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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Thomson
Glasgow (1885)
French Defense: Classical. Swiss Variation (C11)  ·  1-0


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

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-02-06  EmperorAtahualpa: What interests me in these notes is the "Philidor's legacy" part. Was Philidor the first to play a smothered mate?

Anyway, if Black doesn't sacrifice material, the continuation would have been this:

31...Kb8 32.Na6++ Ka8 33.Qb8+ Rxb8 34.Nc7#

Aug-21-06  Timothy Glenn Forney: Greco was the first,and it should be called Greco's Mate IMHO.The Rook could take the Knight stopping the smother but of course black loses any way.
Dec-24-06  Rubenus: I thought this is called Greco's mate:

click for larger view

But I am not absolutely sure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: This smothered mate predates Greco by over a hundred years. The first known description was by Luis Ramirez de Lucena (c.1465 – c.1530), in the oldest existing printed book on chess, <Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez>, published in Salamanca in 1497.

It can't go back much further than that, since the queen only received her current powers of movement around 1475.

May-24-07  Timothy Glenn Forney: Where did you learn this chess history?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I wonder if Black was a relation. He shares my unerring ability to step into tactical traps.
May-24-07  centercounter: Black actually came out of the opening with the better position. But it isn't how you start that matters, but how you finish.

It is not easy to play with an advantage. Often, the player with the worse position has fewer choices, and the play is much simpler, while the player with the better game must decide where, how, and when to attack, or whether to seek an endgame, etc. As such, it's very easy to take a good position and run it into the dusty ground.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: White sets up a potential smothered mate pattern after 29. Nd5+!! In the final position, if 31...Kb8 then 32. Na6+ Ka8 33. Qb8+ Rxb8 34. Nc7# is the result.

Black could try to frustrate this mate with 31...Rxc7, but then 32. Qxc7 wins the exchange and will soon pick up the Bishop with a clearly decisive material advantage.

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