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Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Heinrich Wolf
Monte Carlo (1903), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 1, Feb-10
Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense. Main Line (D63)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: 28...Nxf4 29.exf4 is good for white. 33... fxe6 34.Rxf8+ (33...Nxe6 34.Rf7 wins)
Jul-23-07  micartouse: ... c4 shouldn't really be good in a QGD. Yes it gets a q-side pawn majority for the endgame, but it gives White uncontested central control and bottles up the light square bishop.

Oddly, a Pillsbury Attack would be a sensible way to deal with this (why play e3-e4?) - but White was already setting that up when ... c4 was played, so the move seems all the more wretched.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: One of two brilliancy prize games at Monte Carlo 1903. The other game being - Reggio vs Mieses, 1903.

The two brilliancy prizes (250 frcs. each) offered by Prince Dadian of Mingrelia, were awarded to Pillsbury and Mieses, for their wins against Wolf and Reggio, respectively.

This was a nice attacking game with a good finish by Pillsbury. However, in The American Chess Weekly in 1903, it was pointed out that one James C. Boyce of Pittsburgh, PA, had found an improvement on Pillsbury's play.

Pillsbury's strong attack led to a very convincing win. However, Mr. Boyce's improvement was a mate in five: 27.Ne6+ Bxe6 (best) 28.Bxh7+ Nxh7 29.Rxh7 Kxh7 30.Rh4+ Kg8 31.Qh8+ or 31.Rh8+ mate.

The American Chess Weekly pointed out that this line of play had not been noticed by the two contestants nor by any of the experts present.

Jul-24-07  InnerVoice: 12... c4 might not have been good, but I found Pillsbury's 13. Bf5 to be remarkable.... didn't you?

I'm quite sure I would have played 13. Bb1 without any thought. But then comes something like 13.... h6 14. Bh4 b5 15. Qf3 Re8 16. Ne2 Ne4=.

13. Bf5 is more subtle, it restrains ....Ne4 due to pressure on d7, and provokes ...g6 which only aids white's attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This is a great one, and a fine illustration of how far ahead of his time Pillsbury could be. These Queen's Gambit attacks of his were astounding to his contemporaries. We know how to deal with them nowadays (<InnerVoice> is right: 12...c4 was *terrible*), but games like this drove theory for the next quarter century at least.

And yet, it is funny how many of Pillbury's greatest games include a lot of mistakes by him. Vukovic's annotations to Pillsbury-Tarrasch, Hasting 1895 in his The Art of Attack in Chess will really open your eyes.

Jul-24-07  Pawn Ambush: What I like about this master piece is 26.Bg6 simple! Black can't take with either pawn and if he take with the Knight then 27.Rg6 followed by 28.Rh4! Simple!
Jul-24-07  micartouse: <InnerVoice: 13. Bf5 is more subtle, it restrains ....Ne4 due to pressure on d7, and provokes ...g6 which only aids white's attack.>

Cool, thanks for the explanation - I didn't understand that move. What I do know is that is made much easier with the whole light-square weakness Black has. For this reason, I really don't care for 7 ... b6 8. cxd5! positions for Black.

Jul-26-07  syracrophy: 27.♕xb6? <White misses (once more!) a crushing sequence with 27.Ne6!!:

<a)> 27...Bxe6 28.Bxh7+! Nxh7 29.Rxh7! Kxh7 30.Rh4+ Kg8 31.Rh8#

<b)> 27...Rbxe6 28.Bxh7+ Nxh7 29.Rg4+ Kf8 30.Qh8#

<c)> 27...Rexe6 28.Bxf7+ Qxf7 29.Qxf7+ Kh8 30.Qxf8#

<d)> 27...Nxe6 28.Bxh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8#

<e)> 27...fxe6 28.Qxf8#>

27...♘xg6 <In case of 27...Qxb6 28.Bxf7+ Rxf7 29.Rxb6 > 28.♕f6 ♖e8 <There's no salvation. 28...Nxf4 29.exf4 c3 30.bxc3 bxc3 31.Rh5! Re8 <Loses faster 31...c2 32.Rg5+ Kf8 33.Qh8#> 32.Rg5+ Kf8 33.f5! c2 34.Qh8+ Ke7 35.Qxe8+!! Kxe8 36.Rg8+ Ke7 37.f6#> 29.♖f1 <Once more, White missed a faster win, now with 29.Rxg6+! fxg6 <If 29...hxg6 30.Rh4 decides> 30.e6! Qe7 <It doesn't works 30...Qd8 31.Qf7+ Kh8 32.Rf3! c3 33.Rh3 h5 34.Qxg6, and also useless is 30...Rd8 31.e7 Re8 32.Qf8+!> 31.Qf7+! Kh8 32.Qxe7 Rxe7 33.Rf8+ followed by 34.Rxc8 > 29...♗e6 30.♕g5! ♔h8 31.♕h5 ♘f8 32.♘xe6! <Exchanging the piece that protects f7> 32...♖xe6 33.♖xe6 <Wolf resigns. After 33...Nxe6 34.Rxf7 is definitive> 1-0

Jul-26-07  syracrophy: Pillsbury - Wolf
Montecarlo, 1903

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♘f6 4.♗g5 ♘bd7 5.♘f3 ♗e7 6.e3 O-O 7.♖c1 b6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.♘e5 ♗b7 10.f4 a6? <Wolf begins a movilization of the queenside pawns that will leave him very passive. Correct was 10...Ne8! 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Qf3 Nxe5 13.fxe5 Rd8 14.Bd3 f6! 15.0-0 g6 <Not 15...fxe5? 16.Bxh7+! wins on f8> 16.exf6 Rxf6 and Black's fine, again with the disturbing weakness of e3 of white> 11.♗d3 c5 12.O-O c4? <It was still time to exchange some pieces with 12...Nxe5 13.fxe5 Ne8> 13.♗f5 b5 14.♖f3 ♖e8 15.♖h3 g6 <Forced. The threat was 16.Nxd7 Nxd7 17.Bxh7+. 15...Nf8? was losing fast after 16.Bxf6! Bxf6 17.Bxh7+! Nxh7 18.Qh5 with a decisive attack> 16.♗b1 ♘xe5 17.fxe5 ♘d7 18.♗xe7 ♖xe7 19.♕f3! ♘f8 20.♖f1 ♕d7 21.♕f6 b4? <Better was trying to take away the white queen with 21...Re6. Now White has the hands free to attack> 22.♘a4! <The knight is immune, because of the hanging rook of e7> 22... ♕c7 <If 22...Re6 23.Qf4 <23...Qxa4? 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Qxb7 >> 23.♘c5 ♗c8 24.♖h6 a5? <Wolf is doing nothing to stop White's furious attack on the kingside. It was necessary to protect f8 with 24...Be6 and White has no clear win> 25.♖f4? <Misses a destructive sequence with 25.Bxg6!! Nxg6 26.Rxg6+! hxg6 27.Rf4! and the threat 27.Rh4 with mate on h8 is decisive> 25...♖b8? <White has no opposition by Black's part. 25...Be6 was necessary to avoid...> 26.♗xg6!! <Now the destruction is unavoidable> 26...♖b6 <26...Nxg6 was losing to 27.Rxg6+! hxg6 28.Rh4>

Jul-26-07  syracrophy: White missed three golden chances: 25.♗xg6!!, 27.♘e6!! and 29.♖xg6+!

Jul-26-07  InnerVoice: I guess you don't like the way White won. For example, I don't think 27. Qxb6 deserves a question mark, if all the analysis you give after that indicates 'no salvation' for black.

I remember reading, perhaps 20 years ago, about the other pretty sacrifices white had as possibilities in this game. This reminds me of something Irving Chernev wrote once: "Leave the brilliant sacrifices to Keres. Just win the game in the simplest way possible."

Jul-27-07  syracrophy: <InnerVoice> The sacrifices are for winning faster. As Steinitz once said:

"When you have positional advantage, make sacrifices if needed to make it in decisive advantage. Otherwise, the advantage can disappear!"

If one plays "quietly", then the opponent can defend succesfully or can play an unexpected strong counterattack. The conclusion is: "NO MERCY FOR YOUR OPPONENT"

Aug-01-07  DWINS: 27.e6!! is also a mate in 5 with variations similar to those of 27.Ne6!!
Aug-10-07  syracrophy: <DWINS: 27.e6!! is also a mate in 5 with variations similar to those of 27.Ne6!!>

Excellent discovery! Very well done! So 27.♘e6!! is as good as the delightful 27.e6!!

Aug-10-07  docofthree: pillsbury is one of the most underrated players ever.i believe he could have beaten the great lasker in 1895 thur 1900.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: DWINS,

27 e6! Be6 28. Bh7+ Nh7 29. Rh7 Kh7 30. Rh4+ Kg8 31. Rh8#

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Source: Andy Soltis "Chess Lists", McFarland Publishing, 2002
Aug-09-10  LIFE Master AJ: I did an analysis of this game when I was like 14 years old. It was published in a newsletter devoted to scholastic chess, I think it was in Virginia. (I sent it to a friend who lived in that state and they ran it.)

As many people have pointed out - see the book of the tournament, and also "American Chess Bulletin," - Pillsbury actually won a Brilliancy Prize, but his play was flawed. (I think that this game was - later - also analyzed in Em. Lasker's magazine, but I have lost the binder that contained the photo-copies of those issues.)

Several imrovements have been suggested to Pillsbury's play here.

Aug-10-10  Eduardo Leon: The sequence 25.♗xg6! ♘xg6 26.♖xg6+ hxg6 27.♖f4 relies on the awkward placement of the black queen at c7. Because of that, black cannot play 27...♖a6 28.♘xa6 ♖e6; after the simple 29.♘xc7 ♖xf6 30.♖xf6, white is a rook ahead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Step on Wolf>
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