8+
Stockfish! 35.Nh6 Bxh6 36.Bxh6 Rg8 was all I’d seen in this line
35…Rxf8 36.Rxf8+ Kg7
36…Kh7 37.Rf7+ Kg8 38.Nh6+ Kh8 39.Rf8+ draws
37.Bh6+ Kh7 38.Rf7+ draws!
So Black seemed to be just about fine. However once I’d calmed down, the easy White solution became clear!
The extra tempo of Rf4 can be used to swing the rook over to h4!
Yates’ move is natural, but it should allow Black to defend:
But not like this! Black has 2 good choices:
30.Nf6+ Rxf6 31.exf6 (31.Bxf6 c2) 31…Ra7 was my favourite line which I thought was just good for Black. Stockfish says winning
Looked good for Black to me
31.f7+ Kh7 32.Nf6+ Rxf6 33.Bxf6 c2
Equal according to Stockfish, but I think that White is under pressure and required to find some very good moves to hold!
b) 29…h5 30.Nf6+
30.Rxf7 Qxd4+ transposes to 29.Rxf7 h5
30…Kh8 31.g4 worried me
31.Rxf6 Qxd4+ 32.Qxd4 cxd4 33.e6 d3
Looked good for Black to me: I couldn’t see how White would create dangerous threats. Stockfish agrees
34.Rxf7 Bc5+ 35.Kh1 Nd6 36.Rc7 Ne4 37.Rff7 Nxg5.
After 29…Ra7, the game swings White’s way and Yates finds a very nasty move!
This just seems to win!
30…Rd7 31.Bxf8 Kxf8 32.Qxh7
30…Nb6 31.Bxf8 (31.Qd8 Ra8 32.Qc7)
31.Qd8 Rf7 32.Bxf8 Rxf8 33.Qxd5
33.Nh6+ Kg7 34.Qd7+ Kxh6 35.Rh4+ Kg5 36.Qxh7 was a much cleaner way of finishing as Komodo points out
33…Rfe8 34.Nf6+ Kg7 35.Nxe8+ Rxe8 36.Qd7+ Kf8 37.Rxf5+ gxf5 38.Rxf5+ Qxf5 39.Qxf5+ Kg7 40.Qd7+
I hope you enjoyed that! In the next article we’ll take a look at a few more Yates attacks!