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Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Mikhail Chigorin
St. Petersburg (1895/96), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 11, Jan-09
Queen's Gambit Declined: Chigorin Defense. Main Line (D07)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: A game in which Chigorin shows the depth of his positional understanding, and why he was so influential for the Hyper-moderns and especially Nimzowitsch. Here pressure from the flanks, and down the <d> file, destroys Pillsbury's centre of <d4,e5 and f4>.

Pillsbury's attempt to build up a large centre with 6.Nc3 7.e4 and 8.f3 is too slow. The centre is undermined by Chigorin's <8...f5!>.

For another and unsuccesful attempt to hold this big centre together against Chigorin see Reggio vs Chigorin, 1901

<13.Be2> as suggested by Pollock seems safer, 13...Qb6 14.Bd1 0-0 15.0-0; but Pillsbury still believes in his central predominance.

<15.b4> another suggestion of Pollock is probably Pillsbury's last chance for equlaity <15...Qc4> 16.Bb2 Bb6 17.Nxd5 Nxd5

<16.b4> Bb6 17.Qxa6 Bxa6 18.Be3 f4 19.Bf2 is no better.

Pollock's alternative of <20.b4> is refuted by 20...Bxb4!; whilst Panov's <20.Kf2> Nd5 21.Bf3 Nxf4 22.Bxf4 Rxf4; 20.Bf3 Bd3 21.Qb3 Nc4 22.Rd1 Rhd8 leaves White desperate and without counterplay.

Pollock pointed out the pretty mate after <32.Kh3?> Be6 33.Qxe6 Qxf3+ 34.Kh4 g5+ 35.fxg5 hxg5+ 36.Kxg5 Rg2+ 37.Qg4 Rxg4#

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: I don't know that 8..f5 deserves its old classical exclam as much as that 9.e5? is too co-operative and gets 'hypermodernly' refuted. 9.Bc4! intending to gambit is stronger. After 9.e5 Chigorin plays perfectly and majorly inspirationally for young pups like Nimzo.
Apr-07-05  Runemaster: <IMlday> Yes, lovely play from Chigorin - a crushing win against a player of Pillsbury's class. By the way, I (like many other kibitzers here) really appreciate your summaries of strategic principles - very recently I read one you posted about how Chigorin came up with his theory of knight play and about the 2B v N+B ending. Thank you.

Chig is a player I have not studied enough, but I hope to change that now.

Apr-07-05  paladin at large: Thanks <Runemaster>, this is a very entertaining game by Chigorin. Can you share with us where IMlday's post on Chigorin's theory of knight play can be found?
Apr-07-05  Runemaster: <paladin> Sorry, I should have said. It's on the Chigorin page, page 3 - you will see that I followed up on IMlday's suggestions of two of Chig's games against Schlechter.

I note that you have been looking at some Chigorin games as well recently. His games are a new interest of mine.

Apr-07-05  paladin at large: <Runemaster>Thanks for the tip. His games are a new interest of mine, too. I like his crisp style and foresight - when he does well. There are a lot of interesting games during the later period of his career, it seems. That whole era is fascinating.
Jun-26-05  ksadler: Truly a powerful middlegame by Chigorin! It looks like a GM v. NN in a simul almost.
Jun-26-05  Calli: What about 17.b4!
Jun-26-05  paladin at large: Interesting <Calli> How about 17.....b5 18. Qc2 R x d4 19. b xa5 Q x a5 and key defender in white knight is pinned and Black's threat of Rhd8 looks serious, but this off top of head, not sure sound.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <paladin at large>
On 17. b4 b5, why not simply 18. Qxa5.

<Calli> Can you show more details of the idea after 17. b4 Bb6? Superficially, it looks like White's d-pawn would be in trouble.

Jun-26-05  Calli: <beatgiant> Why not 17.b4 bb6 18.QxQ Bxa6 19.Bb3

I don't recognise Pillsbury in this game at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
17. b4 Bb6 18. Qxa6 <bxa6> (instead of Bxa6), and the d-pawn still looks in trouble. For example, 19. Ne2 Kb7 20. Be3 Bxe2 21. Bxe2 Bxd4 22. Bxd4 Rxd4 looks like a nice position for Black.
Jun-26-05  Calli: bxa6 weakens the pawns so even after Black wins the d pawn, I don't think he has much. Something like 17.b4! Bb6 18.Qxa6 bxa6 19.Ne2 Kb7 20.g3 Bxe2 21.Bxe2 Bxd4 22.Rb1 looks fine for Harry P.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
Black need not go for the pawn immediately but can play to invade squares first. For example 17. b4 Bb6 18. Qxa6 bxa6 19. Ne2 Kb7 20. g3 a5 21. Bb2 Nd5 22. bxa5 Bxa5+ 23. Kf2 Bd2 24. Bc1 Bxc1 25. Rxc1 Nb6. I'm not sure if it wins the game, of course.

So 17. b4 does look like a big improvement. Good find, <Calli>!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Nice analysis. Pillsbury was up 3-0 on Chigorin when this took place, and couldn't shift gears after Chigorin improved on 7...Nf6 with 7...Bb4 leaving him the option of attacking the center with ...f5.

Historically Lasker's victory on January 4 1896 in the previous round is more famous, but Chigorin's play definitely sent Pillsbury into a tailspin, and he lost three consecutive games after this debacle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <IMlday> In the only game in which I've played 3.Nf3, A Shaw-Rizzitano, Billerica (USA) 1984 featured 9.Bc4 Qh4+ 10.g3 Qh6; I believe this was a suggestion of John Watson, and a vast improvement over acceptance of the gambit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Typo? 10..Qh6 is en prise, ergo presumably 10..Qf6!? looks like worth testing..
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <-------world's worst typist.
Sep-08-05  RookFile: Boy, Chigorin was running positional circles around Pillsbury right out of the opening. I can't believe Pillsbury played 5. dxc6 instead of gxf3
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Pillsbury had a brilliant natural understanding of open positions; Chigorin of closed. 5.dxc6 is probably playable, but 9.e5? is very weak, perhaps even the losing move! I used to use this game for students,
to demonstrate how relative the use of the word 'modern' in hyper-modern actually was. Venerable Grekov claims this game was inspirational for the entire 'Soviet School of Chess'(sic). Perhaps that's mythologically exagerrated, but it is a wonderfully instructive game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <RookFile> your comment about 5.gxf3 reminded me that there was a second time I played 3.Nf3, vs Joe Shipman at Cambridge 1986, because I hadn't come up with any improvement for White after my loss to Rizzitano 2 1/2 years before.

My recollection's a bit foggy, but I believe we followed much the same line as was played in the Kasparov-Smyslov match in '84.

Sep-09-05  RookFile: This is the type of situation where Lasker's simple approach to the opening would have paid dividends. Lasker would have played this game like this:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 Nc6
3. Nf3 Bg4
4. Nc3

(Develop knights before doing anything)

4..... dxc4 (If 4.... e6 5. Bf4)
5. d5 Bxf3
6. gxf3 Ne5
7. Bf4 Ng6
8. Bg3 Nf6
9. e4 e5
10. dxe6 fxe6
11. Bxc4

Nice, simple developing moves, no nonsense. White has the 2 bishops and better central control.

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: hmmm.. after 4..e6 5.Bf4 a6 does White have anything?

In Lasker-Chigorin, Hastings, 1895 White got fairly gerflubbled in this line eh.. ??

Jan-19-06  LluviaSean: wow. this game is awesome...ive once seen a better king hunt before. kasparov-topalov
May-18-07  FHBradley: <RookFile:> Your line may be no nonsense from white's point of view, but that's not the way the play the Chigorin with black pieces.
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