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Gustav Richard Neumann vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Baden-Baden (1870), Baden-Baden GER, rd 10, Jul-27
Dutch Defense: Staunton Gambit. Chigorin Variation (A83)  ·  0-1


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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <SufferingBruin> Some fairly random thoughts that may or may not help ...

Your biggest ally is your opponent's time, when he is thinking about his move. That is when you should be checking the clock, making plans and applying Silman's imbalances. It is best not to analyse variations when your opponent's clock is ticking, as you may well be analysing something that isn't going to be played.

I tend to ignore the clock, even at fast time controls. If you play quickly and don't sink into long thoughts, the clock will generally look after itself anyway. And constantly checking it is stressful and time-wasting.

If you can't think what to do, then just develop your worst-placed piece. Centralise. Puts rooks on files that are open or which are likely to be open at some point in the future. Or put rooks on the same files as the opponent's king or queen. Bishops need diagonals and knights needs advanced support posts or outposts.

As far as Silman is concerned, I find it best to focus on just one or two imbalances at a time - sometimes only one or two for an entire game. After all, most of the imbalances last for quite some time, some (eg pawn structure) last forever. Checking all of the imbalances on every move is just going to drive you mad.

I am going to recommend a great book - "The Secrets of Practical Chess" by John Nunn. If nothing else, read the section on DAUT. This stands for "Don't Analyse Unnecessary Tactics"; one of the greatest pieces of chess advice ever given. If you can play a move that doesn't need calculation (eg today's g8=N+), then play it quickly and without too much analysis.

Finally, I sometimes think that chess knowledge is hard to cram. Sure, you can work hard at it, study opening lines, do endless puzzles, practise bishop and knight mates, and so on. This is better than no study at all, but it can be counterproductive, by raising the tension and causing you undue stress.

Perhaps best way to learn is to allow the insights to soak in through a process of osmosis. Study the classics, play at slower time controls, analyse your games and just let your mind absorb chess instincts like a sponge absorbing water.

Fischer said that for all his study and practice, there cane a time when he just "got good". I think this refers to this instinctive soaking up of knowledge and that it holds true for all of us far more mortal players too.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: I originally thought 106. Kd6 would be winning for white. Looking at earlier posts, it is clear that it is not. However, it still seems like it simplifies to a much more elementary drawn pawn endgame. When black takes the g5 pawn, white takes the opposition on g7.
Nov-30-09  zanshin: <ajk68: Does white have the win at move 106? It seems Kd6 is winning.>

106.Kd6 may be the best move, but I don't think it's winning. I haven't played out the lines, but it seems that White's pawns do not Queen.

click for larger view

[-5.12] d=20 106.Kd6 Ke4 (0:06.45) 140424kN

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Got it
Nov-30-09  BOSTER: I guess that today with the cute move g8=N <CG> opened Steinitz' week, who was the greater thinker, creating the principle of positional equilibrium.
Nov-30-09  mworld: <YouRang: Hmmm. I don't understand this. It is not uncommon for a puzzle to be "play to draw". In this case, 114.g8=N is the only move that doesn't lose, so it's obviously the only solution.>

Actually he has a great point. The knight vs rook endgame is hard to evaluate.

If you understand the Rook vs Knight endgame at all, then this puzzle actually presents itself in a way that you would think the underpromotion would probably still be a black win in all likelyhood. A knight in the corner in this endgame (as is the case in this puzzle) is usually a win for the Rook. I think that's why this Monday is significantly harder than most, since the ppl that understand some of this endgame are basically presented with a solution that tends to evaluate as a loss. You'd have to be extremely well versed in this to understand that its still a draw from a quick glance.

Of course the underpromotion is the only reasonable move, so the puzzle does have a clear solution from that standpoint.

A good link on this endgame can be found here

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: It sure looks like 104 Kc5 leaves white with strong winning chances.

click for larger view

How can black stop both Rb1 and Rd1, seeing Rb8 and Rd8, respectively?

Nov-30-09  WhiteRook48: 114 g8=N+ obviously
Nov-30-09  muralman: Mworld, thank you for your understanding. I agree the knight promotion is the only option, and does give white a fighting chance. It's just that Mondays have had this finality that you knew you could win with. As the player showed, you can't bank on it.
Nov-30-09  Artar1: <Once>:

Outstanding advice! Thanks for posting your thoughts on this subject!

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <mworld><Of course the underpromotion is the only reasonable move, so the puzzle does have a clear solution from that standpoint.>

That is the standpoint from which I claimed that the solution was obvious. Of course, to know how to force a draw with K+N vs. K+R isn't so obvious. You must avoid letting your knight and king get separated, and you must avoid cornering your king. But again, I don't think that one needs to consider such analysis to know that 114.g8=N must be the solution.

The main thing I disagreed with was the statement: <This is a mere resuscitation of a terminal patient.>

This statement suggests that 114.g8=N merely delays white's defeat -- which is plain wrong. For that reason I proposed that the writer wasn't aware that white actually could have forced a draw, but lost due to a subsequent blunder.

Nov-30-09  David2009: Monday's problem G Neumann vs Steinitz, 1870 White 114?

The first move is simple (114 g8=N+) but can I hold the draw against Crafty after 114... Ke6

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Neumann-Steinitz 115?
Yes. 115 Nh6 and Crafty quickly settles into a draw by repetition without even trying 115 ....Rh7 116 Ng8. Reverse the colours and it is still drawn:

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Neumann-Steinitz colours reversed ...115? White can make no progress.

I saw this ending earlier, so no real credit. Time to read other comments and see how the game went.

Nov-30-09  mworld: < YouRang: > I agree, Im just highlighting a point and I am not sure you saw what I meant. So in case you didnt, here goes, if you did, then apologize for the redundant explanation.

Yes, his conclusion that 114.g8=N delays white's defeat is simply what I was pointing out. If you know a good deal about this endgame, that's the conclusion you would draw yourself - its the conclusion I drew as well, since I am not a GM. I just knew about the basic rules of Knight in the corner of a R v N endgame. However, i settled on the underpromotion since its the only viable move.

If you don't know much about the endgame, its really easy to assume its a draw, which brings out the paradoxical nature of this Monday problem. However, if you do know about it (but aren't an expert at it) you will find yourself feeling like you chose defeat as the solution. That link I sent summed up the rules real well.

Nov-30-09  David2009: <Jimfromprovidence: It sure looks like 104 Kc5 leaves white with strong winning chances. How can black stop both Rb1 and Rd1, seeing Rb8 and Rd8, respectively?>

Jim, Crafty agrees with you - your lines win against it. Winning practice link:

click for larger view

Neumann-Steinitz 104? You are white, drag and drop the move you want to make.

Nov-30-09  David2009: Following on from <imfromprovidence>'s note, with Black to play at move 106

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...Rg8 seems stronger than the game move ...Ke3. After 107 Kd6 Ke4 108 Ke6 Ra8 109 Kd6 Kd4 110 Ke6 Kc5 we reach with White to play

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and White's counter-play is too slow. If so 104 Rxf3?? was a losing (not just a drawing) blunder.

<zanshin: <ajk68: Does white have the win at move 106? It seems Kd6 is winning.> 106.Kd6 may be the best move, but I don't think it's winning.> The Black King approaches and White loses both his Pawns for Black's Rook, but his K is trapped on the 8th rank so he loses the pawn ending: 0-1

Nov-30-09  SufferingBruin: I want to thank everyone who responded to my post for the wonderful advice, and special thanks to "Once." Those comments are going on a damn plaque.

I realize my post might have been overly depressing which was not my intent--I love this game and will continue playing it. I'm not sure why the tone was so heavy-handed last night; probably fatigue.

Again, much obliged. And no, I don't have a great fear of turning into Neumann. But tell me, please, that you call checked out that photograph! Talk about intense...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: The position after 114.g8/N+ was also reached on move 90 in L Day vs Timman, 1980, where White did not blunder away the draw.
Nov-30-09  posporov: 116...Rh3!! white is zugzwang!
Nov-30-09  muralman: I have a hard time seeing a single move as a, "Solution." In this case, losing the game is not a solution in a game playing sense. I see a move as a move. I did not see any rule stating the first move is the solution.

On later , harder days, I notice some say they solved a puzzle by getting the first move right. I can't agree. In light of that reasoning, I get most puzzles correct.

Consider my confusion if I had, "Solved the puzzle," only to pogo bounce my new buddy the knight around all over the board without end.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: What a crazy game! What a crazy game! What a crazy game! What a crazy game!

Or my favorite fraction 43/99 which is: .434343434343434343434343434343434343434343434343- 434343...

Premium Chessgames Member
  sethoflagos: If white's pawn doesn't move, it gets taken and with no stalemate position available, white loses. 114 g8=x Rc8# unless x=N. So 114 g8=N+ is a forced move. Now providing WN stays tight on WK, it should be a drawn game.

Checking the game white manages to lose with 116 Ng4?? allowing WN to become detached.

114 g8=N+ Ke6
115 Nh6 Rh7
116 Ng8 Rf7+
117 Ke8 and all black can do is hope for a mistake

Aug-19-12  vinidivici: 116.Ng8!!!!!!!!!!

Will hold a draw.

Aug-19-12  DanielBryant: Even if there were no repetition rules at this time, would there be any issues of sportsmanship regarding not agreeing to a draw after so many repetitions? Having an opponent who will absolutely not deviate nor agree to a draw, in effect, creates a sort of game of chicken.
Jan-29-14  rickycota: 106. Kd6 would help?
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Nice background summary (in german language) about this game and the unlucky Player:

<Gustav Richard Neumann>, today a forgotten player, was <Number One> of the World (#1 at 18 different months between the December 1868 and the May 1870 rating list) according to the respected retrospective chessmetrics

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