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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Augustus Mongredien
"Augustus, seize her!" (game of the day Aug-14-2008)
5th BCA Congress, London (1862), London ENG, Jul-??
Scandinavian Defense: Ilundain Variation (B01)  ·  1-0



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Given 126 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: 16. Rxh7!

What goes through the mind of a GM when he plays a move like this? Is it possible that Steinitz calculated that move to be a win in all variations? Or is it more likely that he was placing faith in his "chess instinct" -- knowing that eventually his superior position would bear fruits?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Another comment: 3 ...Qd8 is a miserable move. If you aren't willing to play with your queen early in the opening, you ought to not choose the Scandinavian defense!
Jul-08-02  mprchess: This game is on page 196 of Lasker's Manual of Chess (Its in old English though)
Jul-09-02  bishop: Although ofcourse there is sometimes an exact line between an attack being sound or unsound based on a single move, in this particular situation it can be calculated ahead of time that there is no escape for the black king.
Oct-17-03  Kenkaku: A much faster win was 20. Qxg6+ Kf8 (20...Kh8 21. Qh7#) 21. Bh6+ Rg7 22. Bxg7+ Kg8 23. Bh6+ Kh8 24. Qg7#
Oct-17-03  drukenknight: He also missed a mate in 7, starting w/ 23 e6+ and 24 Qh7, maybe not Steinitz's best day either...

By the way, Mongredien was one of the earliest to play 1...g6 in response to 1 e4. This might explain his insane advance of K side pawns in this game. There is a Steinitz/Mongredien game in Tartakovers book that has this opening.

Oct-17-03  Kenkaku: Strangely, 3...Qd8 is the third most popular move for black in the standard Scandinavian in this database. Why black would choose to lose a tempo like this, I have no idea, yet it has been played by such notables as Schlecter, Robatsch, and Karpov J Martos vs Karpov, 1997
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Note that the quoted ...Qd8 Scandinavian essayed by Karpov was in rapidplay, which kind of doesn't count - in rapidplay a GM would be more comfortable playing an oddball opening (game isn't that important, surprise value would be greater). To my knowledge the strongest player of the last 50 years to take this opening seriously was David Bronstein - in fact some sources cite him as its originator.
Oct-18-03  Kenkaku: I noticed the fact that it was played in rapid chess, and in Karpov's case it does indeed make some sense, as he probably just intended to bide his time until his opponent made a mistake (3...Qd8 being a defensive move if anything).
Dec-07-03  Sarimanok: A nice example on how to exploit inferior play by establishing a strong position. I would prefer 3...Qa5. Then establish a carokann formation.
Dec-07-03  Calli: <Kenkaku> 20.Qxg6+?? Kh8! pins the queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: Go "Old School" with Steinitz and Mongredien!

Aggressor and counter-aggressor.

Dec-07-04  LIFE Master AJ: This game is analyzed in about a dozen books, one of the latest is: "Garry Kasparov on MY GREAT PREDECESSORS, Part I."

One of the wildest and craziest games you are ever likely to study. VERY complicated, and certainly worthy of study.

Feb-11-07  ksadler: An outstanding attacking game by Steinitz! Great game!
Mar-24-08  shivasuri4: The preferred third moves for black here are Qa5,Qd6 and Qd8.
May-27-08  pkaragianis: Kenkaku your faster win does not work. After 20. ...Kh8 21. Qh7# is impossible due to the pin on the white king.
May-27-08  RookFile: That's hilarious, it brings back memories of John Nunn 'correcting' Fischer with a matting attack that left his king in check during the sequence.
May-27-08  MichAdams: I believe it was Graham Burgess who found the 'mate', but that Nunn failed in his editor's job to check it.
Jun-06-08  abstraction: Haven't read the analyses AJ refers to, but at a glance 15. ... Nxe5 looks better for black than the text.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: A wild game.

A word on the opening. 3. ... Qxd8 has earned the nickname "the banker". Black loses a tempo, but in return he argues that an exchange of central pawns has stopped white from building a strong centre.

The move 3. Nc3 also has its drawbacks. If white continues with d4 at some stage, he may want to bolster that pawn with c3 or advance c4 to put two pawns abreast in the centre. But the Nc3 is standing in the way of either pawn move, so white often has to move that knight anyway. And that gives the tempo back.

"The Banker" is not an opening that thrills the soul, but it is a relatively safe way to play for an easier life if you don't mind a draw. It can be particularly useful against aggressive players or book experts.

As for the game itself - mind-boggling complications after Rxh7. Steinitz probably didn't need to set off the fireworks as he had a positional advantage anyway. But it's fun and he no doubt had confidence in his ability to beat Mongredien in a open position, regardless of whether the combination is sound or not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <at a glance 15. ... Nxe5 looks better for black than the text.> Okay, but what next after 16.fxe5? Of course, 16...fxg4 (btw, Fritz 8's first choice) can be answered with 17.Rxh7!!

18...Qe8 would not have saved black for 19.Qh5+ Kg7 20.Qh6+ Kg8 21.Bxg6 Rf7 22.Kh1! Bf8 23.Qh5 Bg7 24.Rg1 Kf8 25. Rg3 with decisive attack.

Aug-14-08  TheaN: A fellow clubplayer of my chessclub plays the Scandinavian extremely weird:

<1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qg5?>

I still have not found a clear move-order that would turn the tempo advantage of White, after either <4.d4> or <4.Nf3>, into material or mate in a forced way: nonetheless, I won both games as my position was still superior five to ten moves later. I always try to tell the player that 3....Qg5 does not compensate for Black in any way after losing another tempo, sometimes even two. Don't know if he's changing it next season. For him I hope he does.

Aug-14-08  Sololoy: Kenkaku: A much faster win was 20. Qxg6+ Kf8 (20...Kh8 21. Qh7#) 21. Bh6+ Rg7 22. Bxg7+ Kg8 23. Bh6+ Kh8 24. Qg7#

What? If 20...Kh8 then 21. Qh7# can't be done because the queen is pinned!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: The combination does not appear to be viable if black takes the knight first, say 15...Nxe5 followed by 16 fxe5.

click for larger view

Now, either 16...f4 or Bc8 (not fxg4, which transposes to the text) seem to be good alternatives for black.

Aug-14-08  Chessmensch: With what black did to his kingside, it didn't take a Steinitz to beat him. The surprise is that he lasted as long as he did. I guess resigning was unfashionable.
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