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Francis Joseph Lee vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
London (1899), London ENG, rd 5, Jun-05
Benoni Defense: General (A43)  ·  0-1



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

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Interesting comment by Blackburne after the first move...

Does that really mean that 1. d4 c5 is bad?!

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: It was thought to be at the time. I wouldn't say it has a great reputation even today.
Feb-02-09  Edwin M: Some stats for 1. d4 c5 from ChessBase Big Database 2008; 19467 games played. 1-0: 7684 = 39% 1/2-1/2: 5166 = 27%
0-1: 6610 = 34%

Total White: 53%
Total Black: 47%

Doesn't seem like too bad of a rep too me... Also, you have to take in account that 1. d4 c5 often transposes into different openings such as Modern Benoni, Benko Gambit and Sicilian even!

Dec-10-10  Oceanlake: 10 Bd2 looks silly. If one must move h3, then one should consider putting the bishop on g3 or h2. On top of that, three futile queen bishop moves in the opening??
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <WannaBe> Much later than this game, in his 1934 match with Bogolyubov, when Alekhine responded to 1.d4 with 1....c5, he had some less than flattering comments regarding the move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <perfidious> I take it, you mean this game: Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1934

When you said <he had some less than flattering comments regarding the move> Do you mean Bogo, or A.A.? And, what was the comment?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <WannaBe> It was Alekhine, in his annotations from the second volume of his best games.

While I haven't read the book in ten years or more, he spoke of a 'chess sin' or some such thing in playing 1....c5.

Mar-08-11  drakkenboy: Strange opening
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Another sparkling win with Black by Blackburne on the heels of his great victory in the prior round against Lasker (with his famous Rook sacrifice). The pleasure of playing over this game is enhanced by Blackburne's analysis, including the amazing Rook sacrifice he had in store for Lee had the latter played 23. g3).

The problem with the game is that Lee played like a deer in the headlights throughout after apparently being shocked by Blackburne's first move (1...c5). Lee's 2. e3 was obviously too timid (2. d5 was indicated) and it was all downhill from there for Lee. As both the Tournament Book and Oceanlake note, Lee's pointless Bishop wanderings were dreadful. After 10. Bg5 (instead of 10. dxe5), Lee was probably lost already (and as White!!). After 13. BxN (instead of 13. Be3), Lee seemed surely sunk. Blackburne, however, let him off the hook this time with 13...fxg5 (why not simply 13...bxc6?) and 14...g4 (instead of the much better 14...e4).

Even after being given this reprieve, Lee was timid beyond belief. As of move 17, he only had one piece beyond his own first rank, and that was his Bishop at e2.

After Lee's awful 23. Nb3 (23. Qe2 immediately was necessary) Blackburne finished the game off briskly and dramatically. When Lee played the suicidal 26. Rfc1, the only question was how Blackburne would choose to conclude the game. As the Tournament Book correctly notes, the method Blackburne used (27...Qg4 rather than 27...Nc4) may not have been the most artistic way to finish off the hapless Lee, but it was the fastest.

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