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Wilhelm Cohn vs Wilhelm Steinitz
London (1899), London ENG, rd 12, Jun-14
Spanish Game: Steinitz Defense (C62)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: The Tournament Book states that: "This game requires no detailed notes. Steinitz played well, timing his moves excellently, and taking full advantage of Cohn's weak play."

This is lazy commentary. The game--while by no means a great one--did have a few points of interest.

Steinitz played his pet line of 3...d6 against Cohn's Ruy Lopez. Cohn got much the better game until his over-cautious 9. h3 gave Steinitz some chances. After a trade of minor pieces, this was the position Cohn faced in considering his 11th move:

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Cohn played the wooden recapture 11. fxe3 and was saddled with weak pawns and the inferior game for the balance of the contest. He needed to play 11. Qd5, which not only would have threatened mate but would also have set a nasty trap for Steinitz (11...exf2+ 12. Rxf2 winning!).

After missing 11. Qd5, Cohn plodded along, getting slowly outplayed by Steinitz but still with a fighting chance until he faced the following position on his 25th move:

click for larger view

Here Cohn dared Steinitz to take his b2 pawn and played 25. Ng4. But this was a mistake, and Steinitz (correctly) accepted the challenge and grabbed the b2 pawn with 25...Qxb2. Things now looked grim for Cohn, but he quickly made matters much worse for himself with his incredible blunder 26. Rxd6, overlooking the fact that his Queen was overworked. (If he planned to continue, Cohn had to try 26. NxN+).

After 26. Rxd6 ?? Steinitz simply took Cohn's Knight with 26...NxN, winning a piece.

Cohn could safely have resigned here. Instead, he played on dejectedly making one horrible move after another. His 32. Qh5 fell into another beginner's trap, a Queen fork with 32...Qa2+ which allowed Steinitz to win a Rook for free. Cohn had now had enough, and resigned after 33...QxR.

The game was not without interest until Cohn's 25th move. Cohn should have spared himself and us the sorry spectacle of the last eight moves of the game.

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