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George Hatfeild Gossip vs Ellen E Gilbert
"Mate in 35" (game of the day May-03-2004)
US-Britain corr. match (1879) (correspondence)
Spanish Game: Open Variations. Friess Attack (C80)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-03-04  Vischer: still, in tamar's variation 46.e6 is still probably winning for black, but I don't know if it's still mate in 35
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Vischer> Those moves are actually from Steinitz. Whether he is using Ellen Gilbert's variation, I don't know. I would assume when you send a postcard with "Mate in 35" on it, you include some moves!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I see now. Thank you <Lawrence> It is her 35 move variation, presented and approved by Steinitz. Not bad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: This is the line (in English speaking notation) given by Steinitz as Mrs Gilbert's analysis :

42. e4 <g5> 43.hxg5 hxg5 44.Bd8 Kf4 45.e5 g4 46.Bc7 g3 47.e6+ Kf3 48.Be5 g2 49.Bd4 Ke2 50.e7 Kf1 51.Kc3 g1Q 52.Bxg1 Kxg1 53.Kd3 Kf2 54.Kd2 Kf3 55.Kd3 Kf4 56.Kc4 Ke5 57.Kb4 Ke6 58.Kc4 Kxe7 59.Kb4 Ke6 60.Kc4 Ke5 61.Kc3 Ke4 62.Kc4 Ke3 63.Kc3 Ke2 64.Kb4 Kd2 65.Ka3 Kc2 66.Kb4 Kxb2 67.Ka5 a3 68.Kb6 a2 69.Kxc6 a1Q 70.Kd7 Ka3 71.c6 b2 72.c7 b1Q 73.c8Q Qd4+ 74.Ke7 Qh7+ 75.Ke6 Qg6+ 76.Ke7 Qd6#

This is an endgame dominated by static factors, the passed g pawn and the threat of a breakthrough by black's a pawn which limits the manoeuverability of White's King. It seems that Mrs Gilbert did analyse it all out, anyway whatever she wrote it convinced Mr Gossip.

<Vischer> Your line <46.e6> does not seem to hold due to the a3 threat:

46...<g3> 47.Bxc7+ Kf3 48.e7 g2 49.Bh2 Ke4 50.Kc4 Kf5 51.Bg1 (51.Kd4 a3!) 51...Kf6 52.e8Q Bxe8 53.Bh2 Kf5 54.Bg1 Ke4 55.Kc3 Bc6 56.Kd2 Kf3 57.Bd4 (57.Ke1 a3!) 57...Be4 58.Kc3 Ke2 59.Kb4 Bc6 60.Kc4 Kf1 61.Be3 g1Q 62.Bxg1 Kxg1 63.Kc3 Kf2 64.Kd2 Be4 65.Kc1 Ke3 66.Kd1 a3 67.bxa3 b2 68.c6 b1Q#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: I believe that she did analyze it all out as it is quite linear. Looking at my second posting above, the analysis is the same until:

70.Kb7 Ka3 71.Kc8 Qf6 72.Kc7 Qe7+ 73.Kb6 b2 74.c6 b1Q+ 75.Ka6 Qc5 <76.c7 Qbb6#>

Mrs Gilbert preferred:

<70.Kd7> Ka3 71.c6 b2 72.c7 b1Q 73.c8Q Qd4+ 74.Ke7 Qh7+ 75.Ke6 Qg6+ <76.Ke7 Qd6#>

I really admire her play in the game. She knew exactly what she was doing, and thus, was not afraid to castle Q-side. Her play was sharp and bright, for instance <36...Bb5!!> and if 37.Kxb5 a! 38.bxa3 b2 39.Kc6 b1Q 40.Kxc7 Ke6

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <chessgames> Can you add the moves for the announced mate to the annotation box? See Chessical's posts and previous ones about Steinitz's column giving the mate. Also, I believe Gossip's second name is "Hatfield", not "Hatfeild" Eugene Cook's correspondence with him, found at has his full name George Hatfield Dingley Gossip. And other historical sites give Hatfield as well.
May-03-04  TrueFiendish: Lawrence: I read that page on Gossip but I didn't find a rebuttal of the paste diamond thing. I appreciate that perhaps commentators have been ruthless in the past; I just remember a game in Reinfeld's "A Treasury of British Chess Masterpieces" (a more pompous tome you will not find) in which a Gossip "brilliancy" was given as a real game (with tiresome platitudes such as "every dog has his day"). Unfortunately I can't remember the opponent's name. If that game, where white inexplicably makes several pointless queen moves at the crucial moment, is real, I will eat my hat. The combo was a nice one, but it looked made up too.
May-04-04  Jim Bartle: I may be mistaken--maybe it's all forced?--but if she sent all the analysis along with the claim of mate that must have been one looong letter, assuming it included all possible variations.
May-04-04  Lawrence: <TF>, see Edward Winter's Chess Notes 3241 and 3245 The 1992 "Oxf. Comp. to Chess" dropped the 1984 edition's report that "he was accused of publishing fictitious games in which he supposedly defeated well-known players."

In the N.Y. tournament of 1889 Gossip had victories over Showalter, Delmar, Bird (twice), Pollock (twice), Hanham, Lipschütz, and others. Of his victory over Showalter, Steinitz wrote "One of the finest specimens of sacrificing play on record. Mr. Gossip deserves the highest praise for the ingenuity and depth of combination which he displayed in this game."

The reason everyone disliked Gossip so much was that if he lost 10 games against someone and won just one, he would publish his victory, and some of those victories were just skittle games.

May-04-04  Lawrence: Here's Gossip's win over Showalter Showalter vs Gossip, 1889
May-07-04  TrueFiendish: Lawrence: the quote by Steinitz (rather an overstatement) was reproduced by Reinfeld: the Showalter game is the alleged paste diamond. I guess the detractors (including little me, of course) will have to reconsider. I wonder what Reinfeld was on about--"every dog has his day"? It looks like Gossip had more than one of these days.
Jun-29-04  Poohavez: It seems it should be "Mate in 37". White has two tiny improvements in the Steinitz-approved variation above:

61. Kd3 Kd5, then the moves 61-63 from above, which become moves 62-64. Now 65. Kc4 Kd2, and then the remainder of above, which becomes moves 66-78.

Oct-05-04  aw1988: Mate in 35. Hmmmmm.
Dec-12-04  EnglishOpeningc4: Only 2 pages? I was expecting some Strong Gossip.
Dec-12-04  SBC: <EnglishOpeningc4>

<I was expecting some Strong Gossip.>

Ok, here's some.
At the 6th American Chess Congress of 1889, many people thought that the Scotch game <Lawrence> showed us, Showalter vs Gossip, 1889, should have received the Brilliancy Prize. And it would have if not for an equally brilliant Italian game, J Mason vs Gunsberg, 1889. It was a source of much controversy, and yes, Gossip, at the time.

Jul-14-06  LluviaSean: Can you guys believe this?? I miss mates in 3 at Pogo Games sometimes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Gilbert also announced a mate in 21 in the other game played in the match.

Here is the position:

White: Gilbert Black: Gossip

click for larger view

36. Nxg6+ Kg8 37. Qxg7+ Kxg7 38. Nxf8 Rxf8 39. Re7+ Rf7 40. Rxh7+ Kxh7 41. Rxf7+ Kg6 42. Rxc7 Ba8 43. Ra7 Bb7 44. Rxb7 Kf6 45. h4 Kg6 46. Rc7 Kf6 47. Rxc6+ Ke7 48. h5 Kd7 49. Rg6 Ke7 50. c6 a5 51. c7 Kd7 52. h6 Kxc7 53. h7 a4 54. h8=Q axb3 55. Qh7+ Kd8 56. Rg8#

“Mrs. Gilbert has achieved another surprising feat in announcing at her 36th move a mate in 21 to Mr. Gossip. Our readers are aware that in the International Post Card Tourney Mr. Gossip had the honour to be Mrs. Gilbert’s opponent. The lady champion won three games and the fourth resulted in a draw(*). The mate in 35 moves we gave last month, was the astonishing ending of one of the four games. Last year on our journey to Paris we had a young American as travelling companion, and after different subject of conversation had been exhausted, the new boat Castalia came on the tapis. Not speaking from our own experience we expressed an opinion that crossing the Channel in her will be quite a pleasure. “I guess she is a wonderful vessel” – replied our Yankee – “ I saw her practising on the Calais pier, and shave off half of it in less than no time.” We guess Mrs. Gilbert has been practising on Mr. Gossip and shave off a good part of the pier on which his Chess reputation was based. It is a severe blow to Mr. Gossip’s claim to pre-eminence and we hope he will in the future take the wise adage to heart that: Discretion is the better part of a Chess player"

Chess Monthly, December 1879.

Jan-06-12  SBC: .

A while back, I had written a 4-part article on Mrs. Gilbert.

Although I posted the link on the Ellen Gilbert page also, since the article contains a couple dozen of Gilbert's games, including all four of the games from the 1877 British-American Postal Match that brought her into the limelight and onto this page, I thought I'd post it here too.

Aug-29-12  master of defence: What´s wrong with 39.Bxc7?
Sep-06-14  ljfyffe: See The History of Correspondence Chess in Canada by Zehr and MacDonald (2006) for Gilbert-Hood and Hood-Gilbert, both 1876.
Sep-08-14  ljfyffe: <This long-awaited and deeply researched book tells the story of Canadian correspondence chess from its beginnings in 1841to its finest achievement(so far) in the 1990's. >-Tim Harding.
Sep-10-14  ljfyffe: "...and J. W. Gilbert of Hartford, Connecticut, the best female on the continent, if not the world." --- page 33.
May-04-22  Justin796: Cmon we all know women can't play chess let's get serious!
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <...It is a severe blow to Mr. Gossip’s claim to pre-eminence and we hope he will in the future take the wise adage to heart that: Discretion is the better part of a Chess player"

Chess Monthly, December 1879.>

May-05-22  FM David H. Levin: <master of defence: What´s wrong with 39.Bxc7?>

It doesn't seem significantly different from the game continuation, in that Black still obtains a kingside passed pawn. After 39.Bxc7,

click for larger view

the continuation might be 39...g5 40.hxg5 fxg5 41.Be5 (Controlling b2 so that White's king is relieved of having to prevent ...a3; bxa3 b2.) 41...h5 42.Ka5 h4 43.gxh4 gxh4 44.Kb6 Be8 45.c6 h3 46.c7 Bd7, with the decisive threat of ...a3; bxa3 b2; Bxb2 h2.

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