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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
Steinitz - Blackburne (1876), London ENG, rd 1, Feb-17
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Anderssen Variation (C77)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-22-03  N. Cline Plane: A nice example by both sides of how to use pawns in the Spanish: the rebuffing of black's counterplay attempts in moves 5,6,7; the queenside black pawnstorm; the gamelosing blunder by black (at move 26) turns on pawn pressure too.
Dec-22-03  PizzatheHut: Could someone explain to me why Steinitz made so many knight moves (moves 11-15) only to exchange it for Black's bad bishop? Is the reason to weaken the dark squares around black's king? I noticed that the only way to kick the knight out of the f5 square is with the move ...g6, which in turn weakens the dark squares.
Feb-08-04  Jimzovich: It was Steinitz belief that 2B's were dominant over 2N,s or N&B(which is true). He also believed if you can post a piece in/toward the center of the board it would increase in its strength and value(Hence 14.Nf5). Assessing the position @ Move #17 you will notice White has the "Bishop pair!"(a dominanting force) and the K-side has been loosened; more than likely Steinitz would be thinking "Game won". Steinitz then demonstrates with ease: How to shut-down the black Knights and in the process locks black's Bishop out of the game(20.d5!!). 3 minor pieces out of commision! With the next 2 moves he switches his B & Q over to the dark squares and finishes the game with a powerhouse of armament and delivers a savage(tactical) King-side assault.
Aug-01-04  Knight13: Good game. And, yes Steinitz made too many knight moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <PizzatheHut> Note that Steinitz chose to attack the NE corner of the board. Thus, once the g7-g6 got provoked, the NxB was a great decision: (1) While the dsq-bishop was inefective at other parts of the board, it was the star defender within the NE corner. The 14...g6 opened up a weak black-square complex about Black king and the dsq-bishop was the natural piece to patrol those squares. (2) A retreat of the knight from f5 would have interefered with other white piecess moving in. (3) Even if the dsq-bishop were a defensive piece of a lesser importance, exchange of an attacking piece for a defensive one is reasonable, expecially here where it earns 2B advantage.
May-07-05  aw1988: <Knight13> Too many knight moves? Is that the only reason you will not make them in a game? Note the reason Steinitz did it was for strategic purposes...
May-22-05  Catfriend: I really don't see why keep playing after 27.g6!!
Oct-23-05  Kriegspiel: <N. Cline Plane> I don't know about game-losing, but as blunders go 19...c4 was pretty bad. Not only did this permit 20.d5 (which as someone else noted locks out three of Black's pieces in one stroke) but also permits White's bishop to occupy d4 where it attacks the weak dark squares around the Black king created by 14...g6. That was when the kingside assault began.


Oct-23-05  fred lennox: There are positions where it's possible a bad bishop is worth more than a good knight. In this case black looses a bad bishop to be replaced by a bad queen, partly because it is forced to defend the dark sqs. around the king.
Jul-25-06  waddayaplay: From looking at many Blackburne games, I would say that Blackburne favoured closed positions where he could manouevre his pieces behind his advancing pawns, towards the enemy king. However, against Steinitz his optimism failed, and objectively he would do better by opening up the centre. Already in the opening, 10..d5 would give at least equality. Other comments:


<this is typical Blackburne, but it is today well known that one should not unprovoced weaken the pawn protection in front of the king. 14...c5 = >


< 18.h4 is more natural. >

18..exd 19.cxd c5?

< there is nothing wrong with 19..cxd 20.Nxd4 Rc8 21.Kb1 Nxd4 22.Rxd4 < 22.Bxd4 doesn't work because of Rxc2! > Ne6 >

24.g5 f5

<if 24..fxg then 25.Nxg5 Nh5 (or Nge8) 26.e5! threatening 27.Bxg6 hxg6 28.Qxg6 Ng7 Qh7# >

Feb-28-07  Tomlinsky: Rolls Ruyce?
Nov-04-09  peirce: I have a doubt .

Let s say that I got the idea
of the weaknesses of the black
squares .
Steinitz needed Blackburne to play
14 ... g6 in order to create the
weaknesses I already said before.
But there is no certanity about it.
I mean Steinitz could not really
be sure of Black s move g6.

I I were Black , I am unrated , I would rather move the Bishop ,in order to keep my Bishop pair. f.i.
14... Bd8 or Bf6.

Steinitz play is based on 14 g6 but he could be really sure of that next move .

Let s put simply ,
after 14 Nf5 what would you
move as Black?

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: A really good example of the hidden venom in the 5.d3 variation, ruling out the sharp Marshall and Open variations for Black. The plan is pretty simple to remember - c3, ♘d2, ♘f1 and then either ♘e3 or ♘g3.
Apr-17-12  Marmot PFL: 19...c4 is too slow, this kind of advance has no power when white controls the center and can open lines to the black king. 19...cd4 20 Nxd4 Rac8 with counterplay.

I thought that Blackburne resigned after move 28. After losing a piece there is no reason to play on.

Aug-29-13  parisattack: Can anyone point to more modern examples of this White setup? I am aware the d3 Lopez has made something of a comeback but I am not knowing of any with the plan noted above by <GrahamClayton>.
Nov-20-14  yureesystem: lol Steinitz take some liberties in the opening and Blackburne plays too passive. Steinitz at the end finish the game masterfully.
Jan-07-18  MariusDaniel: Great chess game!
Oct-05-19  Caissanist: It seems to be pretty standard to take a lot of moves to get your knight to f5 in the Spanish, when black has fianchettoed his queen bishop. Of course, black doesn't have to play ..g6, but if he doesn't then white's kingside dominance often leads to pretty sacrificial variations. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Teichmann vs Schlechter, 1911 .

When white advances on the kingside, the right response is normally for black to open up the center, but the pawn on b5 makes that kind of iffy, since a central advance is likely to leave black with a weak queenside pawn structure.

Oct-05-19  Carrots and Pizza: 27.g6! What a nice move. I was distracted by White's weak d5 pawn, think about what to do about it and never considered 27.g6!

Speaking of g6, why didn't Black play ...g6 at some point to prevent White from playing Nf5?

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