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Alexander Halprin vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
"Munich Agreement" (game of the day Dec-12-2013)
Munich (1900), Munich GER, rd 14, Aug-09
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation (C67)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-22-04  Tigran Petrosian: Very nice piece of homework by Halprin
Premium Chessgames Member
  PizzatheHut: Chessmaster 8000 tells a very interesting story about this game: <More proof that draws need not be dull. Running neck and neck with Schlechter and Maroczy for first prize, Pillsbury was slated to face one of the weaker players next. His main rivals showed Halprin some novel and intricate analysis against Pillsbury's favorite defense to the Ruy Lopez. White merely rattled off the moves that had been shown to him the night before, while the American had to thread his way through an unfamiliar minefield.>
Nov-25-05  AlexanderMorphy: Halprin starts his homework with dxe5, an interesting move rather than the more familiar Bxc6. 11. Ng5 is played in order not to give black any time to castle as that would move his king into safety...and probably lead to a pillsbury win due to his superior skills. 15. Nd5... The threat of Nxb6 practically forces Black to capture the knight, giving White an open e-file while the other rook is coming into the game via a3. Blacks outlook looks grim. 17. Ra3 is played with the dire threat of 18. Rf3 Kg8 19. Re7! Qc6 20. Rf8! Kxf8 21. Qf3 Kg8 22. Qf7 mate. After 20. Qe7 black is walking a tightrope. He rejects 20...gxh6 21. Rg3 Kf8 22. Qxe5 Rg8 23. Qf6! Qf7 24. Qd8, etc. Or 20...Qe6 21. Qg5 Qd7 22. Bxg7! Qxg7 23. Qd8 and mate next. Now he is hoping for 21. Rg3 Be6!
Jun-25-06  McCool: Truly beautiful.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: A defensive brilliancy. 14.b6 must have come as a real jolt, but even bigger jolts are on their way. Great play by Pillsbury.
Feb-03-09  AnalyzeThis: Did Pillsbury ever play a game that wasn't interesting?
Mar-25-09  WhiteRook48: Halprin stuns Pillsbury, it seems, with the perpetual
Feb-05-10  monrealis: This game is played in Roger Zelazny's story "Unicorn Variations", a game between a man (white) and a unicorn (black).
Nov-24-10  rapidcitychess: Is this sound???? Doesn't look good at all.

Seems very bogus....

Nov-24-10  AnalyzeThis: Just another fascinating Pillsbury game...
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: This game was played in the last round of the German Open Championship in Munich. Two rounds earlier, Heinrich Wolf played 14.Ra3 against Pillsbury and lost in 40 moves. Now Halprin improves with his own move, 14.b6! Also possible may be 14.Qf3.

After 15.Nd5!?, White threatens 16.Nxb6. Playable may be 15.Rfd1.

If 16...Kf7, then 17.Re7+ Qxe7 18.Bxe7 Kxe7 19.Re1+ Kd8 20.Qxd5

After 17.Ra3, White threatens 18.Rf3+.

Instead of 17...Ne5, perhaps 17...Kg8.

After 17...Ne5, 18.Rxe5! looks like a forced draw.

After 20.Bh6! (the only move to draw), if 20...gxh6?, then 21.Rg3+ Kf8 (21...Qg4 22.Rxg4+ Bxg4 23.Qxg4+ Kf8 24.Qf5+ should win; 21...Qg7?? 22.Qe8 mate) 22.Qxe5 should win for White. Black could also try 20...e4, but 21.Rg3 and 22.Rxg7 should draw.

21.Bxg7 forces the draw. If 21.Rg3, then 21...Be6 should be OK for Black.

21. Rg3 and 22.Bxg7 should also draw.

22.Rg3+ is the only move to draw.

After 22.Rg3+ Kf6? loses to 23.Qh6+ and 24.Rg7+

After 24...Kf8, 25.Rf3+ Kg8 26.Rg3+ draws by perpetual check

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <wwall> One little detail. This game was actually played in round 14 of 15. The tournament book is available through Google Books, and the game is here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Phony Benoni, you are right! I did not know about the Google Books for the Munich 1900 tournament (how did you discover that?). My source on the statement that it was played in the last round came from Graham Burgess in his 'Chess Highlights of the 20th Century,' page 10. Good catch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <wwall> I happened to do a little research into this game while compiling a tournament collection at this site. However, I kind of wish it had been played in the last round; that would make the story even better!

Google Books is a treasure trove for chess books and journals, particularly in the 19th century. (There's very little after 1910). To find this, I went to the Advanced Search Page:

and searched for "Pillsbury Halprin". You can use much more sophisticated searching techniques, but that alone found the tournament book among other sources.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: <PhonyBenoni> Yes, I use Goggle Books a lot and have downloaded perhaps hundreds of chess books and magazines, but I did not think to put the two chess players' names in the search. I had always used titles, but the title here did not help me (Kongress), and it was in German. Thanks for the tip.
Jan-26-11  TheFocus: <wwall> and <Phony Benoni> I also am a big fan of Google Books. Downloaded over 200 chess books and magazines so far.

Found a lot of nice books that I could not afford on the regular market.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Here is the story behind this game:

It was played in the next-to-last round. Pillsbury was in first place, leading Maroczy and Schlechter by a half-point. The latter two were to play in the last round, and could not have relished the thought of trying to beat each other in an attempt to overtake Pillsubry. The American had to be slowed down now.

Maroczy, studying an earlier game of Pillsbury from the tournament, found a new line (14.b6 and 15.Nd5) which offered White a strong attack. He showed the analysis to Halprin, who followed it to the letter and totally surprised Pillsbury, who nonetheless managed to find his way through the complications at the board and draw the game.

This draw eventually led to a triple tie for frist, leading to a playoff. See Munich (1900) for more details.

Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: Great pun, if a little esoteric.
Dec-12-13  morfishine: <Phony Benoni> Nice work!

Its difficult to comment on this game. Halprin was definitely no slouch


Dec-12-13  SeanAzarin: Thank you, piltdown. That's the first time one of my puns has been used. I thought the game and the story behind it should be a GOTD.
Dec-12-13  dunican: Congrats, <SeanAzarin>, the pun is even better with the story behind.

Nevertheless, as a Czech I cannot help feeling a touch of bitterness that's been an almost obligatory association with the words.

Dec-12-13  SeanAzarin: <dunican>, that's quite understandable. I'm sorry for everything that's happened to your country [including the later abuse it took from the Soviets.] Here's to hoping it never happens again.
Dec-12-13  solskytz: I see Dunican's point here. This is the second time in quite a short while, that a GOTD pun relates to the Nazi regime and its horror - although for the life of me I can't remember what was the first one.

Maybe it's still in order to wait a hundred more years or so before putting any more "Nazi jokes" as GOTD puns - just maybe.

Dec-12-13  solskytz: Amazing game and astonishing sacrifices, so many of them... impossible to believe that this is all forced!

What about ...Qc6 instead of exd5 on move 15? Black is already two pawns to the good. What will prevent him from castling to safety next move?

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White cannot win because he sacrificed too much-but he can save the draw.
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