White G. Abrahams Black F. Zita

Notes by Gerald Abrahams


1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.c4 O-O 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Qd3 Nxc3 9.bxc3 d6 10.e4 Nd7 11.Bh3

This move is directed not against ...e5 but indirectly against ...f5.


Black could have played 11...e5 White cannot then play 12.Bxd7 Qxd7 13.dxe5 because of 13...Qg4! What I had in mind was 11...e5 12.Be3 (In order to take the edge off 12...exd4 13.cxd4 Nc5 If then 12...f5 13.Ng5! If Black delayed ...f5 too long, Nh4 was to be played.


The black knight is welcome at e5.

12...Nf6 13.Re1 Bc8 14.Bg2

Better than the attractive 14.Bf1

14...Bg4 15.Nh4 Qd7 16.f4 Qa4



Possibly an over-refinement.  I wanted a flight-square.

17...Bc8 18.e5 Ne8 19.f5 Ba6

Best. 19...Bxe5 can be met by 20.fxg6 and the knight-sacrifice, and there are other possibilities.

20.fxg6 fxg6

Not the best, but White is dominant here.  If 20...Bxc4 or 20...Qxc4 I have 21.gxh7 followed by a queen move to f5 or f3 with a strong attack.

21.Nxg6 hxg6 22.Qxg6 dxe5



Better than 23.Be4 Nf6 24.Bh6 Rf7 25.Bf5 Bc8 26.Be6 Bxe6 27.dxe6 Raf8 28.exf7 Rxf7 which is also very good.

23...Rf6 24.Bd5 e6 25.Bxe6 Kf8

White: Abrahams; Black: Zita
London, 1947


This was the move planned when I started the combination.  Without further thought I went on with it (and it should win).  Nevertheless, I must have been vert tired, or very much below par, not to notice the quicker and prettier 26.Bg5 Bxc4 27.Bxf6 Bxe6 28.Be7 Kg8 29.Qf6 etc (not 26...Rxg6 27.Be7# )



27.Rf1 Rf6 28.Bh6 Bxh6 29.Qxh6 Kg8 30.Rxf6 Ng7

Best. ( If 30...Nxf6 31.Qg6 Kf8 32.Qxf6 Kg8 33.Qe6 Kh8 34.d7 and White must win Black's rook for his pawn. - Ed.)

31.Rg6 Qd7

Forced.  At this point the game is apparentely won, and many moves such as 32.Re1, or 32.Rf1 are effective; e.g. 32.Rf1 Bxc4 33.Rf5 and if then 33...Be6 34.Rxg7! etc, or if 33...Rf8 34.Rxf8 Kxf8 35.Qh8 Bg8 36.Rf6! etc.  Having seen something like these variations, I appear to have gone to sleep for a few moves.


Even this is not so bad, if I follow it up with Rh4!

32...Rf8 33.Qg6

Unmecessarily simplifying. 33.Rf1 is, of course unplayable because of 33...Rxf1 34.Kxf1 Bxc4

33...Qf7 34.Qxf7 Rxf7 35.Re1

Quite good, and involving a small trap.

35...Bc8 36.Rg5 Bxh3 37.g4 Kf8 38.Rexe5 Ne8

Black cannot play 38...Bf1 because of the threatened 39.Re7!

39.Rh5 Nxd6 40.Rh8 Kg7 41.Rxh3 Nxc4

White is still winning!

42.Rg5 Kf8 43.Rd5 a5 44.g5 Kg7 45.Rg3 a4 46.g6 Re7 47.Kg2??

An incredible blunder, due to over-concentration on the sequences following 47.Rh5 Kg8 and 47.Kf2 Ne5 etc.  At this point White's win is harder than it was, but either of the moves I thought about would be good enough.


My opponent sat this stage drowned the board in tears of gratitude.

48.Rxe3 Rxe3 49.Rd6 b5 50.Rb6 Rxc3 51.Rxb5 Kxg6

The game should now be drawn.  A drew a harder rook v rook and two pawns ending asc far back as 1924, but I was tired, my king is unfavourably placed relatively to the black king, and the thing is not easy.


The position is very difficult.  I saw one drawing possibility as follows :- 52.Ra5 Rc2 53.Kf1 Rxa2 54.Rxc5 Ra1 55.Kg2 a3 56.Ra5 then the black king approaches.  At the right moment the rook must switch to the f-lile to keep Black's king out of a2.  If and when Black plays a2 with the rook at a1 White draws if his king is at g2.  One reason for my not playing 52.Ra5 was the thought that Black could play 52...a3, and then I might be zugswanged into the text.  There also comes into consideration 52.Rb2 but that allows 52.a3 and Black can generate a threat at b7.

52...Kf5 53.Ke1 Ke4 54.Kd2?

Possibly an error.  At this point 54.Ra5 forces 54...Rc4 or 54...a3 The move 54.Kd2 was a hasty one, made just before the adjournment.

54...Kd4 55.Ra5 Ra3

My opponent's best move in this game.  Even now I am certain that it is lost, but the draw is very elusive.

56.Kc2 Rxa2 57.Kb1 Ra3

A well-known position has now been reached which, since the famous game Masrshall-Rubinstein (San Sebastian, 1911) has been considered to result normally in a draw.  (Chess.)

58.Kb2 Rb3 59.Kc2 Rc3 60.Kd2

Doubtful; yet here if 60.Kb2 a3 forces White to a difficult devcision.  That way, may, however, draw after 61.Ka2 c4 62.Rb5 Kd3 63.Rb8! and if then 63...Kc2 64.Rb2! Therefore: 63...Rc1 64.Kxa3 c3 65.Ka2 Kc2 66.Ra8 Rd1 67.Rc8! etc.


Gaining a tempo.

61.Kc2 Kc4 62.Kb2 Kb4 63.Ra8

Of course not 63.Rxc5 because of the check at b3.

63...Rh3 64.Rb8 Kc4

White: Abrahams; Black: Zita
London, 1947


Again 65.Ra8 was probably better; now more so because, after 65...a3 66.Ka2 etc.  But now I was getting afraid of 65...Rb3 followed by ...Kb4 and in some variations, the promotion of the a-pawn.  Also I was exceedingly tired.  (Abrahams.)

65...Rb3 66.Ka2 Kb4 67.Rb8 Kc3 68.Rh8 c4 69.Ra8

Still doubtful, but the check seems only to lose a tempo in the long run.

69...Rb2 70.Ka1

Perhaps the last error.  With 70.Ka3 I might save it after 70...Kc2 71.Rxa4 c3 72.Rh4 etc. and if 70...Rb1 71.Ka2 Kc2 72.Rxa4 c3 73.Rh4 Rd1 74.Rh2 Rd7 75.Rh1 etc.  But I was not analysing very clearly at this stage, and I thought I saw a draw the other way.


The Fenton and Potter way!


If 71.Rxa4? Kb3 etc.  (Ed.)

71...Re1 72.Ka2 Kd3! 73.Rd8 Kc2 74.Rc8

74.Rc8 was still to be preferred.

74...c3 75.Rc7 Kd2 76.Rd7 Kc1 77.Ka1 c2 78.Ka2

Too tired to resign!

78...Rd1 79.Rh7 Kd2 80.Rh2 Kd3 81.Rh4 Ra1


Too tired to play on!

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