Pioneer27: I recently finished reading Cary Utterberg’s book on the famous De La Bourdonnais-McDonnell matches of 1834 and so I’ve moved onto another famous match in 1843 between Staunton & Saint-Amant. I like these old games.
As others have commented, this game definitely ended strangely. Why didn’t Staunton play 59. . . Rxg6 and stalemate White? I remember reading awhile back that sometimes a stalemate would be considered a win for the player who was stalemated. So I did a little research and here is what I found:
According to Davidson in A Short History of Chess (Ch. 8), there was a time in Europe when the result of a stalemate was in dispute. Quoting from his book:
“Consider the situation in which White is the ‘winning player’ in that he has many major pieces still on the board, while Black has only his King plus a few blocked pawns. In that situation, stalemate has at one time or another been:
1) A victory for White.
2) A victory for Black!
3) Disallowed entirely---creating a stalemate is illegal.
4) Black forfeits a move and White gets to play again.”
Davidson goes on to point out
that in Britain, # 2 was in vogue
perhaps into the mid 19th century. He does point out that in 1808, the London Chess Club’s official rules made stalemate a draw. And in Jacob Sarratt’s New Treatise on Chess (1828), p. 24 & 53, he recommended that a stalemate should be treated as a draw.
You would think that Staunton would have been aware of this, but perhaps . . . .
If Staunton was thinking a stalemate would be counted as a loss, I guess he just decided to lose in a different way. I, of course, don't know for sure. I was wondering if anyone else had any insight into this.