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Simon Winawer vs Wilhelm Steinitz
"Simon Says: Resign" (game of the day Feb-18-2017)
Nuremberg (1896), Nuremberg GER, rd 12, Aug-01
Center Game: Berger Variation (C22)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-07-04  Whitehat1963: Winawer quickly whips the former world champion using the opening of the day.
Jan-03-05  percyblakeney: 17. ... Rxe4 18. Nxe4 Ne5 would have saved Steinitz.
Apr-26-05  YouRang: For us novices: White's threat is Rxh6+. After gxh6 comes Qxh6#. Black doesn't have any good way to parry this threat.
Apr-26-05  aw1988: <percyblakeney> Very well spotted.
Nov-26-09  pierrepoint12: Wonderful!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Znosko-Borovsky, in How to Play the Chess Openings, calls 8...Bxc3 a trap and says do not win the pawn with this move. He stops analysis on White's 14th move, (14.h4), citing this game, saying that White obtains a strong attack. But after 17...Rxe4! (not 17...f6?? as in the game) 18.Nxe4 Ne5 (to prevent 19.Qxh6+!) 19.Rd1 (19.Nxd6 Qxd6 20.Bxe5 Qc6) Bxe4 20.Bxe5 Bh7 is equal. After 7...Re8, Znosko-Borovsky recommends 8....Ne5, but no further analysis. After 9.Bb3, perhaps 9...c6 and 10...b5.
Mar-05-13  mertangili: I couldn't figure out white's reply to 9...Rxe4 attacking queen and white square bishop, any ideas?
Mar-05-13  thomastonk: <mertangili> That's quit simple: 9.. ♖xe4?? 10.♗xf6 . Neither 10.. ♖xe3 11.♗xd8 nor 10.. ♕xf6 11.♕xe4 nor 10.. ♕e8 11.♕g3 can help.
Mar-06-13  mertangili: <thomastonk> Yes, very simple indeed. I guess I suffered from chess blindness yesterday. Thanks.
Mar-06-13  thomastonk: <mertangili> You know Dr. Tarrasch's saying about chess blindness: "This disease seeks its victims especially among the masters of the game, whereas ..."
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <mertangili: <thomastonk> Yes, very simple indeed. I guess I suffered from chess blindness yesterday....>

We have all been there.

<thomastonk: <mertangili> You know Dr. Tarrasch's saying about chess blindness: "This disease seeks its victims especially among the masters of the game...">

And more than once, the malady did find a victim in your humble poster.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <percyblakeney: 17. ... Rxe4 18. Nxe4 Ne5 would have saved Steinitz.>

And that shows that Steinitz was right to grab that pawn at move 9. It looked dangerous, but he knew what he was doing.

Feb-18-17  Steve.Patzer: All I can say is wow.
Feb-18-17  morfishine: One of Steinitz's worst games thats way too low in quality for GOTD

Not even close


Feb-18-17  ChessHigherCat: Just as a side note, even if white had played 19. Qxg5, black couldn't accept the Q sacrifice with hxg5 because of 20. hxg#
Feb-18-17  RandomVisitor: After 8.Bc4 the questions surrounding 8...Bxc3 need to address 8...d6 which is possibly the better move:

click for larger view


<-0.28/37 8...d6 9.Nf3 Be6 10.Bxe6 Rxe6 11.Ng5> Re8 12.f3 h6 13.Nh3 Ne5 14.Qe2 c6 15.Nf2 b5 16.Nd3 Nxd3+ 17.Qxd3 Bc5 18.Kb1 Qb6 19.Rhe1 Rad8 20.a3 Nd7 21.f4 a5 22.Qf3 Qb7 23.f5 b4 24.axb4 axb4 25.Na4 Qa7 26.b3 Nf6 27.h3 d5 28.Nxc5 Qxc5 29.exd5 Nxd5 30.Qd3

Feb-18-17  RandomVisitor: After 8...Bxc3 neither side apparently can force an advantage:

click for larger view


<0.00/45 9.Bxc3 Nxe4 10.Qf4 Nf6 11.Nh3 d6 12.Ng5 Be6 13.Nxe6> fxe6 14.Rhe1 d5 15.Qg5 h6 16.Qg6 Ne7 17.Qg3 Nf5 18.Qg6 Nh4 19.Qg3 Nf5

Premium Chessgames Member
  naresb: After 12. Ng5 White used his space advantage to increase qualitative value of his pieces.
Feb-19-17  RandomVisitor: After 3...Nc6 computers do not like white's position very much:

click for larger view


<-0.14/38 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.Bd3> Bb4+ 6.c3 Ba5 7.Nf3 0-0 8.0-0 Bb6 9.Qf4 d6 10.Na3 a6 11.h3 Be6 12.Nc2 Re8 13.Re1 Ne5 14.Nxe5 dxe5 15.Qf3 Qe7 16.Be3 Bxe3 17.Nxe3 Qc5 18.Qd1 Rad8 19.Qc2 Qc6 20.b4 h6 21.Rad1 Nh5 22.c4 Nf4 23.Nd5 b6 24.Nxf4 exf4 25.Be2 f6

-0.17/38 4.Qd3 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bc5 6.Qg3 Nb4 7.Bd3 d5 8.Nf3 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxd3+ 10.cxd3 Bb4+ 11.Bd2 Bxd2+ 12.Nfxd2 0-0 13.0-0 Nd5 14.Nc3 b6 15.Nxd5 Qxd5 16.Qxc7 Bb7 17.Qg3 Rad8 18.Rac1 Qxd3 19.Nc4 Qd4 20.Qa3 a6 21.Ne3 Rfe8 22.Qc3 Qxc3 23.Rxc3 Be4 24.Re1 b5 25.f3 Bg6 26.Rc6 Rd2 27.Rxa6 Rxb2

-0.23/38 4.Qc4 Nf6 5.a3 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Nc3 Be6 8.Nxd5 Bxd5 9.Qe2+ Qe7 10.Qxe7+ Bxe7 11.Bf4 0-0-0 12.0-0-0 h6 13.Ne2 Be6 14.Rxd8+ Rxd8 15.Be3 Ne5 16.Nf4 Bc4 17.Bxc4 Nxc4 18.Nd3 Bf6 19.Re1 Re8 20.c3 Nxe3 21.fxe3 Bg5 22.Kd2 g6 23.g3 h5 24.Nf4 c6 25.Rd1 Rd8+ 26.Nd3 Kc7 27.Ke2 Re8 28.Nf4 Re5

-0.29/38 4.Qa4 Bc5 5.Nf3 d6 6.c3 Nf6 7.Bd3 Qe7 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.0-0 a5 10.Qc2 h6 11.h3 Ne5 12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.Nf3 b6 14.Qe2 Bb7 15.Be3 Rfe8 16.Bxc5 Qxc5 17.Rfe1 Rad8 18.Qe3 Qxe3 19.Rxe3 Bc6 20.g4 g6 21.Kg2 Kg7 22.Rae1 Rd6 23.Bc4 b5 24.Bd3

Feb-23-17  biffrod: To me, it's nice the way this game plays out at the end - I find it entertaining. At the risk of being too obvious, is it fair to say that playing standards were lower back then, so you could see sharp, speculative, risky stuff that you would never see now? I like to look at those old games (Zukertort, Chigorin, etc.) For example, could you say 14. h4 was a speculative sacrifice offering of the white knight typical of the era? Let's say Steinitz decided to accept it. Here's a continuation I found with Stockfish: 14. . .hxg5 15. hxg5 Ng4 16. f3 Nge5 17. Be4 Ng6 18. Bxg6 fxg6 19. Rh2 d5 20. Rdh1 Bf5 21. g4 Qd6 22. Qxd6 cxd6 23. gxf5 gxf5 24. g6 Kf8 25. Rh5 d4 26. Rxf5+ Kg8 27. Rfh5 Kf8 28. Be1 Ne5 29. Bb4 Nxg6 30. Rd5 Rad8 31. Bxd6+ Ne7 32. Rxd4 Kf7 33. Rf4+ Kg8 34. Rd1 Nc6 35. b3 Rd7

click for larger view

White is a pawn up for the end game, with bishop vs. knight, and seems to have the better position. So the way the game actually ended was more interesting to me than this.

Premium Chessgames Member
  naresb: 9. BxBc3 goes defender of king side dark squares and offers double Bishop advantage to White.

15. Bh7+ checks Black king and opens up 'd' file for White Rook to attack Black's king side Knight 'Nd5'.

16. RxNd5 goes another defender of Black king side.

18. BxBd5 goes one more defender of Black's light squares around King side.

It happened 4 years earlier to Steinitz's death, towards later part of his chess career. On a bad day, such a carnage could happen to any body.

Apr-20-17  hudapri: As Ben Finegold would say, never play f6. 17... Rxe4 as percyblakeney says. Also I think the knight sacrifice is sound. After 14... hxg5 15. hxg5 Ng4 (only moves) 16. f3...

A) 16... Nf2? 17. Qh4 Kf8 18. Bf6! (other moves also win)

B) 16... Nge5 17. Be4 (idea is to conserve this valuable bishop as it is hanging with check.) Now...

A) 17... Ng6 Doubtful as this weakens . 18. Bxg6 fxg6 19. Rh2! (Qh4 only leads to draw perhaps) Rf8 20. Qh4 with Bxg7, Bf6, Re1 to follow. 19... d5 leads to a tough endgame as shown above.

B) 17... f6! A cold blooded Steinitz defense. 18. Qh4 fxg5 19. Qh7 Kf7 20. Bxc6! Rh8! Leading to an endgame which has better drawing chances than the other.

Mar-23-20  N.O.F. NAJDORF: A great game by Szymon Winawer.

I did see moves 12 to 16 almost instantly, but I think it could be because the ideas are now so well-known.

In my opinion, the Winawer Variation of the French Defence is the most ingenious defence of all, with the possible exception of the Marshall Attack.

Sep-18-22  thom0909: After 17...Rxe4, I think then Nxf7+ Bxf7, Qxe4. Still good for Black, but better for White than Nxe4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nizmo11: According Bogdanovich the variant <wwall> mentions below occurred in the game <Pigunov - S.Salov, Baku 1955> this continued 17...Rxe4! 18. Nxe4 Ne5! 19. Nxd6 Qxd6 20. Bxe5 Qc6 21. Rd1 f6, and now instead of 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Qxh6+ with perpetual, white played 22. Bxc7 and eventually lost (<Lissosowski, Bogdanovich, The Wizard of Warsaw>, p 257).
As a curiosity, Chess365 has a game played exactly 100 years after Winawer-Steinitz, the continuation was no improvement on Steinitz: 17. Be4 Rxe4 18. Nxe4 Bxe4 19. Qxh6+ 1-0 (Josef Strejc- M,Beil, CZE-ch1 U14, 1996)

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