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James McConnell vs Wilhelm Steinitz
New Orleans (1886), New Orleans, LA USA
French Defense: Steinitz Attack (C00)  ·  1-0


Annotations by Wilhelm Steinitz.      [129 more games annotated by Steinitz]

explore this opening
find similar games 3 more J McConnell/Steinitz games
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Great analysis by the loser! I think that WS was probably the third best player in the nineteenth century-behind Em Lasker and Paul Morphy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <kevin86> Somebody publish a book or CD on "The Collected Annotations of Steinitz". He also had alot of opinions on chess in general that would make interesting reading.
Jan-16-04  pikoro: Are you sure Steinitz was the loser in this game?
I'm afraid this is another database error.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Pikoro, if you read Calli's link, and the notes to the game, it's pretty clear that Steinitz lost this one.
Nov-22-04  TheGreatNN: Yes, Steinitz lost, but the analysis was McConnell's, not his.
Feb-22-05  aw1988: Lovely analysis for chessgames standard!
Dec-15-05  who: What happens if 6...fxe6
Dec-16-05  sneaky pete: <who> 6... fxe5 7.Qh5+ .. looks good for white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: 18...Rb8 prepares 19...Bb7 but expends a tempo. Would the countersacrifice 18...Bb7 offer any hope of prolonging the game?
Feb-04-07  IMDONE4: didnt Steinitz play a game almost exactly like this, but with the white pieces, against Winawer and lost?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <IMDONE4: didnt Steinitz play a game almost exactly like this, but with the white pieces, against Winawer and lost?> Yes. In fact McConnell had found an improvement for white precisely in that game (14.exf6 instead of Steinitz's 14.Ne2) and challenged Steinitz to play a game from the position after move 13 of black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <I have never in my life played the French Defence, which is the dullest of all openings.>

-- Steinitz

As the case now stands, not true.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <AnalyzeThis> This guy lost to Morphy a bunch of times, and here he defeats Steinitz. (he also defeated Lasker in a simul game)
Premium Chessgames Member
  MrMelad: Incredibly deep and profound analysis by McConnell and very brave and informative feedback from Stienitz.

Rybka gives the position after 13..Ne7 -1.13 after 5 minutes of thought and doesn't even consider white's Bh6+ because it thinks after the forced queen exchange black is at least -1.00 ahead.

But wait, suddenly after the exchange of queens

click for larger view

18.g4! Rybka takes few seconds to discover that white indeed has the advantage, and after long thought offers the computer looking line 18..Bb7! 19.Nxb7 Rb8 20.Nd6 Rb6 21.Nc4 Rc4 +0.36

But no, wait it changes it mind again, as white has the resource 19.Rh2!

click for larger view

Now the only move to survive is 19..Nc8!! and 1.11 advantage to white with Nxb7 following.

OK then, so now Rybka wants to play 16..Bb7 in that position

click for larger view

But slowly discovers it fails with the pretty

16..Bb7 17.Rh3 Bc6 18.Rg3+ Ng6 19.h5 0.83

Fantastic! Even Rybka takes a very long time to correctly evaluate the position, eventually agreeing with Stienitz about his annotations meaning that Stienitz should not feel foolish for missing that brilliant line, 125 years after the game was played the computer makes the same error!

Apr-21-12  napoleon123: a nice game. maybe mcconnell was a better analyst than a player.
Apr-22-12  napoleon123: fritz 11 gives 18 Bb7 !! as the best move. This is still whites advantage.
Apr-03-13  TheTamale: The comment made by <TheGreatNN> in 2004 is clearly correct, as shown from the content of the notes themselves. Perhaps <> could correct this minor flaw...?
May-17-14  psmith: <TheTamale> It does not seem the notes could be by McConnell. At one point the annotator says "this variation was pointed out to me by McConnell"!
Jun-26-14  ljfyffe: Mr.Philips' discovered letter from Steinitz to McConnell appears in Landsberger's The Steinitz Papers, p.48.
Jun-27-14  ljfyffe: Annotation and analysis are not necessarily the same. The first comments are given from a third party researcher's point-of-view (Phillips?). The analysis after move 14 would appear to be Steinitz's alone, with a contribution from McConnell, but the analysis would have had to be done after 1888 as Zukertort is referred to as deceased. Indeed, it is not clear where recent and contemporary comments overlap, but there is really nothing that contradicts Phillips'
statement that Steinitz did the analysis.
Jun-27-14  ljfyffe: Or, at least, after June, 1888.
Sep-12-15  ToTheDeath: A great attack. Steinitz's annotations are a real treat. I especially liked this tidbit:

<20...Bd5 might have prolonged the fight a little but the game could not be saved. White would then equally play 21.Rf7 followed by Ng5 and then with a series of checks his rook would reach c7 in which situation the battle would be decided by Nc8 preventing ...Rxc8 as well as to reach e8 with the rook after a series of checks.>

Clear as cake!

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Steinitz quote: "I have never in my life played the French Defence, which is the dullest of all openings."

I'm assuming he made this quote before he played this game


Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <morfishine: Steinitz quote: "I have never in my life played the French Defence, which is the dullest of all openings."

I'm assuming he made this quote before he played this game>

The game started from the position after move 13 of black, and the opening was not Steinitz's choice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Steinitz did however play the French in odds games.
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