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Mikhail Chigorin vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
St. Petersburg (1895/96), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 2, Dec-15
Four Knights Game: Spanish. Symmetrical Variation (C49)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: First I tried the non-sac move:26... Bf3+ and then the sac move 26... ♕xd4 before 27... ♗f3+. The first move forces the win of the queen after ♘xf3 by ♕xf4. The second eliminates the knight and prevents ♘xf3-but can suffer complications after ♗f3+ ♖g2. I think a win may be there but it won't be MOnDAY easy.

Therefore,I prefer the text move-an immediate 26...♗f3+

Apr-23-07  Crowaholic: Easy one, threating ♖g1# was obvious and then it was easy to see that ♘xf3 stops the mate but drops the queen. However, I didn't even consider 27. ♖g2. This leads to a mate with a nice decoy queen sacrifice: 27. ..♖xg2 28. ♘xf3 ♕xf4 29. ♗f1 ♕xh2+ 30. ♘xh2 ♖g1#.
Apr-23-07  Alex S.: I chose:

27.Rxf4 Bf3+
28.(any) Rg1#

I think it's better. Sure mate is better than the choice mate or queen.

Apr-23-07  Dr.Lecter: After a long spring break, I got a bit rusty. Why, it took me almost 5 seconds to see this! :) <kidding, it took me more>
Apr-23-07  JG27Pyth: <Alex S.: I chose:

27.Rxf4 Bf3+
28.(any) Rg1#

I think it's better. Sure mate is better than the choice mate or queen.>

I think the <28.(any)> gets replaced with 28. ♘xf3, and the ♖g1# mate is gone.

Apr-23-07  jmelton: < Alex S.: I chose:

27.Rxf4 Bf3+
28.(any) Rg1#

I think it's better. Sure mate is better than the choice mate or queen.>

That would be nice, but the catch is that if 28.Nxf3 then there is no mate.

Apr-23-07  schnarre: A good refresher puzzle!
Apr-23-07  sambo: <YouRang: This one was a little more cerebral than most Monday puzzles. Of course, I immediately saw 26...Bf3+, and I was about to satisfy myself that white had to take my bishop, after which I have 27...Rg1#.

But then I noticed that this plan falls apart if white takes my bishop with the knight, guarding g1. For a couple seconds, I considered that winning the knight with 26...Qxd4 would be the solution (if 27. cxd4, then 27...Bf3+ and 28...Rg1# is unstoppable).

Fortunately, I took another moment to notice that after 26...Bf3+ 27. Nxf3, the knight neatly interferes with the white queen's only defender (the rook at f2) leaving the queen hung. A very interesting Monday puzzle!>

Almost word for word how I went through this puzzle. I thought it was a little more thought-provoking than the stereotypical sacrifice-a-queen-for-a-mate-in-one puzzle that they usually toss out for a Monday.

Apr-23-07  melv: A little tricky for monday. Yes, very nice I like this puzzles.
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <dramas79: 26...QxN would be messy because a subsequent 27...Bf3+ could be answered by 28. Rg2 complicating the win>

Well, assuming that 26...QxN was answered by 27. cxd4, then 27...Bf3+ still forces a quick mate, even if white plays 28. Rg2, because after 28...Rxg2!, white has no answer:

If 29. Qxf3 (or Rxf3) then 29...Rg1#
If 29. Re1 then Rg1# (double check!)
If 29. h3 then 29...Rg1 30. Kh2 R8g2#
If 29. Qg3 then 29...R2xg3+ 30. Rxf3 Rg1#

But 26...QxN is a bad choice because it wins a knight when he could have won a queen.

Apr-23-07  agentniner: Pillsbury made a lot of mistakes in this game. Seems like he did nothing to try and correct them.
Apr-23-07  jheiner: Good morning! Well, I almost missed it, because I was looking so hard for the obligatory Monday queen sac before realizing it was unnecessary.

The move I didn't understand was 26.g3xh4. The line I looked at was for White to simply trade up and go into the endgame.

26. Qf4xe5 fxe5 27. Nd4-f5 Bg4xf5 (var: Rg5 with Black gaining tempo) 28. Rf2xf5 hxg3 29. hxg3 Rg7xg3 30. Re3xg3 Rg8xg3 31. Rf5xf7 with a rook on the 7th rank and bishop over knight.

I'm sure there's some not so subtle threat that i've missed, but thought i'd kibitz anyway. Hope this helps some of the more experienced get a sense of where the less experienced are coming from.

Apr-23-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <outplayer: I wonder if white can save himself if he plays another move than the goofing 26.gxh4>

Update: after 19-ply analysis, HIARCS 11.1 evaluates the following two moves as best for white:

26.Nc6 (+0.17)
26.Be2 (+0.01)

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: It is said that everything is there on board only one must have the insight to see. The game is simple yet elegant.
Apr-23-07  outplayer: Thanks MostlyAverageJoe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: How about Bh5? It gets the Bishop out of the way so the Rook can come down for checkmate, while at the same time guarding f3 so that if the White Knight goes there, Bxf3+, winning White's Queen anyhow.
Apr-23-07  Crowaholic: <playground player: How about Bh5?>

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 26. ..♗h5 27. ♖e1 and Black has nothing (and is a pawn down).

Apr-23-07  ruzon: Why is 26. Nc6 Qxc4 better than 26. Nf5?
Apr-23-07  NakoSonorense: Are Monday puzzles getting harder or am I getting worse?
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <Crowaholic: <playground player: How about Bh5?> Correct me if I'm wrong, but 26. ..h5 27. e1 and Black has nothing (and is a pawn down).>

You are correct. Bf3+ gives white no time to defend the back rank; Bh5 does.

<ruzon: Why is 26. Nc6 Qxc4 better than 26. Nf5?>

There doesn't appear to be a big difference, except again, Nc6 is more forcing. After 26. Nf5, black has more choices. For example, 26...hxg3 trades a crummy isolated rook pawn for a nice paired pawn. It also prevents white from playing gxh4, which would have hindered the mobility of black's knight (preventing ...Ng5).

Jan-16-09  blacksburg: 8...Ne7 is strange. a common idea here is 8...Qe7, followed by ...Nd8, ...Ne6, etc, ala Rubinstein.
Sep-19-10  morphy2010: 26.gxh4 is a blunder any comments?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <morphy2010: 26.gxh4 is a blunder any comments?>

You're a spammer.

Dec-26-14  Poisonpawns: Chigorin was a fantastic player, but boy did he make some strange blunders 26.gxh4?? geez!
Premium Chessgames Member
  mikepom: '1895 St. Petersburg' by Mason & Pollock gives 20. Re2 ...which means that the last move should read as 26. .. Bh3!
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