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MATCH STANDINGS
Steinitz - Blackburne Match

Wilhelm Steinitz7/7(+7 -0 =0)[view games]
Joseph Henry Blackburne0/7(+0 -7 =0)[view games]

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Steinitz - Blackburne (1876)

"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 17th inst. The winner of the first seven games will take the stakes. The combatants have met several times before with varied success." - Worcester Journal, Saturday 12th February 1876. (120 = approx. 10,000/$16,400 December 2013)

"The Blackburne and Steinitz match commences on Thursday, the 17th inst., at 2 o'clock p.m." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 15th February 1876.

The London Daily News of 18th February has a very long article about this match and its background. The time control was 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 conditions of the match:

"(1) The stakes in the match shall be 60 a side, and either player who first scores seven games, exclusive of draws, shall be declared the victor, and be entitled to receive the stakes of both sides.

(2) Each player shall deposit his stake of 60 with Mr J. H. Walsh, the chief editor of The Field newspaper, at least one day previous to the commencement of the match.

(3) The rooms of the West-end Chess Club, No. 8, New Coventry-Street, W., shall be the place of meeting throughout the contest for the purpose of play. The first game shall commence on Thursday, the 17th of February, at 2 p.m. and play shall proceed on every subsequent Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, at the same time until the conclusion of the match. After four hours' play either party may claim an adjournment for an hour. After eight hours' play the game shall be adjourned to the next day, Sundays excepted.

(4) Each player shall be allowed two hours for making his first series of thirty moves, and an hour for every subsequent fifteen moves, and the time gained in each series of moves shall be counted to the credit of the next series. This time limit shall be regulated by sand-glasses, and either player exceeding it by five minutes shall forfeit the game."

Chess match between Steinitz & Blackburne, played at the West End chess club, London, February 17 to March 2, 1876; annotated by W. Steinitz. p.7.

The play:

London, 17 February - 2 March 1876

Steinitz 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7 Blackburne 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

An amazing result, comparable to the Fischer - Taimanov Candidates Quarterfinal (1971) and Fischer - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1971). Blackburne was considered one of the world's best, and had tied for first with Steinitz at Vienna (1873).

Contemporary reports

"In the Blackburne and Steinitz chess match Blackburne lost another game yesterday (Game 3 22nd February - ed.), Steinitz thus scoring three to his opponent's nothing." - 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." - Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 25th February 1876.

"On Saturday (26th February - ed.) they played their fifth and on Tuesday (29th February - ed.) the sixth game, Steinitz being victorious on both occasions." - Reading Mercury, Saturday 4th March 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." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 7th March 1876.

"THE GREAT CHESS MATCH. 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." - Sheffield Independent, Friday 3rd March 1876.

"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. - London Daily News, 3 March 1876.

Steinitz's own summary:

"In Game 1 the adjournment took place three or four moves before the conclusion, which had for some time been a foregone affair.

Game 2 Mr. Blackburne ought to have won, but at move 30 the game was perfectly even. Mr. Steinitz offered a draw shortly afterwards, which the Englishman admits he ought to have accepted.

In Game 3 Mr. Blackburne had much the best of the game, and probably could have won at the 27th move, as pointed out in the notes; but at the time of the adjournment, viz., at the 31st move, the positions were perfectly equal at least, and, perhaps, even slightly in favour of Mr. Steinitz, though he was a P behind, for his opponent's pawns were separated and weak.

In Game 4 the 30th move found Mr. Blackburne with a piece behind and a hopeless game.

Game 5 was adjourned when the Englishman was four pawns behind.

In Game 6 Mr. Steinitz himself made a mistake on move 31, just at a point where he could have won the game easily and in a shorter number of moves.

Game 7 was not adjourned at all."

Chess match between Steinitz & Blackburne, played at the West End chess club, London, February 17 to March 2, 1876; annotated by W. Steinitz. p.9-10 - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt...

Suggested reading

1876 Blackburne-Steinitz, London Match, researched by Nick Pope at http://www.chessarch.com/archive/18...

Chess match between Steinitz & Blackburne, played at the West End chess club, London, February 17 to March 2, 1876; annotated by W. Steinitz.

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index ( Steinitz - Blackburne 1876 ), by User: Benzol. Newspaper reports compiled by User: Chessical.

 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>
Jan-13-14
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.
Jan-13-14
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.
Jan-13-14
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.
Jan-13-14
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.

Jan-13-14
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).
Jan-13-14
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).
Jan-14-14
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.
Jan-14-14
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?
Jan-14-14
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!?!
Jan-14-14
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.

Jan-14-14
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 ...

Jan-14-14
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

Jan-14-14
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.

Jan-14-14
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 (18041881): "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.

Jan-14-14
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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Jan-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The odds of winning the lottery are evens. You either win it or you don't.
Jan-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Jan-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As was mine.
Jan-15-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <alexmagnus> at least now you can subtract one from the seven billion people on earth if you search for talent :-)
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