optimal play: <<<<THE CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP.>
Sydney, April 22.>
After two moves had been made in the second game Hodgson adopted the Petroff attack, and owing to a mistake on the part of the champion Hodgson had the better of the positions when play was adjourned.[*]>
- South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA) issue Thursday 23 April 1896>
[*] The sealed move was 29.Qd4
The time elapsed at adjournment was, Hodgson 1 hour 30 minutes; Wallace 1 hour 12 minutes
<<<<AUSTRALASIAN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP.>
THE SECOND GAME>
Mr Wallace as second player, adopted the Petroff Defence, which, at Black's seventh move, resolved itself into a French Defence, white being two moves to the good. The opening development was somewhat in Mr Hodgson's favour, owing to the isolation of his antagonist's QP. The Victorian's 21st move, Kt to Q 4, was well considered, and preferable to other specious lines of play. By an oversight Mr Wallace lost a rook and pawn for a knight, and at the adjournment the prospects of the champion looked none too bright.>
- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) issue Thursday 23 April 1896>
<<<<CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP OF AUSTRALASIA.>
SECOND GAME WON BY MR. HODGSON.>
The second game was continued last night. Mr Hodgson, with the exchange and a passed pawn to the good, had of course a great advantage. He nevertheless played with extreme caution and wore his opponent down inch by inch and at the 62nd move Mr Wallace resigned.>
- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) issue Friday 24 April 1896>
9.Ne5 appears to be a TN for 1896
Eisenberg tried it against Pillsbury six years later, also with success.
L R Eisenberg vs Pillsbury, 1902
After White plays 24.Re3 Black has the better game, and should have continued with 24...Rg6 followed by 25.Rg3 Rxg3 26.hxg3 Rb8 and Black is well-placed.
24...Rh6 is not much inferior but then playing 25...Qe7 is inexplicable :O
Wallace surely must have seen the fork with 26.Nf5 but presumably had a blind spot with the Rook on the e-file and only realised after the move that he could not capture the Knight with his Bishop.
<offramp> <... black plays the worst move on the board!!> I suppose technically speaking, something like 25...Qb4 would be even worse, but your point is well understood ;)