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Emanuel Lasker vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896), Moscow RUE, rd 6, Nov-24
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo. Italian Four Knights Variation (C50)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-20-07  sanyas: Wasn't 51...♗h7 a blunder?
Mar-01-08  Knight13: <sanyas: Wasn't 51...h7 a blunder?> Steinitz didn't see 52. Rxc6 coming, but then there wasn't much Steinitz could do.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Steinitz plays a solid variation played by: Chigorin, Lasker, Schlecter, and Pillsbury to fend off Lasker's attempts at a King side attack. For a long time the game is equal, with Steinitz in one of his solid but constricted position. Lasker, has the time and space to combine pressure on both flanks, and eventually Steinitz blunders.

<10...f6> is a favourite Steinitz move, <f5> is a very playable alternative, see Von Popiel vs Schlechter, 1898

Steinitz makes a bad mistake with <44...Nc7?> when <44...Nxc3> would have maintained a dynamic equality. <45.Nxc3> d5 46.Qa6 (46.exd5 Qa3+ 47.Kd2 Bxd5 48.Nxd5 Rxd5 49.Ke1 exd4 50.exd4=) 46...Rd6 47.Qa5 Qd7 48.Rdd2 exd4=

With <45.d5> Lasker puts Steinitz's white squared bishop out of play and badly cramps Black's game. Steinitz finds it difficult to manoeuvre to cover threats on the both sides of the board.

<49..Rdd8?> show that Steinitz did not appreciate the developing threats on the 6th rank against <c6> and <f6>. After <49...Rb7> he has a difficult game, but he could have put up better resistance.

<51...Bh7?> shows Steinitz was still oblivious to the sacrificial undermining of his position which Lasker unleashes with <52.Rxf6!!>. This move diverts the Black Queen from her role protecting the Queen-side. Lasker sees that after his Queen pins Steinitz's rook from <c6> there is no answer to his Knight heading for <c7>.

<54.Qc6+!!> is also deadly as Black runs painfully out of moves <54...Rb7> 55.Nc5 dxc5 56.Qxf6 Ne8 57.Qc6 Nc7 58.d6 Ne6 59.Nd5 a5 60.Nc7+ Nxc7 61.dxc7

If <57...Ka8> Lasker has a deadly dance of his Knights to win by <58.Qc6> Bg6 59.Nc7+ Kb8 60.Na6+ Ka8 61.N4c5

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Apparently Steinitz went over the time limit at move 48, but Lasker "renounced his rights" and went on to win the game anyway. See #5691 below.

Aug-13-08  drukenknight: You know, I can understand 6....BxB in order to double pawns. That's fine. It's the first exchange of the game, someone has to get the ball rolling, you can't play chess w/o some piece exchange, it doubles pawns, and it doesnt win you the game, per se. Its a positional problem, nothing more. But why 8...NxB? what is the pt? To keep exchanging pieces so more pawns are doubled? Is chess really that simple? Is that how Steinitz thinks he will win? just keep piling up positional advantage..?

I realize STeinitz had his own way of conceiving of the game, but even for amateurs if you play over and over you will see that whatever compensation you have in the game, usually you must continue to pursue that strategy to its logical end. Like if I have material and you have an attack, I have to exchange to blunt your attack. I dont keep grabbing material! Or space vs tempo, or development vs material or whatever. You dont keep adding more material to a material advantage, you look to see if your opponent is attacking your K. Or you dont keep piling up positional advantages, you look to post Rooks on empty files, or to post pieces where the missing pawn cant hit them.

THe pt. is whenever the first weakness is created the other guy usually gets some compensation if he is halfway competent. For steinitz to trade pieces again to create another positional weakness just doesnt make sense to me. The game just doesnt work like that.

Look at move 6, Steinitz and Lasker are equal in development, and Lasker has the tempo. Now after move 10 white has 3 pieces out there and black has one. HOw the hell did that happen?

Aug-13-08  Bonolski: <Look at move 6, Steinitz and Lasker are equal in development>

So Lasker has played the opening badly. Black has easy development. These are top class players, they are playing the opponent not by golden rules that us mere mortals adhere too.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <drukenknight> Interesting post. Steinitz definitely believed in the accumulation of small advantages -- it's his stylistic calling card. His justification for ...Nxb3 may have been getting B v. N rather than doubling another pair of Lasker's pawns. It's true he falls behind in development, but it's not the kind of position where that is so important. By move 19 or so development is even again. On the other hand, Steinitz can't seem to find any way to help his bishop show its strength.

Some beginner books will tell you 6....Bxe3 is a bad move, because it gives White an open KB file. Steinitz deals with that problem by playing ...Ng4, ...f6, ...Nh6 and ...Nf7. But then he plays ...g6 to keep Lasker's knight out of f5, and so the KB file turns out to be a weakness after all, which Lasker finally exploits on move 52(!). It looks like <chessical>'s (and Schlechter's) 10...f5 would have been a better way of solving the KB file problem. But Steinitz probably didn't want to do that because it would have meant giving up one of his "small advantages" -- Lasker's doubled e-pawns.

It's a very interesting game. It's Steinitz rather than Lasker who makes the important decisions in the opening -- ...Bxe3 and ...Nxb3 -- that determine the positional parameters of the struggle. Neither side has much after the opening. It's my vague impression that Steinitz plays too passively between moves 20 and 40. They are both doing a lot of tacking, but Lasker seems to be trying to make things happen and Steinitz is just responding. After 40 moves Steinitz has a permanent weakness at f6 and Lasker has traded off one of his b-pawns for Steinitz's b-pawn, leaving Black with an isolated pawn at a7. Steinitz doesn't seem to have accomplished anything. But I don't see any holes in <chessical>'s suggested alternative for Black at move 44, so it isn't like Steinitz played really badly before the end. He just didn't seem to give himself any chance to win.

By the way, thanks for your annotations, <chessical>. They are a big help to understanding the game.

Aug-13-08  drukenknight: whatever...
Aug-13-08  Bonolski: <keypusher>Lol, Hans Cristian Andersson could'nt of put it any better. Personally i think the game is a loud of drivel. By the way <keypusher>, what's your occupation when your not writing fairy tales about chess games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Bonolski: <keypusher>Lol, Hans Cristian Andersson could'nt of put it any better. Personally i think the game is a loud of drivel. By the way <keypusher>, what's your occupation when your not writing fairy tales about chess games.>

Hired killer. But sometimes I work <pro bono>, so watch yourself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: According to a Russian newspaper account, Steinitz sealed move 47 in this game, and then failed to show up in the alloted time- technically forfeiting.

Lasker, however, did not claim the forfeit and waited for Steinitz to feel well enough to finish the game.


Muskovsky Vedomosty, Nov. 14 1896

Quoted in Kurt Landsberger's biography of Steinitz p.334

Jan-22-11  Llawdogg: Brilliant rook sacrifice by Lasker to deflect defenders away from the king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I think that playing the opening here Steinitz had in mind the 17th game of their first match (see Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894) where he smoothly outplayed Lasker in position with very similar Pawn structure.
Aug-27-12  master of defence: Where´s the win after 58...Kb8?
Aug-27-12  ughaibu: 59.Nc5
Aug-27-12  master of defence: 59...Qg7
Aug-27-12  ughaibu: 60.Na6
Aug-27-12  master of defence: 60...Ka8, I know that white checkmates black´s king, but show us that sequence is this.
Aug-27-12  ughaibu: It's a straightforward mate in two moves. See if you can find it yourself.
Aug-27-12  master of defence: I know the sequence: 61.Qc8+ Rb8 62.Qxb8#, or you have another sequence that leads to mate?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <master of defence > <ughaibu> If 58....Kb8 59.Nc5 Qg7, then 60.Qe8 is mate. If the rook moves at 59, White has Na6# or Nd7# depending on where it goes.
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