White P. S. Milner-Barry Black J. Louma

Notes by C. H. O'D Alexander in the "British Chess Magazine"

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4

A simplifying line, by which Black avoids the dangerous attacks arising from 4...Be7 5.e5.  If White is content to draw, he has little to fear in this line since he has no pawn-chain to be attacked as is the case after e5, but if he is playing to win he has a harder struggle, since he does not gain in space as he does in the e5 lines.


Now that e5 cannot be played, the bishop is slightly misplaced on g5, and now or on the next move White must exchange it for the knight if he is to retain any initiative.  After 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.c3 b6 (Eliskases-Stahlberg, 1941) Black has a perfectly satisfactory game.  White prefers, therefore, to take before the bishop can recapture.


After 5...Qxf6 6.Nxe4 Qd8 7.Nf3, White's superior development and advantage in space rather more than compensate him for the adverse two bishops. e.g. 7...Nd7 8.Bd3 Be7 9.Qe2 c5 10.dxc5 Bxc5 (Tartakower-Maroczy, 1920) and now 11.O-O-O! would have given White a very promising game.  Nxc5 and Bb5 followed by Ne5, both being unpleasant threats.

6.Nxe4 f5 7.Ng3 Bg7!

Played without sufficient thought: this move is correct vagainst 7.Nc3 but now it merely creates a target for the white knight. 7...f4 at once is correct, and if 8.Nf3 Nc6 and Black preserves full equality.

8.Nf3 c5

White: Milner-Barry; Black: Louma
London, 1947


An excellent pawn-sacrifice, typical of Milner-Barry's play.


Black should play 9...O-O though, even so, after 10.Nxg7 he has an unsatisfactory game with his king side broken and his good bishop gone, leaving the black squares weak.

10.Bb5 Nc6

If 10...Bd7 11.Bxd7 Nxd7 12.Nxd4 cxd4 13.Qxd4 Rg8 14.O-O-O threatening 15.Qd7 with a winning position.; Or 10...Nd7 11.Nxd4 cxd4 12.Qxd4 and wins quickly.  ( 11.Nxd4 Qa5 is not nearly as good.)

11.c3 Bf6 12.Qa4 Bd7

If 12...O-O 13.Qf4! and Black is helpless against the threat of Qh6.  A remarkable variation.

13.O-O-O Be7?

After this move the position is hopelessly lost. The only chance was 13...Qe7 threatening to escape by....0-0-0. Even then, however, after 14.Rxd7 Kxd7 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Rd1 Kc7 17.Qa5 Kc8 18.Nxf6 Qxf6 19.Qxc5 White has a winning attack. e.g. 19...Rd8 ( 19...Kc7 20.Ne5 winning in every case.) 20.Qxc6 Kb8 21.Rd8 (good enough) 21...Qxd8 22.Ne5 a6 23.Nxf7 Qc7 24.Qxe6 with a winning advantage in material.

14.Bxc6 Bxc6

The best alternative to resigning. If 14...bxc6 15.Ne5 winning with great ease. After the loss of the queen, there can only be one result, but it is interesting to see what a stout resistance the formidable combination of rook and two bishops is able to offer. Notes, however, would be superfluous!.

15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.Qf4 Rg8 17.Rd1 Rxg2 18.Rxd8 Bxd8 19.Qe3 c4 20.Nd4 Be4 21.Ng3 Bd3 22.Ngxf5 Rg1 23.Kd2 Rb1 24.Qe5 Rxb2 25.Ke3 a6?

25...Rb1 would prolong the game somewhat.

26.Nd6 Ke7 27.Qc5 Kf6 28.Ne8 Kg6 29.Qe5 Bg5 30.f4 f6 31.Qxe6 Bh6 32.Qg8

He is mated in two after 32. ...Kh5. An entertaining game by Milner-Barry in his best attacking style.


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