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Mikhail Chigorin vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
"Much to his Chigorin" (game of the day Oct-07-2017)
Monte Carlo (1902), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 18, Mar-07
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo. Italian Four Knights Variation (C50)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-04-08  paladin at large: Beautiful play by Chigorin as he gains the advantage with moves 20-27, capped by a delicate queen ending.
Oct-07-17  goodevans: White's f-pawn gives himself up to save his brother on h3. Nice!

<44...f4+ 45.Kxf4 Qxh3> doesn't work because <46.Qf5+> forces the exchange of Qs after which black is hopelessly lost.

Oct-07-17  Ironmanth: Good grinding win by Chigorin. Wondering how much Magnus has studied these middlegame to endgame ideas in his essaying the Giuoco Pianissimo.
Oct-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Ironmanth: Good grinding win by Chigorin. Wondering how much Magnus has studied these middlegame to endgame ideas in his essaying the Giuoco Pianissimo.>

To the extent he's not just playing against engines, I suspect he's looking at better models than this. He never plays Old Stodge (Nc3) like Chigorin does here.

As he did so often, Pillsbury got himself into trouble by playing overaggressively to gain the initiative. Not many Magnus opponents will do him that favor. Even so, if Pillsbury had interpolated 25....Qe1+ he could have gotten a tenable ending: 26.Kh2 Rxa7 27.Qb8+ Kf7 28.Qxa7+ Kg6 29.Kg3 h5 30.Qb8 h4+ 31.Kxh4 Qe4+! 32.Kg3 Qxc2 and White is going to have a hell of a time getting anywhere.

39.Qe8 could have transformed a win into a loss. 39....Qg6+ 40.Qxg6 Kxg6 and the pawn ending is hopeless for White even though he is a pawn up! The black king either penetrates at e3 or goes to g3, followed by the advance of the h-pawn and its exchange for the g-pawn. Black then wins the f-pawn and marches his g-pawn up the board. White can't do anything with his q-side majority.

After Pillsbury missed this, Chigorin's 43.f4-f5 followed by the king march was very fine. In the final position Black has nothing better than ....Qf4+, allowing Chigorin to exchange queens with Qf6+.

Oct-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheBish: <keypusher: 39.Qe8 could have transformed a win into a loss. 39....Qg6+ 40.Qxg6 Kxg6 and the pawn ending is hopeless for White even though he is a pawn up! The black king either penetrates at e3 or goes to g3, followed by the advance of the h-pawn and its exchange for the g-pawn. Black then wins the f-pawn and marches his g-pawn up the board. White can't do anything with his q-side majority.>

Do you have a specific variation to support this? I'm checking it on the analysis board, and it seems that Black is drawing at best. I don't see how Black wins the f-pawn.

Oct-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher> Good catch. White is remarkably helpless in that ending.
Oct-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Yet another nonsensical, illogical, irrational, senseless, absurd, silly, inane, harebrained, ridiculous, ludicrous and otherwise, preposterous game title

But thats the norm around here

*****

Oct-07-17  RookFile: I don't know. Pillsbury finished 2nd in the tournament. Give him another half a point and it's a different story. I guess this loss to Chigorin really hurt.
Oct-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <keypusher> 39...Qg6+!, what a great move. Even a pawn up, White is unable to adequately defend, or to generate sufficient counter play.

I let my Houdini program review 39....Qg6+! to a depth of 34 ply, and it showed Black to be winning in all lines: 41.Ke2 Kf5 42.Ke3 Kg5 43.c3 g6 44.Ke2 Kf4; or 41.Ke3 Kg5 42.Ke2 Kf4 43.Kf2 g6; are just two of many similar continuations, all winning for Black.

Houdini indicates that at move 39, White did not have any winning moves. Here are Houdini's top two choices for White at move 39: (.15) (31 ply) 39.c3 Qg6+ 40.Ke3 Qg5+ 41.Kf2 Qg3+ 42.Kf1 Qf4 43.Qe1 Kg8; and (.12) (31 ply) 39.Ke3 Qh6+ 40.Kf2 Qc1 41.c3 bxc3 42.Qd3+ Kg8 43.Qxc3 Qf4 44.Qe3 Qg3+.

At move 25, Houdini indicates Black's two top continuations are: 25....Qe1+ 26.Kh2 Rxa7 27.Qb8+ Kf7 28.Qxa7+ Kg6; (.39) (30 ply) 29.Qd7 Qxf2 30.Qxc6 Qf6 31.Qxf6+ Kxf6; and 25....Rxa7 26.Qb8+ Kf7 27.Qxa7+ Kg6; (.46) (29 ply) 28.Kf1 h5 29.Qc7 Kh7 30.Qf4 Qg6 31.Qd2 h4. Both of these lines appear to give Black good drawing chances.

White had an advantage in this game for many moves, but I did not find any winning continuations for White prior to Black's 39th move. One improvement found by Houdini was at move 23, where 23.Nf3 a5, was evaluated to be slightly stronger for White than 23.Nxe6, as played in the game.

Oct-08-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Pillsbury and Chigorin met in the 18th round of the 1902 Monte Carlo tournament. There were only three rounds remaining after this round.

After 17 rounds, the race for the top places was extremely close:

Pillsbury - 11 3/4 - (Rd 17 - Pillsbury beat Tarrasch)

Maroczy - 11 1/4 - (Rd 17 - Gunsberg beat Maroczy)

Janowski - 11 - (Rd 17 - Janowski beat Scheve)

Teichmann - 10 1/4 - (Rd 17 - Teichmann beat Chigorin)

In round 18, Maroczy took the lead:

Maroczy - 12 1/4 (Albin lost to Maroczy)

Pillsbury - 12 (Pillsbury drew his 1st game with Chigorin, but lost the 2nd game)

Janowski - 12 (Marco lost to Janowski)

Teichmann - 11 1/4 (Teichmann beat Mieses)

In round 19, Maroczy increased his lead:

Maroczy - 13 - (Maroczy drew his 1st game with Mieses and won the 2nd game)

Pillsbury - 12 1/4 - (Pillsbury drew his 1st game with Marco and lost the 2nd game)

Teichmann - 12 1/4 - (Reggio lost to Teichmann)

Janowski - 12 - (Mason beat Janowski)

In round 20, Maroczy maintained his lead.

Maroczy - 14 - (Popiel lost to Maroczy)

Pillsbury - 13 1/4 - (Mortimer lost to Pillsbury)

Teichmann - 13 1/4 - (Teichmann beat Tarrasch)

Janowski - 13 - (Janowski beat Marshall)

In round 21, Maroczy closed out the tournament, by playing two draws with Tarrasch.

Maroczy - 14 1/2 - (Maroczy and Tarrasch drew both games)

Pillsbury - 14 1/4 - (Pillsbury beat Marshall)

Janowski - 14 - (Teichmann lost to Janowski)

Teichmann - 13 1/4 - (Teichmann lost to Janowski)

Oct-09-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Why 41 ... h3? This seems to drop a key pawn. It doesn't seem like black gets anything for it.
Oct-09-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Breunor: Why 41 ... h3? This seems to drop a key pawn. It doesn't seem like black gets anything for it.>

There is a link to click for computer annotations of the game <Notes by Stockfish 8 v270317 (minimum 60s/ply)>, and 41....h3 is indeed an error, one of several by both men around this point. I think the idea of 41.f4 (which Stockfish also doesn't like) is Qg5, either exchanging queens or winning the h-pawn. Pillsbury presumably didn't see a good response and decided to pitch the pawn in the hopes of counterplay after ...Qd7. Unfortunately for him, Chigorin found the strong 43.f5 in response, after which the ending was quite hopeless for Black.

Going back to my earlier kibitz, 39.Qe8 did not turn a win into a loss, because as <P&2> pointed out, there is no win for White there. So it looks like Pillsbury's 25....Rxa7 was an adequate defense; it wasn't necessary to throw in 25....Qe1+ as I thought.

Tough ending.

Oct-09-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It all comes down to pawns.
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