Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Steinitz - Blackburne Match

Wilhelm Steinitz7/7(+7 -0 =0)[view games]
Joseph Henry Blackburne0/7(+0 -7 =0)[view games] Chess Event Description
Steinitz - Blackburne (1876)
<London 17 Feb - 2 March>

An amazing result by Steinitz, comparable to Fischer's famous blankings Fischer - Taimanov Candidates Match (1971) and Fischer - Larsen Candidates Match (1971). Blackburne was considered one of the world's best, and had tied for first with Steinitz at Vienna (1873). A result this lopsided would not have been expected.

Not much need for a results chart, is there?

From contemporary reports:

The Championship chess match for £120 between Herr Steinitz, the great Austrian player, and Mr Blackburne, will commence at the West End Chess Club, New Coventry Street London on Thursday. The winner of the first seven games will take the stakes. (approx. £10,000/$16,400 – December 2013)

(Source: Worcester Journal, Saturday 12th February, 1876).

The Blackburne and Steinitz match commences on Thursday, the 17th inst. at 2 o'clock p.m.

(Source: Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 15th February 1876)

In the Blackburne and Steinitz chess match Blackburne lost another game yesterday (Ed – Game 3 22nd February), Steinitz thus scoring three to his opponent's nothing.

(Source: Sheffield Independent, Wednesday 23rd February 1876.

The fourth game of the L. Steinitz and Blackburne chess match was played yesterday afternoon, and won by Steinitz. Blackburne played a Scotch gambit, and on his twentieth move sacrificed a knight which turned out unsound. The game lasted six hours.

(Source: Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 25th February 1876).

On Saturday (Ed- 26th February) they played their fifth and on Tuesday (Ed- 29th February) the sixth game, Steinitz being victorious on both occasions.

(Source: Reading Mercury, Saturday 4th Match 1876).

THE BLACKBURNE AND STEINITZ CHESS MATCH — On Tuesday last Blackburne opened the sixth game in this match with the Scotch gambit. The first eight moves were played so rapidly that the scorers could not follow, and Blackburne, with a desire to assist them, wrote down the scores himself. His attention was thus momentarily diverted from the board, and on resuming play he made a slip, moving the wrong piece. This mishap cost him a valuable pawn at once, besides giving him a bad position. He fought this game, however, better than any in the match, remaining with two rooks against one and three pawns, which latter, however, forced the game for Steinitz, who won, after eight hours' play— 67 moves. On Thursday the seventh and last game was played, and was also won by Steinitz. This last game was opened by Steinitz with another Vienna or Hampe gambit. Blackburne played as if he cared little for the result, and after three hours and a half uninteresting manoeuvring and 37 moves Steinitz made a brilliant finish, winning the game and the match. Blackburne must have been in very bad " form " to be so thoroughly defeated. We give in another place the first three games of this interesting match, and shall publish the remainder in successive numbers.

(Source: Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 7th March 1876).

The seventh and last game in the Blackburne and Steinitz chess match was played yesterday, and was won by Steinitz, who has thus won all seven games.

(Source: Manchester Evening News, Friday 3rd March 1876).

There are two very long articles text in the London Daily News of Friday 18th February and Friday 3rd March 1876 about this match and its background. The first article gives the time control as two hours for thirty moves, and then an hour for the next fifteen. “Alarm timepieces with a stop” rather than the customary sand glasses were used. The players drank glasses of claret and water and cups of coffee. Steinitz had white in the first game.

The second article concludes: “In justice to Mr Blackburne it must be mentioned that during the latter games, and especially so during the last game of the match, he was suffering from a cold as was in no means in such fine “chess condition” as his many admirers would have wished to see him. Mr Steinitz has not only demonstrated himself to be a consummate master of the “new chess” – the steady, careful, tenacious play for “position” – but has achieved a feat almost, if not quite unprecedented in the annals of chess – by winning a match of seven games hardly from the nature of the struggle “without a check” but without pause or repulse – without losing or drawing a solitary game”.


Newspaper reports compiled by User: Chessical.

[Further suggested reading: (1) Game Collection: WCC Index ( Steinitz - Blackburne 1876 ), by User: Benzol , and

(2) (for instance, reprints in March and April of the Hartford Weekly Times had provided a summary of the Glasgow Herald reports).

 page 1 of 1; 7 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Steinitz vs Blackburne 1-034 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC77 Ruy Lopez
2. Blackburne vs Steinitz 0-167 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC45 Scotch Game
3. Steinitz vs Blackburne 1-055 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC39 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Blackburne vs Steinitz 0-151 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC45 Scotch Game
5. Steinitz vs Blackburne 1-053 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC29 Vienna Gambit
6. Blackburne vs Steinitz 0-166 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC45 Scotch Game
7. Steinitz vs Blackburne 1-037 1876 Steinitz - BlackburneC25 Vienna
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <LM> I meant, statistically. And, who knows. Maybe among those millions of people who never even heard of chess there is one who could beat Carlsen. It's not like all people necessarily discover their talents (or do it in time). See today's Chinese players - had they been born a hundred years ago, we'd never heard of them, simply because chess was more or less unknown in China.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: <You could put another 10 million in the rating pool, and I think that <right now> no one would be able to take down Magnus Carlsen.> It's not often I agree with the golden child but I do here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Depends whether on <be able> we mean <if he plays a match against Carlsen now> or <if he has the potential/talent to beat <today's> Carlsen>. In the second meaning, we don't know. Since many potential talents never heard of chess at all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: <And, who knows. Maybe among those millions of people who never even heard of chess there is one who could beat Carlsen>

No there isn't.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: How are you sure, Mark? See, Japan has a population over 100 million. But a whole of <55> FIDE rated players. How many potetntial talents from Japan we are missing, just think of it... Who simply either don't know there is chess or never seriously tried it. Or stick to Shogi and Go (Go players often are negatively prejudiced towards chess players, at least European Go players).
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: 55 active players, that is (all players, incative and possibly dead including - 118). For a comparison, Germany with its 80 million population has 9738 active rated players (and 17531 at all).
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: I can say with a certainty along the lines of knowing what my name is, that there's no one <Who simply either don't know there is chess or never seriously tried it> that could beat Carlsen!! That's a memorable quote if I ever read one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As I said, depends on the definition of <that could beat Carlsen>. I meant it along the lines - that could beat Carlsen if he <did> take up chess when it was time for it. Think of all the wasted potential of Japan, China, all of Africa... Where chess is just unpopular. Where most people don't even know the rules (while in Europe it is kind of common knowledge - a European non-chess player may not know finesses like en passant, but he knows at least how the pieces move). Nobody knows what would have become of them if they <knew> chess from childhood on. Why are you sure there is no "Carlsen" among them? Are you so certain that everyone who is talented in something will <always> discover that talent, and- even more - do that discovery early enough?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: So what you're basically saying is that Somewhere there's someone who's never picked up a musical instrument or written a note yet could be better than Beethoven. Never painted a thing, but better than Picasso, never kicked a football but better than Maradona, etc etc etc?? I think that if that's what you think then I think you're mad!?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Could be better> - if he did do the stuff mentioned since his childhood. That is, has the natural talent to be better but never had the opportunity to discover this talent. There are millions of possible hobbies and occupation. In our entire life we try about a dozen of them. About the rest we know nothing, and it may well be some of the rest where our talent is actually hidden.
Jan-14-14  Poulsen: <LIFE Master AJ> is right, that there is a clear inflation in ratings. So some time in the future the top players - whoever that might be - will beat Carlsens now standing ratingrecord - and that without necessarily being better players.

At his prime Larsen was rated below 2700 - and at that point he was among the 5 best players in the world. Soon the 5 best players will all be +2800 - consistently - despite the fact, that some of them might be 'over the hill'.

Off course the actual level of play is changing over time - new players can in some ways stand on the shoulders of older players, but we cannot rule out, that the level of play CAN go down, even if ratings is going up. Also we cannot say, that f.x. Carlsen is clearly better than Kasparov in his prime.

Also in this respect <LIFE Master AJ> is right: Carlsen has yet to prove, that he is best player of all time - and not only the highest rated player.

An important point to make here: Sonas' historic ratingcalculations have nothing to do with actual FIDE-rating - and is not flawed in the same way in terms of inflation.

So in effect the strenght of Fischer vs. Kasparov can be compared in a pretty fair way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Sonas' rating is flawed too. As for it being "inflationless", its a myth. If we define inflation same way as inflationists do it with Elo ratings (average of top X) then Chessmetrics has a similar level of inflation, slightly lower. If we do it other way around - "calibrate" FIDE ratings the way Sonas "calibrates" his Chessmetrics, we will actually discover <deflation> in FIDE ratings on many lists.
Jan-14-14  LIFE Master AJ: << Jan-13-14 <alexmagnus>: <LM> I meant, statistically. And, who knows. Maybe among those millions of people who never even heard of chess there is one who could beat Carlsen. It's not like all people necessarily discover their talents (or do it in time). See today's Chinese players - had they been born a hundred years ago, we'd never heard of them, simply because chess was more or less unknown in China. >>

No real facts in there anywhere, it is all pure speculation ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Statistically founded speculation. It's more likely world's top footballer lives in Brazil than in San Marino, because of the sheer number of the football players in both countries.
Jan-14-14  LIFE Master AJ: Speculation is speculation.

"There are lies, damn lies ... and then there are statistics." - Mark Twain

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: LIFE, don't mix up sttaictics as science with statistics as a bunch of numbers. Twain had no idea of both anyway :D.

In a larger pool the probability of discovering extremes - both positive and negative - bigger. The probability that the best XY is me is small than that he is in my family.... is smaller than that he is in my country... is smaller than that he is on planet Earth (where it is 1).

There are some hundreds of thousands rated chess players. THe probability that the best <potential> (that is, in terms of natural chess talent, not in terms of current skills) chess player is among these hundreds of thousands is vast smaller than that he is among the rest 7 billion population. I'm actually pretty sure that the best chess talent ever never played chess, the best mathematical talent ever never took up mathematics and so on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As for the statistics quote:

<The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881): "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." However, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli's works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. Other coiners have therefore been proposed, and the phrase is often attributed to Twain himself.>

So, Twain himself attributed it to someone who never said it. Quotenapping, heh. Usually a bad sign for the quote itself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: I deleted that. Probably a bad time to joke.
Jan-14-14  nok: <the best mathematical talent ever never took up mathematics> The best Tetris player lived in 1500 BC. There was also a guy who was a killer at crosswords. Alas, he signed with an 'X' because he never learnt to write.
Jan-15-14  john barleycorn: Statistic and probability, for example, tell us that it is almost certain that somebody will win in Lotto when "enough" players participate, but we don't know who will win.

I assume that the same holds true when we look for chess talent of a certain calibre, we can say that it is out there but we don't have a procedure to identify it. But this does not falsify the mathematics involved.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The odds of winning the lottery are evens. You either win it or you don't.
Jan-15-14  john barleycorn: <offramp> sure :-). Actually, the odds for being Lasker are greatly in favour of those who are dead already.
Jan-15-14  LIFE Master AJ: <alex> You jabber on endlessly, my point was already made.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As was mine.
Jan-15-14  john barleycorn: <alexmagnus> at least now you can subtract one from the seven billion people on earth if you search for talent :-)
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 4)
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. Don't post personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific tournament and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2015, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies