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Berthold Englisch vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
London (1883), London ENG, rd 26, Jun-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: General (E20)  ·  1/2-1/2



Annotations by Joseph Henry Blackburne.      [148 more games annotated by Blackburne]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-28-04  clocked: Maybe because he discredited it in the notes to this game.
Oct-29-04  sneaky pete: I disagree with drukenknight's statement that at any time during the game white is two pawns up. The isolated pawn e6 is not liable to any kind of attack and perfect for defensive purposes. The missing (f-)pawn is in fact partly compensated by the extra semi-open file.

After the suggested improvement 25.Bxg7 .. black plays .. Bxe3+ 26.Rxe3 Kxg7 27.Rxe6 Rd2 when the threat of .. Rff2 forces white to submit to 28.Rf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Rxb2 30.Re7+ Kg6 31.Rxa7 h5. Even with my limited knowledge of rook endings, I venture to say that white has no real winning prospects in this position.

Jan-28-05  Jaymthegenius: This game is a definate fabrication, this opening was NOT played before Nimzovich!!! And Blackburne was very wrong about best at e7, Botvinnik said "there is no refutation for this opening" and he is right. You dont believe Blackburne over Botvinnik, do you?
Jan-28-05  Swindler: It's genuine, though it was Nimzovich who advocated it and therefore got to name it. And remember that Botvinnik lived 50 years after Blackburne, theory change quite a bit during such a timespan.
Jan-28-05  InspiredByMorphy: <Jayme> <You dont believe Blackburne over Botvinnik, do you?> Without a doubt I do. Blackburne was a genius.
Jan-28-05  Saruman: I somewhat agree with <IBM> since Blackburne started playing very late in his career.
May-01-05  halcyonteam: Geniuses aren't born, they are made.

ID :halcyonteam (MSN ICQ YAHOO)

May-09-05  azaris: An interesting exercise is to pick a game at random, play through it without knowing the players and trying to guess the date the game was played. This game would certainly produce completely false guesses as the play is quite modern. Blackburne's rook-and-pawn skills, too.
Dec-03-05  DeepBlade: Can someone explain me what ''perpetual check'' means, please?
Dec-03-05  Saruman: <DeepBlade>
Dec-12-05  DeepBlade: Thanks <Saruman>!

I hate endgames!

Dec-12-05  Averageguy: <DeepBlade> Well played endgames can be beautiful, and to be a strong player one must be able to demonstrate proficiency in that phase.
Dec-17-05  DeepBlade: <Avarageguy> In the endgame, everything looks so empty and clear. I like to strike when the game is blurry and unclear. A big problem is to choose which piece you are gonna move, only few options left. I am sure when chess is solved, there wont be no need for an endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: While exchanging when materally ahead is normally correct, the planning and timing of the exchanges is vitally important.

Fritz 9 at (16 ply) rates drukenknights suggestion of 17. BxN BxB 18. Nf2 as only favoring White by (.61).

Instead, Fritz prefers Englisch's move of 17 Bd2-e1 (16 ply) favoring White by (+1.28).

Then at move 19. Fritz suggests an improvement - 19. Qd1-b1 (or d3) Ne4xf2 20. Qxg6 h7xg6 21. Bf3xb7 (16 ply) favoring White by (+2.04).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: It may appear dangerous to capture the Knight at move 14, but Fritz 9 has no doubts and recommends taking the Knight - 14. PxN.

If Black then plays Blackburne's suggestion of Qd8-h4, Fritz then suggests 15. Rf1-f4 favoring White (+3.26) (18 ply) Bd6xf4 16. e3xf4.

After 14.PxN Fritz suggests as best for Black 14.Rf8xf1+ 15. Kxf1 Qd8-h4 16. Ne1-f3 favoring White (+2.75) (18 ply).

Aug-26-08  ravel5184: <there wont be no need for an endgame.>

Why don't you not use double negatives?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Blackburne correctly noted that 8...Nbd7? lost a Pawn. He stated that 8...dxc4 should have been played first.

Firtz agrees that: (.18) (20 ply) 8...dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nbd7 10.Qe2 Qe7 11.Rac1 Rfd8 12.h3 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Ne4 14.Bd3, was a good continuation for Black, leading to a near equal game.

Other playable continuations for Black are: (.30) (20 ply) 8...Bxc3 9.Bxc3 Ne4 10.Rc1 Nd7 11.cxd5 Bxd5 12.Nd2 Nxc3 13.Rxc3 c5 14.Qa4; or (.20) (20 ply) 8...Qe7 9.Ne5 c5 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Qa4 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 Ne4 13.Bf3 f6 14.Nd3; or (.20) (20 ply) 8...a5 9.cxd5 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 Qxd5 11.Qb3 Nbd7 12.Rfc1 Ba6 13.Qxd5 exd5 14.Bd1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Blackburne's 13...Ng4? was a serious mistake. His best continuation was: (.90) (21 ply) 13...c5 14.dxc5 bxc5 15.g3 Qe7 16.Qc2 Nd5 17.a3; or (.99) (21 ply) 13...Qe8 14.Nd3 Qh5 15.Nf4 Bxf4 16.exf4 Qd5 17.Bc3.

Blackburne stated that if White played 14.fxg4, then 14...Qh4 15.g3?? Bxg3, and mate will follow.

In the tournament book, Henry Bird stated regarding 13...Ng4: <"Highly ingenious: if 14.fxg4 Qh4 would give Black a winning position">.

However, both Bird and Blackburne were mistaken regarding the evaluation of the moves 13...Ng4? 14.fxg4!. This continuation actually gives White a winning position!

After 13...Ng4?, Fritz indicates White is winning: (3.01) (22 ply) 14.fxg4! Rxf1+ 15.Kxf1 Qh4 16.Nf3 Qxg4 17.Kg1 Rf8 18.Rc1.

If 13...Ng4? 14.fxg4! Qh4 (3.90) (22 ply) 15.Rf4 c5 16.g3 Qe7 17.Rxf8+ Rxf8 18.Qb3 cxd4 19.exd4 Qf6 20.Be3. If Black plays 15...Bxf4, then 16.exf4 Qf6 17.Be3.

Fritz indicated English gave up most of his advantage when he played 14.f4, instead of 14.fxg4!: (1.04) (21 ply) 14.f4 Nf6 15.Nf3 Qe8 16.Bd3 Rd8 17.Qc2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Blackburne stated he played 18...Rad8? to obtain an open file for his Rook.

However, 18...Rad8?, was inferior to (.90) (21 ply) 18...Nxf2 19.Rxf2 Be4 20.Bc3 Rad8 21.Rc1 c5 22.Qa4 Bxf3 23.Rxf3 Rf7.

After 18...Rad8?, White would have had good winning chances by the following continuation: (1.47) (21 ply) 19.Qb1 (or Qd3) Nxf2 20.Qxg6 hxg6 21.Bxb7; (1.72) (27 ply) 21...Nd3 22.Bd2 Bb4 23.Bxb4 Nxb4; (1.83) (23 ply) 24.Rac1 Rf7 25.Be4 Nxa2 26.Rc4 a5 27.Bxg6.

However, Black can improve in this line by: (1.52) (27 ply) 21...Ng4 22.Rf3 c5 23.Rg3; (1.39) (23 ply) 23...Nf6 24.dxc5 Bxc5 25.b4 Rd7 26.Ba6 Be7 27.Rxg6, but White would still have winning chances in this difficult ending.

Jul-15-09  WhiteRook48: much good comes from 3....Bb4
Jul-24-09  WhiteRook48: 3...Be7? 4 e4
Sep-19-09  WhiteRook48: but 4 Bd2 is interesting vs the Nimzo-Indian
Aug-05-13  Alpinemaster: I find it interesting that while showing disdain for the "Nimzo-Indian", Blackbourne does predate the namesake of the opening in his theory of Rook's, by necessity, desiring the occupation of the enemies 2nd (or Black's 7th) rank, which is noted in Nimzovich's "My System" (I believe the theorem even receives its own chapter).

As for the name of the opening: an opening is most often named for the first World Class Master to PUBLISH a detailed treatise on the theory of the opening AND subsequently put the theory into play at the top level. Terrasch, Steintz, Tchigorin, Grunfeld, and most notably, Nimzovich did this. However, a few individuals did manage to attach their name to an opening system without actually incorporating it into their own tournament and match play... most notably, Carlos Torre (The Torre System), Edgar Colle (whose system has only really been advocated and played by Susan Polgar and Zukertort, long after and long before him) and Mieses, whose name is attached to 1.d3.

Misplaying the opening 40 years before theory covers the specific set of moves you have just employed is more or less coincidence, rather than academic motivation for accreditation. Thus, Blackbourne does not have a valid claim to this system.

Hope this clears up History. Happy debating.


Dec-24-18  Straclonoor: <Fritz 9 has no doubts and recommends taking the Knight - 14. PxN.> I wanna add a little bit more in this old discussion.

Analysis by Stockfish 091218 64 POPCNT:

+- (4.73): 14.fxg4 Rxf1+ 15.Kxf1 Qh4 16.h3 Rf8+ 17.Nf3 Qg3 18.Kg1 Rxf3 19.Bxf3 Qh2+ 20.Kf1 Ba6+ 21.Be2 Bb7 22.e4 Bxe4 23.Bf3 Bd3+ 24.Kf2 Bb5 25.Bg5 Qg3+ 26.Ke3 h6 27.Qb3 Bd7 28.Bd8 Kf7 29.Ke2 Ke8 30.Bxc7 Bxc7 31.Bc6 Qd6 32.Bxd7+ Qxd7 33.a4 Ke7 34.Rc1 Bf4 35.Qb4+ Bd6 36.Qb5 Qb7 37.Rc6 Qd7 38.Ke3 Qe8 39.Rc1 Qa8 40.Qc6 Qxc6 41.Rxc6 Kd7 42.Rc1 Be7 43.Ke4 Bh4 44.Rc3 a6 45.d5 exd5+ 46.Kxd5 Bf6

May-09-20  Nasruddin Hodja: "Not much good comes of this" may not be a pun, but it is worthy of the game title.
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