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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Emanuel Lasker
Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896), Moscow RUE, rd 1, Nov-07
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Greco Gambit Main Line (C54)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-13-06  Runemaster: The first game of the rematch. Steinitz pressed too hard early on and didn't get enough for his piece sacrifice.

In the endgame, Lasker pulled out a lot of neat tactics as he rounded up the White pawns. For example, after 37...Ne5, if 38.Rxa6 Nd3+ mates.

Feb-10-07  Knightlord: Maybe 23.Be7 is slightly better.
Jan-04-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: You have to admire the bravery and determination of Steinitz to take on Lasker in this way; but was this the most prudent strategy against a younger opponent who had shown how he could calculate variations both fast and accurately? Tacticians such as Mieses and Blackburne, and later Janowsky and Marshall had little luck against Lasker.

Steinitz makes the most of a variation (9th and 10th moves) that has since been sunk by theory.

<15.d5!?> looks both attractive and thematic, but does not seem to better than Steinitz's move <15...Bf5> (15...Nd8? 16.Qh5+ g6 17.Qh6 Bf5 18.Re7+) 16.Rxc4 Rad8 17.Qb3 Na5 18.Rxc7+ Rd7 19.Rxd7+ Bxd7 20.Qb4 b6 21.Re1, with two pawns for the Knight, a displaced Black King, but no convincing continuation for White.

Lasker's <20....h4> seems slow, it seems more pressing to hinder White's threatened <d5> with <20...Rd8>.

<Knightlord's> 23.Be7 seems a strong alternative to Steinitz's actual move, if 23...Qa6 then White has the threat of Bxh4 followed by Qg3+.

Jan-04-08  Petrosianic: Very odd way to begin an attempted conquest of the title, especially for someone like Steinitz. Whatever happened to <positional> chess, Bill??
Mar-01-08  Knight13: Steinitz obviously wasn't thinking when he played Ba3.
May-02-09  ScorpionInstinct: 18.Rg3+ is the right continuation. Must not let black king escape with h4 damn it
May-02-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ScorpionInstinct: 18.Rg3+ is the right continuation. Must not let black king escape with h4 damn it>

Looks like you are right, though Black still seems better after 18....Kh5. Lasker would have been better off with 18....h6 or ...h5.

<Chessical: You have to admire the bravery and determination of Steinitz to take on Lasker in this way; but was this the most prudent strategy against a younger opponent who had shown how he could calculate variations both fast and accurately? Tacticians such as Mieses and Blackburne, and later Janowsky and Marshall had little luck against Lasker.>

I won't say it was the right way to play against Lasker, but it was no departure from Steinitz' normal style. He had played this line repeatedly and successfully since reviving it in his brilliancy prize game at Hastings Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895.

This game was bad enough for Steinitz' line, but Lasker killed it stone dead in the third game of the match. Steinitz vs Lasker, 1896

In any event, gambit play anything unusual for Steinitz, even late in his career. Remember that he was playing the Steinitz gambit regularly in the 1880s. It was only in the Gunsberg and Chigorin matches that he relied on QP openings. Since quiet play had not achieved anything against Lasker in 1894, Steinitz may have felt he had nothing to lose from going for broke.

May-25-09  Boomie: <keypusher: This game was bad enough for Steinitz' line, but Lasker killed it stone dead in the third game of the match.>

What Lasker refuted was 10. Ba3, which is not a very good move. Also 12...Kf7 in this game is not best. Better is:

12...Be6 13. Nxe4 fxe4 14. Rxe4 Qd7 15. d5 0-0-0 16. Rxe6 Qxd5


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Instead of 10. Ba3:

10. Bd3 0-0 11. Qc2 Re8 12. Re1 Bf5 13. Rb1 b6 14. Bf4


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There are some slight variations on this line but they all lead to a small advantage for black.

So how can white improve? Perhaps 7. Nc3 is too frisky. The alternatives, Bd2 and Nbd2 are better than Nc3 but lead to equality. Surely white should expect more out of the opening by move 7.

All this seems to mean that 5. d4 is premature. What is usually played these days is d3 and b4. For example:

5. d3 d6 6. b4 Bb6 7. a4 a6 8. 0-0 0-0


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With a slight edge for white. Not as big an advantage as other openings but still a good game.

Jul-17-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: 16.♖f4 h5 17.♕c4+ ♔g6 18.d5 ♘e5 19.♕c7 ♖he8 - "Although Black is two pawns behind for the piece, and may lose a third, his attack is excellent" - Lasker.
Jan-05-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <British Chess Magazine>, January 1897, pg. 18-19, has a different score for this game:

29.Kf1 g6 30.Be7+ Ke6 31.Rc7 Ne5 32.Bg5 Rg8 33.Be7 g5 34.c5 Nf7 35.f3 Re8! 36.Kf2 Rxe7 37.Rxc8 Kd5 38. Ra8 Ne5! 39.Ke3Nxc6+ 40.Kd2 a5 41.Rf8 Re5 42.f4 gxf4 43.Rxf4 Rh5 44.Ke3 Ne5 45. Ra4? Nc4+! 0-1.

The move 46.Kf4 Kxc5 is not included.

. 45. Kf4 Kxc5 0-1.

Jan-05-18  WorstPlayerEver: 28. Re3 seems a better square for the Rook:


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Jan-06-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <British Chess Magazine>, January 1897, pg. 18-20, has a different score for this game: 29.Kf1 g6 30.Be7+ Ke6 31.Rc7 Ne5 32.Bg5 Rg8 33.Be7 g5 34.c5 Nf7 35.f3 Re8! 36.Kf2 Rxe7 37.Rxc8 Kd5 38.Ra8 Ne5! 39.Ke3 Nxc6+ 40.Kd2 a5 41.Rf8 Re5 42.f4 gxf4 43.Rxf4 Rh5 44.Ke3 Ne5 45. Ra4? Nc4+! 0-1.

The move 46.Kf4 Kxc5 is not included in <BCM>; nor in <Deutsches Wochenschach>, 1896, pg. 433; nor in <Deutsche Schachzeitung>, December 1896, pg. 362.

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