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Henry Bird vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Bird - Steinitz (1866), 8, rd 8, Oct-??
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Nyholm Attack (C65)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-14-06  OJC: This is an interesting endgame. It seems that instead of 57. Ke3, Bird could have at least drawn with the strange-looking 57. bxc5.

If 57. ...c2 then 58. cxb6 c1=Q 59. b7 and the white knight saves the day since with Nd7+ it attacks the king and b8 at the same time.

If 57. ...bxc5 then 58. Ne4 c2 59. Nxc5 and black can't queen.

If 57. ...Kxf6 then 58. cxb6 and both sides will queen but white is a pawn up.

Apr-02-08  Knight13: 22. Rd2 g5 23. h3 h5 24. Qxb6 and then 25. Bxh5 does not work for black so he plays 23...g4 but then white still has 24. Qxb6. Hmmm... 22. Qxb6 is unnecessary then, since it gives black the a-file. 22. Rd2 with .R2e2 going crazy on the e-file and let black taking on b3 is better, IMO.
Aug-17-18  Sally Simpson: Been looking more closely at some of the games from this match.

OJC from 2004 is correct Bird can draw this here with the study like 57. bxc5

click for larger view

The point being although Black promotes and has time to get back and cover the Queening square.

57...c2 58. cxb6 c1=Q 59.b2.

click for larger view

Anything like 59...Qc7 fails to 60. b8=Q and Nd7+.

Black would have to settle for a very drawish position by taking the f6 Knight.

Not a blunder(s) on a the scale that appeared elsewhere in this interesting match but a miss none the less.

Aug-17-18  Straclonoor: <with the study like 57. bxc5>

It would be interesting 57....bxc5 58. Nd7+ Kd6 59.Nxc5 Kxc5 60.Ke3 and black have two alternatives

1) 60....g5 61.Kd3 b4 62.cxb4+ Kxb4 63.Kc2 Kc4

2) 60.... Kb4 61. f4 Kb3 62. f5 etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Yorkshire Fog: <Straclonoor> Your line 2) 60.... Kc4 <not the illegal Kb4> 61. f4 Kb3 62. f5 is hopeless for White after 62....c2

But White can win after 57....bxc5 with 58. Ne4. For example 58....b4 59.Nxc3

click for larger view

or 58....c2 59. Nxc5 c1=N (59...c1=Q 60.Nd3+) 60.Ke3 Kd5 61.Nd3 Nb3 62.Nf4+ Kd6 63.Nxg6

click for larger view

Aug-22-18  Straclonoor: <Yorkshire Fog> - Thanks!

But Stockfish confirm the draw after 57.dxc5

Analysis by Stockfish 200818 64 POPCNT:

= (0.00): 57.bxc5 Kxf6 58.cxb6 c2 59.b7 c1Q 60.b8Q Qd2+ 61.Kg3 Qe1+ 62.Kh3 Qf1+ 63.Kg3

As well as

= (-0.09): 57.Nd7+ Kd6 58.Nxc5 bxc5 59.Ke2 g5 60.bxc5+ Kxc5 61.Kd3 b4 62.axb4+ Kxb4 63.Kc2 Kc4 64.f4 gxf4 65.g5 Kd5 66.g6 Ke6 67.g7 Kf7 68.g8Q+ Kxg8 69.Kxc3 f3 70.Kd3 Kf7 71.Ke3 Kf6 72.Kxf3 Ke5 73.Kg3 Kd4 74.Kh3 Kc3 75.Kg3 Kc2 76.Kh3

Premium Chessgames Member
  Yorkshire Fog: <Straclonoor> Yes, you're right!

In addition to the <strange-looking 57. bxc5> pointed out by OJC in the first post, Bird could, as you say, also have saved the draw with 57. Nd7+, which looks more natural.

Nov-10-18  jphamlore: Lasker's Manual of Chess has the 57.♘d7+ ♔d6 58.♘xc5 bxc5 59.♔e2 line, Lasker arguing, "If Bird had played rightly, he would easily have drawn."
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: [Source "London Field, 1866.10.27, p337"]

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