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Mikhail Chigorin vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
St. Petersburg (1895/96), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 2, Dec-15
Four Knights Game: Spanish. Symmetrical Variation (C49)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-23-07  melv: A little tricky for monday. Yes, very nice I like this puzzles.
Apr-23-07  YouRang: <dramas79: 26...QxN would be messy because a subsequent 27...Bf3+ could be answered by 28. Rg2 complicating the win>

Well, assuming that 26...QxN was answered by 27. cxd4, then 27...Bf3+ still forces a quick mate, even if white plays 28. Rg2, because after 28...Rxg2!, white has no answer:

If 29. Qxf3 (or Rxf3) then 29...Rg1#
If 29. Re1 then Rg1# (double check!)
If 29. h3 then 29...Rg1 30. Kh2 R8g2#
If 29. Qg3 then 29...R2xg3+ 30. Rxf3 Rg1#

But 26...QxN is a bad choice because it wins a knight when he could have won a queen.

Apr-23-07  agentniner: Pillsbury made a lot of mistakes in this game. Seems like he did nothing to try and correct them.
Apr-23-07  jheiner: Good morning! Well, I almost missed it, because I was looking so hard for the obligatory Monday queen sac before realizing it was unnecessary.

The move I didn't understand was 26.g3xh4. The line I looked at was for White to simply trade up and go into the endgame.

26. Qf4xe5 fxe5 27. Nd4-f5 Bg4xf5 (var: Rg5 with Black gaining tempo) 28. Rf2xf5 hxg3 29. hxg3 Rg7xg3 30. Re3xg3 Rg8xg3 31. Rf5xf7 with a rook on the 7th rank and bishop over knight.

I'm sure there's some not so subtle threat that i've missed, but thought i'd kibitz anyway. Hope this helps some of the more experienced get a sense of where the less experienced are coming from.

Apr-23-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <outplayer: I wonder if white can save himself if he plays another move than the goofing 26.gxh4>

Update: after 19-ply analysis, HIARCS 11.1 evaluates the following two moves as best for white:

26.Nc6 (+0.17)
26.Be2 (+0.01)

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: It is said that everything is there on board only one must have the insight to see. The game is simple yet elegant.
Apr-23-07  outplayer: Thanks MostlyAverageJoe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: How about Bh5? It gets the Bishop out of the way so the Rook can come down for checkmate, while at the same time guarding f3 so that if the White Knight goes there, Bxf3+, winning White's Queen anyhow.
Apr-23-07  Crowaholic: <playground player: How about Bh5?>

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 26. ..♗h5 27. ♖e1 and Black has nothing (and is a pawn down).

Apr-23-07  ruzon: Why is 26. Nc6 Qxc4 better than 26. Nf5?
Apr-23-07  NakoSonorense: Are Monday puzzles getting harder or am I getting worse?
Apr-23-07  YouRang: <Crowaholic: <playground player: How about Bh5?> Correct me if I'm wrong, but 26. ..h5 27. e1 and Black has nothing (and is a pawn down).>

You are correct. Bf3+ gives white no time to defend the back rank; Bh5 does.

<ruzon: Why is 26. Nc6 Qxc4 better than 26. Nf5?>

There doesn't appear to be a big difference, except again, Nc6 is more forcing. After 26. Nf5, black has more choices. For example, 26...hxg3 trades a crummy isolated rook pawn for a nice paired pawn. It also prevents white from playing gxh4, which would have hindered the mobility of black's knight (preventing ...Ng5).

Jan-16-09  blacksburg: 8...Ne7 is strange. a common idea here is 8...Qe7, followed by ...Nd8, ...Ne6, etc, ala Rubinstein.
Sep-19-10  morphy2010: 26.gxh4 is a blunder any comments?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <morphy2010: 26.gxh4 is a blunder any comments?>

You're a spammer.

Dec-26-14  Poisonpawns: Chigorin was a fantastic player, but boy did he make some strange blunders 26.gxh4?? geez!
Feb-04-18  mikepom: '1895 St. Petersburg' by Mason & Pollock gives 20. Re2 ...which means that the last move should read as 26. .. Bh3!
Dec-15-18  HarryP: According to Schiffers, "After 26. Nb5! White would have won a Pawn, and as was shown during the analysis after the game, White had good winning chances."
Dec-15-18  JimNorCal: 24. Nh4 seems safer than Nd4
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Well, 26.Nb5 is playable but after 26...Qh5 27.Nxc7 Rg6 28.Nb5 hxg3 29.Rxg3 Bd7 30.Rxg6 Qxg6 31.Qg3 Qxg3 32.hxg3 Bxb5 33.Bxb5 Rxg3 black is not worse.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: If white was eager to take the Pawn on h4, he should do that one move earlier with intention 25.gxh4 Bh3 26.Nf5.
Mar-27-21  Gaito: this game was annotated by James Mason in the book of the tournament.

click for larger view

Chigorin played 16.d5, which is a normal move by modern standards of chess strategy, but in those old days it probably was considered to be a weak move. Mason criticized it as "questionable" and attached a question mark to it. He did not mention, however, how White was supposed to play in this position.

Mar-27-21  Gaito: There is a discrepancy of moves in the following position:

click for larger view


In the book of the tournament the move given was 20. R-K2 (i.e. 20.Re2) and not 20.Rf2. I wonder which one of those moves was the actual move played in the game.

Mar-27-21  Gaito: I am almost sure that the book of the tournament gave the wrong move (20.Re2). The book was published in Leeds by "Whitehead and Miller, Printers, 129 Kirkgate", 1896, and reprinted by The Chess Player, Nottingham. The authors of the book are Messrs. James Mason and W.H.K.Pollock. Price: two shillings.
Mar-27-21  Gaito: Sorry. I hadn't noticed that already three years ago Kibitzer <mikepom> made a similar remark.
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