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🏆 Pillsbury - Showalter US Championship (1897)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
For links to other game collections of US championship matches, see ... [more]

Player: Jackson Whipps Showalter

 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Pillsbury vs Showalter ½-½351897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC71 Ruy Lopez
2. Showalter vs Pillsbury ½-½771897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD00 Queen's Pawn Game
3. Pillsbury vs Showalter 1-0401897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC50 Giuoco Piano
4. Showalter vs Pillsbury 0-1391897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Pillsbury vs Showalter 1-0531897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC71 Ruy Lopez
6. Showalter vs Pillsbury 1-0701897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
7. Pillsbury vs Showalter 0-1331897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
8. Showalter vs Pillsbury 1-0231897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
9. Pillsbury vs Showalter 1-0471897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Showalter vs Pillsbury 1-0671897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC44 King's Pawn Game
11. Pillsbury vs Showalter 1-0661897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
12. Showalter vs Pillsbury 1-0581897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC44 King's Pawn Game
13. Pillsbury vs Showalter 0-1531897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD66 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
14. Showalter vs Pillsbury 0-1601897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC44 King's Pawn Game
15. Pillsbury vs Showalter ½-½471897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
16. Showalter vs Pillsbury 0-1281897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
17. Pillsbury vs Showalter 0-1911897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD68 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical
18. Showalter vs Pillsbury 0-1401897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
19. Pillsbury vs Showalter 0-1721897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipC67 Ruy Lopez
20. Showalter vs Pillsbury 0-1471897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD00 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Pillsbury vs Showalter 1-0401897Pillsbury - Showalter US ChampionshipD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Showalter wins | Showalter loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-21-13  RookFile: Showalter did well against a Pillsbury in his prime.
Dec-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Many thanks to User: crawfb5 for the intro, and to <Pawn and Two> for taking the time to add Pillsbury's own comments to each game from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

This match must have been a shock for Pillsbury. He was thinking of challenging Lasker for the World Championship, and here he is only barely beating Showalter. Showalter was rated, according to http://www.edochess.ca/players/p488..., about 2550 in 1897. Pillsbury was rated about 2635 (world number 3) and Lasker was a whopping 2745.

So Pillsbury should have won easily. In fact the match was neck-and-neck for the first 19 games.

Dec-14-16  steinitzfan: I've never quite understood this. It seems that in light of Pillsbury's record against the world's elite he would have demonstrated a clear superiority against his main rivals for the national championship. It didn't happen.
Dec-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: It's a puzzle. My own theory is that Pillsbury's international success made it difficult for him to get motivated.

Alekhine had much the same trouble with Euwe. He knew Euwe was capable from playing him before the match with Capablanca Alekhine - Euwe Training Match (1926) but when he played the WC match with him in 1935 he relaxed after gaining an early crushing lead.

Pillsbury was similarly up 3-0 after 5 games, and I believe he checked out mentally.

Dec-14-16  RookFile: Yep. Meanwhile, Showalter gave it everything he had. Good for him.
Aug-15-18  ughaibu: My impression, from replaying games 6, 7 and 8, is that Pillsbury was suffering from shock, in the latter two, because he hadn't realised that Showalter could outplay him as he did in the first.

Those are the only games I've looked at, but I see no indication that Pillsbury lacked motivation.

Aug-15-18  RookFile: I think Showalter was a tough, practical player who got everything he could out of the talent he was given. If I were him I'd be frustrated at a guy like Pillsbury who had such ridiculous talent.
Aug-15-18  ughaibu: So, RookFile, what's your impression of the match overall, do you think Pillsbury played below par or do you think the closeness of the result accurately reflects the players' strengths?
Aug-15-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: At least Pillsbury got it right in the next match with Showalter.

Pillsbury - Showalter US Championship (1898)

Aug-15-18  RookFile: Yeah, I think TheFocus has the right take on this. I was going to answer the question in a different way. You always hear Pillsbury mentioned as a man who might have been able to defeat Lasker in a world championship match. So, it is interesting to look at what happened when Lasker played Showalter in a match:

Lasker - Showalter (1893)

There too, Showalter aquitted himself well: he was certainly more than competitive before Lasker showed his true strength in the 2nd half of the match.

So yes, certainly Pillsbury played below his strength in this match. That being said, the games were interesting. As you may remember, I've always thought that win, lose, or draw, Pillsbury is probably the most interesting player who has ever played the game. Pillsbury didn't make the same mistake in the next match against Showalter.

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