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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Louis Paulsen
"The Royal Stroll" (game of the day Mar-21-2007)
Baden-Baden (1870), Baden-Baden GER, rd 13, Jul-30
Vienna Game: Vienna Gambit. Steinitz Gambit Paulsen Defense (C25)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-21-07  micartouse: <Jaymthetactician> is right. It seems to me he's admitting that the king belongs in a castled position. The king stroll was begging for open lines, and Paulsen didn't oblige so the whole business leaves me with an unaesthetic dirty feeling.

Now the tactics of the game beginning with 21. b6! are really what I find beautiful.

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  keypusher: Here's another amazing king-walk that doesn't seem to have been posted to this page yet.

Chigorin vs H Caro, 1898

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  Gypsy: Tarrasch vs Reti, 1922
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  chancho: Paulsen must have been scratching his head and wondering how it was possible for Steinitz to play something like 5.Ke2 and get away with it.
Jan-05-09  WhiteRook48: the king is a fighting piece!
May-29-09  Fanacas: This is one of my faforit games i love the opening, and i always enjoy how steinits tried strange things like 3.f6 in the spanisch or his strange steinitz attack in the french.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <chancho: Paulsen must have been scratching his head and wondering how it was possible for Steinitz to play something like 5.Ke2 and get away with it.>

5.Ke2 is quite forced. The "weird" move is 4.d4 instead of natural 4.Nf3 but still it could not be any surprise for Paulsen here as this "Steinitz Gambit" was no novelty in this game. Also it should be mentioned here that this line has purely positional reasoning in classical sense and it was no odd psychological trick or risky adventurous sideline for Steinitz. Steinitz thought that control of centre in the opening (with Pawns if possible) is the most important factor which can produce significant or even decisive advantage and he was ready to sac a Pawn or castling for that without hesitation. And it worked for him in this line quite well. Only much later it was established by deep analysis and long practice that with optimal play white must fight for equality in this line instead of having positional advantage but even today it is possible to play it with success against unprepared opponent. In 1870 it was quite respectable opening though there were not much eager followers of Steinitz then as it was a bit too nonconforming. But other players like Chigorin or Charousek used it as well occasionally.

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  chancho: Thanks <Honza>.
Sep-18-09  WhiteRook48: 4 d4 the theoretical novelty
Apr-24-10  ariel el luchador: Steinitz jugó bárbaro,pero paulsen no entiendía que jugaba es un desproposito que se hayan ganado partidas con el gambito Steinitz.
Aug-26-10  Garech: I agree, a beautiful game from Steinitz. Not only for the king-aggressive opening which won him his beloved bishop pair but also the middlegame attack - 21. b6! deserves an exclamation mark. If black plays ...cxb6 then 22. Rxf6! is completely winning as if black answers with Qxf6 next comes Nd5! And black will have to give up his queen in order to stop himself from being mated via Qc3+ and white capturing the rook on d8 a couple of moves later with mate. However, Steinitz blundered, effectively, in the game contination after 21. ... axb6 with Rxf6 - although the exchange sac is strong and leads to very active play, the position is made equal. Much stronger was 22. a5! and white has a very promising position. 25. f5?? was almost certainly the decisive mistake. A better defence was b5, although the position is still good for white. Black had made several innaccurate moves by that stage anyway (most notably 24. Qg7 - h8 was the correct, albeit passive, square for the queen) and allowed Steinitz to gain a second advantage, after losing the first. From move 25 onwards Steinitz attacked mercilessly and accurately: 26. axb6 was very nice, leaving his bishop to hang in order to generate a game-ending attack: if 26 ... fxg4 next would come Ra8+! Kxa8 Qa5+ Kb8 bxc7+ forcing Qxc7 to avoid mate and now Qxc7+ Ka8 Qxd8+ and it's all over. 27. Nxb6 also was great, once again letting the g4 bishop fall but this time for a mating attack. If 27 ... fxg4 now Ra8+ Kc7 Qc3+ Kxb6 Qa5+ Kc6 d5+ Kd7 Qxd8+ - all forced. 29. f6 wasn't anywhere near as strong as Ra8+ but by that stage white is completely winning anyway and there are many paths to victory. 32. Nd5 effectively wins the black queen but misses a mate in 5: Qa8+ Kc7 Qa5 and black has 5 legal moves but all of them result in mate in 3 e.g. Kb8 Nd5 and there is no way to defend both the mate on a8 and the rook on d8, which will be captured with mate. All in all a powerful game from I think a somewhat under-appreciated ex-world champion. Fischer was one of his greatest admirers and it's easy to see why - he had a very original and deep style. Kudos!
Sep-22-10  sevenseaman: Such beauties do not appear ever so often; when they do they leave you sated.
Nov-06-10  WhiteRook48: to pin or not to pin
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I would call this something really original and creative like: "Gee whiz! My King goes for a walk!"

John D. (e-mail) Did not check this with Fritz, but 26...c6; looks to be refuted by 27.Ra8+! Yes, I agree, its a cool game, and that Steinitz was vastly beyond his contemporaries. (good stuff, thnks for the note)

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  LIFE Master AJ: No - I am pretty sure that I never commented on this game (here) before ... check the earlier comments.
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  LIFE Master AJ: 03:55 AM; Sunday / August 14th, 2011

I think I once saw this book in a game somewhere. However, after hunting for many hours, I had to give up, I did not find it. (It was an older book. I was thinking a book of great games by Reinfeld or Horowitz, but I find I no longer have it.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Reinfeld:


Jun-13-12  andyatchess: Love the pun "The Royal Stroll"
Jun-12-13  whiteshark: <Vienna Game: Vienna Gambit. Steinitz Gambit Paulsen Defense>

Someone dilly-dallied over the choice of the opening name.

Jul-22-13  Chessman1504: Great game by Steinitz! Especially with the active King! I think he, Karpov, and Petrosian had particularly active kings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Castling by hand, Steinitz method.
May-19-20  MrCalculater: <Vienna Game: Vienna Gambit. Steinitz Gambit Paulsen Defense> Steinitz gambit Paulsen defense? Both player used their opening!
Jan-07-21  ZoneChess: A Bongcloud forerunner? Apparently 29. f6 was a bad move because it would have been mate in 9.
Jul-18-21  Stolzenberg: Position after <20. ... Rg8>: 5 black pieces concentrated at the kingside left their king in the lurch.
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  Art2000F: Notes From "Chess Strategy & Tactics ~ Fifty Master Games Selected and Annotated" by Fred Reinfeld and Irving Chernev:

after 5 K-K2 .... This famous gambit is the outstanding example of Steinitz's fondness for the maxim "The King is a fighting Piece." It may also be that he adopted the opening as a way of showing contempt for the headlong attacks indulged in by his contemporaries.

after 8 K-K2! .... "Merely" threatening to win a piece.

after 11 KxB! .... "My King likes to go for a walk!" Doubtless this move came as a surprise to Paulsen.

after 18 K-Kt Q-Kt2 The results of White's strategy may be summed up now: Black's attack -- such as it was -- has been beaten off, White's King -- despite all his peregrinations -- is safely castled, he has a strong center and his pieces are well posted for vigorous action on either side of the board.


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