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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Mikhail Chigorin
"Good Wil Hunting" (game of the day Aug-12-14)
Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship Rematch (1892)  ·  Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0
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Jun-16-12  backrank: The final combination is so spectacular that the fine preparation moves enabling the combination are frequently overlooked.

Réti annotates this game in 'Modern Ideas in Chess.'

On White's 4th move (d3), he writes:

'One sees here at once the difference between Morphy and Steinitz. The former was always anxious to press on at the earliest possible moment with d2-d4. Steinitz on the other hand does not want to break through the center, but is more concerned with building up for himself a strong position, to enable him subequently to prepare an attack on the kingside.'

On 5. c3, Réti comments:

'The position of the pawns on c3 and e4, which makes the forcing of the center by the black pieces impossible, runs with regularity through the Steinitz games whereever they are opened with e4."

And on 6. Nbd2:

'With the intention of moving the knight (by way of d2 and f1) to e3 or g3 to carry out the attack. This maneuver, so much in favor today, originates from Steinitz. As a fact we find very often in Steinitz's games these extended knight maneuvers.

With Morphy, who always brought about an open game, that kind of maneuver was impossible, as he dared not permit himself in open positions to lose so much time. Noteworthy and typical of Steinitz is the delay in castling: so that the possibility of castling on the queenside remained open to him.'

On 8. Ba4:

'In order to have this bishop ready for the attack. These are all far-reaching and preparatory maneuvers for which in open positions after d2-d4 there would be no time.'

On 8. ... Nd7:

'With the idea of making the game an open one if possible by means of ... Nc5 and ... d6-d5.'

On 11. h4:

'Now at this early stage the attack on the king's wing commences and indeed, clearly contrary to Morphy's principles, from an undeveloped position. But the essential point is that Black's counterplay against White's center does not lend itself to a successful result on account of the latter's assured position.

Equally remarkable is that the move h4 is not to be found in analogous games of Morphy, the reason being that Morphy unlike Steinitz always castled early in the game.'

On 13. ... fxg6:

'Perhaps 13. ... hxg6 was better. Steinitz would have continued with 14. Qe2 in order to avoid the exchange of queens, as one will find happens in similar positions with other players; at the same time the strong pawn structure formed by the pawns at e4 and c3 would have been maintained and Black would have gained little by the opening of the d-file, as no points of attack are to be found thereon. After the weakening of the diagonal a2-g8 through ... fxg6, Steinitz opens the diagonal completely by the exchange on d5.'

On 20. Qf1:

'Apparently a defensive move to provide against ... Nd4. In reality preparation for the decision of the contest.'

On 21. d4:

'This ultimately brings the other bishop on the right diagonal a1-h8 for the decisive mating attack.'

On 24. Rxh7+:

'After the deep and quiet preparation the end is brought about magnificently, inasmuch as the whole of the pent-up energy becomes active.'

What do we have to admire more: Steinitz's play or Réti's wonderful commentary?

Jul-24-12  LIFE Master AJ:

My web page on this game.

Jul-24-12  JoergWalter: <backrank>

Steinitz vs Blackburne, 1876

Reti in "masters of the chessboard" considered this a worthy companion on highlighting Steinitz play in the Ruy Lopez with white.

Jul-24-12  JoergWalter: <LMAJ: 19.0-0-0!,
I can count the (good) games of chess - in the Ruy Lopez - where White got away with castling Queen-side ... ... ... on the fingers of just one hand! >

can you give the games?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Games with long castling can often be found in the line after 3....a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6.d4 f6 7.Be3 and Nc3; how good they are is another story, however!
Jul-24-12  SimonWebbsTiger: the reason white rarely castles q-side in the Lopez is easy enough to explain: he normally castles k-side early (trivial) and that the central formation usually involves c2-c3 and d2-d4, so the king would be in too much danger.

After 6. Nbd2
<Perhaps this move shows masters have lost as well as gained in the last 60 years. We can recall few master games since 1945 in which white has castled QR in the Ruy Lopez. The one outstanding example is in the Steinitz defence Deferred: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. Bxc6 bxc6 6. d4 f6 7. Be3 Ne7 8. Nc3 Ng6 9. Qd2 Be7 10. o-o-o> "A Guide to Chess Openings" by Leonard Barden (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957.)

Long castles in the Lopez is thus very variation specific. Another example is in the Schliemann (3...f5 where the 4. Nc3 fxe4 5. Nxe4 d5 line often sees both colours castle q-side).

Barden noted that a modern master might play 6.0-0 without thinking. Here Steinitz remains flexible. The idea is castling should be done when needed not because you can!

Jul-25-12  LIFE Master AJ:

My web page - the link is in my last post - is several years old. However, I just made a video on this game, the link can be found above.

Mar-05-13  shepi13: For all those saying that 26. Bh6+!! is the most accurate, it is not necesarily. While it is the simplest to calculate, 26. Qh6+!! Kf6 27. Qh4+ Kg7 28. Bh6+ Kh7 29. Bxf8# mates just as quickly
Mar-05-13  shepi13: SimonWebbsTiger - the plan to delay castling is too elaborate, without the rook on e1 black can counter in the center with d5 and equalize. Thus, modern grandmasters have learned to prevent counterplay, and to seize the chance for it rather than move their knights 5-6 times like chigorin did.
Mar-22-13  DubbleX: nice sac attack
Nov-24-13  pericles of athens: Wow, what a lovely ending!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: A tribute to the late Robin Williams.
Aug-12-14  bahduggi: Nice game. Nice pun. Nice tribute.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: No jokes today. Sad news indeed.
Aug-12-14  pedro99: I can remember a 'Reader's Showcase' in the American magazine 'Chess Review' in which some dude tried to pass this game off as his own. Spotted by alert readers. Got past the editors though..
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Good choice,, a great game as a tribute to a great artist.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Castleinthesky: Two great artists who died as a result of tragic circumstances-Steinitz in abject poverty, and Williams in severe depression. Rest in peace.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Morphy vs. Steinitz: more than one way to skin a cat.
Aug-12-14  Petrosianic: I never saw the parallel between Steinitz and Robin Williams before. I'm not sure I do now. But I feel pretty sure that someone as chirpy and hyper-active as Williams would have bugged the heck out of someone as curmudgeonly as Steinitz. They might have made a good Odd Couple.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Queen and bishop dominate this one.

Good-Bye Robin Williams: Oh, Captain my Captain.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Petrosianic> I'm sure no actual resemblance between Steinitz and Williams is meant. The pun is based simply on the similarity between Steinitz's name and the title of the film for which Williams received an Oscar.

Were Williams granted grandmaster strength and admitted to the Chess Pantheon, the only player I can imagine enjoying a game with him would be La Bourddnnais. Possibly Tal, but I don't get the same sort of vibes from him, and imagine he would quickly want to return to the pleasures of playing Korchnoi.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Only a few players have had Robin Williams' manic mode. La Bourdonnais, as mentioned, and Harrwitz, who used to kibitz with the spectators between moves.

I'd like to see Williams as Harrwitz in a rare win over Staunton, when Staunton started muttering unhappily about losing a pawn, and Harrwitz gleefully called his servant over, and asked him to check under the table because "Mr Staunton has lost a pawn".

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: The black king makes a sorry sight, sitting on e5 with enemy bishops and queen swarming about. Nice game by Wil!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I like the pun. Bye, Mork. See you on the flip side.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ke2: <LTJ> Not 29. g4#? Tasteless.
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