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Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Samuel Tinsley
London (1899), London ENG, rd 13, Jun-16
French Defense: Normal Variation (C00)  ·  1-0


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Given 27 times; par: 45 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-18-07  Paulvandyk: 26 ... Nxf6 or Qxd6 27 Qc7#
Mar-14-09  soma: See Bruce Pandolfini, "Flankenstein's Defense", in Solitaire Chess, Chess Life, March 2009.

Try this on Guess the Move and compare your results with Pandolfini's score.

Mar-23-09  Dredge Rivers: This page claims this is a French Defence, the ECO says it's a Queen's Pawn Game, and the March 2009 states this is Owen's Defence.

What the hey? Can't we all make up our minds here?

Mar-23-09  MaxxLange: someone explained what's going on with the CG opening classification once, but I forgot

this has to be an Owen's with this move order

Mar-23-09  chessman95: After 1.d4 (or e4) d6 2.e4 (or d4) this position

click for larger view

is classified as the 'normal french', because after 1.e4 e6 , 2.d4 is the 'normal' variation, which this game transposes to.

Does anyone know of any games where it transposed from a Scandinavian to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit to a French or Caro-Kann?

Mar-23-09  chessman95: <Does anyone know of any games where it transposed from a Scandinavian to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit to a French or Caro-Kann?>

lol, never mind. There are about 30,000 of those...

Mar-23-09  chessman95: <There are about 30,000 of those...>

Wait, that's wrong. That's any games of main line French and CKs. Are there any games with the move order 1.e4 d5 2.d4 and now e6 or c6?

Mar-23-09  MaxxLange: <chessman95> there have to be, they happen in amateur play all the time, and the Caro or French must be better theoretically than the various BDG declined lines. I don't think there are going to be a lot of games with two high-rated players in this kind of thing, though.

BACK IN THE DAY when I relied on 2. d4 against the Scandinavian, I considered this sort of transposition at least a moral victory. They were usually trying to back into a good Caro-Kann type game anyway, but while avoiding the Advance variation, or that line with exd5 and c4, or the Ng5 lines, etc. In the main line, Caro, I make him at least work harder for that position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 4..f5 seems more in the spirit of Owens defense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Pillsbury's final move is pretty funny, as well as pretty!
May-03-11  bengalcat47: This opening was known at one time as the Queen's Fianchetto Defense, most commonly with Black playing ... b6 on his first move after White starts out with 1.e4. This opening and the King's Fianchetto Defense (1... g6, after 1.e4) were inferior for Black and had already become obsolete by the time Morphy first appeared on the chess scene.
Jan-26-14  bengalcat47: I've used this game as a lesson for teaching young students how to sharpen their chess skills. I adopted a style similar to what Reinfeld used in his book Chess Mastery by Question and Answer. The main themes here are: inferior opening play, weakening of key squares, the dangers of leaving the King in the center, and opening lines of attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Another lightning crush by Pillsbury and another set of poor comments by Hoffer in the Tournament Book.

I'm no big fan of Tinsley's 2...b6 against the French, but Pillsbury's stodgy play in the opening (4. Ne2,5. Nd2, 7. f4, 9. Ng3) meant that Tinsley was fine through move 9. The Tournament Book faults Tinsley for his 9...h5, but that move is far better than the suggested 9...Bg7 [which would have come a cropper after 10. Nc4--I guess Hoffer didn't notice that moving the f8 Bishop left a problem with Black's d-pawn]. While I would have preferred 9...cxd4, Tinsley's 9...h5 was fine.

Remarkably, having criticized Tinsley's 8th and 9th moves (both of which were reasonable), Hoffer said nothing about Tinsely's 10...h4, which happens to be the losing move in the game [10...gxf5 was best], and also said nothing about Tinsley's awful and ugly 12...Kxd7 (12...Nxd7 anybody?) after which Tinsley was cannon fodder for Pillsbury. Also awful were Tinsley's 16...Qe5 and 17...Raf8, but Hoffer said nothing about the first of these moves and praised the second.

The final straw for me was Hoffer's comment about Pillsbury's 21. Rac1+. That move was indeed overwhelming, but Pillsbury could have won equally well with 21. exN. Hoffer says that this loses a Queen after which (according to Hoffer) Pillsbury, at best, would have been fighting for a draw. Wrong yet again! Just play through Hoffer's line: 21. exN Bd4+ 22. NxB QxN+ 23. Kh1 Rxh3+ 24. gxR Bxd5. Yes indeed, Pillsbury's Queen is pinned here, but Tinsley's King gets mated with 25. Rac1+.

Not every annotator can be Alexander Alekhine or Garry Kasparov, but aren't there some minimum standards we can expect from someone purporting to comment on games for a Tournament Book?

Whatever the transgressions of Hoffer, Pillsbury's effective demolition of Tinsley after the latter's 10...h4 is a pleasure to behold. While the game was long over before Pillsbury's closing 26. Bf6+ (leading to mate on the next move), it is always delightful to see matters concluded with such artistry.

Bravo Pillsbury!

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