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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs George Alcock MacDonnell
"Scotch and Tonic" (game of the day Apr-20-2009)
Simpson's Divan t (1876), London ENG, Apr-29
Scotch Game: Potter Variation (C45)  ·  1-0


Annotations by Joseph Henry Blackburne.      [148 more games annotated by Blackburne]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-17-04  InspiredByMorphy: Are we sure of how well he played when he gave up a pawn for unclear compensation with 14.Bf5+ ? In his own words he also mentions that 20. ...Bxb3 would have given black the advantage. After black misses his oppurtunity however, Blackburne is very efficient in making sure he doesent miss his.
Nov-17-04  Knight13: My father have said, "Doing the games, you can't really see mistakes. But when you are analysing the games, you can find out the mistakes." This is not 100% true but it is when I started analysing games on the tournaments I've played.
Nov-17-04  InspiredByMorphy: <Knight13> I dont mean to downplay Blackburnes performance in this game if it appeared I was. One of my favorite sayings was in a Megadeth song that went "hindsight is always 20/20" Aint that the truth!
Apr-20-09  ToTheDeath: BlackBurne: <20... Bd5 The capture of the ♔night gives ♗lack an advantage.>

Actually after 20...Bxb3 21.Rfc1! Qd3 22.axb3 Kb8 23.Qxf7 it is White who is clearly in the driver's seat.

<24...Rd7?> 24...h4! 25. Bf4 b5! looks necessary to slow White down, when Black is still better.

Blackburne was a true master of saving lost positions.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Mistakes on both sides, but perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on these old-timers. But is there any more to the pun than the fact that this started as a Scotch opening?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Arbiter58: <Once> Don't think so. Blackburne was English from Manchester and MacDonnell Irish. And the game was played in London
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Perhaps Blackburne's claim of "White now establishes a crushing attack" following 24. b4 can be refuted with the reply 24...b5.

For example, after <24.b4> and 24...b5 25. a4 h4! 26. Bxh4 Rd6! 27. Qc3 Rxh4 28. axb5 Qe5 29. g3 Qxc3 30. Rxc3 Rh8 31. bxc6 Bxc6 to = Black is doing just fine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <ToTheDeath> I see we both had the same thought about <24...Rd7?> Your idea 24...h4! looks fine, with ideas similar to my 24...b5! 25. a4 h4! I'm not sure which one yields the better result, but I suspect Black survives either way.

Perhaps someone with a strong program could do a 20-ply run on the position after Blackburne's "crushing" 24. b4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black must choose which piece he will lose to a queening with double check-with mate to follow closely behind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The move 28. b6! is a good basic example of attacking a pinned pawn preventing a mating combination, as 28...c6? 29. Bxb8 Kxb8 30. Qa7+ Kc8 31. Qa8# is threatened.

Of course the attack on the pinned pawn via 28. b6! serves as a decoy or deflection to establish Blackburne's attack with multiple threats, including the game continuation 28...Rde7 29. bxc7 with a winning double attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I'm not that familiar with alcoholic combinations (haven't studied Alekhine enough), but I thought the drink was called "gin and tonic".

At any rate, it would have been a better pun had Black won, thus finding a tonic for the Scotch.

Apr-20-09  Jack Kerouac: <Phony Benoni> Ouch!AA meeting for you. Get it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: <kevin86> That doesn't sound like much of a choice at all! Black suggests a game of Monopoly...
Apr-20-09  YetAnotherAmateur: Anyone see a reason why 27. ... b6 doesn't defend black better than 27. ... Re8?
Apr-20-09  kap54: White's response would be 28.Qxb6 leaving black in an unenviable position.
Apr-20-09  WhiteRook48: great pawn fork
Apr-20-09  xrt999: I wish my middle name was alcock
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: From Blackburne's wikipedia bio entry:

<Blackburne's fondness for drinking whisky at the board once led him to down an opponent's glass. Shortly afterwards, the opponent resigned, leading him to quip, "My opponent left a glass of whisky en prise and I took it en passant". In an interview with a liquor industry publication, Blackburne once claimed that drinking whisky cleared his brain and improved his chessplay.[15]

There is even a story that part of the prize fund at Hastings 1895 was paid in advance, and for Blackburne the "currency" was a case of Scotch. Mr. Blackburne finished the case of Scotch during the first six rounds of play at which point his game fell off.

During a simultaneous exhibition at Cambridge University, the students thought they would gain an advantage by placing two bottles of whisky near the boards. Blackburne won all his games very quickly and finished off both bottles of whisky before the exhibition was over.[1]

Blackburne could become violent when drunk in 1889 Steinitz claimed that Blackburne had assaulted him in London (1867) and a few years later in Paris, and that Blackburne had also assaulted three other men, one even smaller than Steinitz.[20][21]>

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