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Preston Ware vs James Glover Grundy
"Dirty Lowdown Trick" (game of the day Apr-01-2016)
5th American Chess Congress (1880), Manhattan, New York USA, rd 9, Jan-26
Queen Pawn Game: Levitsky Attack (D00)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-06-04  capanegra: In an article called "Cheating at Chess", Frank Rhoden told an incredible story about this game (extracted from the book "Chess treasury of the air" by Terence Tiller). In the tournament book of The Fifth American Chess Congress, published in 1881, Charles Gilberg wrote:

"We wish we could draw a veil over the lamentable portion of the history of this tournament that now remains to be related; or, let us rather say, that we wish that moral rectitude and incorruptibility would have spared us the painful duty of referring to an episode which cast a pall over an event that had every promise of terminating under the happiest auspices."

The story goes that, with the last round to be played, the leading scores were: James Glover Grundy 12.5, Preston Ware 12.5, Charles Moehle 12.5 and George Henry Mackenzie 12.5. So, the distribution of $1,000 prize money and a gold medal, depended on the final games. There was plenty of excitement, spectators mounted on chairs struggling to catch a glimpse of the boards over the heads of dense throng that surrounded the players, representatives from every daily paper in the city, and agents of the Associated Press waiting to dispatch the news of the result all over the country.

Mackenzie won his game (E Delmar vs Mackenzie, 1880) and scored 13.5; then Moehle drew (C Moehle vs M Judd, 1880) and scored 13 points. But Grundy's game with Ware lingered on; though it appeared, at the end of the afternoon's play, that Ware had a certain win. Unaccountably to the onlookers, when the players resumed in the evening, Ware played what are described as 'some apparently purposeless moves', and Grundy scored a lucky point to tie Captain Mackenzie for first and second prices.

A two-game play off was arranged; but, before it began, Ware made a written complaint to the congress committee. The document begins intriguingly enough: "As I was walking down the Bowery with Mr Grundy, on Sunday 25 January, he remarked that he was poor and really needed the second prize."

Ware alleged that Grundy had offered him $20 to play for a draw. He admitted that he had fallen in with the plan and that, even with a won game, he merely –in his own words- 'moved back and forward as agreed'. It must have been a shock for him when he observed that 'Grundy was making desperate efforts to win, and finally did so, perpetrating an infamous fraud on me'.

Rhoden cited this as the only recorded double-cross in chess history!! The committee couldn't do nothing about unsupported allegations, and conceded to Grundy the benefit of a technical doubt. To round off the story, Grundy lost the play-off 2-0 (J Grundy vs Mackenzie, 1880; Mackenzie vs J Grundy, 1880) and had to be content with the $300 second prize.

Now, the remaining question is: at what point Wade, who had a better game, started to make those 'some apparently purposeless moves'? I think it was from move 20 to 23, when he lost precious time moving his Queen from d2 to e2. Meanwhile, Grundy prepared a bayonet attack with his pawns over the King side and turned the contest into his favor.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: A most fascinating story <capanegra>. Thx.
Jul-06-04  ughaibu: It seems from the account that the suspect moves were after the adjournment and after both the other games had finished. The longer of the other games is 79 moves so it must have been much later than move 23.
Jul-06-04  jaime gallegos: even in move 37. Rd8 won
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <   ughaibu: It seems from the account that the suspect moves were after the adjournment <and after both the other games had finished.> > One could get such an impression first, but, on second reading, that is not clear at all. I'd realy like to know what were the rules. It seems that the games got interupted for a dinner break. The schedule probably required more than 1 game/day, so the adjourment for dinner could very well have been after the time control corresponding to move 20 (or 18 or something like that).
Jul-06-04  ughaibu: Gypsy: after an even closer look the conversation is alleged to have taken place on the day before the game, (I had assumed it took place during the adjournment) so the length of the games isn't important. Still, the remark about meaningless moves after the break is puzzling.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: I was trying to track down where I saw a note about typical time controls of the (actually later, ~1900) era. But, so far, I failed to loccate the right page or game. It was common to play more than 1 game/day though; for instance Hilvesum 1903 was played at 1.5 games/day.
Jul-06-04  ughaibu: The time controls are given in Lasker's book of Saint Petersburg 1909, I dont remember but I think I was surprised by them.
Jul-06-04  capanegra: <ughaibu<after an even closer look the conversation is alleged to have taken place on the day before the game>> Correct. According to Ware, the conversation had taken place on January 25, while the game was played on January 26, this is, the day after.

As for Ware's "purposeless moves after the resumption in the evening", maybe is just as <Gypsy> said –interruption for a dinner brake at move 20-, or maybe the story isn't accurate enough, and Ware started the deal before the break. On the other hand, do you find any strange behavior on Ware's moves besides his Queen dance from 20 to 23?

Jul-06-04  ughaibu: I thought they both played as if they were unsure about whether or not to go for repetition at the point you mentioned, otherwise I found it an interesting and close fought game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: We should also look for rational ways to increase the positional bind White seems to enjoy. A possible escalation could go along these lines:

I. 21.Ne2 g5 22.Qd4 Be7 23.c4 Rd8 24.Qc3

II. 21.Ne2 Be7 22.c4 Rd8 23.Qc3

III. 21.Ne2 Be7 22.c4 Qxc4 23.Qe7+ Kf8 24.Qxb7 Qc8 25.Rd7 Qxb7 26.Rxb7

It seems close to overhelming. White can also pursue a less comiting, more methodical buildup. After

IV. 21.Ne2 Be7 22.c3

White will enjoy a great coordination of all his piecess and mobile Q-side majority. Finally, there are other good moves for White besides 21.Ne2.

Feb-17-05  Hinchliffe: <crafty> <ughaibu> <gypsy> Guys as I know you areboth familar with this game I was wondering if you could cast your computer skills over the following please. Sorry haven't got the computer facilities myself yet. 42.Rf6+ .QxR. 43.BxQ (Kxb) 44.Q xf4 ... I realise the threat black is imposing but I was just curious if this line would lead to a winning position. Thanks guys.
Feb-17-05  Cyphelium: <Hinchcliffe> Possibly black should try 42. ♖f6+ ♕xf6 43. ♗xf6 ♖xg2+!? 44. ♔f1 e3. Now there are two alternatives:

45. ♕a2+ ♔xf6 46. ♕b2+ ♔f5 looks very difficult for white. Black will play ♖xf2+ and h3-h2. It seems like he'll escape from all checks.

45. ♕d8 ♖xf2+ 46. ♔e1 h2 and now the checks end after 47. ♕e7+ ♔g6 48. ♕g7+ ♔f5 49. ♕g5+ ♔e4 50. ♕e5+ ♔f3 51. ♕xh5+ ♔g2 52. ♕g4+ ♔h1. This rather unusual position looks winning for black in view of threats like f4-f3 , ♖g2, ♔g1 etc.

Feb-17-05  Hinchliffe: <Cyphelium> Thanks for your suggestions.I am just playing through them at the moment...wishing , of course, I was back in Sweden which I am missing so very much.
Feb-17-05  Cyphelium: <Hinchcliffe> I have to correct myself before you do. After 42. ♖f6+ ♕xf6 43. ♗xf6 ♖xg2+ 44. ♔f1 e3 45. ♕d8, the simplest is of course 45.- ♗b5+ 46. ♔e1 exf2+ 47. ♔d2 f1♕+ etc.

Also, the line I gave doesn't work. After 45. ♕d8 ♖xf2+? 46. ♔e1 h2 47. ♕e7+....(etc until) 52.- ♔h1, white plays 53. ♗h4, which is troublesome for black, for example 53.- ♖g2 54. ♕xf4 ♗b5 55. ♕f3, when black soon will run out of moves. Perhaps he can hold the draw somehow, but it's not that relevant when the alternative is clearly winning.

Feb-19-05  Hinchliffe: <Cyphelium>
Just played through your work.Thank you but I think you missed a quicker mate. 42. Rf6+...QxR 43.BxQ...Rxg2+ 44.Kf1....e3 45.Qd8...Bb5 46.Ke1...Rg1++. Thank you Cyphelium for doing the hard work and for showing just why it was wrong to be tempted by a quick queen grab.
Feb-19-05  misguidedaggression: What about move 44? Bf6+ seems stronger as 44...Kh6 is forced. Now instead of 45.Qxg8? Qb1+ (helpmate: 45...exf2+ 46.Kh2 fxg3+ 47.Kxg3 f1=N#) 46.Kh2 Qh1# white plays 45.Be5+ Kh7 46.Bxf4 (46...Qxf4? 47.Qxg8+ Kxg8 48.gxf4 e2 49.Re6 Bf3 50.Kh2 with a won endgame.)
Feb-19-05  Hinchliffe: <misguidedaggression> are you quite sure you haven't misguided your comments to the wrong game?
Feb-19-05  misguidedaggression: I'm talking about move 44 in the actual game, I think you've established that white can't fork the king and queen on move 42. It looked like white had something stronger on move 44 but it wasn't as strong as it looked at first glance. It was interesting, though, and I decided to post it.
Feb-19-05  aw1988: [Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2005.02.19"]
[Round "?"]
[White "New game"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6r1/1p4k1/p1bR4/2P2q1p/1P3p1B/P3p1Pp/Q4P2/6K1 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "8"]

1. Bf6+ Qxf6 $3 (1... Kh7 2. Qf7+ Kh6 3. Bg5+ Kxg5 4. Qxg8+ Qg6 5. Qxg6#) (1... Kf8 2. Rd8+ Be8 3. Rxe8+ Kxe8 4. Qxg8+ Kd7 5. Qd8+ Kc6 6. fxe3 (6. Qd6+ $4 Kb5 $11)) (1... Kh6 2. Bg5+ Kg7 (2... Kh7 3. Rh6+ Kg7 4. Qb2+ Kf8 (4... Kf7 5. Rf6+ ) 5. Rf6+) (2... Kh7 3. Rh6+ Kg7 4. Qb2+ Kf8 (4... Kf7 5. Rf6+ Ke8 6. Rxf5) ( 4... Kf7 5. Rf6+ Ke8 6. Rxf5)) 3. Qb2+ Kh7 (3... Kf8 4. Rf6+ Ke8 5. Rxf5 Kd7 6. Rf7+ Kc8 7. Qe5 exf2+ 8. Kxf2 fxg3+ 9. Qxg3 Bd7 10. Qd6 Rd8 11. Bxd8 h2 12. Qc7# (12. Qxd7+ Kb8 13. Qxb7#)) 4. Rh6#) 2. Rxf6 Kxf6 3. Qxg8 exf2+ (3... e2) 4. Kxf2 h2 $11 *

Feb-19-05  aw1988: Note that's 1...Qxf6!! and 6. Qd6+??.
Feb-19-05  aw1988: fxe3 in the game loses terribly after fxg3, so it looks like Bf6+ is the best move.
Feb-19-05  aw1988: Also note 3...e2?? is bad, I simply forgot to mark it as such. I think that's it.
Feb-21-05  Hinchliffe: <misguidedaggression> Now I see what you mean. As you say rather interesting as you say. Glad we cleared up the mystery (me being stupid I fear) as I enjoy following up the opportunities spotted by us outsiders. Nice one.
Feb-23-05  misguidedaggression: My fault, It did look like I was responding to the 42.Rf6 line. I should have cleared that up. Also aw1988's Queen sac looks like it causes trouble, and white may have to settle for a perpetual check. However instead of taking the rook on move 47(3) white may be able to play 47.Kh2 and start picking off the advanced Kingside pawns. Note how after 47...h4!? the rook is en prise because of 48.Qxg8 exf2 49.Qf8+ followed by Qxf4 and Qxf2 or 48...e2 49.Qf8+ Ke6 50.Qd6+ Kf7 51.Qxf4+ followed by Qe3.
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