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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Mikhail Chigorin
London (1899), London ENG, rd 4, Jun-03
Queen's Gambit Declined: Chigorin Defense. Main Line (D07)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Steinitz believed his K is safe in the centre, but Chigorin proves through ingeneous N play that it should have fled to the Q-side.

<21...b5!> would have won on the spot, and would have been an appropriate pendant to <16...Nf4!> and <19...Nd4!!>.

Simply put, the Queen has nowhere safe or useful to go.

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She has to protect the <Rc2>; yet must also avoid the threat of a N fork on the K+Q, and also the threat of a subsequent Black Q check winning the <Rh1>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: I love Chessical's proposed 21...b5! which certainly appears to be crushing.

Steinitz got himself into this mess by his awful 15. Rc1 (15. f4 would have stopped Tchigorin's 15...e5) and his even more horrible 16. dxe5. The Tournament Book says that Steinitz had nothing better than 16. dxe5, but counterattack by 16. Qb3 was surely better.

By move 19, Tchigorin's imaginative and powerful attack had Steinitz busted. Tchigorin might have put Steinitz out of his misery with 19...Rd4! or with Chessical's brilliant 21...b5!, but even after Tchigorin's less inspired 21...NxR he was up the exchange with a strong position and should have won the game without too much difficulty. His 22...Qg4 check was not as strong as the move suggested by the Tournament Book (22...Rd3) but--once again--more than sufficient to win. Tchigorin might also have done better to keep the Queens on the board rather than swapping down to an endgame with 25...QxQ check.

The main question that has me flummoxed is whether Tchigorin could have won the endgame. The Tournament book says the draw was unavoidable after 31...Rfd7 (claiming that 31...b5 check was better).

I don't understand Tchigorin's 26...f5 which gave Steinitz a protected passed pawn (though Fritz says this was best).

I find it hard to believe that Tchigorin had no way to win this ending after 31...Rfd7, but thus far haven't managed to come up with a winning plan for him. Fritz says the game was won until move 40 and suggests that Tchigorin's 41...Re8 gave away the win, but even with one of Fritz's suggested alternatives (e.g., 41...Rb8 or 41...Re7) it has not shown me that it has anything close to a winning plan. Fritz also seems to think that 42. Bc3 gave Tchigorin another chance and that the withdrawal of his king with 42...Kf7 ended his chances of victory, but this makes no sense to me. What is clear is that after Steinitz' 44. Kd6 and 45. Kd7 Tchigorin's chances of winning were gone.

Of course, Tchigorin could have saved himself this headache by following chessical's advice with 21...b5!

Jun-21-19  Straclonoor: <Chessical> and <KEG> - you are totally right! 21....b5! gives big advantage for black.

Analysis by Stockfish 150519 64 POPCNT:

1. -+ (-4.75): 21...b5 22.Qxd4 Rxd4 23.exd4 Qe4 24.Re1 Qxd4 25.Re2 Qd5 26.Re3 Qh1+ 27.Ke2 Qxh2 28.Rf3 Qh5 29.Rxc7 Qg4 30.Be1 Rd8 31.Rcc3 h5 32.Kf1 Rd5 33.b3 h4 34.Rce3 Qf5 35.Bc3 Rd1+ 36.Be1 Kh7 37.a4 bxa4 38.bxa4 Rd4 39.a5 Rxf4 40.Rxf4 Qxf4 41.Kg2 Qg4+ 42.Kf1 Kg6 43.Bc3

21....Nxc2 also give serious advantage, but after 22.Qxc2 black must play 22....Rd3 not 22....Qg4

2. -+ (-3.81): 21...Nxc2 22.Qxc2 Rd3 23.Kc1 Rfd8 24.Rg1 Qe4 25.e6 Qxe6 26.Bc3 g6 27.Bd4 R8xd4 28.exd4 Rxd4 29.Kb1 Rc4 30.f5 Rxc2 31.fxe6 Rxf2 32.exf7+ Kxf7 33.h4 Rf4 34.Rc1 c6 35.Rh1 h5 36.Kc2 Kf6 37.Kd3 c5 38.Ke2 b5 39.b3 Kf5 40.a4 bxa4 41.bxa4 Rxa4 42.Rc1 Re4+ 43.Kd2 c4

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