|KEG: Steinitz outplays Maroczy but then--perhaps as a result of age and fatigue--was unable to score and win and had to settle for a draw after a long and what must have been a frustrating game.|
Maroczy had an inferior but playable game until his ill-judged 12...g5 (12...Nh5 or 12...Ng6 were much better). He followed this up with a series of awful moves (13...d6 instead of 13...Nh5), (15...exd5 instead of 15...e5), (16...fxe5 instead of 16...b5), and (18...h6 instead of 18...Qd7 or 18...b5). After that, Maroczy was busted.
Steinitz could have notched up the pressure with 21. Bb2, but his 21. Nxg5 won at least a pawn and was approximately an equally effective way to win.
But then Steinitz got sloppy. His 24. Qxd6 most certainly didn't blow the win, but 24. Qh5 was stronger, and Steinitz probably overlooked Maroczy's combination beginning with 25...Ne3 and thought (mistakenly) he was going into an ending up two pawns.
But the game was still a clear win for Steinitz until he played 28. RxN in the following position:
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With 28. Rg1, Steinitz would have maintained his stranglehold on the position. But after 28. RxN RxB, it is doubtful whether the win was still there.
Marozcy, however, after defending heroically for about 15 moves, got sloppy with 35...Rg8+ (instead of the simple 35...RxR), 36...Rgg4 (instead of 36...Rf8+), and then 40...Bc8 (instead of 40...Kf8), and Steinitz had a chance to win with his two passed pawns on the King's side. But he needed to keep Maroczy's King at bay with 41. h4. In playing 41. e6, Steinitz may have overlooked Maroczy's clever 41...b5.
Maroczy should probably been able to draw from there, but he again got sloppy with 43...Ke7 (instead of 43...Rg6+) and 44...Kf6 (instead of 44...Rh8). But once Maroczy was able to trade off the minor pieces and swap his b-pawn for Steinitz' passed e-pawn, the win was almost certainly gone.
Steinitz' last gasp chance was 53. h6 (instead of 53. Ra3), but with Steinitz having just two Rook pawns left, and as already shown on this site, a winning plan for Steinitz, even with best play, was probably not there.
During the final 15 moves, Steinitz set amateurish traps. For example, with his 59. Re4, Steinitz may have been hoping that Maroczy would lose his mind and play 59...Rxa5 after which 60. Re6+ wins. Not surprisingly, Maroczy didn't fall for any of these childish traps, and the game soon petered out to a draw.
Not a great performance by either side. Maroczy demonstrated--if such demonstration were truly needed--that he could fight hard even in a lost cause. But watching the once-great Steinitz flounder after getting a clearly won game is painful.