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Harry Nelson Pillsbury vs Emanuel Lasker
"Full Nelson" (game of the day Nov-09-2013)
Nuremberg (1896), Nuremberg GER, rd 9, Jul-29
French Defense: Steinitz Variation (C11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Root and branch, tooth and nail, mote and beam, pot and kettle.
Nov-09-13  Chess for life: Surely this being the game of the day on the day the Anand-Carlsen match starts must have a relation to the match? Is the editorial staff predicting Carlsen will perform a "full nelson" on Anand today, as White?
Nov-09-13  morfishine: A Pillsbury favorite, at least for me. There is something hypnotic about the exchange-sac followed by the piece-sac on <e6>

Its a wonder whenever Lasker lost. One almost expects him to draw even the most desperate positions. However, in this game, Lasker appears to have confused himself in the opening, which if nothing else, is where one would expect to find him slipping as the opening was not his greatest strength.

Besides passing on 6...Bxc5 & 7...Bxc5, Lasker played a move he had no time for, namely 9...a5?? when <9...Qc7> was much preferred while 9...Nb6 was also clearly better.


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If Pillsbury had survived until WWI he would've become a doughboy.
Nov-09-13  cunctatorg: Hi all! Any serious collection of H. N. Pillsbury's Best Games to suggest?!? Writer (and Editor) also please!

I admire this player's play...

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <cunctatorg>: Remember a Dover paperback collection from long ago (possibly by Fred Reinfeld), but the man who would know for certain is <parisattack>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <cunctartorg> Check out the book, "Harry Nelson Pillsbury - American Chess Champion", by Jacques N. Pope. The editor for this book is Fred Lindsay, and the publisher is Pawn Island Press of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

This book includes over 900 of Pillsbury's games over his entire chess playing career. Some of the games are annotated, and tournament cross tables are included for all of the major events. A biographical section and other information is also included, such as Pillsbury's article for the "Saturday Review" on the Hastings 1895 tournament.

Pope's book on Pillsbury is outstanding. It must have taken years of research and work to make this book possible.

I think the book <perfidious> is referring to is, "Pillsbury's Chess Career", by P.W. Sergeant and W.H. Watts. This is also a good book on Pillsbury, but it does not contain nearly as many games or as much information as does Pope's book. It was first published in 1922, and contains 233 games. The 1937 & 1966 editions include an additional 9 games. The 1966 edition is by Dover Publications Inc.

Nov-09-13  TheFocus: <Pawn and Two> There was a third book by P. Wenman <Great American Chess-players II. H.N. Pillsbury> by P. Wenman.

Please note also that Nick Pope is a member here at <CG> . He is <jnpope> and has a Forum.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <TheFocus> Thanks for the information on Wenman's book on Pillsbury. I was not aware of this book.

I do have another book on Pillsbury, "Pillsbury The Extraordinary" , by Andrew Soltis & Ken Smith, published by Chess Digest, Inc. This book includes 30 of Pillsbury's games, and a fair amount of biographical information. This book is ok, but is not as good as the other two books I listed.

Nov-09-13  TheFocus: I believe there is also a German book by Bachmann but I don't have it. I don't have Soltis's book.
Nov-09-13  kevin86: Is this game right? Or did Lasker retreat a bishop and give his queen away?
Nov-09-13  Calli: Schachmeister Pillsbury by Bachmann
Nov-09-13  tonsillolith: Why does Black play <7...Nxc5> instead of <7...Bxc5> if he intends to retreat the knight back to d7, when he could instead retreat the bishop back to e7, where it eventually goes anyway?
Premium Chessgames Member
  hoodrobin: A great Pillsbury, a sly Lasker.
Sep-27-15  Yuleejun: Why does Lasker sac his Queen on move 26.
Can't he just move Qc8 and some how escape with his King?
Sep-29-15  thomastonk: <Yuleejun: Can't he just move Qc8 and some how escape with his King?> No. After 26.. ♕c8 27.♕xf5, Black can try to prepare an escape of the King by 27.. ♕c6 with the idea ♕xb6+. But White has 28.♗g5!, a move which already Tarrasch gave in the tournament book. This is a human solution, whereas engines suggest 28.♔h1 or 28.♖f2 with a better evaluation. Nevertheless, the human solution can be explained: Black will lose the ♗e7 within a few moves, and the horrible attack continues.
Jan-29-17  andrea volponi: 22...Cc3!- Cxf5 exf5- Tb3 Ab4- Ad4 Cb5- e6 Cxd4- Dxd4 Th6- exd7+ Dxd7- Dg7 Dd6- Dg8+ Df8- Dg5 Txb6- Tbb1 De7- Dg8+ Df8- Dg5=
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Returning to 22...h4, which I long felt to the key error in the game

Tarrasch's note that "other moves allow the White Queen to make the difference from g3" was frustratingly vague since an immediate Qg3 produced lines like 22...Rc8 23 Qg3 Qe7 24 Nxf5 exf5 25 Nxd5 h4 26 Qg7 Qf8 27 Qf6 Rg8 28 Nc7+ Rxc7 29 bxc7 Be7 which doesn't win for White but gets the Queen trapped.

Was Tarrasch wrong and had missed the zwischenzug 25...h4? Did Lasker miss it too?

Looking at it afresh and with stronger engine Stockfish, it appears that Tarrasch was not wrong at all in the note, but after 22...Rc8 23 Ra1! Rc3 24 Qg3 Qe7 25 Nxf5 exf5 26 Nxd5 h4 (the same zwischenzug, but White has an option here) 27 Qe1! Qe6 28 Qxc3 Qxd5 29 Qxa3 Stockfish 010918 64 1.40/38

click for larger view

So had Lasker played 22...Rc8 Pillsbury's attack could still have been played almost in its entirety with Rook played to a1 and knight sacrifice on f5 instead of e6

Jan-01-19  HarryP: This game is epic poetry on the chessboard.
Apr-06-20  MordimerChess: Great comments so far. Some good lines, so I would like to add more

After recommended 22...Rc8 23. Ra1 black should consider

23...Bc5 24. Qg3 Qxb6! (interesting battery on diagonal with white king) 25. Rfb1 Qa7 26. Rxa4 b5 27. Qg7 Rf8 28. Nxh5 b4! 29. Nf6+ Ke7 30. Nxf5+ exf5 31. Nxd5+ Ke8 32. Nf6+ Ke7 33. Nd5+ DRAW

or if white want to fight: 30. Rxa5! Qxa5 31. Nh7 b3 32. Nxf8 Rxf8 33. Qg5+ and white can try to grind to victory but not so easy

This is full video analysis with some interesting variations:


Oct-03-22  Ulhumbrus: <WhiteRook48: 26...QD7 27 Qxf5 Rf8 where's the win?> With Black's king deprived of flight squares White checks him on the diagonal h5-e8 by 28 Qg6+ Rf7 29 Qxf7 mate or by 28 Qh5+ Rf7 29 Qxf7 mate.
Feb-12-23  andrea volponi: 22...Bb4 -Qg3 Kf8 -Nxd5! h4! -Qf4 Nc3=.
May-31-23  generror: Sweet sequence of sacrifices! First the exchange with <24.Rxa4!> diverting the bishop from e6, and then the knight with <25.Ndxe6!>, after which it's +6 according to Stockfish.

It also says that Black is actually okay until move <22...h4?>, although the game is really messy, but it seems <22...Nc3> only yields a very slight advantage for White, with both players walking on a tightrope. However it's only after <23...Be7?> that Black is lost, <23...Bc5> seems to have held a bit longer, but again, it's a very tight and highly unclear game.

Anyway, kudos to both players for an intense and masterful battle, but it's striking how accurate Pillsbury played here, from start to finish. Even Stockfish only finds a couple of inaccuracies.

Aug-28-23  andrea volponi: 22...Rc8! -Ra1 Bc5 -Qg3 Qxb6! -Rfb1 Qa7 -Rxa4 b5 -Qg7 Rf8 -Nxh5 bxa4 -Nf6+ Ke7 -Qg5 Kd8 -Nxd5+ Ke8 -Nf6+Kd8 -Ne4+ Be7 -Qh6 fxe4 -Nxe6+ Bxe6 -Bxa7 exd3 -Qd2 Bb4 -Qxd3+ Ke8 -Rd1 Rg8 -Qb5+ Kf8 =.
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