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Mikhail Chigorin vs NN
Blind game part of a sighted simul (1898) (blindfold), Libau (Liepaja) RUE, Aug-27
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Open Variation (C55)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member

This is the only blindfold game that was included as part of a 28 board sighted exhibition conducted by <Mikhail Chigorin>. It was played in the Kurhaus Hall in Libau (now Liepaja), Latvia.[1]

In the same year, <Chigorin> established the Russian blind simul record in St. Petersburg, contesting 10 boards unsighted.[2]

[1][Baltische Schachblatter no.8, p.594]
[2][Hearst and Knott, "Blindfold Chess" (McFarland 2009), p.61]

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Nicely done <jfq>.

This game is an example of the old axiom "Develop knights before bishops." This is good advice, given the knight supports the center and prevents Q+s on the near flank, as well as protect a bishop just across the frontier line on the 5th rank. The disadvantage might be getting pinned, and obstructing one's own queen from using the diagonal promptly.

However, the opening should always be played with an eye toward bishop development. Where and how best to develop the bishops? Two pawn moves are necessary to assist the bishops' exit. A knight can easily find it's way off the back rank sooner or later, but the bishops need cooperation of the pawns. So plan with the bishops in mind, for the bishop needs to be "let out" like a pet dog seeking relief. The knight is like a house cat; it can independently take take of it's business without human interaction (pawn allowances).

7...d6 would have been an improvement for Black, potentially helping both bishops come into play through the center. Here, Black is lost by the time s/he plays 13...BxNd6. Allowing 17.Bg5 was not healthy, as Black needed to castle long. Black's light-squared bishop shuffles back and forth to d7 on moves 15..., 21..., and 26... Black stressed knights over bishops, but the bishops arrived too late.

Another old axiom, "A knight on the rim is dim, it's chances are slim" also applies here against Black. Whereas, the centralized 15.Ne5 is a real thorn.

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