Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

(If you register a free account you won't see all these ads!)
James Moore Hanham vs Wilhelm Steinitz
2nd City Chess Club Tournament (1894), New York, NY USA, rd 5, Oct-30
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  0-1


explore this opening
find similar games 1 more J M Hanham/Steinitz game
sac: 31...Qg1+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: If we are missing an important game, you can submit it (in PGN format) at our PGN Upload Utility.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Open Defence> I agree this game is interesting and unique in the way black parries the quiet defense 4. d3 in the two knights (though normally I prefer bishops to be supported by pawns, and not the other way around). The knight pseudo-sacrifice 27...Nxh3+ is a nice tactic, leading to the pretty queen pseudo-sacrifice 31...Qg1+ and the mate 32...Nf2# (sort of a smothered mate theme, without being smothered).
Jul-05-10  Formula7: Looks like 31...Qg1+ 32.Rxg1 Nf2#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Kasputin: 31...Qg1+ followed by 32...Nf2-mate. Nice
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: 31...Qg1+ and smothered mate follows.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Brandon plays: Qg1 comes to mind immediately.
Jul-05-10  zooter: This is off course simple
31...Qg1+ 32.Rxg1 (only move) Nf2#

Time to check

Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: I love Mondays!

31...Qg1+ 32. Rxg1 (foreced) Nf2#

Premium Chessgames Member
  M.Hassan: Black to play. "very easy". White is a Bishop down

31......Qg1+ Q has to be taken by the Rook
32.Rxg1 Nf2#

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Monday (Very Easy)

J M Hanham vs Steinitz, 1894 (31....?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Too fast to count. The White Kh1 is stalemated. The usual Monday Q sac, with a variant of Philidor's legacy, finishes White off..

Candidates (31...): Qg1+

31...Qg1+ 32.Rxg1 Nf2#

Jul-05-10  zb2cr: The only thing complicating this puzzle is the temptation to capture the Rook on f1 as move 31. Once you get past that false idea, 31. ... Qg1+; 32. Rxg1 (forced), Nf2# is obvious.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mig55: After 27. Qxg5 instead of Qh6, 28.Rh3 does the work too!
Premium Chessgames Member
  mig55: Note that black is already a piece ahaed.
Jul-05-10  WhenHarryMetSally: Brilliant solution! i couldnt get it, but it is always curious how and why the human brain arrives at these solutions.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Never wear a red shirt on Star Trek...

How many pieces does it take to force mate? You might think that this is one of those "how long is a piece of string" questions. You can mate with just one piece:

click for larger view

Or you can sometimes throw your entire army at your opponent to mate with your last piece or pieces, as in Morphy's opera game.

But, on average, how many pieces does it take to mate a king in the middlegame? I haven't done any scientific analysis of this, but I think the answer would be around three.

Incidentally, I have a theory that three is something of a magic hidden number in chess, a sort of chess pi. But that is a story for another time. Today we need to talk about Star Trek's infamous red shirts, and how they help us to give mate in the middlegame.

The makers of Star Trek had a problem. The show is supposed to be about a starship with a crew of several hundreds, but they had to make it with a regular cast of less than 10 actors. And nearly all of those were bridge officers, because most of the action takes place on the bridge.

So how exactly do you shoot a scene away from the bridge, say when they need to beam down to a planet to meet an alien race? The answer, somewhat unconvincingly, was to take most of the senior staff down to the planet, leaving only Scotty or Chekov in charge of the Enterprise. And that was dangerous, as Scotty's main role in life was to increase the tension at key moments by saying in his Canadian/ Scottish accent: "the engines cannae take it". Not exactly what you would call command material. If all of the away team were killed, the USS Enterprise would spend the rest of its five year mission boldly making repairs.

And that's also where the red shirts come in. If the away team is made up almost entirely of senior officers, who gets killed when the plot calls for a death ray or ravenous beast to reduce the crew complement by one? You can't kill off your main characters (not until the movies, and then they had an annoying habit of coming back to life). So you need to bring along an unnamed crewman, nearly always in a red shirt, to take one for the team. Then Bones could wave a glowing lipstick over him and say "he's dead, Jim" or "I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker."

Most middlegame mating combinations seem to fall into a similar pattern. We usually need two main pieces to deliver the mate - in today's puzzle a knight and bishop - and a third red-shirted piece (today, that's the queen) to give up its life in order to demolish or distract the defending pieces.

And that also helps us to build up our mating attacks. I am not saying that you can't mate with just one piece or two. But it is certainly much harder to break down a half-decent defence. In most instances, you need to train at least three pieces on the squares around the enemy king. For long range pieces (bishops, queen, rooks) that means open lines, but the knight needs to be launched up the board, preferably to find an outpost.

If you want to be a better player and launch mating attacks, remember the rule of three and always bring along a red shirt or two...

Live long and prosper.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Black to move (31...?). Black is up a bishop and a pawn. "Very Easy."

White is counting on the fact that once black moves the queen, white will have a mating combination starting with 32 Rxf8+.

However, there is one square that black can move the queen to that foils that plan:

31...Qg1+ 32 Rxg1



A pretty way for Steinitz to wind up the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wasspwot: <once> I want to hear about your chess pi theory!
Jul-05-10  igiene: After 22..dxc4 White can resign.He stubbornly continued, and Steinitz punished him with a smothered mate. Wonderful mate, but even more impressive is the break 20..d5. Pawn power in chess!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: This took a few seconds... 31 ... Qg1+ 32 Rxg1 Nf2# Time to check...
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: Monday 5 July 2010


Target: 0:40;000
Taken: 0:08;479

Material: Black up, ♗+♙

Candidates: <[Qg1]>

I think White is a piece down here because he gave it away, in the assumption Rf1 would win him a Rook back. Well, not really.

<31....Qg1! 32.Rxg1 Nf2 0-1> playing a smothered variation. Time to check.

Jul-05-10  Ryan Razo: Black's Queen became the decoy after 31... ♕g1, and since there is no other choice for White, Steinitz finishes him off with a nifty mate with the knight. 31... ♕xf1 first came to my mind, but since 2 pieces are guarding the rook, we had to look for other moves, hence 31... ♕g1. BTW, I believe it is not a smothered mate, as a hostile piece covers h2. If it were a friendly piece, then its a smothered mate, hemming in the unfortunate king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  JohnBoy: NIce job, <Once> - though what on earth (or the starship Boobyprize) it has to do with this game remains a mystery. For the next movie...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <JohnBoy> The point was meant to be that in today's puzzle the black queen was the equivalent of Star Trek's red-shirted security officer. In other words, a totally disposable character whose only job was to give its life away to let the main actors do their thing.

And that points to a typical mating force being at least three pieces - one to be sacrificed and two to construct the mating net. Or, back in the language of star trek, a typical away mission would involve Kirk, Spock plus the guy in the red shirt.

I find that lower-graded players hate to sacrifice pieces, even if it is a pseudo-sacrifice which quickly results in a mate. And they also think that they can whip up an attack with just one or two pieces.

So my little Star Trek story was intended as a little chess parable. Don't be afraid to sacrifice a piece if mate follows soon after. And always try to bring along at least three pieces into an attack so that you have got one to sacrifice. All wrapped up in a bit of whimsy, hopefully making it easier to remember.

Still a mystery?

Premium Chessgames Member
  JohnBoy: Not in the slightest. Very good. Thx.
Jul-05-10  TheTamale: Hanham doesn't fare so well as White because he can't employ his beloved Hanham Variation of the Philidor Defense. I wonder why he didn't try to fashion some sort of "Hanham Attack" version of it for White? I think it's better to play for a position you can work with than one that is slightly better theoretically.
Premium Chessgames Member
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please submit a correction slip and help us eliminate database mistakes!
This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

Featured in the Following Game Collections [what is this?]
31...? (Monday, July 5)
from POTD Giuoco Piano -Italian Game by takchess
Giuoco Pianissimo c3, d3 (C53) 0-1 Philidor's Legacy w/B assist
from yKnights Add Spice w/Rice IV Fredthebear by fredthebear
Well, sort of
from Philidor's Legacy by sneaky pete
Giuoco Pianissimo c3, d3 (C53) 0-1 Philidor's Legacy w/B assist
from yFredthebear's Knight Checkmate Patterns & Traps by fredthebear
othjali's au fur et a mesure
by othjali
Game 57
from World Champion - Steinitz (I.Linder/V.Linder) by Qindarka
31...? (Monday, July 5)
from Puzzle of the Day 2010 by Phony Benoni
from Mate (Mate in 2) by patzer2
from 1-ig-eco53 by classicalwin2
it 0-1 32 drag.
from 2010 by xfer
31...? (July 5, 2010)
from Monday Puzzles, 2004-2010 by Phony Benoni

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | contact us
Copyright 2001-2018, Chessgames Services LLC