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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Samuel Lipschutz
"Loose Lips" (game of the day Jan-10-2008)
6th American Chess Congress (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 6 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

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

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+ sac: 33.Rxg7+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-22-03  kostich in time: I believe it was for games like this that the expression"bolt from the blue" was coined..RG7!!must count as one of the all-time 'surprise blows" in chess..its interesting to compare this with Pillsbury -Tarrasch, Hastings 1895,where it also seemed blacks queenside passed pawns were winning,and where white uncorked an even more startiling surprise attack
Aug-19-03  Kenkaku: Indeed an amazing win. Blackburne's story is entertaining and gives the game some added flavor. This one would make a good chess puzzle I must say. White to play and win 32. ?
Aug-19-03  mdorothy: I love games like this that bait the opposite side and then pull amazing tactics to force a winning combination. Reminds me of why Blackburne was one of my favorite players early on.
Aug-19-03  mrwonkabar: Here is the link:
Pillsbury vs Tarrasch, 1895
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: "Unconscious of their doom, the little victims play." Or as Fischer once put it, "Fiddling while Rome burns." hehehe. Great game. Bravo!!!
Mar-19-04  TrueFiendish: I thought his name was Solomon Lipschutz...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White forces mate with a queen waltz!
Mar-19-04  Abecedarian: The commentary is unclear b/c Blackburne mentions "on opening the envelope and finding my move", so was this a correspondence game or what? I'm assuming too that 28...Qa4 is sound -- I guess it was good enough for Lipschutz and (apparently) Steinitz -- or did Blackburne just gamble that his opponent would go for the weak pawns on principle, not bothering to calculate out the clear risks of 31. Rc7?
Mar-19-04  zsystriker: Only thing that's bigger than Blackburn's combinative ability was his ego; he has demonstrated this again and again -- once going so far as to remind his admirers how the judges called one of his mates "most beautiful". To bad he lacked refined positional sense to mount any meaningful challenge to Steinitz or Lasker.
Mar-19-04  drukenknight: Help! You know what's driving me crazy? We had a very similar situation in another game just a few days ago. black had pawns on f7/g7/h7 and there was a N sack on like e7 or f6 but he could not take the N. And there was a B on the 8th rank that was cutting off the Rooks.

It's not Nimzo/Saemisch and it's not Geller/KOtov. Does anyone remember what game that was?

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 Lipschütz 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. Lipschütz.

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
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