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Merian vs Wilhelm Steinitz
New York (1884)
Scotch Game: Fraser Variation (C45)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-09-14  cocker: My computer says Black should have played Kc8 on move 22. Ridiculously hard for a Wednesday.
Apr-09-14  dakgootje: The main problem for blacks 21. Ne6 <Kc8> is that white has a lot of very tempting ideas. And you'll just see that one of them will work.

There is for instance 22. Bxc7 Qc3/Qb4 23. b6 which looks uncomfortable. The knight hangs, which doesn't matter of black goes mate anyway - but does he? Calculate.. Or there is 22. Nxg7, threatening the rook. Sure, it can move, but the bishop at e7 falls, and the bishop at d7 looks very loose, and the whole backrank all of a sudden.. oh dear. And if it doesn't move, what does black do? Then there's always the threat of 22. Rxd7 immediately. Does that work? Who knows. Calculate calculate. Perhaps we can just ignore the knight and heap pressure on c7, for instance via Qe5. Probably doesn't work yet.. but it might.

So there's a lot to worry about for black after 20. ..Kc8. And worst of all, if none of it actually works out for white - then white can <always> play 21. Nxc7 to regain material. And oh dear, that e8-rook is really awkward once again.

On the other hand 21. ..fxe6 is nicely clearcut. Either white's attack is good and black loses by force in a couple of moves. Or white's attack is no good, and black will easily trade down and win. Seems like a practical choice.

Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: <<No information on who this Merian is?> Yeah, really. His other game in this DB, Merian vs J Mason, 1870, also against a strong opponent, is equally amazing.> don't know, tried an internet search and without great confidence I suggest Albert Burckhardt-Merian (1843-86), noted otologist, as a possible suspect. Much like Horace Curzon Plunkett, whom a group of us spotted as a skilled player who devoted his time to what he thought were better things, it may be that Dr B-M suffered from the delusion that contributing his (sadly all-too-short) time to medicine ought to come before chess.
Apr-09-14  Autoreparaturwerkbau: Unclear indeed. Are we having a twisted spoiler today?
Apr-09-14  Moszkowski012273: Actually if black had declined the FIRST Knight sacrifice (20.Nc5...) he could of gone on to win this game. By the time the second Knight was offered it was too late.
Apr-09-14  morfishine: White is down a piece with 2 candidates 21.Nc6+ & 21.Ne6+; since 21.Nc6+ fails to 21...bxc6 22.bxc6 Bd6, that leaves 21.Ne6+

<21.Ne6+>

21...Kc8 ("Looks" best) but I see Steinitz clunked with 21...fxe6

And now 22.Nxc7 "Looks Best" and here I figured since Black was already up a piece, go ahead and trade the Queen off: 22...Qxc7 but this leaves White in full control after 23.Bxc7 Kxc7 24.Qe5+ Kc8 25.Qxg7

However, Black can toss a bunch of pawns and avoid losing a piece immediately with 25...Ng8

*****
PM: Hard for a Wednesday, especially from a visualization perspective

*****

Apr-09-14  zb2cr: I missed this one. White has too many possibilities for me to calculate in the time I allotted myself for this puzzle! I worked on 21. Ne6+, Kc8 and 21. Nc6+, bxc6; 22. bxc6, Bd6 and couldn't find a really convincing line. I did spot the game line, 21. ... fxe6, but I wanted to follow up with 22. Qxe6, which fails to 22. ... Qxe1+; 23. Qxe1, Bd6.
Apr-09-14  Moszkowski012273: Black gets mated with 24...Kc8 <morfishine>.
Apr-09-14  patzer2: Fritz 12 indicates 20. Nc5!? was a mistake, giving Black a strong advantage after 20...Kc8! to (-1.44 @ 20/45 depth).

Merian - Wilhelm Steinitz, New York 1884


click for larger view

Analysis by Fritz 12 (if 20...Kc8!):

1. (-1.44): 21.Ncb3 Qb6 22.Qd3 g6 23.Bh4 Bxh4 24.Rxe8+ Bxe8 25.Qe4 Bd8 26.Qxe8 axb5 27.Qf8 Ng4 28.Qxf7 Ne5

2. (-2.06): 21.Nxd7 Kxd7 22.Qf3 Bf6 23.Ne2 Qxb5 24.Rb1 Qf5 25.Qb3 Qe6 26.Qc2 Kc8 27.Qd2 Qd7 28.Nf4 Rxe1+ 29.Rxe1 Ng4 30.f3 Ne5

Apr-09-14  Memethecat: This was Dif-fi-cult, I spent ages trying to make Nc6+ work before moving to Ne6+, after 10mins I checked to make sure it was definitely Wednesday..

21.Ne6+ fxe6* 22.Rxd7+ Kxd7** 23.Qxe6+ Kd8 24.Rd1+ Bd6 25.Bh4+ g5 26.Bxg5+ Re7 27.Qxe7+ Kc8 28.Qd8#

*21...Kc8 22.Nxc7 and Black will hemorrhage material whatever.

**22...Kc8 23.Rxc7+ Qxc7 24.Bxc7 is winning.

Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Hmm. I tried 21.Nc6+, which seemed to be winning a piece, but that wasn't the answer.
Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hmmm......

The solution is as clear as mud, nobody knows who won it, add this to yesterday's shambles (a Knight added on b1) and I'm thinking the person who selects these things should be flogged every 2nd Sunday for a year.

All I wanted was a quick puzzle to top up my tactical brain and I find myself dropping everything as I slave over a board trying the find the 'easy/medium' solution.

When you get a good player like 'Once' (always enjoy your game notes) saying:

"In human mode I couldn't get the 21. Ne6+ line to work either. So I'll mark this one down as a personal fail and switch on the silicon monster."

Then the exercise has failed. These things should be used to stimulate us, not confuse us and force good players to resort to such awful methods as using a computer.

I'm now 1½ hours behind schedule and it's all thanks to the clot that chose this puzzle - flog him.

Merian?

(more wasted time as I stumble about in the darkness trying to find out who the winner was. This is their job, why am I doing it for them?)

In the book of the 6th American (1889) Congress edited by Steinitz we find in the list of subscribers:

Merian, P. A. from New York.

So that is possibly the infamous Merian.

https://archive.org/stream/booksixt...

Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It must have taken a heck of a game to beat Steinitz. The attack is lethal as Wilhelm is smashed to bits- at least his game is...lol
Apr-09-14  Nosnibor: Could this player be Charles Maurian who also played Steinitz around this time?
Apr-09-14  Mendrys: The "sources" that indicated 19...Qb6 were most assuredly wrong, given the game continuation of 20. Nc5. Steinitz surely would have just taken the Knight with his Queen with no compensation to black at all.
Apr-09-14  MountainMatt: Whatever.
Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 1864 A three-man delegation from Basel, headed up by Albert Merian, makes a surprise visit to the Chess Club. Merian makes a particular impression among the Zurich players, in part by playing a match «blindfolded».

Source: http://www.sgzurich2009.ch/pages/ju...

Apr-09-14  LIFE Master AJ: Too tough for me!
Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: looks like he moved to Brooklyn and was a member of the chess club there.

Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=-j...

Apr-09-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is one bishop and two pawns down.

Black threatens 21... cxd4.

The first idea that comes to mind is 21.Ne6+, to unblock the d-file and enable e6 for the white queen:

A) 21... fxe6 22.Rxd7+ (22.Qxe6 Qxe1+ (22... Kc8 23.Qxd7+ Kb8 24.Qxe8+, etc.) 23.Qxe1 (23.Rxe1 Bxe6 - +) 23... axb5 Black looks winning)

A.1) 22... Kxd7 23.Qxe6+ Kd8 24.Rd1+ Bd6 25.Bh4+ (25.Rxd6+ cxd6 26.Qxd6+ Kc8 27.Qxc5+ only seems to draw by perpetual) 25... Re7 26.Qxe7+ Kc8 27.Qd8#.

A.2) 22... Kc8 23.Rxc7+ (23.Qxe6 Qxe1+ 24.Qxe1 Kxd7 - +; 23.Red1 Bd6, unclear)

A.2.a) 23... Kb8 24.Rc6+ Ka7 25.b6+ Qxb6 26.Rxb6 Kxb6 27.Rb1+ with a winning attack.

A.2.b) 23... Kd8 24.Qd3+ Bd6 25.Qxd6#.

A.2.c) 23... Qxc7 24.Bxc7 Kxc7 25.Qe5+

A.2.c.i) 25... Bd6 26.Qxg7+ wins the knight.

A.2.c.ii) 25... Kc8 26.b6 wins a lot of material to avoid mate.

A.2.c.iii) 25... Kd7(8) 26.Rd1+ Kc8 27.b6 wins.

A.2.c.iv) 25... Kb6 26.Qxe6+ Ka5 (26... Ka7 27.b6+ Kb7 28.Qe5+ and mate in two; 26... Kxb5 27.Rb1+ and mate in two; 26... Kc7 27.b6+ and mate in three) 27.Rb1, unclear.

B) 21... Kc8 22.Nxc7

B.1) 22... Bxb5 23.Qe5 with the triple threat 24.Nxa8 followed by 25.Qb8#, 24.Nxe8 followed by 25.Qxe5 and 24.Qxg7.

B.2) 22... Qxc7 23.Bxc7 Kxc7 24.Qe5+ Kd8 (24... Kb6 25.Rxd7 + -; 24... Kc8 25.b6 + -) 25.b6 Rc8 26.Qd5 + -.

I'm not sure but I think I'd play 21.Ne6+.

Apr-09-14  BOSTER: This is the pos. white to play 18.


click for larger view

Because black is behind in development, black queen and knight don't have good pos.,black bishop e7 is pinned.

I guess that white should play 18.Nxd6 if cxd6 19.Bxd6 Nf65 and we have this white to play


click for larger view

Apr-09-14  Patriot: White is down 2 pawns and a piece. Black threatens to win another piece on d4.

21.Nc6+ bxc6 22.bxc6 Nf5 23.Rxd7+ Kc8 24.Rxc7+

--------

I missed the 22...Bd6 defense.

Apr-09-14  Ed Frank: Tried to make Nc6+ work, but it doesn't. I couldn't figure this one out.

So then, Ne6+ was it eh? Stunning sacrifice and ensuing combination.

Apr-09-14  morfishine: <Moszkowski012273> Yes, thanks
Apr-09-14  LIFE Master AJ: A little ribbing - from a buddy, via e-mail ...

Actually, today, like a lot of people, I started off with Nc6+. (Assuming that this had to be the solution, it was too obvious a try.) However, that failed completely.

After a few minutes, I switched to Ne6. Then - at one point - I looked down at the timer function on my watch. Seeing that I had exceeded my five-minute time limit (by a considerable margin!); ... I simply discontinued my analysis.

And ... perusing a few of the posts ... I can see I was not the only one that was left scratching his head over what is usually (on a WED.) ... a relatively simple puzzle.

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