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Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Wilhelm Steinitz
St. Petersburg (1895/96), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 5, Dec-21
Queen's Gambit Declined: Vienna. Quiet Variation (D44)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: The quadrangular tournament at St Petersburg featured superlative play by Pillsbury marred by his total disaster versus Steinitz +0-4=2

But even against him he shows his high class in achieving great positions. This game is little known but it appears Pillsbury missed several wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Why not simply grab a pawn with 21 Nf6+ Kf8 22 Nxh7+ Kg8 23 Nf6+ Kf8 24 Qh5 with more attacking chances?
Oct-02-04  clocked: <tamar> good point, I guess that makes Qb6 a blunder.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Sure looks like a blunder. Steinitz may have seen the outlines of the combination and assumed he was getting the d-pawn in return after

21 Nf6+ Kf8 22 Nxh7+ Kg8 23 Nf6+ Kf8 24 Qh5 Nf5

but White can take the g pawn with a devastating attack according to Fritz 7

25 Rxg7 Nxg7 26 Qh8+ Ke7 27 Qxg7 Qa5 28 d5!

with a fresh assault and Ng8+ coming up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 30...b5 was a mistake as well. 31 Ra7 looks very strong, winning I think. Pillsbury had to be kicking himself letting Steinitz escape, especially as Steinitz was merciless against him later.
Premium Chessgames Member
  igiene: 18..Qb6 played by Steinitz is not a blunder but a subtle preventive move, anticipating 19 Qf3, threatening both b7 and f6. With Queen on b6, Black can play (after 19 Qf3)19..Nd5 20.Bxe7 Nxe7 without losing the b-pawn. Be more prudent before criticize the first World Champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <igiene> Steinitz often was correct, but not in this position.

How does he reply against 21 Nf6+?

click for larger view

If 21...Kh8 22 Qh5 winning the pawn on f7

If 21...Kf8 22 Nxh7+ Kg8 23 Nf6+ Kf8 24 Qh5 Nf5 25 Rxg7 with a continuing and winning attack.

I think you can say Steinitz just had a bad position, but 19...Qb6 was not a good move.

Sep-28-10  Calli: Pawn, schmawn, the real Pillsbury would play it big like 18.Bh6 g6 19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Nxg6 hxg6 21.Qxe6+ etc or 18...Bf8 19.Qe3 Nh5 20.Rg5 Qb4 21.Ng4! (only now)

I don't who this guy was, but there was obviously some Russian plot to keep an American from winning. Botvinnik's father was probably in on it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Botvinnik's father was probably in on it.>

Moiseevich Botvinnik: "Relax, Mr Pillsbury, you are too tense. We have fine young ladies here in St Petersburg. I have provided you a date for the evening."

Premium Chessgames Member
  igiene: Tamar writes: "If 21...Kh8 22 Qh5 winning the pawn on f7" For me, 22 Qh5 is'nt good; Black simply takes the Knight with the g-pawn that is no more pinned. Trust more on Steinitz than on Fritz
Oct-16-10  sneaky pete: <igiene> After 21.Nf6+ Kh8 22.Qh5 gxf6 23.Qh6 Ng6 24.Rxg6 fxg6 25.Qf8#
Premium Chessgames Member
  HarryP: 21. Nf6+ is the move you'd expect Pillsbury to make, and it's a shame he didn't make it.

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