It is said that no chess games are identical. But looking at the two diagrams shown below, you have to admit that it is possible to reach the same position through different routes.
|Janowski-Chajes, New York, 1916||Mikenas-Kashdan, Prague, 1931|
The first position was reached after 19 moves in a game with Queen’s Gambit Declined opening, played between David Janowski (White) and Oscar Chajes (Black) in the Rice Memorial Tournament held at New York in 1916. To digress a little bit, this tournament was won by Capablanca with Janowski and Chajes coming second and third. But Chajes had the distinction of being the last person to defeat Capablanca before the latter continued an undefeated run of 63 games over the next 8 years!
The second position was reached after 18 moves in a game with Queen’s Gambit Declined opening played between Vladas Mikenas (White) of Lithuania and Isaac Kashdan (Black) of USA in the fourth chess olympiad held at Prague in 1931.
Would you agree that they look identical? What a strange coincidence! But that is where the similarity ends and starting from the next moves, the players adopt different chess tactics to chart out their own paths with remarkably different results!
We show side by side the moves which brought about the positions shown.
After reaching the identical position one move earlier, a 21-year old Mikenas could not find the winning line that was established by 48-year old Janowski 15 years earlier and had to settle for a draw by perpetual check. You can see how Janowski won his game from the same position!
|20.||Nd7||Nxd7||White attacked Q and
|21.||Rxd7||Bc6||White threatened Rxb7
|22.||Ne4||Bxb2||22. … Bxd7 23. Nxf6+ Kh6 (or Kh8) 24. Qh5#
22. … Bxe4 23. Qxf6 Rg8 24. Rcc7 wins
|22.||Qf7+||Drawn due repetition|
|24.||g4||g6||24. … Kxg5 25. Qh5+ Kf6 26. Rf7#|
|26.||Qh7+||Resigns||26. … Rxh7 27. Rxh7#|
It seems there is a lot to learn from the old-timers!