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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Lush
Blindfold simul, 8b (1885), Melbourne AUS, Jan-08
Scandinavian Defense: Main Lines (B01)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-27-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheTamale: I got this puzzle in seconds. Yesterday's I could hardly understand even when the solution was spelled out step by step. I can't believe I've grown so much smarter overnight!
Dec-27-11  LoveThatJoker: Pretty straightforward for today:

23. Rxe6+! Qe7 (23...fxe6 24. Qg6#) 24. Rxe7+ and White wins.

LTJ

Dec-27-11  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> Cool puzzle, man! Same motif of the Rook destroying the pawn structure guarding the King.

1. Rxc6+ bxc6 2. Ba6#

Thanks for posting this one. It's cool that you found a puzzle with the exact same motif (and a rook no-less!).

LTJ

Dec-27-11  LoveThatJoker: <LIFE Master AJ> 1. Rxe6+! Qe7 (1...fxe6 2. Qg6+ Rxg6 3. Bxg6#) 2. Rxe7+ and White wins!

Good stuff!

LTJ

Dec-27-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The posision resembles a Boden mate in the center of the board. If the rook is taken,mate follows immediately-if not,the queen is lost for nothing!
Dec-27-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <"The reputation of the Scandinavian Defence is much worse than the positions arising from it."

- GM Sergei Tiviakov>

It was games like this that gave it a bad reputation.

Dec-27-11  Patriot: Here's what I thought: Boden's mate-- 23.Rxe6+ fxe6 24.Qg6#

But it's not exactly since the queen can interpose. However, a "win is a win".

Dec-27-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Joseph churned over sheep like Lush
His heart was all a flutter
It must be done he cried aloud
Rxe6 there footprints in the butter.

By the way I tried walking today and pulled a muscle :(

Dec-27-11  BOSTER: One possible way of meeting an attack is to <create a diversion>, what means to make a counterthreat at least serious as the opponent's.

After 8.h3 black didn't retreat his bishop, didn't play Bxf3 they created the threat playing h5, b.t.w. with weakness on "g6".

But black's diversion doesn't prevent white from executing his threat.

After 10...Qxd6 we had the position on next diagram.


click for larger view

I guess white can take the bishop playing 11.hxg4 hxg4 12.Ne5 and if f6 13.Bg6+ Ke7 14.Nxg4 and white with a piece up.

Dec-27-11  BLS: Thank God, at least no one has said "Re6+"...TIME TO CHECK. Lord, I need a drink. And AJ, your internet game, exploiting the g6 weakness...why did you even bother? Jeez. Perhaps my shrink can suggest ways to curb my acidity. On the other hand, maybe it's needed.
Dec-27-11  carn7898: 23. Rxe6+fxe6 24. Qg6#. This puzzle was a lot easier than Monday's.
Dec-27-11  VincentL: "Easy"

23. Rxe6+ wins here.

23....fxe6 24. Qg6#

The only "defence" is the interposition of the queen with 23....Qe7. Then. 24. Rxe7+ and white wins Q and P for nothing, and is likely to mate soon.

Letīs check.

Dec-27-11  Jabot: easier than yesterday
Dec-27-11  zb2cr: 23. Rxe6+, fxe6; 24. Qg6#. Easy as can be, once you know the secret.
Dec-27-11  stst: Why it so often happens in chess that such mate position comes up? Here's another one, allowing
23.Rxe6+ fxe6, 24.Qg6# precisely because of the position.

OR, one may refute 23.Rxe6+ by Qe7, but even this Q-sac does not save the crush: 24.Rxe7# because again the positions of the pair of Bishops.

Dec-27-11  stst: minor correction:
after Bk's Q interposition, RxQ does not win immediately, but ... very very soon. Swinging the R to allow dis+ will soon eat up all of Bk's pieces...Practically it ends the game right after RxQ!
Dec-28-11  BishopofBlunder: <Once: <BishopofBlunder> The main line Scandinavian (2... Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5) made a minor comeback a few years ago. There was a DVD called "The Scheming Scandinavian" by IM Andrew Martin, which seemed to suggest that it was the perfect opening. The minimum of book learning and you force white to play in your garden from as early as the first move. That seemed to spark a bit of interest amongst club players. Played it myself a for a few seasons when I got disillusioned with my lifelong love affair with the French defence.

But like all fashions it flared briefly then dwindled away. Once the novelty factor wore off, we were left with the inherent drawbacks of punting the queen into the open so early. White wins became almost automatic. Which is never much fun when you are playing black.

Then folks started playing with the alternative queen retreats after Nc3, especially Qd6 and Qd8. But you could tell that there was no long-term future there.

A few die-hards still essay the old Scandy. But unless Even Deeper Thought uncorks a TN or three, I don't think it will ever be a major contender.

As the Pogues reminded us: "I could have been someone."

"Well, so could anyone.">

Well, whether in chess or some other facet of life, everything eventually makes a comeback. Most, like the main line Scandi, are short-lived.

It seems to me that the purpose behind a pawn gambit is to gain time to get a lead in development or create an attack. 2...Qxd5 does neither of these. In fact, it loses time and black just seems to find himself down a pawn. Though I can see how it might be playable at blitz time controls.

Dec-28-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: There is a little more to the dear old Scandy than gambiting a pawn. Especially as the old main line doesn't gambit a pawn! Here's the standard starting position after 1. e4 d5 2. ed Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5:


click for larger view

White argues that he has the advantage because he will gain time by kicking the black queen around. He can develop freely with natural moves like d4, Nf3 and so on.

But Black is happy too. For one thing, he has dictated the choice of opening as early as move 1. He argues that the material is level and both sides have developed precisely one piece. What is more, that white knight on c3 hinders white from creating his ideal pawn centre with c4 and d4.

Black will usually play for a caro kann style pawn centre with c6 and b6.

So the Scandy is fully playable at normal time controls. Not just a surprise weapon for blitz. But it's a little too sterile for black for the tastes of most GMs.

Dec-30-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <BLS> Water, water everywhere...but not a drop to drink.
Dec-30-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Surprising these two did not opt for the Scotch Game (C45)
Dec-30-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Or Alekhine's Defense (B03)
Jul-02-13  optimal play: <BLINDFOLD CHESS.>

<EXHIBITION BY MR. J. H. BLACKBURNE.>

<Mr J. H. Blackburne, the renowned English chessplayer, gave a remarkable exhibition of his powers before a large assemblage in the hall of the Equitable Co-operative Society last night. He fought blindfold against eight of the strongest chessplayers of Victoria.

The names, of his antagonists were-
Mr. Fleming, board 1;
Mr. Esling, board 2;
Mr. Witton, board 3,
Mr. Loughran, board 4 ;
Mr. Stephen, board 5 ;
Mr. Landells, board 6;
Mr. Lush, board 7; and
Mr. Hamel, board 8.

Four out of the eight have played in intercolonial contests, namely, Messrs. Fleming, Esling, Witton, and Hamel. Some of the eight are amongst the most brilliant players in Victoria.

The assemblage which witnessed Mr. Blackburne's exhibition last night comprised a large proportion of influential citizens and several ladies. Mr. Justice Williams presided.

Even old chess players must have been astonished at the display of Mr Blackburne's powers last night. In fact, the better players were doubtless more surprised than were those of inferior calibre. For the benefit of the uninitiated, and in order to give an idea of the difficulty of Mr. Blackburne's task, it may be mentioned that on each chessboard there are 32 pieces, 16 to each player. There is a great variety about the movements of these pieces, and some of them are decidedly eccentric. Let any ordinary chess player, when watching a game, just shut his eyes, and try to bring before his mental vision the position in which the pieces stand, and he will then be able better to appreciate what blindfold chess means.

The plan of operations last night may be briefly described.

Mr. Blackburne had, as has been stated, eight antagonists, each of whom had a table numbered as above. Mr. Blackburne had the first move in each case, and, of course, took the whites at each board, his opponents playing with the black pieces. Mr Blackburne was seated on a platform at one side of the room, with his face to the wall and his back to the boards at which his antagonists were sitting. It is scarcely necessary to say he could not see the boards. He had nothing but a blank wall to look at.

Play began at 8 o'clock. The blindfold player's first move at each board was "Pawn to King's Fourth." Then his opponents replied with their first moves, each of which, when it was announced by the player, was echoed by Mr. W. Simpson, whose sonorous voice was very useful. He also cried out Mr. Blackburne's moves.

Each board was taken alternately. That is to say, when Mr Blackburne's antagonist No. 1 moved, his move was called out by Mr. Simpson, and Mr Blackburne quickly replied with his move. Then Mr Blackburne's antagonist No 2 announced his next move, and Mr. Blackburne responded to him, and so on all round the boards.

There is no doubt that Mr. Blackburne did play quickly, especially when it is borne in mind that ability to play blindfold chess depends upon the strength of the mind's eye. It must be remembered that, from the time play began, Mr. Blackburne had nothing whatever to refresh his memory with, excepting the mental visions he seemed able to stow away in some chink of his brain, and reproduce when he wanted them, like magic lantern slides.

Before he could respond to a move made, for instance, at No. 4 board, he had to efface from his mental view the position of the pieces on No. 3 board, and so on, and when he next had to direct a move to be made on No. 3 board, he had to educe the state of that game again from the pigeon hole where he had stored it in his head.

He never made a mistake during the evening. When one of his opponents accidentally misplaced a piece, after several moves had been made in the game, the blindfold player promptly detected the error, and was able to announce, without looking at the board, where all the pieces ought to be standing. This feat was greatly admired.

Anyone could see, during the progress of the games, that Mr. Blackburne was under-going great mental exertion. One apparently ordinary movement of his is to place one hand on his forehead and bow his head. He frequently had to moisten his parched lips with water. Perhaps, however, the mental strain to which the champion blindfold chess player submits himself is not as great as many might imagine, for his brow is not deeply furrowed by lines of care. For a man of his years, it is remarkably smooth.

Mr. Blackburne does not look triumphant when he knows his antagonists are in difficulties, nor despondent when he himself is in a dangerous position. Occasionally when making a move, he would stop before finishing the announcement of his move, but he never harked back.>

...continued...

Jul-02-13  optimal play: ...continued...

<The "Lancashire Lad," if playing a losing game, would probably never show that he knew he was beaten. He would just continue his moves with an imperturbable countenance. He was not beaten last night, however. Once or twice, when he found he could promptly win the game, a gleam of fun overspread his face, as he inquired if his opponent would "accept a mate in three moves?" In such cases his opponent always did accept it.

Out of the eight games, Mr. Blackburne won five, and three were drawn.

Mr. Lush resigned first, and Mr Hamel immediately afterwards. That was about 20 minutes to 11 o'clock. The wins were loudly cheered. Mr. Esling's game was drawn by consent of both players very soon afterwards. At 11 o'clock Mr. Blackburne announced that he could mate Mr. Landells in three moves. Mr. Landells recognised the hopelessness of his position, and retired. At 25 minutes past 11 oclock Mr. Witton was informed that he also would be mated in three moves, and he likewise bowed to his fate. Twenty-five minutes later Mr. Loughran agreed to draw his game. Mr. Loughran ought to be proud of that result, for he had been playing a stubborn up-hill game all through, he having, early in the game, made a mistaken move. But it is astonishing what a grand defence many chess players can make when they have no hope of victory, but are simply staving off defeat as long as possible. At 10 minutes to 12 o'clock, Mr. Fleming resigned, and, immediately afterwards, Mr. Stephen's game was drawn by consent.

The score therefore stood as follows :-

Won by Mr Blackburne, five- Mr. Fleming, Mr. Witton, Mr. Landells, Mr. Lush, Mr. Hamel.

Drawn- Mr. Esling, Mr. Loughran, Mr. Stephen.

Mr. Blackburne was loudly cheered whenever he won, and at the conclusion of the play.

We append... notes by Mr. Blackburne:-

Mr Lush plays this game with great judgment, his offered sacrifice of the Bishop on the 8th move was perfectly sound, and ought to have given the blindfold player some trouble; but by taking the Knight on the 11th move, White obtained the advantage. Black ought rather to have moved his Queen's Knight to Queen's 2nd, afterwards castling on that side with a winning attack if the Bishop had been taken. His 15th move was also very weak.

- The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) issue Friday 9 January 1885>

Jul-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Might Lush have been the player who left a glass of whiskey en prise, which Blackburne captured <en passant>?
Apr-10-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <On Move 21. white could have just played Qd3, reaching the same exact position as that on blacks move 22, but with a simple catch, it would have been blacks turn to move! Instead, white gains a tempo by playing aggresively, Qf5! This simple yet profound move forces black to waste a move in defense, Qe7. White could take blacks queen and only even the position, probably still be up some. Instead white goes back to d3 now with the queen, forcing black to retreat the queen back to d8. Now white has the same position as he could have had on move 21 except it will be his turn! Allowing him to play the Rxe6+ move now with effect. Chess is about gaining all the possible tempo you can. Tempo is the description of gaining "time" or moves on the chessboard. Grandmasters look for key things like how do I get to the same position but instead of it being their turn, its my turn. They study openings to a great deal just to gain that simple advantage, because they know that that advantage is what wins games, like it did here.>

Great overview. 21. Qf5! is a very nice finesse which sets up the big finish.

<The main line Scandinavian (2... Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5) made a minor comeback a few years ago. There was a DVD called "The Scheming Scandinavian" by IM Andrew Martin, which seemed to suggest that it was the perfect opening. The minimum of book learning and you force white to play in your garden from as early as the first move. That seemed to spark a bit of interest amongst club players. Played it myself a for a few seasons when I got disillusioned with my lifelong love affair with the French defence. But like all fashions it flared briefly then dwindled away. Once the novelty factor wore off, we were left with the inherent drawbacks of punting the queen into the open so early. White wins became almost automatic. Which is never much fun when you are playing black. Then folks started playing with the alternative queen retreats after Nc3, especially Qd6 and Qd8. But you could tell that there was no long-term future there. A few die-hards still essay the old Scandy. But unless Even Deeper Thought uncorks a TN or three, I don't think it will ever be a major contender.>

It is hard to name an elite player who routinely uses the Scandinavian as Black. I see it frequently in online blitz games, then less so in tournaments.

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