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Howard Staunton vs NN
"The Big NN of the End" (game of the day Jun-27-2007)
Casual game (1840), London ENG
King's Gambit: Accepted. Greco Gambit Calabrese Gambit (C38)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-27-07  not yet a patzer: <Thank you, mrbiggs>

Yes, what a King's Gambit; blowing up the King side of the board. The Staunton games are fun because his opponents did not seem to have the pat answers for his openings that players do today. I particularly enjoy his Sicilian games as black and the "primitive" responses of white.

Jun-27-07  sneaky pete: From The Chess-Player's Handbook, 1847, page 251:

14... Ke7

(If he venture 14... Kd8, you play 15.Qxg5 and win; so also, if he move 14... Kf8, you may take the P. with Q.B. (15.Bxf4 ..), leaving your Queen <en prise>, and if he capture either Q. or B., you mate him next move.)

15.Qe2 Bg4

(Should he risk 15... Be6, you would exchange Bishops, then check with your Queen at c4, and afterwards, by playing her to b4, you must gain the advantage.)

16.Qd3 Nbd7
17.Qd4 Nh5

He ought to win.

Would Staunton play this line in 1855, if he knew it was bad and had published the refutation 8 years earlier in what, as Keene writes, "immediately became the standard textbook of English chessplayers"?

Jun-27-07  jkiipli: what happens after 18..Nxc4?
Jun-27-07  geigermuller: <what happens after 18..Nxc4?> I guess 19. Qc7+ is fatal after 18. ... Nxc4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <TheAlchemist: *** In the 1800s masters often played under such rules, that the opponent had [the privilege] to choose the square the master had to give him mate from (before the game) ***.>

That is a very remarkable condition, of which I had not previously heard. When such a condition was applied, did the master's opponent (presumably the ubiquitous "NN") get to choose any square at all as the required mating square? It occurs to me that if the game came down to an otherwise trivially winning K+P versus lone K ending, the master could only win if the designated square were on the a-, b-, g- or h-file and/or on the 1st, 2nd, 7th or 8th rank. It seems that if any of the 16 squares in the expanded center (c3 by c6 by f6 by f3) were chosen as the required mating square, such a condition could present major (possibly insuperable) difficulties for the master in many otherwise easily won positions.

Jun-27-07  tatarch: Looks like NN had a draw at move 24 with Ke7 instead of Kc7. We should all be grateful to NN for enabling so many 'brilliant' 19th century games for us to enjoy.
Jun-27-07  tatarch: Well, I guess it could get complicated with 25.Qg5+ after 24...Ke7. Black would lose the Knight, and then assuming he could force a trade of queens he would have a rook but be down a couple passed pawns. So I retract my statement, I still think white should win in that line.

What's white's continuation after 24...Kc5? I assume there's a mating pattern that must follow...

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The position after move eight is comical:White has three pieces developed and black has zero. Even at this point,NN deservs to be nameless.
Jun-27-07  twin phoenix: gotta Love the kings gambit! but the truly fantastic move (at least to me) is 15. BxF4!! smashing all resistance. hope i get to play that move someday! this is the era of chess i love. sack everything and mate the king. wish i could play like that but unfortunately when i'm playing well i am entirely too stoic, just finding my opponents mistakes not forcing his capitulation as here. Judging from this game Staunton deserves to have the pieces named after him!
Jun-27-07  eaglewing: <tatarch: What's white's continuation after 24...Kc5? > Good question! I wonder, too.

I see chasing like 24...Kc5 25 Na4+ Kxc4 26 b3+ Kb4 27 c3+ Ka5 but now? Nearly mate is not enough. Someone cares to enlighten us?

Jun-27-07  soughzin: On the game posted I don't see how white has enough after 10.0-0 Kg8. White is ahead in development but the black king is off the f file and white has no way to control the a2-g7 diagonal. What did you have in mind here?
Jun-27-07  Chessmensch: The same day this appeared as GOTD Chessbase posted the following page: It discusses the Fedorov-Kasparov Corus game in 2001: Fedorov vs Kasparov, 2001. Now, that's chess! Compare it to this merry-go-round.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Oh, stop making excuses for the master. No doubt he saw 29. b3+ is a mate in 3 with Black's moves all forced, so he didn't look for anything else.
Jun-27-07  Crowaholic: <not yet a patzer: Can someone please tell me why 15..Ke7? Why not 15..Nxh5!>

Because of 16. Bd6 checkmate. This was already mentioned, but I want to point out that this is the key to understanding why 14. ..Ke7! is so much better than ..Kf8? - Kf8 gives White a tempo to play 15. Bxg4! and Black can take neither bishop nor queen or else the other piece delivers mate on the a3-f8 diagonal. But after

14. ..Ke7! 15. Bxg4?? Nxh5, the g4 bishop cannot checkmate, and the queen is lost for nothing. So White must retreat the queen and has insufficient compensation for the sacrificed knight.

By the way, according to the Spike engine, a much better choice than 17. Rd1 would have been 17. Qh4 (+6.08 @ 14 ply vs. only +0.76 @ 14 ply after 17. Rd1 Ne5 18. Qh2 Nxc4, instead of the move played in the game, with the main line 19. Qc7+ Bd7 20. Qxd7+ Kf8 21. Qxb7 etc.).

Another mistake seems to have been 23. Qg7+ where Black could ostensibly have won with sharp play after 23. ..Kd6 24. Qh6+ Kc5!.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Neddy: A tremendous game!
But I think white made an error on move 25...Nd7.
I think if 25...Bd7, and then 26Qxe5+
this allows 26...Kc8 and black would
achieve equality.
Jun-29-07  execve: Why not 9. Bg4
Oct-05-07  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.25.

Staunton 8 mistakes:
6.hxg5 -1.01 (6.Nc3 -0.54)
10.Ne5 -1.66 (10.e5 -0.12)
13.e6 -2.28 (13.Bd2 -1.54)
14.exf7+ -3.05 (14.Qxf7+ -2.18)
17.Rd1 0.51 (17.Qh4 4.98)
18.Qh2 0.00 (18.f8Q+ 0.52)
21.Rd8+ 0.17 (21.Bxg8 1.67)
23.Qg7+ -3.71 (23.Qg5+ 0.22)

NN 6 mistakes:
9...c6 -0.12 (9...Nc6 -1.04)
14...Kf8 4.73 (14...Ke7 -3.05)
18...Qxg5 1.64 (18...Nxc4 0.00)
24...Kc7 -0.40 (24...Kc5 -3.77)
25...Nd7 0.00 (25...Qd7 -0.43)
26...Kb6 #3 (26...Ne5 0.00)

Jan-18-09  amadeus: Entertaining game, even if you are not an NN fan :)

Staunton's annotations, otoh, are quite poor. From the Chess-Player's Handbook:

On 17.Rd1: "Better, as the afterplay shows, than castling".

And the complete explanation, after 18...Qxg5: "If White had castled in the previous move, this Bishop would have been taken with a check."

<Staunton> -1

Apr-24-09  WhiteRook48: 26...Ne5 was better
Dec-05-10  Tigranny: Any reason why NN didn't capture the queen on move 15?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: If 15...Nxh5 then 16.Bd6#.
Feb-02-13  Cemoblanca: NN, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up! :D
Feb-25-13  TheTamale: A rock-'em-sock-'em game, lots of fun. It's interesting to see <nimh's> post above, giving the Rybka assessment. To me it looks as if Staunton has NN on the ropes for most of the game, but according to Rybka, Staunton is blundering at a greater rate than NN!

Oh well, there's always blunder severity to consider. And, as Tartakower used to say, the game is won by the player who makes the next to last mistake.

Sep-21-15  The Kings Domain: It's as if black allowed himself to lose. Love the hunt for black's king across the board. Impressive win by Staunton.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Can anyone authenticate this game? There are just far too many unknown factors about it, which is already suspicious, not to mention that it's way too uncharacteristic of Staunton's otherwise jejune playing style. I'm inclined to believe that this game might as well be just some analysis by Staunton, who passed it off as a real game in order to improve his reputation.>

The first thing to note is that the game dates to 1840, not 1855 or even 1845. Staunton gives the game in his <New Court Gazette> column of October 3rd:

As before, the location is uncertain, but London remains the safest bet as it's doubtful our hero was then in a position to be regularly visiting, if not touring, provincial chess clubs.

Note that the Gazette score has <9...b6>, but that can't be right, e.g. <24...Kc7> wouldn't be possible. In fact, the next week's column issued a correction.

As to the charge that Staunton ginned up the game to blow his own trumpet, I shall treat with the contempt it deserves. But do I rule it out? Well, no...

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