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D T Phillips vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
"The Chicago Gambit" (game of the day Feb-15-2018)
Simul, 27b (1899) (exhibition), Chicago, IL USA, Jan-07
King Pawn Game: Schulze-Muller Gambit (C40)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: This game is also included in Jacques Pope's book, "Harry Nelson Pillsbury - American Chess Champion". The game also appeared in print in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 01/12/1899.

Playing White was D.T. Phillips. The game was played in a simultaneous exhibition in Chicago, IL on 01/07/1899.

This simultaneous exhibition was unusual in that Pillsbury played both chess and checkers.

His score at chess was +20 -2 =5 and his score at checkers was +7 -1 =2.

Feb-17-08  TigerG: Is this game even real? I couldn't see Pillsbury lose to this variation. Plus, the Chicago gambit doesn't seem like a real opening.
Feb-17-08  Calli: <Pawn and Two> Thanks! I sort of wondered why H.M. Philips, a New Yorker, was in a Chicago simul.
Feb-17-08  whiteshark: <37.Bc3!!> with the threat of Qd4 is promptly decisive.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: best. opening. ever. !.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Phillips probably assumed that Pillsbury had played the Petroff.
Feb-02-09  WhiteRook48: 3 Nxe5 can't possibly be sound
May-02-09  WhiteRook48: I thought it was 32 Bxf5 that was decisive
May-04-09  WhiteRook48: 4...Ng6 is better
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: So, *is* the pawn protected, or what?
Jan-06-10  The Famous Chess Cat: <PhonyBenoni> Aha! That was my first reaction! I have a unicorn avatar! Sentence ending in an exclamation mark! That was a sentence fragment! Aha!

Your eyes just got pwned!

But excellent that we thought the same thing...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Also know as the Irish Gambit.
Mar-25-12  Granny O Doul: Is this how the "d'oh!" boy was born?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: If only 3.Nxe5!! had been known four years earlier, Hastings (1895) might have turned out much differently. Pillsbury played 2...Nc6?! <six> times in that tournament, scoring 4.5 points. Hastings (1895)/Harry Nelson Pillsbury But no one took the pawn!
Feb-15-18  schnarre: ...Wonder if this wildness came out of a trip to the World's Fair?
Feb-15-18  newzild: Reminds me of the (quite dangerous) Cochrane's Gambit in the Petroff, except White gets only one pawn rather than two.
Feb-15-18  morfishine: Hey, no fair, Pillsbury is giving a simul, but he's got Black?
Feb-15-18  RookFile: That used to happen all the time. I remember playing over some Lasker games where Lasker had black.
Feb-15-18  TheTamale: Lots of disparaging going on against the Chicago Gambit, but here a complete unknown uses it to defeat one of the strongest masters in the world. I'm speculating now, of course, but I believe I could use it to defeat Nakamura.
Feb-15-18  whiteshark:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.

Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

-- Samuel Beckett

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Checking with the silicon evaluator:

After 18 Be3, Stockfish recommends g5 (19 Be4 gxf4 20 Bx f4 Bg5 21 Qc2 Bxf4 22 Bxh7 ch Kg7 23Rx f4 Qh4) for an evaluation of -2.42

The game move b6 evaluates to -0.8

After 20 Bc2 Stockfish recommends Nh6 (-1) instead of a5(-0.44)

After 21 Rf3, g6 is -1.2, while Nh8 is 0.

Black gets a reprieve, 22 g5 stays at 0, but Rh3 brings the score to -1.24

After 27 a3, the score would be -1.73 if black plays R5f7; R8f7 sets white to +0.15

After 28 b4, white is at 0 if black plays Na4; but after Nb7, the score is 0.8

The losing move should have been the 29th; after Bd4 white would be 0.8, but Bd2 gives black another chance. 29 c5 is evaluated at 0.08; the 'initial' losing move is Qe8 (3.45).

Whiteshark's 37 Bc3 is crushing, (7.38)although the actual g6 is still 2.79

Once again, white lets black back into the game with 39 Qf5 (1.32); Rh3 evaluates at 3.18.

The absolute final losing move then is 40 ... Bf6. axb4 is 0.87, but Bf6 is 7.84.

Feb-19-23  generror: Just for fun, I spent an hour with my electronic friend, I also was intrigued how anyone, let alone someone like Pillsbury, could lose against such an awful opening.

Well, let me just say that Pillsbury hero worshippers definitively shouldn't take a closer look at his game. He doesn't lose because Mr. Phillips is an unsung genius which I had kinda hoped for. No, Pillsbury loses because he blunders just a bit more than Phillips -- but both guys' playing is highly flawed.

Up to move 27, the mistakes and inaccuracies are evenly distributed, so Pillsbury keeps his 3-point advantage despite <14...Bxe4??> and <15...Nf6?>, because here Phillips misses <16.Bf5! 0-0 17.g4 Ne8 18.g5 g6 19.Be6 Ng7> (D) which would have equalized.

click for larger view

Then the mistakes go back and until forth Black's move 26, when he begins a series of bad moves after which Phillips, even though he isn't accurate here himself, is actually winning by move 30 (+4.5). It would have been essential for Pillsbury to create some kind of counterplay, but he's just completely passive throughout the whole game, and he's no Steinitz :)

And so, even though Phillips plays quite weakly and goes on to nearly blunder his advantage with <37.g6??> (<37.Bc3!> would indeed have won) and <39.Qf5?>, Pillsbury misses <40...Qa1+! 41.Kg2 Qb2 42.Rd3 axb4 43.axb4 Qc2> (D), which would have thrown a nice little wrench into White's attack.

click for larger view

Instead he plays the final and decisive blunder <40...Bf6??>, and at least now Mr. Phillips continues flawlessly. In the end, his "opening swindle" worked as a charm, it seems to have completely unsettled Pillsbury. Most 19th century attacking players back then had not just one, but two Achilles heels: First, most couldn't deal properly with someone who was just passive and solid and waited for them to crack (cf. Steinitz), and second, they sucked at defending (cf. pretty much everyone, starting with MacDonnell 1834).

Feb-19-23  generror: <<TheTamale> Lots of disparaging going on against the Chicago Gambit, but here a complete unknown uses it to defeat one of the strongest masters in the world. I'm speculating now, of course, but I believe I could use it to defeat Nakamura.>

Sorry, but that's the funniest thing I've read here since i found the Beer page XD

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <generror....Most 19th century attacking players back then had not just one, but two Achilles heels: First, most couldn't deal properly with someone who was just passive and solid and waited for them to crack (cf. Steinitz)....>

Those players were few and far between then, given that the likes of Staunton et al who dared respond to 1.e4 with anything other than 1....e5 were thought of as being lower than whale shyte and unchivalrous.

<....and second, they sucked at defending (cf. pretty much everyone, starting with MacDonnell 1834).>

When one's game was nothing but attacking, that is not at all surprising--it will be remembered that Steinitz, that great exponent of heroic defence, was himself a ferocious attacking player through the 1860s. One of the crazier games I have seen was his loss to Neumann on the White side of a KGA--it looked as though, as Tarrasch once wrote, that both sides stood badly.

Feb-19-23  generror: I also find it noteworthy that the first (and last, and only) game on file here where Black actually won was against this "opening" was P Connell vs S Press, 1994. However, other databases show an overwhelming win ratio for black.
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