You are here: Home Archives Player Biographies W.J. Allen Allen benefits from some bad advice

Allen benefits from some bad advice

Previously published January 2001 in The Time Traveller series

Never trust a kibitzer, even when he's a master
by David McAlister

Kibitzer, an onlooker, especially one free with his advice. This American term stems via Yiddish from Kiebitz (German), a peewit. [The Oxford Companion to Chess, 1st edition 1984: Hooper and Whyld]

J. J. O'Hanlon was undoubtedly the strongest player in Ulster from 1902, when he won the Ulster championship, until 1929, when he left his native Portadown to live in Dublin. During those years he played for a number of teams in the Ulster Trophy and was virtually unbeatable. This dominance of his rivals was to be shattered by two defeats by W. J. Allen in the 1927-28 season. One of those defeats was a checkmate in a mere 14 moves, and the loss was directly attributable to believing a kibitzer's earlier advice.

W. J. Allen (CIYMS) - J. J. O'Hanlon (Strandtown): Ulster Trophy 1927-28
[Notes by T. B. Rowland in the Dublin Saturday Herald]

Click here to play through the moves in our game viewer

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.Bg5 Ne7 8.Nh4 Ne8

With regard to this move, Mr O'Hanlon says he played it against Kostic and won but he played Bxc3 first. Teichmann was present at the time, and remarked that Bxc3 was not a necessary preliminary. Hence the line of play above.

9.Nd5 f6 10.Bc4 fxg5

This permits a forced mate in four moves. Be6 looks best, but even so White has the better game.

11.Nxe7+ Kh8 12.Neg6+ hxg6 13.Nxg6+ Kh7 14.Qh5 checkmate

Richard Teichmann was one of the top 10 players in the world in the decade leading up to the First World War. His greatest triumph was first place at Karlsbad 1911 ahead of such strong players as Rubinstein, Schlechter, Marshall, Nimzowitsch, Tartakower and the young Alekhine. Did he ever himself follow the advice he gave to O'Hanlon? The only game I could find where he played the variation was from 1907, and as you can see below, he captured the knight on c3 before playing Ne8.

K. Moll - R. Teichmann: Berlin Jubilee 1907

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.Bg5 Ne7 8.Nh4 Bxc3 9.bxc3 Ne8 10.d4 f6 11.Bc1 Be6 12.g3 c5 13.Be2 Nc7 14.Be3 b6 15.f4 exd4 16.cxd4 f5 17.Bf3 fxe4 18.Bxe4 Bd5 19.Bd3 c4 20.Be2 Ng6 21.Ng2 Qe7 22.Bf3 Rae8 23.Qe2 Bxf3 24.Qxf3 Qe4 25.Qxe4 Rxe4 26.Rae1 Rfe8 27.Bf2 Nb5 28.Be3 Ne7 29.a4 Nc3 30.Bd2 Ned5 31.Kf2 Nxa4 32.Kf3 Nac3 33.Ne3 Nxe3 34.Rxe3 Rxe3+ 35.Bxe3 Nd5 36.Bc1 b5 37.f5 a5 38.Bf4 Nxf4 39.Kxf4 b4 40.Ra1 Ra8 41.Ke3 a4 42.Kd2 a3 0-1

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