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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Emanuel Lasker
Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894), Montreal CAN, rd 4, Mar-24
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Greco Gambit (C53)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Finish of this game shows that even those best of best can have troubles with handling of Rook endgames. Steinitz could have won easily by playing 51.e7! Kd7 52.hxg5 hxg5 53.d6! His order of moves could have blown the win but Lasker went wrong too with 53...Ra3+? Instead of that 53...Ra8 54.Ke4 Rf8 seems to hold the game.
Nov-20-06  euripides: <honza Steinitz could have won easily by playing 51.e7! Kd7 52.hxg5 hxg5 53.d6!>

Intersting. I don't immediately see how White wins the final position in that line. I would have thought rook checks and/or the advance of the g pawn might hold ? In any case can't Black play <51.e7> Re8 e.g. 52.Re6+ Kd7 53.d6 fails to Kxe6 ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <euripides> In that line, 53.Rxh6 gxh4 54.d6 or 53...Rxe7 54.hxg5
Nov-20-06  euripides: <calli> thanks, I'd missed that. Also I'd missed that with pawns on e7 and d6 the fortress can often be broken simply by Rf8- I was thinking of some fortresses involving two connected passed pawns when one is a rooks's pawn. So 51.e7 does look right.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Btw, my Fritz 8's database as well as a book "The Games of Wilhelm Steinitz, First World Chess Champion" edited by Sid Pickard and published by Pickard & Son, Publishers, Dallas 1995 give a different finish of this game since move 55:

55.Kf4 Ra8 56.e7 Re8 57.Kf5 g3 58.Kf6 Kd7 59.d6 g2 60.Rg1 1-0

I don't think that it can be correct as it makes very little sense. In that case 56.e7?? would be awful blunder (56.Kxg4 wins easily) and 57...g3?? (why not 57...Rxe7?) 58.Kf6?? (58.Re6+! Kd7 59.d6 or 58...Kxd5 59.Kf6 g2 60.Re1 wins) 58...Kd7?? (58...g2!=) would be pretty strange sequence of mistakes.'s gamescore looks more reasonable.

Nov-20-06  who: Strange that Steinitz didn't try to keep the extra piece with 20.gxh4. The computer agrees that white is absolutely winning. For instance 20.gxh4 Rg3+ 21.hxg3 Bxd1 22.Ba2! (maybe this is the move Steinitz missed) Kh8 23.Raxe1 leaves white with a won position.

click for larger view

or 20.gxh4 Raf8 21.Nf4! R3xf4 22.Rxf4 Rxf4 (22...Bxd1? 23.Ba2+) 23.Qb3+

click for larger view

and after 23...R/Qf7 24.Ba2 wins otherwise 24.exf4

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <'s gamescore looks more reasonable.>

It is correct according to Whyld's book of Lasker games. His source is the newspaper "New York Recorder" on 26-3-1894. For some reason, quite a few of the Steinitz-Lasker match games have weird scores in a lot of internet files.

Feb-29-08  Knight13: OMG Lasker "hanged" a bunch of pieces and got away with it...

And the final position is "LOL."

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Honza Cervenka: ...<Instead of that 53...Ra8 54.Ke4 Rf8 seems to hold the game.>>

click for larger view

E.g. 55.Re3 Rf4+ 56.Kd3 Ra4 57.Re2 Ra8 58.Ke4 Rf8= or 55.Kd4 g4=

Jul-27-09  elo1xxx: Dont 22.Ra8 immediately won the game ?
Nov-06-09  jonico: Why Black didn't play 18...Qxe3+? Please answer me...
Jan-18-11  Llawdogg: Why didn't black play 18 ... Qxe3+? Because white simply answers 19 Kg2 and holds everything together with no problems, surprisingly enough.

This is the key part of the game, no doubt about it. 19 Nxd5! and 20 Nf4! are great knight maneuvers by Steinitz. 21 Qb3+ was the only good move.

But how about 22 Ra5! Silman suggests this move and it looks good to me.

May-22-13  Monocle: I was looking at this game in the CB Light database, and there it finishes:

55.Kf4 Ra8 56.e7 Re8 57.Kf5 g3 58.Kf6 Kd7 59.d6 g2 60.Rg1 1-0

Even just blitzing through the game, I could see that 57...g2 would be a blindingly obvious draw, so I'm glad to find a more plausible ending to the game here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Play was adjourned at 6pm with Steinitz sealing the move (29.b5), then two hours for dinner, and resumption at 8pm.

paraphrased from New York Daily Tribune, 1894.03.25

The ending of the game was given there as:

55.Kf5 Ra8 56.e7 Re8 57.Kf6 g3 58.Kf7 Kd7 59.d6 g2 60.Rg1 1-0

Agreeing with <CG>.

(NY Daily Tribune is one day before NY Recorder fwiw)

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