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Howard Staunton vs Bernhard Horwitz
"Retreating to Advance" (game of the day Jan-29-2009)
London (1851), London ENG, rd 2, Jun-??
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  1-0



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Given 27 times; par: 84 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A great example of what was called "trigger chess". Once Staunton advanced after the retreat,the opponent's position was "shot".
Jan-29-09  Marmot PFL: Staunton's deployment here is very sound with fair potential to attack later. The same setup with black is good against the Closed Sicilian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <arnaud1959: After seeing a game like this one I would say that yesterday's champions are as strong as today's ones.>

I would say they're utter fish. Horwitz's opening is unworthy of a modern C-player.

OK, OK, I am exaggerating, but I think that is closer to the truth than saying Staunton and Horwitz are as strong as Anand and Aronian.

As for the computer preferring f5 to Ng1, I wouldn't make much of it. White is winning either way. A computer's value is more in judging moves which tip the value of the position in one direction or the other.

Staunton's play here was positionally far ahead of its time. But there is no hiding the fact that this is not a well-played game by modern standards. Very few games in the mid-19th century were.

Jan-29-09  laskereshevsky: <Jun-29-08 FSR:> <<....Fischer wrote..."Staunton was the most profound opening analyst of all time.....where Morphy and Steinitz rejected the fianchetto, Staunton embraced it.....">>

<Jan-29-09 ray keene:> <<....Stauntons ♘g1 in this game is on a par with nimzos sublime retreat ♘h1 v rubinstein at dresden 1926...>>

Same thought by myside....

Jan-29-09  WhiteRook48: they say that to advance you must retreat... great game by Staunton
Jan-29-09  MrBlueLake: This game is a good example of a "master v amateur". Thanks to everybody who commented or analysed.
Jan-29-09  Dr. J: Could someone refute 33 ... Rxf6 35 exf6 cxd4 36 fxg7 c5 please?
Jan-30-09  nescio: <Dr. J: Could someone refute 33 ... Rxf6 35 exf6 cxd4 36 fxg7 c5 please?> Why do you want it refuted? It isn't a bad idea and the position after 36...c5 looks allright for Black. White may prefer 36.Nxd4 (instead of 36.fxg7) Ne8 37.Nxc6 with attacking chances.
Feb-02-09  peirce: There are some details i would
like to check .

45 Be5 is not a mistake
I mean an illegal move but
it doesn t work due to tempi.
The move is made in order to
decoy the Black Queen , right?
So that White can deliver mate.
But Black has still the way to
bring the Queen to D7 and to
defend the g7 square.

46 B*g6 is not legal:
there is nothing to capture on g6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <pierce> There is a black pawn on g6 that the bishop captures on the 46th move. If the pawn on h7 retakes, then Qh8 is mate. That was the purpose of 45. Be5.
Jul-26-09  WhiteRook48: to advance you must retreat!
Jul-27-09  Knight13: <whiteshark: Nice finish. For the rest I think it was more Horwitz' weak play than Staunton' strong one.> Staunton had a plan all along: place the bishops in double-flank position, blow up the center, and then attack the Black king.

And what was Horwitz's plan?

May-19-10  ariel el luchador: Decir que Stauton fue uno de los más grandes jugadores de todos los tiempos me parece una exageración el uso de los fianchetos no era desconocidos en el siglo XIX si bien se prefería otras cosas, Stauton se adelantó en algunas cosas a su tiempo pero no era más que Anderssen quien le ganó facilmente en Londres de 1851 y mucho menos que Morfi a quien siempre le escapó , no era mal analista ,posiblemente el aleman bledow de la misma época jugaba mejor knith 13 tiene razón Horwitz jugó sin plan
Mar-31-11  LIFE Master AJ: Saw Keene's FB and twitter on this game ... thought I should take a look at it.

New appreciation for Staunton, whom Bobby Fischer said was the "first player to play positional chess."

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: thanks <aj> your comments always appreciated-did you see i also put up a game you had annotated on the times twitter site
Mar-31-11  LIFE Master AJ: No - missed that ... will go look now.
Mar-31-11  LIFE Master AJ: OK, feeling kind of stupid now. Looked at a whole page (or two), ran through several of the CG-dot-com games.

Still have no clue which one you referred to (above).

Apr-01-11  LIFE Master AJ: Reminder - Fischer once did a list of 10 of the greatest chess players of all time, I am pretty sure that Staunton was on one of them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <LIFE Master AJ: Reminder - Fischer once did a list of 10 of the greatest chess players of all time, I am pretty sure that Staunton was on one of them.>

The hell you say.

Nov-15-11  AnalyzeThis: The Life Master is correct about Fischer putting Staunton on his list of top 10.
Apr-17-12  Llawdogg: Nice game, nice finish.
Mar-12-13  hyperactivemodernist: Amazingly modern game. Staunton seemed to have an understanding of positional chess on a level that wasn't commonplace until the 20th century.
Nov-29-16  RookFile: Black got murdered on the dark squares in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RookFile: Black got murdered on the dark squares in this game.>

It wasn't murder, it was suicide.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DanQuigley: “[Staunton] played the opening in a surprising modern manner, as can be seen from the following game.” Tony Kosten (1999)

5.d3 - I am not a fan of Staunton’s unusual fifth move. Nineteenth century players often made moves that had more to do with their pre-game conceived strategy than the demands of the position. Here moves 3.d4, 3.Nf3, and even 3.e4 all point to plans for White that arise out of the position.

5…Na6 – Black makes his moves in conformance with a preconceived plan too. He wants to play …Na6-c7 to strengthen the …d5 push. However, this push is perfectly fine right now without reinforcing it. White’s long diagonal is nicely shut down after the direct 5…d5. In fact, taking the time to reinforce the already good …d5 push is a strategic error because the Knight could be doing other duties in the position than having two moves spent on it so that it can exert its massive force from the highly coveted c7 square. Black’s “theoretical novelty” here has never in history been replayed.

6.a3 – Played no doubt because Black’s …Nb4 threat was ominous.

11.Bb2 – “Against Black’s Dutch set-up White has played a very flexible double fianchetto, developing his pieces exactly as many players do today.” Kosten.

11…Bd7 – Looks passive to me. 11…dxc4 12.bxc4 e5 looks about equal.

13.e4 – Kosten gives this move an exclamation point, his only punctuation mark of the game, and says, “He now produced the thematic e4 break, the classic rebuff to Black’s light-squared scheme.”

15.e5 - This move came as a surprise to me. White shuts down the scope of his b2-Bishop. His g2-Bishop bites on b7-c6 granite. Where is White’s play going to come from now?

15…Nfe8 – This Knight might be better placed defensively on h6 via g4 rather than clogging the back rank on e8. Now Black’s Knights reinforce each other the same way the c7-Knight reinforced d5, unnecessarily. This is not a good thing.

19.Rb1 – Showing Black’s dark-squared Bishop activity to be illusory. The Bishop is now actually a target for White.

19…g6 – Black is horribly cramped and his pieces don’t coordinate. There are no patterns for Black’s activity to flow from. 19…b5 gains some space at the cost of helping White rid himself of a minor pawn weakness.

21.Ne4 – Since White’s 15.e5 Staunton has played with purpose and increased the scope and activity of all his pieces with five nice moves in a row. It’s here Staunton is showing true strength and imitating a modern (since 2005) understanding of chess.

22.Rbd1 – This move initiates exchanges, letting Black off the cramped position hook a bit. A modern player squeezes instead with 22.c5 Ba5 23.Qa4 b6 24.Nd6 and Black’s position has to collapse shortly.

22…Na6 - prevents the aforementioned c5 threat.

23…Rxd1 - 23…Nc5 is more enterprising. After 24.Rxd8 Nxe4 25.Bxe4 Bxd8 Black has successfully eased the pressure through the exchanges though White still has a considerable edge due to having more space.

25…Qc7 – I wonder if Black considered the wood-clearing move 25…Na4?

26.Qc2 – White did.

27.g4 – I share Keene’s appreciation of the Knight-limiting nature of this prophylactic move.

28.Bd4 – White takes the piece doing the least for him and improves it. Nice!

31.Qb3 – White hits the two weakest points in Black’s camp: b7 and e6. Nothing is breaking yet, but oh the pressure! This is what space gives you, the freedom to place pieces on squares they can be most effective from. It’s all about making double threats and more threats than can be met.

31…b6 – Black continues to show worthy defensive skills. He at least is trying to cure himself of one weakness.

33.Nf6 – Cowabunga! White could just maintain his grip on the position with 33.Nxc5 or even 33.Bf2. Instead, like a shark that smells blood, he decides it’s time to go after Black’s King.

33…Kh8? – No. No. No. The critical line is 33…Rxf6 34.exf6 cxd4 35.Nxd4 Ne8 and Black’s threat to f6 counterbalances White’s threat to c6. The position is dynamically equal.

38…Qf7 – Black instead needs to bring the student body left starting with 38…Nb4-Nd5.

39.Ng1 – White again seeks better prospects for his least active piece.

39…Bd8 – The Bishop is the poorest defender of a cramped position. Black’s best hope lied in 39…Rd8 followed by the …Nb4 and …Nd5 or …Nd3 maneuver.

40.g5 – Game over. White’s space advantage is now permanent and unanswerable through exchanges. White polished Black off with some brutally accurate tactics.

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