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1889 World Chess Championship
Compiled by Penguincw
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★★★ INTRO ★★★

The 1889 World Chess Championship was between 52 year old defending champion Wilhelm Steinitz of the United States and 38 year old challenger Mikhail Chigorin of the Russian Empire .

★★★ BACKGROUND ★★★

After winning the 1886 World Chess Championship (see Game Collection: 1886 World Chess Championship for games and more info), it was time for Steinitz to have his title challenged for the first time.

The challenger selected was Chigorin because it was thought that it would be an interesting match up, as Steinitz had a poor record against Chigorin (loss 3 of 4 meetings prior to this match).

★★★ CONDITIONS ★★★

The match took place in Havana. The winner would be the first to reach 10 1/2 points. In the event of a 10-10 tie, the defending champion (Steinitz) would defend his title. The first round was played on January 20th, 1889.

★★★ NOTABLE GAMES ★★★

Game 5: Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889

1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗c4 ♗c5 4.b4 ♗xb4 5.c3 ♗a5 6.00 ♕f6 7.d4 ♘ge7 8.♗g5 ♕d6 9.♕b3 0-0 10.♖d1 ♗b6 11.dxe5 ♕g6 12.♕a3 ♖e8 13.♘bd2 d6 14.exd6 cxd6 15.♗f4 ♗c5 16.♕c1 ♗g4 17.♗g3 ♖ad8 18.h3

After 18.h3


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White falls into black's pin. 18.♘f1 would've probably been better.

18...♗xf3 19.♘xf3 ♕xg3 20.♔h1 ♕g6 21.♖d3 ♕f6 22.♕d2 ♘g6 23.♘g5 ♘ge5 24.♖f3 ♘xf3 25.♗xf7+ ♕xf7 26.gxf3 ♕c4 01

26...♕c4 0-1


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Black is up a rook and knight for a pawn, and that one extra pawn for white probably doesn't mean anything if it's isolated or doubled.

A win will be clearer after 27.♕d5+ ♕xd5 28.exd5 ♘f4 29.c4 ♗xf2 30.♖b1 ♗h4 31.♘e4 b6 32.♔h2 h5 33.a4 g6 34.♖g1 ♗e7 35.♖h1 h4 36.♖g1 ♖c8 37.♖g4 ♖f8 38.♘d2 g5 39.♖g1 a5 40.♖b1 ♗d8 41.♖a1 ♘d3 42.♖b1 ♘e5 43.♖a1 ♖f4 44.♔g2 ♘xc4 45.♘xc4 ♖cxc4 0-1


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In this position, while white was making one move threats, black slowly maneuvered their pieces, and has crashed through. Black is up a rook, bishop and pawn now.

Game 6: Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889

1.♘f3 d5 2.d4 ♗g4 3.c4 ♗xf3 4.gxf3 dxc4 5.e4 e5 6.dxe5 ♕xd1+ 7.♔xd1 ♘c6 8.f4 ♖d8+ 9.♗d2 ♗c5 10.♖g1 ♘ge7 11.♗xc4 ♘g6 12.♔c1 ♗xf2 13.♖g2 ♗b6 14.♘c3 ♘d4 15.♘d5 ♘f3 16.♘xb6 ♘xd2 17.♖xd2 axb6 18.♖xd8+ ♔xd8 19.♗xf7 ♘xf4 20.♔d2 ♖f8 21.♗b3 ♘g6 22.e6 ♔e7 23.♖g1 ♖f2+ 24.♔e3 ♖xh2 25.♖g5 ♖h3+ 26.♔d4 ♖f3 27.♖b5 ♘f4 28.a4

28.a4


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White is not in an easy spot, and 28.a4 isn't helping things.

28...h5 29.a5 h4 30.axb6 c6 31.♖f5 ♘e2+ 32.♔c5 ♖xf5+ 33.exf5 h3 34.♗a4 h2 35.♗xc6 bxc6 36.b7 h1♕ 37.b8=♕ ♕c1+ 01

37...♕c1+ 0-1


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Black will forcefully exchange queens, and have a much clearer victory after 39.♔b6 (39.♔b4 and 39...♕xb2+ drops the queen) ♕xb2+ 40.♔c7 ♕xb8+ 41.♔xb8 ♘d4 42.♔b7 ♔d6 (self-analysis). At this point, both white pawns will fall, and even if white gets c6, the g-pawn can not be stopped.


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Game 7: Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889

1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗c4 ♗c5 4.b4 ♗xb4 5.c3 ♗a5 6.00 ♕f6 7.d4 ♘ge7 8.♗g5 ♕d6 9.d5 ♘d8 10.♕a4 ♗b6 11.♘a3 ♕g6 12.♗xe7 ♔xe7

After 12...♔xe7


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Black's king is vulnerable in the center, and his pieces are also un-developed.

13.♘xe5 ♕f6 14.♘f3 ♕xc3 15.e5 c6 16.d6+ ♔f8 17.♗b3 h6 18.♕h4 g5 19.♕h5 ♕xd3 20.♖ad1 ♕h7 21.♘c2 ♔g7 22.♘cd4 ♕g6 23.♕g4 h5 24.♘f5+ ♔f8 25.♕xg5 ♕xg5 26.♘xg5 h4 27.♔h1 ♖h5 28.f4 ♘e6 29.g4 hxg3 30.♘xg3 ♖h6 31.♘xf7 ♔xf7 32.f5 ♔e8 33.fxe6 dxe6 34.♘e4 10

34.♘e4 1-0


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Although material is even, and the queens are off, black has no moves, and white is just going to attack.

As suggested by a post, one variation could be 34... ♗d7 35.♘f6+ ♔d8 36.♘g8 ♖h8 37.♖f8+ ♗e8 38.d7


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Here, the bishop is pinned, and will be lost. The d7 pawn is also very close to promotion.

★★★ FINAL ★★★

The last round (17) was played on February 24th, 1889. Entering the round, Steinitz had the black pieces, but a 10-6 lead, and needed just a draw in the remaining four games to retain his title.

Game 17: Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889

1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗c4 ♗c5 4.b4 ♗xb4 5.c3 ♗a5 6.00 ♕f6 7.d4 ♘ge7 8.d5 ♘d8 9.♕a4 ♗b6 10.♗g5 ♕d6 11.♘a3 c6 12.♖ad1 ♕b8 13.♗xe7 ♔xe7 14.d6+ ♔f8 15.♕b4 f6 16.♗b3 g6 17.♘c4 ♔g7 18.a4 ♘f7 19.♘xb6 axb6 20.♗xf7 ♔xf7 21.♘xe5+ ♔g7 22.♘c4 b5 23.axb5 ♕a7 24.b6 ♕a4 25.♕c5 ♖e8 26.f3 ♕a2 27.♘e3 ♕b3 28.♖b1 ♕f7 29.♘c4 ♖a4 30.♖b4 ♖a2 31.♕d4 ♔g8 32.♘e3 ♖a3 33.♖a4 ♖b3 34.♖fa1 ♔g7 35.♖a8 ♖b5 36.♖b8 c5 37.♕d5 ♖xb6 38.♖aa8 ♕f8 39.♘c4 ♖c6 40.f4 b5 41.♖xb5 ♗a6 42.♖xe8 ♕xe8 43.♖xc5 ♖xc5 44.♕xc5 ♕xe4 45.♘e3 ♕xf4 46.h3 ♗b7 47.c4 ♗c6 48.♕a3 ♕d4 49.♔h2 f5 50.c5 f4 51.♘c2 ♕e5

51...♕e5


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Earlier in the game, Chigorin had chances to win and continue the match, but in this endgame, the tables almost turned. According to a post, Steinitz missed 51...♕d2, and after 52.♕a1+ ♔h6 53.♘e1 (guarding g2) f2, and black adds pressure to the pinned g2. In the end, black will either win a piece, promote the pawn or mate, forcefully.

52.♕a1 ♕xa1 53.♘xa1 ♔f6 54.♘c2 ♔e5 55.♘b4 ♗b7 56.♔g1 ♔d4 57.c6 ♗c8 58.cxd7 ♗xd7 59.♔f2 ♔e5 60.♘d3+ ♔xd6 61.♘xf4 ♔e5 62.♔e3 ♔f6 63.♘d3 h6 64.♔f4 g5+ 65.♔e3 h5 66.♘c5 ♗c6 67.g3 h4 68.g4 ♗g2 69.♘e4+ ♗xe4 70.♔xe4 ♔e6 1/2-1/2

70...♔e6 1/2-1/2


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This game will forcefully produce no winners, as (self-analysis) opposition will lead this game to a draw. For example, 71.♔f3 ♔e5 72.♔e3 ♔f6 73.♔e4 ♔e6 isn't leading to anything.


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★★★ MINI TABLE ★★★

Steinitz 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1/2 (10 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw) <61.8% score>

Chigorin 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1/2 (6 wins, 10 losses, 1 draw) <38.2% score>

★★★ OTHER LINKS ★★★

See also: Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship Match (1889)

Head to Head Match up Prior to 1889: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches... (3 wins, 1 loss and 0 draws in favour of Chigorin)

Previous World Championship Title: Game Collection: 1886 World Chess Championship

Next World Championship Title: Game Collection: 1890-1891 World Chess Championship


Game 1, Chigorin leads 1-0
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 58 moves, 1-0

Game 2, Match tied 1-1
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 38 moves, 1-0

Game 3, Chigorin leads 2-1
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 83 moves, 1-0

Game 4, Match tied 2-2
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 22 moves, 1-0

Game 5, Steinitz leads 3-2
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 26 moves, 0-1

Game 6, Match tied 3-3
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 37 moves, 0-1

Game 7, Chigorin leads 4-3
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 34 moves, 1-0

Game 8, Match tied 4-4
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D46) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 38 moves, 1-0

Game 9, Steinitz leads 5-4
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 56 moves, 0-1

Game 10, Steinitz leads 6-4
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D07) Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense, 27 moves, 1-0

Game 11, Steinitz leads 6-5
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 31 moves, 1-0

Game 12, Steinitz leads 7-5
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D07) Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense, 61 moves, 1-0

Game 13, Steinitz leads 7-6
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 64 moves, 1-0

Game 14, Steinitz leads 8-6
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(D07) Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense, 35 moves, 1-0

Game 15, Steinitz leads 9-6
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 36 moves, 0-1

Game 16, Steinitz leads 10-6
Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1889 
(A04) Reti Opening, 52 moves, 1-0

Game 17, Steinitz wins 10 1/2-6 1/2
Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1889 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 70 moves, 1/2-1/2

17 games

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