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Lilienthal - Steiner Match

Lajos Steiner4/6(+3 -1 =2)[games]
Andre Lilienthal2/6(+1 -3 =2)[games] Chess Event Description
Lilienthal - Steiner (1934)


This was a training match held in Budapest, in December 1934, as practice for Andre Lilienthal (23 years old), who had been invited to play in Hastings (1934/35). It was a six-game match with Lajos Steiner (31 years old) Steiner won +3 -1 =2. (1)

"LAJOS STEINER DEFEATS ANDREAS LILIENTHAL. / Prior to anticipating in the Hastings Tournament, Andreas Lilienthal, the talented young Hungarian master, played a short match of six games with Lajos Steiner in Budapest and the result was a win for Steiner by the score of 3 to 1 and 2 draws. This only confirms the fact that L. Steiner, despite his shy and retiring nature, which prevents him from securing the limelight as often as others, is one of the world's leading players." (2)

The players

Steiner was the Hungarian champion in 1931. He had abandoned his career as a mechanical engineer to play chess professionally. Throughout the 1930s he was a consistent prize winner in the smaller European tournaments. His best result was in the Kecskemet (1927) tournament where he tied for second with Aron Nimzowitsch half a point behind Alexander Alekhine.

Lilienthal had emerged rapidly as a very strong player. He first gained international notice by winning the international tournament in Stubnianske Teplice (1930), ahead of Vasja Pirc and Salomon Flohr. He was second with Alekhine at Hastings (1933/34) and then won Ujpest (1934) outright, ahead of potential world championship contender Flohr and promising young players such as Gideon Stahlberg, Erich Eliskases and Pirc. By the late 1930s, Lilienthal was an extremely strong grandmaster. Having emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1935, he shared first prize in the USSR Championship (1940) with Igor Bondarevsky and won the Moscow Championship 1939-40 outright.

Progress of the match

1 2 3 4 5 6 Steiner ½ 1 1 0 1 ½ 4 Lilienthal ½ 0 0 1 0 ½ 2 Progressive score: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Steiner ½ 1½ 2½ 2½ 3½ 4 Lilienthal ½ ½ ½ 1½ 1½ 2

Steiner dominated the match, he was never behind and scored three wins to one. Lilienthal had problems in this match with the Black pieces, scoring (+0 =1 -2) with the French Defence.

The games

Game 1. Lilienthal as Black, played the Burn variation of the French Defence dynamically and quickly equalised with an innovation on the ninth move. Steiner sacrificed a Knight for a perpetual check.

Game 2. This game, a Queen's Gambit Slav, followed an earlier Steiner game to move 14th (Pirc vs L Steiner, 1934) when Lilienthal diverged by playing more aggressively advancing in the centre. Late in the middle game, Steiner won a Pawn. This left a Knight and four Pawns against a Knight and three on the King-side. Steiner penetrated Lilienthal's position and won another Pawn and soon after the game.

Game 3. Once again Lilienthal used the French Defence but changed to the Classical. Although Steiner established a powerful Knight on <d6>, Lilienthal held the position until Steiner manoeuvred his Rook onto the eighth rank. Lilienthal was then unable to prevent the loss of material. Two points in arrears, Lilienthal now needed urgently to score with White in the next game.

Game 4. Steiner again defended with the Slav defence. Having come close to equalizing, he trapped his own Rook in the centre of the board. In the following tactics, he then lost a Knight and the game.

Game 5. Lilienthal returned to the Burn variation of the French Defence. This time, Steiner played a sharper line. Lilienthal defended poorly and resigned in the face of a mate.

click for larger view

Game 6. The last game of the match took place on the 6th December 1934. In his annotations, Steiner described it as a "very exciting game". Steiner defended with a QGD; having equalized he then played inaccurately. This allowed Lilienthal to develop a King-side attack against his King. Steiner sacrificed his Queen and escaped with a draw as Lilienthal missed the best line.


(1) All the games were given in the February 1935 edition of Chess Review from p. 28-30 with some light annotations by Steiner.
(2) Chess Review, February 1935, p. 28.

User: Chessical - original collection and text.

 page 1 of 1; 6 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. L Steiner vs Lilienthal 1-0201934Lilienthal - SteinerC11 French
2. L Steiner vs Lilienthal 1-0421934Lilienthal - SteinerC14 French, Classical
3. L Steiner vs Lilienthal ½-½201934Lilienthal - SteinerC11 French
4. Lilienthal vs L Steiner 1-0311934Lilienthal - SteinerD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
5. Lilienthal vs L Steiner 0-1641934Lilienthal - SteinerD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
6. Lilienthal vs L Steiner ½-½401934Lilienthal - SteinerD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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