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Pillsbury - Showalter 1897 match
Compiled by crawfb5
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For links to other game collections of US championship matches, see Game Collection: US Championship matches (meta)

Played at the Hamilton Chess Club, Brooklyn, NY for a purse of $2000. Games were scheduled for 8 PM to 2 AM Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with exceptions made for the annual cable match with England and the State Association tournament. The time controls were 30/1 for the first two hours and 15/1 after that. If one player scored seven wins before his opponent scored six, the match would be ended. Otherwise, the winner would have to win ten games, with nine wins each being considered a drawn match.

Prior to the match, Pillsbury was quoted as saying, "I was not seeking the match, and even if I should win I shall leave Showalter in possession of the title; I am not in search of any title but one." Pillsbury was hoping to challenge Emanuel Lasker for the world championship, so, much like Capablanca years later, he was too preoccupied to care much about a national title. Showalter, the public and the press insisted his win made him US champion, so Pillsbury abided by his statement, "...I do not claim to be champion of anything. Whatever position is fairly awarded to me by others I will stand upon..."

Pillsbury faced a critical point in the match at Game 14. Showalter had won Game 13, giving him a lead of 6 wins to 5. One more win would win the match for Showalter. In Game 14, Pillsbury again faced Showalter's Ponziani, which Pillsbury had struggled against and lost in Games 10 and 12. In a "must not lose" situation, Pillsbury scored a fine win with Black to even the score and push the match requirement to ten wins with a two-game lead. Showalter did not try the Ponziani again during the match. The match was hardly a convincing win for Pillsbury, as he had to win the last two games of the match to reach the required ten wins <and> two-game margin. The players would play a return match the following year.

Pillsbury wrote short summaries of each game for the coverage in the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle>. Pope quoted these summaries in his book on Pillsbury. <Pawn and Two> quotes a number of these summaries in the kibitzing for individual games. I added the missing ones.

Pillsbury = = 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 = 1 0 1 0 1 1 11 Showalter = = 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 = 0 1 0 1 0 0 9


Game 1 -- 10 Feb 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(C71) Ruy Lopez, 35 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 2 -- 11 Feb 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 77 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3 -- 17 Feb 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 40 moves, 1-0

Game 4 -- 24 Feb 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 39 moves, 0-1

Game 5 -- 26 Feb 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(C71) Ruy Lopez, 53 moves, 1-0

Game 6 -- 3 Mar 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 70 moves, 1-0

Game 7 -- 5 Mar 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 33 moves, 0-1

Game 8 -- 6 Mar 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 23 moves, 1-0

Game 9 -- 9 Mar 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 47 moves, 1-0

Game 10 -- 12 Mar 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 67 moves, 1-0

Game 11 -- 15 Mar 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 66 moves, 1-0

Game 12 -- 17 Mar 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 58 moves, 1-0

Game 13 -- 22 Mar 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D66) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line, 53 moves, 0-1

Game 14 -- 24 Mar 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 60 moves, 0-1

Game15 -- 26 Mar 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 47 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 16 -- 29 Mar 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 28 moves, 0-1

Game 17 -- 31 Mar 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D68) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical, 91 moves, 0-1

Game 18 -- 5 Apr 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 40 moves, 0-1

Game 19 -- 9 Apr 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 72 moves, 0-1

Game 20 -- 12 Apr 1897
Showalter vs Pillsbury, 1897 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 47 moves, 0-1

Game 21 -- 14 Apr 1897
Pillsbury vs Showalter, 1897 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 40 moves, 1-0

21 games

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