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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Emanuel Lasker
Steinitz - Lasker World Championship Match (1894), Montreal CAN, rd 2, Mar-19
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-17-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Black will not be too bad off if he could get his bishop to e5 before f6 comes in and then play Nc5-e6 when f6 and mate threats against g7 start.

But Steinitz had a plan against that too.

if 22...e4 23 dxe4 Be5

(the idea, making a place for the bishop)

24 Be3! forcing the knight to make a decision while the pawn is still on f5.


click for larger view

24...Nd7 25 Qxh5 and the attack wins.

Nov-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 16...hxg5 is bad for 17.hxg5 Nh7 18.Nf5! (covering Pg5 by Bishop c1) 18...gxf5 19.Qh3 Nxg5 (19...Rfe8 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.g6 ) 20.Bxg5 Rfe8 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Bf6! (see diagram) with mate in next move.


click for larger view

Also 17...hxg5? 18.hxg5 Nh7 19.Ng2 with threat 20.Qh3 would have been bad for black.

Impressive game of Steinitz.

Jan-08-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Now here is a mystery: never again in this match or the 1896 rematch did Steinitz play the Ruy Lopez as White.
Feb-29-08  Knight13: <keypusher: Now here is a mystery: never again in this match or the 1896 rematch did Steinitz play the Ruy Lopez as White.> Now that's something we'll never understand.
May-12-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Impressive concept of Steinitz- holding the e4 strong point and attacking on the wing but Lasker's play was uninspired- 13...Nh5 heading to f4 was better, as was 22...Bh8! 23.f6 Ng6 and White cannot penetrate with g6 while Black prepares counterplay with ...e4. The bold 25...Bxd3! 26. Bxd3 Rxd3! 27.Nxd3 e4 may even hold.
Nov-24-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  oao2102: <ToTheDeath> I agree. 25...e4? appears to lose the game. 25...Bxd3!
Nov-24-09  WhiteRook48: steinitz was a bulldog here
Mar-13-10  kibitzwc: (1751) Steinitz,William - Lasker,Emanuel [C65]
World Championship 5th USA/CAN (2), 19.03.1894
[Fritz 12 (5m)]
C65: Ruy Lopez: Berlin Defence (3...Nf6), unusual lines and 4 0–0 Bc5 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 d6 5.c3 Bd7 6.Ba4 g6 7.Nbd2 Bg7 8.Nc4 0–0 9.Ne3 Ne7 10.Bb3 c6 11.h4 Qc7 12.Ng5 d5 13.f3 Rad8 14.g4 dxe4 15.fxe4 last book move 15...h6 16.Qf3 Be8 [16...Qd6 17.Nxf7 Rxf7 18.Bxf7+ Kxf7 19.Nc4 ] 17.Bc2 Nd7 [17...hxg5 18.hxg5 Nh7 19.Ng2 ] 18.Nh3 Nc5 19.Nf2 b5 [19...Qd7 20.Qg3 f6 21.h5²] 20.g5 [20.Bd2!? Bd7 21.h5=] 20...h5µ 21.Nf5 gxf5 22.exf5 f6?? [¹22...e4 23.Nxe4 Nxe4 24.dxe4 Ng6µ] 23.g6² Nxg6 24.fxg6 Bxg6 d3 draws heavy fire 25.Rg1 e4?? [¹25...Bxd3 26.Bxd3 Rxd3 27.Nxd3 e4 28.Qxh5 Nxd3+ 29.Kf1 Rf7²] 26.dxe4± Kh7?? [¹26...Qf7±] 27.Rxg6! Kxg6 28.Qf5+ Kf7 29.Qxh5+ Kg8 30.Qxc5 Qe5 [30...f5 31.Bd2 b4 32.0–0–0 bxc3 33.bxc3 ] 31.Be3 a6 32.a4 Rfe8 33.axb5 axb5 34.Qxe5 [34.Qxc6 b4 35.Qc4+ Kh8 36.Qxb4 Qh5 ] 34...Rxe5 [34...fxe5 35.Ra6 Rd6 36.Bb3+ Kh8 37.Nh3 ] 35.Ra6 Rc8 [35...Rh5 36.Rxc6 Rxh4 37.e5 ] 36.Ng4 Re7 37.Bc5 Ree8 38.Ne3 Bf8 39.Bd4 Kf7 [39...Bd6 40.Bxf6 Be7 41.Bxe7 Rxe7 42.Nf5 ] 40.h5 Be7 [40...Rc7 ] 41.Bb3+ Kf8 42.Nf5 [42.Nf5 Ra8 43.Rxc6 Ra1+ 44.Ke2 ] 1–0
May-21-10  MagnusKandinsky: 7.Nbd2...White has a solid centre which allowed Stenintiz to storm on the kingside. This would not have happened if this foundation wasn't laid. Good reason for why to focus and control the Centre
May-21-10  MagnusKandinsky: 12.Ng5 played solely to defend e4 by freeing up f3. f7 and h7 are secondary points
Jan-18-11  Llawdogg: 27 Rxg6! is a fantastic move. Steinitz is amazing. Even in his later years he still had brilliant moves left in him.
Jul-26-13  ughaibu: How about 19...Ne6?
Jul-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ughaibu>
At first glance, 19...Ne6 20. Nf5 looks strong.
Jul-26-13  ughaibu: Right, but less so than in the game. I was thinking of something like 20.Nf5 gf5, 21.gf5 Nf4, 22.f6 Bf6, 23.d4 Ng6, etc.
Jul-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ughaibu> You're right. But, what if instead White plays similarly to the game, 19...Ne6 20. h5.
Jul-26-13  ughaibu: In that case, how about 20...Ng5, 21.Qg3 f5?
Jul-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ughaibu>
Sorry for the typo, I meant <20. g5> but <20. h5> is interesting too.

On 19...Ne6 20. g5, Black could try to grab the g-pawn with 20...hxg5 21. hxg5 Nxg5 22. Qg3, but White's attack looks too strong. Otherwise 20...h5 21. Nf5 is similar to the actual game.

As for 19...Ne6 <20. h5> Ng5 <21. Qg2> f5 22. hxg6 fxe4 23. Bb3+ Kh8 24. Nxe4 Nf3+ 25. Ke2. I don't see where Black goes from there.

Jul-27-13  ughaibu: Okay, but my aim is nothing more ambitious than to improve on Lasker's play(!), I'm not insisting on winning. In reply to g5, I think black should try an immediate f5. And in your second line, instead of Nf3, black can exchange knights followed by Bg6.
Apr-30-14  zanzibar: Black's 30th move (30...Qe5) was sealed, and the game adjourned.

White: 1hr 42m, Black: 1hr 35min

At game end,

White: 2hr 10m, Black: 2hr 5min

Source: New York Daily Tribune, 1894.03.20 (O'Keefe)

Mar-02-15  Smite: This game was worth the study and quite instructive.
Mar-02-15  Smite: Pun: Will I AM
Aug-27-18  EmanuelLasker: 21.Neg4!! would have been a brilliant continuation of the attack.
May-22-20  njuguna: cant blaim Steinitz for not playing 21. Neg4 thats a very has move to find cos there is no immediate knockout blow, 21. Nf5 is more logical cos it opens files to the king
Mar-03-22  Xeus445: Breathtaking game.Steinitz never touched his king In all the heat of battle. Shows how control of the center is key to attacking most times and even defending. Great kingplay albeit it never moved.
Feb-15-23  generror: The second game of this fascinating match, a much different beast the the first one, a tight positional struggle which Lasker won using his trademark "bad" moves which, magically, lead to his opponents making really bad moves.

Here Steinitz plays very aggressively, but his kingside pawn storm is somewhat premature and allows Lasker to equalize with <11...d5!>. If he had now continued with <13...h6>, he could have gotten a solid advantage, but his <14...dxe4?> is amazingly bad, giving Steinitz a nice open f-file which he immediately exploits to put even more pressure on his position with the beautiful <16.Qf3!>. Now <16...hxg5 17.hxg5 Nfd5 (17...Nh7?? 18.Nf5+−) 18.exd5 cxd5 19.Qh3 Rfe8> (D) would also have been playable according to Stockfish, but Lasker wasn't *that* bold, but in any case, his kingside is under strong pressure for the remainder of the game.

Steinitz continues to attack, but after <21.Nf5?> (<21.Neg4!>), Lasker misses <21...Ne6> which would have halted Steinitz' in a totally equal position. After <21...gxf5?!>, Lasker has to give his knight for two pawns to survive; and he could actually have survived if he had found <25...Bxd3!>, which would have given very good counterplay in form of two central connected passed pawns after <26.Bxd3 Rxd3 27.Nxd3 e4 28.Qg2 Nxd3+ 29.Kf1 f5 30.Bh6 Rf7 ⩲> (D).


click for larger view

It took me a while to understand the bizarre blunder <25...e4??>. I mean sure, even Lasker good overlook something and play badly, but a blunder like this? I'm pretty sure Lasker had hoped that Steinitz would follow his principles, not give him an open d-file and take with the knight, and then he would have been able to trade queens and greatly ease the pressure with <26.Nxe4 Bxe4 27.dxe4 Qh2! 28.Qg2 (Rg2 29.Qxh4+ ⩲) Qxg2 29.Rxg2 ⩲> (D).


click for larger view

But Steinitz must have smelled the rat -- this move is just too obviously bad not to be a trap; so he *does* take with the pawn, and rightly so, because the consequences are devastating -- after Steinitz' clever combination <27.Rxg6!>, he has two pieces and a pawn for his rook and is clearly winning, while Lasker's pieces are inactive and uncoordinated. Despite Lasker's best attempts, Steinitz drives his win home safely -- and deservedly, because after his 13th move on, even Stockfish has nothing to nag about his play.

So after two games, each of the two players had won once -- the perfect start for a World Championship match, don't you think? It was also interesting to realize once again that Lasker's "bad" always turn out to hide a neat little trap. But, as usual, in chess as in life, every strength can turn to a weakness. And here, his trap was much too clumsy to fool Steinitz, plus the risks he took with it were much too big. So yeah, <25...e4??> does indeed deserve every single of its question marks and no exclamation marks whatsoever. Maybe one in brackets, but I don't do that.

(Fine sometimes gave three exclamations marks, and at least once to a move to which Stockfish gave two question marks XD)

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