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!)
Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Emanuel Lasker
"Pillsbury d'oh!" (game of the day Aug-01-2005)
St. Petersburg (1895/96), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 10, Jan-04
Queen's Gambit Declined: Pseudo-Tarrasch. Primitive Pillsbury Variation (D50)  ·  0-1


Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 85 times; par: 40 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 13 more Pillsbury/Lasker games
sac: 18...Ra3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: To flip the board (so black is on the bottom) press the "I" key on your keyboard.

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 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-26-07  notyetagm: 18 ... ♖c3-a3!! followed eight moves later by 26 ... ♖c3xa3!!, offering to sacrifice the second rook on the exact same square on which the first rook was sacrificed, is brilliant beyond words.

Position after 18 ... ♖c3-a3!!

click for larger view

Position after 26 ... ♖c3xa3!!

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight to f6: Despite the large number of errors by both sides, this game continues to inspire admiration within me every time I have seen it for the last three years. This was Lasker's finishing blow in his brief rivalry with Pillsbury, from which there really was no return (although Pillsbury did defeat Lasker several times between then and his death. Such moves as Rxc3!, Ra3!!, and 8 moves later Rxa3!!! (again!!) are unforgettable.
Feb-06-09  Blink182: Wonderful Game!
Feb-07-09  WhiteRook48: uh-oh for Pillsbury
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: It is a commonly accepted myth that Pillsbury discovered Bxf6 and waited eight years to spring it on Lasker. The truth is that Pollock discovered the move and printed it in British Chess Magazine in 1896. His and Mason's notes later made up the book St. Petersburg 1895-96, printed in 1896. This is another one of those "chess myths" that seems to never die.
Jan-05-10  ZZer: And if White had played 28.Kb1? Would Lasker still win the game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <And if White had played 28.Kb1? Would Lasker still win the game?>

Yes, Black is still winning after 28.Kb1 Bxd4. White can't play 29.Rxd4 because of 29...Qxa2 30.Kc1 Rc3#.

One possible line is 29.Qf5+ Kg8 30.Re1 Qb4+ 31.Kc1 Qc3+ 32. Qc2 (not 32.Kd1 Qa1+ 33.Ke2 Re3+ 34.Kf2 Qxe1#) Qa1+ 33.Qb1 Rc3+ 34.Rc2 Be3+ 35.Rxe3 Qxb1+ 36.Kxb1 Rxe3 and Black has a two pawn advantage in the endgame.

Jul-31-10  SetNoEscapeOn: Genius has its rewards.
Jul-31-10  BobCrisp: This must surely take precedence as the greatest game in which the a3 square played a pivotal role. For anyone thinking of starting an a3 best games collection, I'll start you off with:

Bird vs Morphy, 1858

Anderssen vs Morphy, 1858

Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game:

Dec-08-11  IoftheHungarianTiger: Ughaibu wrote <Lasker said this was his best "combinational" game.> I had read in Schonberg's "Grandmasters of Chess," that Lasker called this the best game he ever played, and it cites Marshall's Chess Masterpieces as it's source.

I don't have Marshall's book, and I've found Schonberg to be somewhat unreliable in his accounts at times. Can anyone confirm if Lasker truly considered this his finest game? Or was it simply what he considered his finest combinational game? Clarification would be appreciated!

Feb-24-12  IoftheHungarianTiger: Regarding my post on Dec-08-11, I found an article by Edward Winter quoting from Marshall's "Chess Masterpieces" which indicates that Lasker did indeed consider this the best game he had ever played (at least up until when that book was written). I found the article at Chessbase.

Here is the link: and here is the quote from the book, quoting Lasker himself:

<'I think the game I won against Pillsbury in the St Petersburg Tourney in 1896 to be the best I ever played. I was just able to ward off a furious attack and then succeed in carrying my own counter-attack through. It is true that I missed the logical continuation at one point, owing to fatigue and time pressure, and so had to win the game twice; but then the sacrificial termination has some merit.' (page 60)>

Feb-25-12  AlphaMale: <Of Lasker’s play beginning 17…Rxc3 against Pillsbury at St Petersburg, 1895-96]: ‘Pillsbury told me that the exquisite combination here initiated was the only startling and utterly diabolical surprise he suffered in all his career abroad.’>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: 31.♔a5 ♗d8+ 32.♕b6 axb6# (or 32...♗xb6# 0-1) 0-1, I believe.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: In the concluding sequence of this game Black sacs his rook, then a pawn, then forces mate with his queen and bishop. It reminds me a bit of S Bouaziz vs Miles, 1979, where Black sacs his rook, then a bishop, then mates with queen and pawns, and K Zambelly vs Maroczy, 1897, where Black sacs his rook, then mates with queen and pawns. In each game, Black ended up with a massive material disadvantage (White had a queen and two rooks, or more, at the end of each game), and had no other pieces left besides those that effected the mate other than his king and some pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: This too is an Evergreen Game.
May-27-14  NeoIndian: If instead of 17.f5, Pillsbury played 17.Qf3, What's the best way to proceed? I thought ...Qb6. And if 18.f5 then Bxf5+! 19.Qxf5 Rxc3!( the b-pawn is pinned.) 20.Qxd4(no reason not to grab a central pawn!) and after Rfc8 21.Qb5 Qxd4!? we arrive at


click for larger view

White to play. What should he do?

A beautiful game.Once again, the harmony and coordination of Lasker's pieces amaze me...

May-27-14  NeoIndian: According to my (poor) analysis, White definitely seems to hold after 19.e7!...

19...Re8!(...Rc8?? 20.Qf5!(G.K)) 20.bxa3 Qb6+ 21.Bb5!(Sacrificing this useless bishop...)...Qxb5+ 22.Ka1 Rxe7 23.Qh3!! Re2 (...Rc7 24.Rd2! Rc4 25.Rhd1 ∞) 24.Qc8+ Kh7 25.Qc3 And now Black has nothing better than 25....Qc4 26.Qd3+ g6 27.Rd2 Rxd2 28.Qxd2 Bxd4+ 29. Kb1 Bc3 30.Qc2 d4 (Anchoring the bishop) 31.Rd1.
leading us to...

click for larger view

White is almost paralyzed, but I can't find a way forward for Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  hoodrobin: Hi <NeoIndian>.

After: <19.e7 Re8 20.bxa3 Qb6+ 21.Bb5 Qxb5+ 22.Ka1 Rxe7 23.Qh3...>

You could try: <23...Qc6>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: A Pillsbury quote of note about this game, from W.E. Napier:

<230. [Of Lasker’s play beginning 17…Rxc3 against Pillsbury at St Petersburg, 1895-96]: ‘Pillsbury told me that the exquisite combination here initiated was the only startling and utterly diabolical surprise he suffered in all his career abroad.’>

Sep-06-16  Howard: As noted earlier, Kasparov's MGP had initially stated that 28.Qf5+ would have drawn for Pillsbury, but he turned out to be incorrect.

Just for the record, Nunn's excellent book on Lasker (which I just looked at last night) confirms that 28.Qf5+ would not have drawn after all.

Oct-03-17  dannygjk: Some of these comments have to be tempered by the technology available at the time.
Dec-25-17  Albion 1959: A game that has made the anthologies with much analysis devoted to it. When compared with today's top players, it is worth mentioning just how good and tough these masters of the 19th century were. In the age of thick set dark moustaches and bushy grey beards we see a remarkable game from two of the younger, up and coming generation of masters. How would they have fared against today's chess elite? In a 21st century world of computers, databases and powerful far-reaching search engines,could they have held their own today? A comparison may be pointless, since they, like today's top players were still only human and far from infallible. But the earlier generations did much of the pioneering work on opening theory and understanding of the game as they took the game forward to the next generation for their successors to take it to the next level. As for the game itself, much analysis has been devoted from move 18 after Rxc3. Mistakes were made by both sides, but the key position was on move 28 when Pillsbury played Kxa3?? and walked straight into a mating net. His best move was 28.Qf5+, this has got to be played, everything else loses! The analysis is tricky and white must walk through a tactical minefield to reach safety.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <andy: This too is an Evergreen Game.>

A truly stupendous, marvellous conception by Lasker.

Dec-25-17  WorstPlayerEver: Yeah, those 1800-1900 players were not bad. However, by overlooking a simple 9... h6,

click for larger view

Black missed a great opportunity to show their tactical strength. So to speak.

Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 4)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  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 page contains Editor Notes. Click here to read them.>
This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

Featured in the Following Game Collections [what is this?]
18 ... Ra3!
from chess strategems iii - under construction by gauer
28. Qf5+! Kg8 29. Kb1 (29. Qe6+ Kh8 30. Kb1 Bxd4 ) 29... Bxd4!
from Weakened Castled Position by Jaredfchess
Lasker, Emanuel
by Heavy Metal Thunder
Game 83
from Golden Dozen (Chernev) by Qindarka
11* missing moves: 31. Ka5 Bd8+ 32. Qb6 axb6 0-1
from notable Chess games by DanBoyle
Game 41
from Garry Kasparov's On My Great Predecessors (1A) by nakul1964
Game 384
from Master Games - Chess (Tartakower/du Mont) by Qindarka
Terry McCracken's favorite games
by Terry McCracken
3 mejores partidas de cada campeon del mundo
by afabian
Greatest Chess Legends
by Orhtej
Fourth Cycle, Game 1 (January 4, 1896)
from St. Petersburg 1895-96 by keypusher
All Hail Emanuel
by iron maiden
Joe Stanley's favorite games
by Joe Stanley
Game 7
from Mammoth Book-Greatest Games (Nunn/Burgess/Emms) by tiber56
good idea
by hartkoka
Eduardo Bermudez's favorite chess games
by Eduardo Bermudez B.
QGD Pseudo-Tarrasch. PP Var (D50) 0-1 R sac, pile on pin, Q in
from 1870s - 1890s Classic Chess Principles Arise by fredthebear
by wandererofmars

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