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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Samuel Lipschutz
"Loose Lips" (game of the day Jan-10-2008)
6th American Chess Congress, New York (1889), New York, NY USA, rd 11, Apr-05
Queen's Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation. General (D37)  ·  1-0



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Given 9 times; par: 53 [what's this?]

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

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: <was this a correspondence game or what?> No, it was an adjourned game with a "sealed move." The way that works, is when the game drags on incredibly long, the players are allowed to go home and get some rest. However, the player on the move has to write down the next move on a card, which is placed in a sealed envelope, to be opened when the game resumes. That way, neither player has the huge advantage of being able to stay up all night thinking about their very next move.

That practice has been almost entirely eliminated from modern chess, by tightening the time controls.

Mar-19-04  Lawrence: Lipschutz should have played 31...Rxf4 32.exf4 Qxg3 33.fxg3 and Blackburne has no attack. (Junior 8)
Mar-22-04  Abecedarian: Thanks for the history, Sneaky.
Jan-10-08  deadlysin: ahh first comment in 2008. what a great sacrifice

Jan-10-08  patzer2: White's 33. Rxg7+!! and 34. Nh5+! are a pair of pseudo sacrifices in a combination to set up a mating attack in pursuit of the helpless King.
Jan-10-08  newzild: What a cool game. We all know about how Morphy refined the concept of development, and Steinitz supposedly "invented" positional chess. So it's really interesting to read the annotations of one of their contemporaries and place it in context. Blackburne "plays the man", like Lasker might have done.
Jan-10-08  kellmano: Relating to the first post here, i have always presumed that 'like a thuderbolt from a clear blue sky' was a well-used Russian phrase. They use it a lot in their annotations and maybe it then transferred to common usage in the chess - I guess this suggests otherwise. I now think maybe it is just a particularly nice phrase in Russian.

I like Blackburne's annotations - he is quite modest compared to most people.

Jan-10-08  Samagonka: Blackburne's notes are very profound. I feel like a student on the back bench listening to the man's commentary. Though I want to disagree with some of his views, I know he is right, so I only have to learn.
Jan-10-08  patzer2: Blackburne writes well. His notes are clear, concise and informative. The sealed move 32. g6!! is clearly winning, but by today's standard of analysis it's surprising his opponent and the Masters observing the game didn't realize it. Apparently, the surprise rook sacrifice 33. Rxg7+!! woke up the audience to the reality of the situation. Blackburne had prepared a mating attack and Lipschutz was lost.

However, I wonder why Blackburne's analysis overlooks two key opportunities for Black. Lipschutz would have had winning chances with 29...Qxa2! and would have stopped the attack with advantage after 31...Rxf4!

Here's a move-by-move look with Fritz 8:

29... Qxa2! 30. bxc4 dxc4 31. Ra1 Qb3 32. Rgb1 Qc2 33. Rc1 Qb2 34. Rab1 Qa2 35.Ra1 Qd2 36. Rxc4 a4 37. g6 h6 38. Qh4 Rxf4 39. exf4 a3 40. Qe7 Qd3 41. Rxc8 Qxh3+ 42. Kg1 Qxc8 (-2.44 @ 15 depth).

31... Rxf4! 32. exf4 Qxg3 33. fxg3 Ba6 34. Ra7 Bd3 35. Rxa5 b3 36. Rg2 e3 37. Rb2 Rc8 38. Ra1 Rc2 39. Rxb3 Be4+ 40. Kg1 Rg2+ 41. Kf1 e2+ 42. Ke1 Rg1+ 43. Kxe2 Rxa1 ) 32. g6 h6 33. Rxg7+ Kxg7 (-1.25 @ 15 depth).

Jan-10-08  percyblakeney: I remember reading about this game in some old chess magazine, where it was claimed that just after Lipsch├╝tz resigned he called out bitterly to a friend, in yiddisch: "The old criminal swindled me!"

Blackburne understood German and could deduce the meaning of everything except "criminal". He went to the tournament director and asked if one could be this word and still be a gentleman, otherwise he might have a matter to resolve with Mr. Lipsch├╝tz.

The tournament director assured him that this word could be used about many gentleman in this world, and with that Blackburne was satisfied.

Jan-10-08  patzer2: <I know he is right, so I only have to learn.> His notes are clearly written and I suppose he's right for his time, but be careful in applying everything from the days of classical chess to modern play. He's wrong for example in suggesting that allowing Black to invade the Queenside and create two double passers in exchange for his Kingside attack was necessarily a good idea here. Indeed, Blackburne might well have lost after 29...Qxa2!
Jan-10-08  twin phoenix: A true gem of a game. i thought blackburnes comment about a rook on the 7th being equivalent to a passed pawn quite interesting. also his comment on move 31. (a bolt from the blue...) was highly entertaining and educational. proving that static analysis of chess tactics without looking at concrete continuations usually ends badly for the person ignoring the dynamical situation...

Good job explaining adjournament Sneaky. Todays sudden death time limits have obliterated sealed moves... some say to the detriment of the game. i say that, thankfully, the game must end!

Jan-10-08  sneaky pete: "Der alte Ganf hat mich beschwindelt." A <Ganf> is NOT a gentleman.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I have some comments about your two lines, specificially about the concept of forcing moves versus non-forcing ones.

<patzer2> <31... Rxf4! 32. exf4 Qxg3 33. fxg3 Ba6 34. Ra7 Bd3 35. Rxa5 b3 36. Rg2 e3 37. Rb2 Rc8 38. Ra1 Rc2 39. Rxb3 Be4+ 40. Kg1 Rg2+ 41. Kf1 e2+ 42. Ke1 Rg1+ 43. Kxe2 Rxa1 ) 32. g6 h6 33. Rxg7+ Kxg7 (-1.25 @ 15 depth).>

I love 31...Rxf4 because it saves the day for black. But doesn't white have choice in the rest of the line? For example, what about 35 Ra1 instead of Rxa5? How does black proceed then?

<patzer2> <29... Qxa2! 30. bxc4 dxc4 31. Ra1 Qb3 32. Rgb1 Qc2 33. Rc1 Qb2 34. Rab1 Qa2 35.Ra1 Qd2 36. Rxc4 a4 37. g6 h6 38. Qh4 Rxf4 39. exf4 a3 40. Qe7 Qd3 41. Rxc8 Qxh3+ 42. Kg1 Qxc8 (-2.44 @ 15 depth).>

Again, the same issue of choice. Couldn't white play 34 Rcb1 instead of 34 Rab1, or like moves that would keep the black queen trapped by the rooks. At the worst, white should be able to force a draw, it seems.

Jan-10-08  psmith: <kellmano> -- see
Jan-10-08  parmetd: The commentary is unclear b/c Blackburne mentions "on opening the envelope and finding my move",

you must be young... all old tournaments games were played over two days with an adjournment and a sealed move. These sealed moves had quite the importance in tournaments. Players would often land themselves in time trouble purposely if they were the seal canidate. Being able to seal a move the opponent won't be able to figure out gives you a huge advantage for overnight analysis of the ACTUAL position while your opponent is a half move off.

Jan-10-08  whiteshark: I know this exclamation with Ganeff which is the longer form of Ganf. It means <ganef> and maybe also <berk>.
Jan-10-08  sneaky pete: I read this story in connection with Blackburne vs Nimzowitsch, 1914, when Blackburne was, if not a <Ganf>, at least old.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <percyblakeney> <I remember reading about this game in some old chess magazine,...> There may be several versions of this story. Heinrich Fraenkel in his book, "The Delights of Chess", included this story in a chapter on Jacques Mieses. Fraenkel personally knew Mieses, who would regularly dine with the Fraenkel family, and gave chess lessons to Fraenkel's son.

Fraenkel said that one of Mieses's favorite stories was about Blackburne.

At a Continental tournament, Blackburne had asked Mieses the meaning of the word ganef. <"Why do you want to know?"> asked Mieses. Blackburne explained that after he had won his game from Gunsberg, he had heard him remark to someone: <"Der alte Ganef hat mich mattgesetzt">. Blackburne said that he knew <alte> meant old and <mattgesetzt> meant mated, but he had no idea what a <ganef> was.

Mieses was reluctant to tell him that <ganef> was Yiddish for crook. He assured Blackburne the word did not mean much and certainly Gunsberg had meant no offense.

This was too vague of an answer for Blackburne, so he asked Mieses point-blank: <"Tell me one thing. Can one be a ganef and a gentlemen at the same time?"> When Mieses assured him that one could, Blackburne was finally satisfied with his explanation.

Jan-10-08  kevin86: Blackburn gives us a lesson in attacking. If your opponent forces you to block a thrust with your own pawn,it can be profitable to move the attack to the side. The queen provides this new offensive after a rook sac opens up the lines closest to the king.
Jan-10-08  patzer2: <Jimfromprovidence> I agree my 29...Qxa2 line is likely drawing after 34. Rcb1, when for all practical purposes neither side really has anything better than a draw by repetition after 34. Rcb1 Qd2 35. Rd1 Qb2 36. Rdb1 Qd1 etc. However, Black can play for an interesting Queen pseudo sac with 34. Rcb1 Qd2 35. Rd1 Qxd1!? and make things really complicated, when Fritz indicates Black has a slight edge.

As for 31...Rxf4, I think you're also correct that 35. Ra1 is an improvement in my Fritz 8 move-by-move line. White seems to fully equalize and may even have a slight edge after 35. Ra1 e3 36. R1xa5 e2 37. Ra1 Re8 38. Re1 Rb8 39. Ra2 b3 40. Rb2 Kf7 41. Kg2 Bc4 43. Kf3 Re8 =. Still this is better than the oversight 31...a4?! allowing 32. g6!! .

So it would seem Blackburne's plan and advice in this game is quite modern afterall -- launching a promising kingside attack with a draw in hand in case things get complicated.

Jan-10-08  D4n: Good notes and a good game...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: What if black had had a last second epiphany and played 31...Qa4!? instead of 31...a4?

Who would win then?

click for larger view

At the very least white's plans would have to change. He can no longer play his planned queen move 35 Qc7+ because black's queen or bishop can now block the check at d7.

Jan-10-08  patzer2: <Jimfromprovidence> Your 31. Qa4!? is a really nice find! Looks like it practically forces a draw by perpetual after 31. Qa4!? 32. Nh5! Rf3 33. Rxg7+ Kh8 34. g6! Rxg3! 35. Rxh7+ Kg8 36. Rg7+ Kh8 37. Rh7+ = etc. If so, it improves on 31. Rxf4!?, which, despite an initial favorable evaluation, seems to end up with a slight White advantage.
Dec-09-08  m0nkee1: percyblakeney thanks for the comment, very funny, Romantic chess at it's best :)
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