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Showalter - Lipschutz 1895 match
Compiled by crawfb5
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For links to other US championship matches, see Game Collection: US Championship matches (meta)

Showalter lost the 1892 match against Lipschutz (Game Collection: Showalter - Lipschutz 1892 match) in probably the worst match defeat of his career (-7 +1 =7). Lipschutz would then move away from the chess center of New York to the milder climate of California for health reasons and was considered to have retired from active play. However during the first Showalter-Hodges match in the spring of 1894, Lipschutz objected strenuously to it being called a championship match:

"From a dispatch received here, I learn that Mr. J. W. Showalter is engaged in a chess match with Mr. A. B. Hodges for the championship of America. It is astonishing that Mr. Showalter should persist in claiming the title when he lost the same to me by the decisive score of 7 to 1 and 7 draws two years ago. Permit me, through the medium of your valuable columns, to state that I contest his right in playing for the championship with anybody until he has beaten me in a match. To claim the title, because I declined to play him last year while I was seriously sick, is simply preposterous. I hold that a reasonable time should be allowed in playing a return match, especially under such circumstances. If, however, Mr. Showalter thinks differently, I will play him another match for $1000 a side, providing he is willing to come here to play." Letter to the editor, <New York Sun> 18 Apr 1894, page 9

Hodges "lost" that match (Game Collection: Showalter - Hodges 1894 match). Actually just before Game 17, with both players having 6 wins each, they agreed to change the requirements of the match to 11 wins total. Showalter won Game 17 and then the venue changed from New York to Brooklyn. So, one can view Showalter-Hodges as a match and a rematch as I have or as one match with supplemental games added to reach a more decisive result. Hodges won the "rematch" (Game Collection: Showalter - Hodges 1894 rematch) and then retired from championship play to focus on business interests. This re-opened the door for a Showalter-Lipschutz rematch, which was organized for late in 1895. Not only had Lipschutz beaten Showalter badly in 1892, but Lipschutz had also publicly challenged the legitimacy of the Showalter-Hodges match, so Showalter probably had more motivation than usual for this match.

The match was played at the Manhattan Chess Club, 21 Oct -- 27 Dec 1895 for a $1500 purse. The first player to win seven games would win the match unless each player had six wins. In that event, ten wins would be required to win the match, unless each player had nine wins. If the score were tied at nine wins each, twelve wins would be required to win the match, unless each player had eleven wins, in which case the match would be considered drawn.

Showalter 0 1 0 = 0 1 = 1 1 1 0 = 1 1 <8.5>

Lipschutz 1 0 1 = 1 0 = 0 0 0 1 = 0 0 <5.5>

Showalter -1 0 -1 -1 -2 -1 -1 0 +1 +2 +1 +1 +2 +3 (+7 -4 =3)

Showalter settled into his typical match pattern of falling behind early, gaining a pawn in Game 1, but played passively in a cramped position and lost. Game 2 was rather interesting insofar as at adjournment after White's 31st move:


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"The remarkable feature of the position was that both white and black were each confident of winning. Showalter because he had a pawn to the good and had a plan for bringing together his knights and thus extricating the 'horse' on the queen's side. Lipschutz expected to win because he had two bishops against two knights and had command of the open file for his rook." <Brooklyn Daily Eagle> 26 Oct 1895, page 5

The position <was> roughly equal, and it was only Lipschutz's weak play with moves like 37...e4? and especially 38...Kd6? that enabled Showalter to win Game 2. Showalter blundered in Game 3 with 38...Rf8? and resigned at move 50. Game 4 was one of the few draws in the match. Lipschutz won Game 5. After the game, Showalter claimed that 27. c4 d4 28. b4 fatally weakening the d4 pawn would have won much sooner.

In Game 6, Showalter picked up a couple of weak pawns and eventually won. The dancing with the knight starting around move 38 was to gain time on the clock. Game 7 was a long draw that Showalter later said he should have lost. Direct attack on the kingside pawns with 51. Kh4 was probably in order. In Game 8, Showalter won the exchange in the opening and won easily. He would crush Lipshutz in the second half of the match (+5 -1 =1). Lipschutz "won" a piece in the opening of Game 9 but gave Showalter a blistering attack. Showalter won Game 10, and might have held a draw in Game 11 had he played 42...Rxg3 instead of allowing Lipschutz to trade rooks on g7. By all accounts, Showalter was a very likable man, and hardly anyone had a bad word to say about him. Wilhelm Steinitz, who had no shortage of enemies in the chess world, is widely reported to have said Showalter was "one of six men from whom he would accept a cigar." Even so, the calmest among us have our limits. After Game 11 was completed, this account appeared in one of the New York newspapers:

"As expected, Lipschutz won the adjourned game from Showalter, but he played the ending in so bungling a fashion that it took him two more sittings to accomplish the win. After the conclusion of the game Showalter severely complained of the analyzing on the part of club members, and it is likely that henceforth the match will be played in a secluded room with nobody present but the principals, the umpires, and the referee. Showalter, after having resigned, remarked to Lipschutz: 'If I had had your position I would have won sooner,' to which Lipschutz pointedly replied: 'If I had had your position I would have resigned long ago.'" <New York Evening Post> 10 Dec 1895, page 12

Game 12 was a long draw. Showalter won a long ending in Game 13, and Lipschutz collapsed quickly in Game 15, ending the match.

Game 1 -- 21 Oct 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 62 moves, 1-0

Game 2 -- 25 Oct 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D55) Queen's Gambit Declined, 47 moves, 1-0

Game 3 -- 28 Oct 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 50 moves, 1-0

Game 4 -- 30 Oct 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 5 -- 01 Nov 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 51 moves, 1-0

Game 6 -- 11 Nov 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 50 moves, 1-0

Game 7 -- 15 Nov 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 76 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 8 -- 20 Nov 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 41 moves, 1-0

Game 9 -- 22 Nov 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 34 moves, 0-1

Game 10 -- 02 Dec 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 51 moves, 1-0

Game 11 -- 06 Dec 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895 
(C26) Vienna, 95 moves, 1-0

Game 12 -- 11 Dec 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 77 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 13 -- 16 Dec 1895
Lipschutz vs Showalter, 1895 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 111 moves, 0-1

Game 14 -- 27 Dec 1895
Showalter vs Lipschutz, 1895
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 25 moves, 1-0

14 games

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