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David Janowski vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
London (1899), London ENG, rd 12, Jun-14
Russian Game: Three Knights Game (C42)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Position after 38....Ne6.

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White's 39th move is justly famous.

Jan-30-10  KingG: Yes, very nice move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: keypusher has spotted the most wonderful moment of this game. Janowski's 39. Bf6 is indeed a glorious move. It neatly finished off Pillsbury in this contest.

Two earlier moments in the game that led up to Janowski's fabulous triumph are worthy of note.

After overreaching with 14...BxN, Pillsbury was on the ropes for most of the game. Janowski's accurate play gave Pillsbury few chances until Janowski erred with 27. Kh2 (27. g3 was much better) leaving Pillsbury to move in the following position:

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As Sergeant noted in his book on Pillsbury, but as the Tournament Book has overlooked, Pillsbury had a sharp rejoinder here with 27...Qg7, threatening both Janowski's b2 pawn as well as a blistering attack on the g-file. This move would almost certainly not have brought Pillsbury victory (Janowski would likely have shot back with 28. c5), but it would have avoided the catastrophe that soon overwhelmed Pillsbury. Instead of 27...Qg7, however, Pillsbury played the timid 27...b6, and Janowski was back in charge and in his element.

Pillsbury was still in the game even after his 27...b6, and still had reasonable prospects of surviving Janowski's attack until his 33rd turn after Janowski's 33. a4:

click for larger view

Pillsbury here needed to play 33...Ne7. Instead--and consistent with his typical reluctance to play for a draw even when in trouble--Pillsbury tried to go for the jugular with 33...h5. This was a mistake, but Pillsbury was still not out of the game until--after Janowski's accurate 34. b3--he played the suicidal 34...h4 (like it or not, Pillsbury had to play 34...QxQ here to have any chance to survive).

Pillsbury won many games by his press for a win at all costs approach, but here this strategy lost to Janowski's inspired play.

After Pillsbury's over-aggressive efforts on moves 27 and 33, and after his final--and immediately fatal--mistake with 36...Rg8 (instead of 38...Re8), Pillsbury was crushed by Janowski's brilliant 37. Rg1 Nf8 39. Rg5 Ne6 and 39. Bf6 !!! (the move displayed in keypusher's post).

Bravo Janowski! A fabulous game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Notes by Charles Edward Ranken in
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