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Showalter - Albin (1894)

New York, NY, United States; 24 September 1894—28 December 1894

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 Wins —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Showalter 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 10 Albin 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 0 7 —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Format: First to ten wins, draws not counting, is victor. Time Control: 14 moves and hour Prizes: $100 purse and $200 a side.

When Adolf Albin came from Austria to New York in the middle of 1893, he quickly established himself as one of the leading players in the city. Inevitably, this meant competition with the once and future American champion Jackson Whipps Showalter. A match between the two was eventually arranged, beginning September 24, 1894. The New York Clipper summed up the conditions:

"The most interesting item of home consumption for present use is the arrangement of a match between chess masters at the Manhattan C.C., and, presumably, the contest is under way at this writing. Play is set for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, of each week until one of the players has scored ten wins. In the event of each registering nine wins the match will be continued until either has won eleven games. There will be a time limit of fourteen moves and hour, but not interval during play, as eight hours have been fixed for play on each day."(1)

The stakes were $200 a side, plus a $100 purse.(2)

Previous encounters between the two had generally gone Albin's way. At the New York Impromptu tournament of 1893 (Lasker's 13-0 sweep), Albin finished second and defeated Showalter in their individual game. At the 1st City Chess Club Tournament (1893), he had finished 4th, just behind Showalter, but won their individual game. At Buffalo (1894), Showalter had finally broken through, splitting two games with Albin while finishing first.

Albin started well enough with two wins in the first three games before Showalter went on a five-game winning streak to take an seemingly insurmountable 6-2 lead. At this point the match was adjourned for a month to permit the players to take part in the 2nd City Chess Club Tournament (1894). The old pattern recurred there, Albin finishing second ahead of Showalter and winning their individual game.

This seemed to revive Albin somewhat, and he set to work coming back in the match. In the five games from 9-13 he won two and drew three - whereupon Showalter won games 14 and 15 to restore his four point lead.

Albin went back to work. In the eight games from 16-23 he won three and drew five to draw within a point of Showalter. The last win, in Game 23, was a 28 move crush. Surely all the momentum was on Albin's side.

But Showalter was made of tougher stuff than that. He came out blazing in the next game, changing his opening line slightly, and built a strong attack. Albin fought back valiantly to reach this position at Black's 41st move, just before the time control:

click for larger view

With 41...Rf4!, Black could force White to accept a perpetual check. Instead, after <41...Rg2? 42.Qh4!>, White prevented the draw and finished in a blaze of glory: <41...Rg4 43.Qe7 Qf7 44.Qxd8+! Kxd8 45.h7 Rc1+ 46.Rxc1 Rg8 47.Rb1 Kc8 48.Na6 Kd7 49.Rb8> 1-0

That was just about that. Albin's opening switch in Game 25 did not work well, and Showalter wrapped up the match 10-7 with eight draws. Showalter expressed interest in another match for a state of $500, but before it could come about Albin had moved on to Philadelphia and further adventures.(3)

Albin annotated many of the games in the Daily Tribune and Sun. Showalter may have provided annotations appearing in the Recorder, but this is not explicitly stated. New York Daily Tribune, New York Sun, New York Recorder can be rapidly found by using the Jack O'Keefe Project Timeline Tool on the Chess Archaeology site, at

(1) New York Clipper, October 6, 1894.
(2) New York Herald, December 30, 1894.
(3) Minneapolis Journal, February 2, 1899.

Adolf Albin in America / Urcan, Olimpiu G., MacFarland 2008, pp. 108-118, 201-221. Urcan's book has been a valuable source of information and correction, but there are a few omission and discrepancies which I have tried to reconcile using these accounts.

Original collection: Game Collection: Showalter - Albin, 1894, by User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 1; games 1-25 of 25  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Albin vs Showalter 1-0511894Showalter - AlbinC70 Ruy Lopez
2. Showalter vs Albin 1-0631894Showalter - AlbinC44 King's Pawn Game
3. Albin vs Showalter  1-0301894Showalter - AlbinC53 Giuoco Piano
4. Showalter vs Albin  1-0461894Showalter - AlbinC44 King's Pawn Game
5. Albin vs Showalter  0-1651894Showalter - AlbinA06 Reti Opening
6. Showalter vs Albin  1-0391894Showalter - AlbinC44 King's Pawn Game
7. Albin vs Showalter 0-1421894Showalter - AlbinC50 Giuoco Piano
8. Showalter vs Albin  1-0611894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
9. Albin vs Showalter ½-½491894Showalter - AlbinC53 Giuoco Piano
10. Showalter vs Albin  0-1291894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
11. Albin vs Showalter  1-0591894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
12. Showalter vs Albin  ½-½571894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
13. Albin vs Showalter ½-½501894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Showalter vs Albin  1-0351894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
15. Albin vs Showalter 0-1651894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
16. Showalter vs Albin  ½-½611894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
17. Albin vs Showalter ½-½851894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
18. Showalter vs Albin 0-1451894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
19. Albin vs Showalter ½-½621894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
20. Showalter vs Albin 0-1601894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
21. Albin vs Showalter ½-½591894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
22. Showalter vs Albin ½-½471894Showalter - AlbinC13 French
23. Albin vs Showalter  1-0281894Showalter - AlbinC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. Showalter vs Albin 1-0491894Showalter - AlbinC14 French, Classical
25. Albin vs Showalter 0-1501894Showalter - AlbinC22 Center Game
 page 1 of 1; games 1-25 of 25  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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