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Emanuel Lasker vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894), Montreal CAN, rd 17, May-19
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo. Italian Four Knights Variation (C50)  ·  0-1

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-02-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Playing 40...Raa7 black threatened with 41...axb3 42.cxb3 Nxb3 43.Rxa7 Nc5+ and 44...Rxa7.
Dec-03-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: After 52. Ng3 fxe4+ 53. Kd2 Rf8 54. Rxf8 Kxf8 White is a pawn down and has a lot of weak pawns to defend. Although Fritz 8 indicates after a very deep analysis that Lasker is lost, White could have maintained some drawing chances in case Steinitz went wrong in the complications if he had put up some resistance.

The winnning technique given by Fritz 8 after after 52. Ng3 fxe4+ 53. Kd2 Rf8 54. Rxf8 Kxf8 is useful and instructive, but also deep and at times complicated. It goes 55. Rc1 Ke7 56.Kc2 Bd7 57. Kb2 Bc8 58. Rf1 Rc7! [Fritz sets a pretty trap so if 59 Nxe4? then 59...Rc4 60. Ng5 Rxh4 wins] 59. Kc2 Bb7 60. Rd1 Rc8 61. Nxe4 Rc4 (-1.28 @ 19/51 depth & 739kN/s), indicating only a clear black advantage. However, a second Fritz 8 deep analysis of this analyzed position gives 62. Nf2 Rxh4 63. e4 Rf4 64. Rd2 g5 65. Kd3 g4 66. Ke3 h4 67. Rd1 g3 68. Nd3 Rf8 69. Ra1 Bc8 70. Rh1 with a winning assessment (-1.87 @ 18/47 depth & 702kN/s). At first glance this position may look drawish, but a third Fritz assessment reveals the final winning technique, continuing 70...Bc8! 71. Rh1 a3! 72. Nc1 Rf2 73. Nd3 Rc2 74. Kf3 Rxc3 75. Ke3 Rc2 with a clearly won game (-3.47 @ 17/40 depth & 726kN/s).

For those interested in the best winning technique here against best resistance, a fourth Fritz 8 analysis goes 76. gxh3 a3 [if 76. Ne1, then 76...Rc1-+; if 76. Kf3, then 76...Rxg2-+; if 76. Re1, then 76...Rxg2-+] 77. Ra1 g2 78. Kf3 Bxh3 79. Kg3 g1Q+ 80. Rxg1 Rg2+ 81. Rxg2 Bxg2 82. Nc1 (-5.12 @ 17/46 depth & 788kN/s). What follows here is a fifth Fritz analysis with 82...Bxe4 83. Kg4 Kf6 84. Kh4 Bxd5 with three extra passed pawns and the white knight about to fall for an overwhelming end game advantage (-9.09 @ 20/34 depth & 858kN/s)

Nov-03-05  The beginner: This is a good game

When i first looked at this game i really liked white after the opening / early midlegame.

After the bishop exchange on e3

White looks pretty good. He has doubled pawns but it is in the center and the give him a strong center. Open f file with some good chances for a kingside attack. king ready to castle to safety and start build preasure on f file with Rook,

Black. Queen, and knight on Queen side looks a bit misplaced, king must castle King side because the Queenside is wide open, the f file looks a bit dangerous white might have good chances for doing something there.

But Steininz he play the Briliant move

10 fxe3 ..b5
11 Bb3 ..Qb6
12 0-0 ..Ng4 !

Attacking pawn on e3, wich white can easely defend againt with Rd1. But more important after 12 ..Ng4 Steinitz is doing this move to stop play on the f file.

13 Rad1 ..f6
And the advantage white had along the file sudenly dosent look so atractive anymore.

Also Steinitz can create another weakness for lasker give him second double pawns, lasker can not do anything to prevent getting double pawns on the b file also.

14 h6 ..Nh3
15 Ne2 ..Nxb3
16 axb3 ..0-0

Very good play by Steinitz

What looked not so promising a few moves back, now looks really good for black.

Dec-05-06  adviser: This is a very dull game
Jul-05-07  sanyas: "By the way, it is significant that the World Chess Championship in 1894 (not to mention the return) was a total mismatch. My impression is that two completely different players in terms of insight met over the board. In present day Elo, we would say that a player with a rating of 2700 played against another rated 2400. That's why Lasker's victory was very convincing; he almost tore his opponent apart. I knew that Steinitz was a great player but in that match he was badly beaten, which came as a cultural shock to me. I have never seen such an enormous gap between the participants of a World Championship, as if it was more like a simultaneous exhibition than a match for the title." - Kramnik, speaking to Vladimir Barsky of Chess Monthly
Jul-05-07  sanyas: *cough* Right.
Feb-29-08  Knight13: White got pressed to death. Exactly what Hitler was trying to do to...
Jan-17-09  osmanseza: After 43.Nd2-Nd6 ; white knight on d2 has not got any pivot or destination point. So W.Steinitz has rejected exchange. Great strategic mind.
Jul-06-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I disagree with Kramnik on this. No 2400 player would be able to win five games against a 2700 player and especially not in such a great positional style. It is a matter of fact that much older Steinitz was more prone to crumble under pressure of tense fight against such a powerful opponent like Lasker and that some games he played poorly. But it was by no means a mismatch. Lasker's matches with Marshall and Janowski were mismatches, but not the first match of Steinitz against Lasker.
Mar-28-12  YoungEd: It's interesting to pay attention to the peregrinations of Black's ♘. It stays behind the scenes on awkward-looking squares for much of the game, and then has a major role in the outcome!
Mar-28-12  SChesshevsky: Not a great game by Lasker I thought.

It seems that Lasker had a Kside attack planned with moves like 10. fxe3 to 19. Qf2.

Then after 19... Ra7, he blew up his plan and it looked like he kind of drifted into a poor defense.

I was kind of puzzled by 22. Ne1 as I thought after 20. Rd1 he was going to work the d-file.

Then by 28 Rf2 it looks like it's Black that gets to invade with advantage.

Has anyone seen any player or Master notes on this game?

Mar-28-12  Poulsen: I agree with you, Honza.

In 1894 Steinitz was still very much a force to be reckoned with. The match was played in march-may 1894 - and a few month later Steinitz - at age 58 - took a clear first price in New York 1894 (played october-november) in a respectable field - including the upcoming Pillsbury.

Also Steinitz did remarkable well in Hasting 1895 - where he played the famous game: Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895.

The rematch in 1896 is an entirely different matter - maybe that one was in Kramniks mind?

Mar-28-12  AVRO38: <In 1894 Steinitz was still very much a force to be reckoned with.>

Steinitz was very strong up until he went mad in 1899. The issue isn't being able to play strong chess at an advanced age, but to be able to do so consistently. Lasker won this match by such a large margin because of the unlimited format.

In an unlimited match between two players of equal strength, the younger man will always win because he can grind down the older man.

Steinitz was able to beat Chigorin and Gunsberg because he insisted on limited matches. But such matches force the player who is trailing to overreach and play unsound chess. Steinitz and Fischer both agreed that such matches do not always result in the stronger player winning.

So why did Steinitz finally allow a challenger to play an unlimited match? Because of the Panic of 1893. Steinitz was desperate for cash and was no longer in a position to dictate a limited match format.

Aug-27-12  master of defence: Where´s the win here after 52.exf5?
Aug-27-12  Cyphelium: <master of defence> 52. exf5 ♗xf5+ wins the exchange and the following endgame looks hopeless.
Jun-11-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Lasker won this match by such a large margin because of the unlimited format.

In an unlimited match between two players of equal strength, the younger man will always win because he can grind down the older man.>

This is absurd, of course. Lasker won the match because he won five straight games in the middle (games 7-11). Those games aside, the match was even.

This match was shorter than 1892 (where it was Chigorin who famously blundered the match away in game #23) and the same length as the Gunsberg match.

Incidentally, Steinitz won the last three decisive games in both Chigorin matches.

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I

One of Steinitz’s best performances in the match. I have translated Robert Huebner’s notes from his <Der Weltmeisterschaftskampf Lasker-Steinitz 1894 und weitere Zweikampfe Laskers> and reviewed the game with SF. Huebner’s annotations are in plain text; my/SF’s comments are in <carets>. Where I’m not confident about my translation, I add the German. Punctuation for moves is from Huebner.

Huebner’s notes are excellent, but I think they are usefully supplemented by SF’s insights at moves 29 and 33. Conversely, I think SF slightly overestimates Steinitz’s position around move 22, before the pawns on the queenside come to grips; once they have, it sees that Black’s advantage is slight. Lasker makes several defensive mistakes, however, and Steinitz’s advantage steadily grows. He chooses a second-best plan at move 33, but Lasker fails to take advantage, and Steinitz winds up winning an impressive ending.

Huebner wrote that here and in other games from the match, <Lasker in closed positions, in which a clear plan is not available, has trouble achieving an integrated game design <zu einer einheitlichen Spielgestaltung vorzudringen>>.

After 6.Be3.

White plays here and in the following very tamely. If he wants to achieve a slight opening advantage, he should do what Black does a bit later: with 6.Na4 exchange his opponent’s king bishop.

6….Bb6 7.Qd2 Na5 8.Bb5+ (?)

This advances Black’s game. Better is 8.Bb3. <SF thinks Black is slightly better after this move.>

8….c6 9.Ba4 Bxe3 10.fxe3

“The doubled pawns later cause inconveniences, which the open file doesn’t compensate for; perhaps 10.Qxe3 would be safer. — Lasker

“Some say that one had to take with the Queen because the doubled pawns are weak, while others say that it was better to take with the pawn to open the f-line. It seems to me, that in the present position it is unimportant, whether to retake in one way or another, but in what follows one must conform the play to the chosen plan.” -- Chigorin

That seems sensible to me.

10….b5 11.Bb3 Qb6 12.0-0

Not everyone liked this natural move. Therefore the consequences of 12.d4 have been studied:

I. 12….b4 13.Na4 Qb5 14.Qd3 exd4 (the consequences of Neishtadt’s continuation 14….Ba6 15.dxe5 Nxe4 are after 16.exd6 less clear) 15.exd4 0-0 16.e5 Qxd3 17.cxd3 Nxb3 18.axb3 Nd5 19.exd6 Rd8


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II. 12….0-0 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxb3 15.axb3 Re8 with better play for Black.

The thrust d3-d4 at any time weakens e4 considerably, and there is nothing wrong with the text move.

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: II

12….Ng4

This is an appealing idea: Black reinforces e5 with ...f7-f6 and brings the knight to f7 to cover d6.

<SF doesn’t care for it, considering Black slightly better after 12….0-0 and slightly worse after the text move.>

13.Rae1

Black must in any case — in particular for carrying out the plan specified above — sooner or later take on b3; then White’s QR will stand best on a1. I would have preferred 13.Nd1.

<SF thinks White is slightly better after 13.d4 and slightly worse after the text move or Huebner’s move. >

13….f6 14.h3

“If Lasker had any intention of taking advantage of the open f-line, this was an opportunity, and he could even get rid of his double pawn by playing 14.Sh4 and then Sh4-f5. Black would have been forced to take the knight with the bishop and retreat the knight to h6; the white pawn on f5 - of course after the move Kg1-h1 - would have been supported with e3-e4. I do not specify the order in which the moves are to be played, but only the White plan.” — Chigorin.

14.Nh4 is indeed a plausible move that is more effective than 14.h3. After 14 ... .Nh6 15.Nf5 Nxf5 16.exf5 Nxb3 17.axb3 a5


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...followed by d6-d5, a seemingly calm, in fact extremely double-edged position arises. I consider the prospects for both sides equal.

14….Nh6 15.Ne2 <SF thinks White is slightly but definitely worse after this, while 15.Ra1, retracting his 13th move, is equal.> 15….Nxb3 16.axb3 0-0 17.Ng3

This move has attracted considerable criticism.

I. Hoffer recommends 17.b4, to prevent ...a5.

The difficulty is that this response is not prevented at all: 17.b4 a5, and now:

A) 18.Ra1 a4, and if 19.b3, so 19 .... a3. The passed pawn can not be conquered and will cause great inconvenience for White.

B) 18.bxa5 Rxa5 19.Ra1 Rxa1 20.Rxa1 f5 and Black has some pressure. <21.Ng3 fxe4 22.Nxe4 Nf5 23.Re1 and the pressure is gone. On the other hand, after 19...b4, Black still has some.>

II. Another recommendation is 18.g4 (Neishtadt), but in my opinion White can not develop an effective kingside attack in this way. Once Black has played Nh6-f7, White will need endless time to make progress: meanwhile Black opens the a-file and achieves a definite disturbance <empfindliche Stoerung> of White's game.

III. Chigorin thinks the move is useless, but makes no other suggestion. In my opinion, however, the move weakens the ...f6-f5 thrust and does not deserve the condemnation it received.

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: III

17….a5


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18.d4

This is a committal move, which has been heavily criticized.

I. 18.Ra1 has been described as superior (Neishtadt), but has little strength <doch wohnte ihm wenig Kraft inne>. Black answers with 18….Be6 and calmly develops his play on the queenside.

II. The same applies to the suggestion 18.Rf2 (Deutsche Schachzeitung 1894); after 18….Be6 19.Ref1 a4 Black makes progress undisturbed.

III. Hoffer recommended 18.Nh4. After 18….Be6 19.Nhf5 Nxf5 (19….Nf7 would be answered with 20.Nh5) White has a choice:

A) 20.exf5 Bf7. Black has a clear advantage: he can calmly prepare his advance on the queenside. If White succeeds in eventually playing g2-g4-g5, the King can find a safe refuge on e7.

B) 20.Nxf5 g6 21.Ng3 a4 with similar consequences; the move Kg8-g7 is generally sufficient for the protection of the kingside.

It seems to me that the move chosen is the most suitable for generating counterplay.

<SF’s favorite moves are 18.Nh4, 18.Kh2, and 18.Ra1, with a slight disadvantage in all cases. >

18….Nf7

The continuation 18….Be6 looks natural. White can try 19.d5:

I. 19....Bd7 20.dxc6 Qxc6 21.Rd1 Nf7 22.Nh4 with approximately equal play.

II. 19….cxd5 20.exd5 Bf7 21.Kh2 followed by e3-e4 with an unclear position; the Black minor pieces are not well placed.

19.Qf2 (?)

Oddly enough, this move did not attract any comments, although four moves later the queen returns to d2 without having accomplished anything. The move is only useful as a preparation for a kingside attack with Ng3-h5 and Qf2-g3. In my opinion White can achieve an almost equal position with 19.c4.

<SF evaluates White as about - (0.5) after any of 19.Nh4, Kh1, or Ra1. Basically White has a number of alternatives to keep a small disadvantage, but doesn’t seem to have a path to equality. SF doesn’t care for Huebner’s suggestion, rating the position - (0.91) after 19….Be6 20.Rc1 bxc4 21.bxc4 Rfb8 with queenside pressure.>

19….Ra7 (?)

In such positions Steinitz plays with enviable deliberation; he first secures the kingside. But since he also plays ...Qc7 a little later, ths as he later still ... Qc7, this measure may be superfluous. “If at once 19….a4, then White might well respond with 20.Ra1 and thus break the force of the attack,” says Lasker. But that is not quite clear; Black answers 20….Be6:


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21.Nh5 can now be parried in various ways, preferably with 21 .... Qc7 22.Qg3 Nh6 and Kg8-h8 to secure f6. Black will have the more comfortable game.

<19….a4 20.Ra1 Be6 is - (0.49), 35 ply.>

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: IV

20.Rd1 (?)

The point of this move is hard to discern; d4 is adequately protected. One might expect 20.Nh5, and if 20….a4, then 21.Qg3 Nh6 22.b4 Be6 23.c3 with a position that is difficult to assess.

20….a4 21.b4

Other continuations are even less satisfactory. After 21.bxa5 bxa5 the white b-pawn is weak:

I. 22.c3 Ba6 23.Rfe1 Bc4 with better play for Black.

II. 22.c4 Qb3 23.Rc1 Rb7 24.Rc2 c5 is also uncomfortable.

<Again a less committal piece move like Nh5, Ra1, or Kh2 is SF’s preference. >

21….Qc7 (?)

After 21….c5, Steinitz disliked the continuation 22.bxc5 dxc5 23.dxe5, but Black is better after 23 .... Re8; 24.exf6 Qxf6 25.c3 Be6, etc. The text move again gives White time to improve his position.

<SF thinks Steinitz is right and Huebner is wrong. In Huebner’s line, instead of 25.c3, White has 25.Nh5 (+0.63, 47 ply), and if 25….Qxb2?, 26.Qg3 threatening 27.Nd4 and Black is in serious trouble (+ 2.96, 35 ply). In contrast, either Huebner’s move (-0.70, 38 ply) or 21….Be6 (-0.88, 39 ply) keeps Black’s advantage.

22.Ne1 (?)


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In this position 22.Nh5 accomplishes nothing; Black answers 22 .... Nh6 and if needed ... Qf7. However, the text move does not make a happy impression; one is reminded of the 14.Rfe1 and 15.Nd1 maneuver in the 13th game. (Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894)

In my opinion, White has a variety of continuations that give him a tolerable game. Easiest is perhaps 22.c3, and if 22 ... c5, then 23.Ra1 and White gets a grip on the dark squares; 23 .... cxb4 24.cxb4 Qc4 is answered with 25.Qd2 and Rf1-c1.

After the text move Black’s advantage is palpable.

22….c5

<Huebner evidently considers this obvious, but SF doesn’t like it, largely because of variation III at move 23 below. But SF’s preferred 22….Be6 isn’t terribly convincing after 23.Nd3 Bc4 24.Ra1. The evaluation hovers around (-1.0), but both sides appear to be shuffling their pieces around without much progress being made.>

23.Qd2 (?)

"This is the only possible move. 23.Nd3 c4 24.Nc1 c3 would be even more unsatisfactory," says Lasker. Nevertheless, I would like to consider a few alternatives.

I. 23.dxc5 dxc5 24.Nd3 cxb4 (after 24….c4 25.Nc5 White’s position is satisfactory) 25.Nxb4 Qc4. Black has strong pressure; after 26.c3 the threat a4-a3 is unpleasant for White, and after 26.Nd5, 26 ... Nd6 wins a pawn.

II. 23.c3 cxb4 24.cxb4 Ng5 (other continuations are not dangerous for White) 25.Qe2

A) 25….exd4 26.exd5 d5 27.e5 with unclear play.
B) 25….Be6 26.d5 Bd7 27.Nc2. White continues with Ne1-c2-a3 and has nothing to fear. C) 25….Qc6 26.d5 Qc4 27.Qxc4 bxc4 28.Rc1 Bd7 29.Rc3 and Ne1-c2. It is impossible to see how Black can break through.

III. 23.bxc5 dxc5 24.Nd3 exd4 25.exd4 cxd4 26.Nf4.


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I like this continuation most for White; he wins back the pawn and has good piece play with Ng3-f5. In my opinion Black’s advantage is slight.

The text move is weaker than the continuations examined in II and III. White is probably not yet lost, but will be forced permanently on the defensive.

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: V

23….Be6

Black forces his opponent to play d4-d5. Weaker is:

I. 23….cxb4 24.Nd3. White continues with Nxb4, and his position holds.

II. Worthy of consideration is the continuation 23….exd4 24.exd4 d5.

A) 25.Rf4 c4 26.c3 Ng5 27.exd5 Bxh3 with advantage for Black. B) 25.e5
Ba) 25….cxd4 26.Qxd4 Nxe5 27.Qxd5+ Qf7 28.Qxf7+ Raxf7 29.Nd3. Black has a slight advantage. Bb) 25….cxb4 26.Nd3 fxe5 27.dxe5 a3 28.Qxb4 a2 or 28.Nxb4 axb2 with good chances for Black.

The text move retains Black’s positional advantage without altering the structure of the position.

24.d5

Lasker considers this his only error in the game. From my annotations at many points it is evident that I do not agree with him; and here I am of the opinion that there is nothing better.

I. 24.bxc5 dxc5 25.Nd3 fails here to 25….exd4, and the knight hangs.

II. 24.dxc5 dxc5 25.Nd3 cxb4 26.Nxb4 Qc4 is similarly unfavorable for White as in the note to 23.Qd2, variation I.

III. 24.c3 cxb4 25.cxb4 Bc4 26.Rf2 a3 27.bxa3 Rxa3 with increasing pressure.

24….Bd7


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25.Ra1?

Here was the last opportunity for White for achieve a satisfactory position of the queenside pawns. Correct is 25.c3 cxb4 (the continuation 25….a3 26.bxa3 Rxa3 27.Nc2 Ra2 Ra1 is not dangerous for White) 26.cxb4 Rc8 (also here Black achieves nothing with 26….a3 27.Rc1 Qb6 28.Rc3) 27.Nf3 Qc2 28.Rc1 Qxd2 29.Rxc8+ Bxc8 30.Nxd2 Rc7 31.Ne2 with Rc1, and White is holding.

25….cxb4?

“25….Rc8 was better in many respects,” wrote Steinitz. Really 25….Rc8 was the right move:

I. 26.Nd3 is answered with 26….c4 and 27….c3; White’s position is hopeless.

II. 26.c3 cxb4 27.cxb4 Qc4 28.Nf3 Rac7 or 28.Nd3 Ng5 29.Nf2 Rac7. Domination of the c-file gives Black a winning advantage.

III. 26.bxc5 dxc5 (on the other hand, Black has little advantage after 26….Qxc5 27.c3 and the transfer of the knight on e1 to b4) 27.Nf3 Nd6. Black stands to win; he can calmly create a passed pawn on the queenside.

After the text move White can bring his knight slumbering on e1 into play.

<SF agrees with Huebner; after 25….Rc8 its evaluation has climbed (or sunk) to (-1.66, 36 ply).

26.Qxb4?

But he misses the opportunity. With 26.Nd3 he could plant the knight on b4 and achieve a stable position:

I. 26...a3 27.Nxb4 axb2 28.Rab1. White has nothing to fear.

II. 26….Qc4 27.Nxb4 Ng5 28.b3 Qc5 29.h4 Nf7 30.bxa4 bxa4 31.Ra3. White is holding.

The text move gives Black a free hand on the queenside; White is limited to pure waiting, as seen in what follows.

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: VI

26….Rc8 27.Qd2 <at this point it’s about (-2.0)> Qc4 28.Rf2

If 28.c3 there follows 28….Ng5 29.Qd3 b4, and White will collapse. 28….Ng5 29.Qd3 Rac7

<Here SF goes in for 29….Bxh3 30.Qxc4 Rxc4 31.gxh3 Nxh3+ 32.Kf1 Nxf2 33.Kxf2>


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<Black has two pawns and a rook for the two knights, and his rooks are active. He play 33….g6, keeping the knight from f5, followed by the advance of his pawns on both sides of the board. This continuation looks very strong (the diagrammed position is (-2.49 at 38 ply)). But the text move doesn’t spoil anything.>

30.h4 Nf7


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31.Qxc4

Here also 31.c3 would be answered with 31….b4.

31….Rxc4 32.Rd2 g6 33.Kf2 Nd8

<Black redeploys his knight to the queenside, which takes a great deal of time, and the knight turns out not to be terribly effective when it gets there. Instead 33….Nh6!, heading for the recently weakened g4 square, is much stronger. For example: 34.Kg1 Ng4 35.Rd3 Kf7 34.b3 R4c7 35.Rdd1 Nb7 36.Rdb1 Kf7 37.b3 Rb4 38.bxa4 bxa4 39.Rda3 Ke7 40.Ra1 f5! 41.exf5 gxf5 42.Nf1 e4 43.Rda3 >


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<43….Rc5 44.Rd1 Rbc4 45.Nh2 Nf6 and the d-pawn goes (-5.58, 28 ply).

33….Nd8 and the following maneuver appear to give up much of Black’s advantage.>

34.b3 R4c7 35.Rdd1 Nb7 36.Rdb1 Kf7

“In order to make ineffective any attacks on the d-pawn after bxa4, bxa4, Rb6, which could render the knight inactive for a time,” writes Steinitz. There is a great deal of thought and care behind his inconspicuous moves <Er pflegt auch bei seinen unscheinbaren Zuegen viel zu denken>.

37.Ke2 Ra8 38.Kd2 Na5 39.Kd3 h5 40.Ra2 Raa7

“ This threatens 41….axb3 42.cxb3 Nxb3 43.Rxa7 Nc5+ followed by 44….Rxa7, winning; White’s reply seems to be forced.” So said Lasker; I think however, that the ensuing move greatly lightens Black’s task. White can try 41.Ke2, and Black has yet to make a breakthrough. After the text move, the black knight arrives at c4 with great strength.

<Yes and yes! After 41.Ke2 I let SF run, and at 47 ply/171 minutes, its evaluation was (-1.54). The main line ran 41….Ke7 42.Nf1 Nb7 43.Nd2 Nc5 (note that the engine essentially retracts Steinitz’s maneuver and proceeds to carry out a completely new plan) 44.Rba1 g5 45.g3 gxh4 46.gxh4 Ra8 47.Nd3 Rg8 48.Nxc5 dxc5 49.bxa4 bxa4 50.c4 Rg4 51.Rb2 Rxh4 52.Rb8 Ra7 53.Kd3>


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<Black is up a pawn, but it doesn’t look easy, does it? On the other hand, after the text move Steinitz’s knight maneuver is justified and Black is clearly winning.>

Dec-09-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: VII

41.b4 Nc4 42.Nf3 Ra8 43.Nd2 Nb6 44.Rf1 Rac8 45.Nb1 Ke7 46.c3 Nc4 47.Raf2 (?)

Lasker and Steinitz call this a mistake; instead they give the variant 47.Na3 Nb2 + 48.Kc2 Rxc3 + 49.Kb2 Rb3 + 50.Ra1 Rxe3 51.Rf3 Rxf3 + 52.gxf3 Rc3 and Black wins. The main question, of course, is how Black proceeds if White continues in a wait-and-see manner, playing, for example, 47.Rc2. Black begins with 47 ... Bg4 and then has to work with the threats ... f6-f5 and ... a4-a3; his task still requires considerable patience and care. Now it's easy.

47….Na3


click for larger view

48.Ne2

The continuation 48.Rxf6 Nxb1 49.Rf7+ Kd8 50.Rf8+ Be8 51.Rxb1 Rxc3+ is equally hopeless for White.

48….Nxb1 49.Rxb1 Bg4 50.Rc1 Rc4 51.Rc2 f5 (sealed move) and White resigns.

If 52.Ng3 there follows 52….fxe4+ 53.Kd2 Bd7 54.Rc1 Be8 55.Ne2 Bf7 56.Rcf1 Bxd5 47.Rf6 Rg8 with an easy win (Lasker and Steinitz).

<SF in the final position: -(6.51), 58 ply. Incidentally, SF comes up with a clever improvement on Lasker and Steinitz’s line : 52….Bd1! 53.Rc1 Bb3 54.exf5 (54.Kd2 a3) 54….Rg4 55.Nf1 gxf5 and if 56.Rxf5? Rxg2+ 57.Kd1 Bd3 58.Rg5 Bxf1 -+.>

Dec-11-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: See also Lasker vs Steinitz, 1896.
Dec-11-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Outstanding posts <keypusher>!
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