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Emanuel Lasker vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894), Montreal CAN, rd 17, May-19
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo. Italian Four Knights Variation (C50)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: This game is a positional brilliancy of Steinitz.
Dec-02-03  Catfriend: Excellent. Perfect positional game by the man who invented it. Lasker didn't make clear mistakes, nor did Steinitz make extremely strong moves, but white is tottaly outplayed. Maybe 10. f:Be3 is wrong, and Q:Be3 is an improvement. Also, 21. b4, closing the game, isn't active enough.

Lasker resigns after f5! because he loses in each variation. 52. e:f5 B:f5+
52. Ng3 f:e4+ 53. Kd2 (N:e4 Bf5)Rf8!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Playing 40...Raa7 black threatened with 41...axb3 42.cxb3 Nxb3 43.Rxa7 Nc5+ and 44...Rxa7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: After 52. Ng3 fxe4+ 53. Kd2 Rf8 54. Rxf8 Kxf8 White is a pawn down and has a lot of weak pawns to defend. Although Fritz 8 indicates after a very deep analysis that Lasker is lost, White could have maintained some drawing chances in case Steinitz went wrong in the complications if he had put up some resistance.

The winnning technique given by Fritz 8 after after 52. Ng3 fxe4+ 53. Kd2 Rf8 54. Rxf8 Kxf8 is useful and instructive, but also deep and at times complicated. It goes 55. Rc1 Ke7 56.Kc2 Bd7 57. Kb2 Bc8 58. Rf1 Rc7! [Fritz sets a pretty trap so if 59 Nxe4? then 59...Rc4 60. Ng5 Rxh4 wins] 59. Kc2 Bb7 60. Rd1 Rc8 61. Nxe4 Rc4 (-1.28 @ 19/51 depth & 739kN/s), indicating only a clear black advantage. However, a second Fritz 8 deep analysis of this analyzed position gives 62. Nf2 Rxh4 63. e4 Rf4 64. Rd2 g5 65. Kd3 g4 66. Ke3 h4 67. Rd1 g3 68. Nd3 Rf8 69. Ra1 Bc8 70. Rh1 with a winning assessment (-1.87 @ 18/47 depth & 702kN/s). At first glance this position may look drawish, but a third Fritz assessment reveals the final winning technique, continuing 70...Bc8! 71. Rh1 a3! 72. Nc1 Rf2 73. Nd3 Rc2 74. Kf3 Rxc3 75. Ke3 Rc2 with a clearly won game (-3.47 @ 17/40 depth & 726kN/s).

For those interested in the best winning technique here against best resistance, a fourth Fritz 8 analysis goes 76. gxh3 a3 [if 76. Ne1, then 76...Rc1-+; if 76. Kf3, then 76...Rxg2-+; if 76. Re1, then 76...Rxg2-+] 77. Ra1 g2 78. Kf3 Bxh3 79. Kg3 g1Q+ 80. Rxg1 Rg2+ 81. Rxg2 Bxg2 82. Nc1 (-5.12 @ 17/46 depth & 788kN/s). What follows here is a fifth Fritz analysis with 82...Bxe4 83. Kg4 Kf6 84. Kh4 Bxd5 with three extra passed pawns and the white knight about to fall for an overwhelming end game advantage (-9.09 @ 20/34 depth & 858kN/s)

Nov-03-05  The beginner: This is a good game

When i first looked at this game i really liked white after the opening / early midlegame.

After the bishop exchange on e3

White looks pretty good. He has doubled pawns but it is in the center and the give him a strong center. Open f file with some good chances for a kingside attack. king ready to castle to safety and start build preasure on f file with Rook,

Black. Queen, and knight on Queen side looks a bit misplaced, king must castle King side because the Queenside is wide open, the f file looks a bit dangerous white might have good chances for doing something there.

But Steininz he play the Briliant move

10 fxe3 ..b5
11 Bb3 ..Qb6
12 0-0 ..Ng4 !

Attacking pawn on e3, wich white can easely defend againt with Rd1. But more important after 12 ..Ng4 Steinitz is doing this move to stop play on the f file.

13 Rad1 ..f6
And the advantage white had along the file sudenly dosent look so atractive anymore.

Also Steinitz can create another weakness for lasker give him second double pawns, lasker can not do anything to prevent getting double pawns on the b file also.

14 h6 ..Nh3
15 Ne2 ..Nxb3
16 axb3 ..0-0

Very good play by Steinitz

What looked not so promising a few moves back, now looks really good for black.

Dec-05-06  adviser: This is a very dull game
Jul-05-07  sanyas: "By the way, it is significant that the World Chess Championship in 1894 (not to mention the return) was a total mismatch. My impression is that two completely different players in terms of insight met over the board. In present day Elo, we would say that a player with a rating of 2700 played against another rated 2400. That's why Lasker's victory was very convincing; he almost tore his opponent apart. I knew that Steinitz was a great player but in that match he was badly beaten, which came as a cultural shock to me. I have never seen such an enormous gap between the participants of a World Championship, as if it was more like a simultaneous exhibition than a match for the title." - Kramnik, speaking to Vladimir Barsky of Chess Monthly
Jul-05-07  sanyas: *cough* Right.
Feb-29-08  Knight13: White got pressed to death. Exactly what Hitler was trying to do to...
Jan-17-09  osmanseza: After 43.Nd2-Nd6 ; white knight on d2 has not got any pivot or destination point. So W.Steinitz has rejected exchange. Great strategic mind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I disagree with Kramnik on this. No 2400 player would be able to win five games against a 2700 player and especially not in such a great positional style. It is a matter of fact that much older Steinitz was more prone to crumble under pressure of tense fight against such a powerful opponent like Lasker and that some games he played poorly. But it was by no means a mismatch. Lasker's matches with Marshall and Janowski were mismatches, but not the first match of Steinitz against Lasker.
Mar-28-12  YoungEd: It's interesting to pay attention to the peregrinations of Black's ♘. It stays behind the scenes on awkward-looking squares for much of the game, and then has a major role in the outcome!
Mar-28-12  SChesshevsky: Not a great game by Lasker I thought.

It seems that Lasker had a Kside attack planned with moves like 10. fxe3 to 19. Qf2.

Then after 19... Ra7, he blew up his plan and it looked like he kind of drifted into a poor defense.

I was kind of puzzled by 22. Ne1 as I thought after 20. Rd1 he was going to work the d-file.

Then by 28 Rf2 it looks like it's Black that gets to invade with advantage.

Has anyone seen any player or Master notes on this game?

Mar-28-12  Poulsen: I agree with you, Honza.

In 1894 Steinitz was still very much a force to be reckoned with. The match was played in march-may 1894 - and a few month later Steinitz - at age 58 - took a clear first price in New York 1894 (played october-november) in a respectable field - including the upcoming Pillsbury.

Also Steinitz did remarkable well in Hasting 1895 - where he played the famous game: Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895.

The rematch in 1896 is an entirely different matter - maybe that one was in Kramniks mind?

Mar-28-12  AVRO38: <In 1894 Steinitz was still very much a force to be reckoned with.>

Steinitz was very strong up until he went mad in 1899. The issue isn't being able to play strong chess at an advanced age, but to be able to do so consistently. Lasker won this match by such a large margin because of the unlimited format.

In an unlimited match between two players of equal strength, the younger man will always win because he can grind down the older man.

Steinitz was able to beat Chigorin and Gunsberg because he insisted on limited matches. But such matches force the player who is trailing to overreach and play unsound chess. Steinitz and Fischer both agreed that such matches do not always result in the stronger player winning.

So why did Steinitz finally allow a challenger to play an unlimited match? Because of the Panic of 1893. Steinitz was desperate for cash and was no longer in a position to dictate a limited match format.

Aug-27-12  master of defence: Where´s the win here after 52.exf5?
Aug-27-12  Cyphelium: <master of defence> 52. exf5 ♗xf5+ wins the exchange and the following endgame looks hopeless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Lasker won this match by such a large margin because of the unlimited format.

In an unlimited match between two players of equal strength, the younger man will always win because he can grind down the older man.>

This is absurd, of course. Lasker won the match because he won five straight games in the middle (games 7-11). Those games aside, the match was even.

This match was shorter than 1892 (where it was Chigorin who famously blundered the match away in game #23) and the same length as the Gunsberg match.

Incidentally, Steinitz won the last three decisive games in both Chigorin matches.

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