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Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Amos Burn
Vienna (1898), Vienna AUH, rd 36, Jul-22
French Defense: Classical. Burn Variation (C11)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-20-03  drukenknight: doing a "games similar" search for the Alekhine game produces several games by Amos Burn. The position in the other game can be reached by transposition from the Burn variation (4...dxe4). In this game: what if 22 Bxg6?
May-24-07  micartouse: Fine's BCE gives the queen ending position after 57. Qc2 Black to move.

Black would like to play ... f5 and e4 and make a passed pawn. However, he must first maneuver his king to the center.

Such king boldness seems counterintuitive since the defender's most useful tactic is perpetual check. However, bringing the king out increases the chance of threatening queen trades.

Aug-05-12  bengalcat47: The ending of this game can be found in Yuri Averbakh's book Queen and Pawn Endings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: This 36 round loss enabled Tarrasch to share first place with Pillsbury. There were two rounds left. Both players won their next two game and tied.

Tarrasch won the play off.

Jun-30-16  RookFile: A ridiculous number of games for a tournament, but still and outstanding success for Tarrasch and Pillsbury.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Rookfile,

There were a few of these monstrous tournaments in them days.

Tim Harding is correct when he says then travelling was quite long and awkward so when they gathered all the masters in one place they got their money's worth.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <drukenknight: doing a "games similar" search for the Alekhine game produces several games by Amos Burn. The position in the other game can be reached by transposition from the Burn variation (4...dxe4). In this game: what if 22 Bxg6?>

22....fxg6 23.Rxe6 hxg4, or 23.Nh6+ Kh7 24.Rxe6 Qg5, and Black wins. Which means that 21.Ng4, allowing (in fact, demanding) 21....h5, was a losing blunder.

Position after 18....g6.

click for larger view

Pillsbury was clearly better out of the opening. But how to exploit his advantage? SF likes the patient (but to me, counterintuitive) 19.Bd2, to switch the bishop to the long diagonal. After 19....Nd7 20.Bc3 Nxe5 21.Rxe5, ....Rxd3 is actually forced, because if 21....Qc7 Burn gets posterized with 22.Qxh7+ Kxh7 23.Rh4+ Kg8 24.Rh8#. Black can try to hang on in the ending after 21....Rxd3 22.Qxd3 Qxc4 23.Qxc4 Rxc4. Another way to defend is 19....Qb6 20.Bc3 Nh5 21.Bf1 Rxd1 22.Rxd1 Rd8 trading all the rooks, but Black remains worse.

Instead Pillsbury tried to get his rook into action with 19.Re3?!, but after ...Nd7 his pieces were a little discombobulated -- 20.Bf4?! Qd4, for example. After 20....Bxe7 Qxe7, he could have bailed out with 21.Nxd7 and been just a little worse, with a draw likely. The move he actually played cost him a pawn, the game, and ultimately the tournament.

I'm sure Pillsbury felt that he had to win this game, but 21.Ng4 is hard to understand unless he had a hallucination about 22.Bxg6 or something similar.

Dec-18-18  HarryP: This ending is discussed in "The Greatest Ever Chess Endgames" (2012) by Steve Giddins. He says that according to the rules we go by today Pillsbury could have claimed a draw after his 52nd move because at that point there was a three-time repetition of position. However, he says that since the rules the Vienna tournament went by were the rules in Bilguer’s "Handbuch," Pillsbury did not have the option of claiming a draw. Bilguer’s "Handbuch" did, he says, “contain a version of the threefold repetition rule, but unlike the modern version, there was no reference to a position occurring three times. Instead, the rule referred only to threefold repetition of the same moves or sequence of moves.”
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