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Isidor Gunsberg vs Mikhail Chigorin
"Ghost in the Machine" (game of the day Jul-12-2005)
Casual game (1883), London ENG, Apr-21
Vienna Game: Vienna Gambit. Hamppe-Allgaier-Thorold Gambit (C25)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member Isidor Gunsberg is generally believed to be the brains behind the "automaton" called Mephisto.
Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: Did Mephisto ever play The Turk?
Jul-12-05  InitiativeCheck: Cool name for a chess computer.
Jul-12-05  Autoreparaturwerkbau: Chess computer in the year 1883? England must have been way ahead in science against the rest of the world!
Jul-12-05  crumpy: <Whitehat1963> No it didn't play The Turk. In fact, it only played three people. They are:

1. Mephisto vs Beardswell
2. Mephisto vs Marriott
3. Mephisto vs Chigorin

Jul-12-05  farrooj: What is this variation called?
Jul-12-05  jamesmaskell: Just checking my CM 10th Edition... The Greco Gambit (3. f4). Prior to that its plain old Vienna.
Jul-12-05  farrooj: this must be a transposition of the king's gambit no?
Jul-12-05  jamesmaskell: I would guess it is...the computer doesnt identify it as transposed though. It just says Greco.
Jul-12-05  zarra: It's not a transposition. The idea in the Vienna Game is that 2.Nc3 doesn't block the f-pawn so that it can be pushed out later as in the King's Gambit.
Jul-12-05  Knight13: Gunsberg, huh. Gunsberg beats Chigorin!? Jeesh. Unbelievable, man. I though Chigorin was stronger than Gunsberg. "Mind-trick?"...... Nahh.
Jul-12-05  Knight13: *Mikhail Chigorin beat Isidor Gunsberg 13 to 10, with 5 draws.* So Gunsberg beating Chigorin ain't that impressive, huh.
Jul-12-05  Catfriend: Also, I think Chigorin didn't really believe the "weird contraption" can make him work hard, so perhaps he didn't play at full strength.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: 23.............Re8?????
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Here's an analysis, using the Opening Explorer and Fritz 8:

<1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 exf4 4. Nf3 g5 5. h4 g4 6. Ng5 h6?!> Better is 6...d6 with advantage to Black as in R Forster vs Z Almasi, 1995, S Swanson vs C Kennaugh, 1995, A Brenke vs T Halasz, 1990 or R Fleming vs Steinitz, 1893. In fact, Black has won all Master level games in which 6...d6! was played in this position per the Opening Explorer. <7. Nxf7 Kxf7 8. d4?!> Better is 8. Bc4+ . <8...f3?!> Instead, Black should play 8...d6! 9. Bxf4 Nf6 with a winning advantage. <9. gxf3 Be7 10. Bc4+ Kg7 11. Be3 Bxh4+ 12. Kd2 d5?!> This opens it up a bit too much. Better is 12...d6 , maintaining a Black advantage. <13. exd5> Relatively better is 13. Bxd5 . <13...Na5 14. Bd3 Be7?! 15. fxg4 Nf6 16. Bxh6+ Rxh6 17. g5 Rxh1 18. Qxh1 Qh8 ?!> This gives White too much of an advantage. Instead, Black should play 18... Nc4+ 19. Bxc4 Ng4 20. Ne4 b5 21. g6 Kxg6 22. Bd3 Bf5 with only a slight White advantage. <19. gxf6+ Bxf6 20. Rg1+ Kf7 21. Qe4 Qh6+ 22. Kd1 Bd7 23. b4> Attacking and winning the trapped Knight. <23...Re8> Apparently, no help is 23...Rg8 24. Rh1 Qg5 25. bxa5 Qg3 26. a6 b6 27. Rf1 Qg5 28. Qe5 <24. Qg6+> With this blow, Black is clearly lost. <24...Qxg6 25. Bxg6+ Kf8 26. Bxe8 Bxe8 27. Rf1 Ke7 28. d6+ cxd6 29. Nd5+ Kd8 30. Nxf6 1-0>

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: If White tries to save the trapped Knight with 22...b6, he gets mated after 23. b4! Nb7 24. d6 cxd6 25. Bc4+ d5 26. Bxd5+ Be6 27. Qxe6+ Kf8 28. Rg8#
Jul-28-10  TheTamale: LOL... If I'm Chigorin, I don't go near this thing. If I lose, I lose to a mechanical box. If I win, well... then I just beat a mechanical box. Lose/lose.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: On June 9th, 1882, Gunsberg took over writing the chess column in the weekly magazine <Knowledge> using the pen-name of Mephisto. Even after his association with Gumpel ended in December, 1882, Gunsberg would continue to use the Mephisto name in writing that chess column and in promoting his own chess activities, including printing games played without the automaton's involvement as being played by Mephisto (true in spirit, but false materially).

This game was not played by the automaton Mephisto, but rather by Gunsberg at the Divan, sitting across the board from Chigorin. Gunsberg printed this game under the Mephisto name in <Knowledge>, 27 April 1883, p256. Gunsberg also printed games he played while giving simultaneous exhibitions as being played by Mephisto, but I don't think anyone would believe that Gumpel's automaton was capable of walking around the room giving an exhibition of simultaneous play.

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