Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Manuel Marquez Sterling vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 14, Jun-14
Sicilian Defense: Classical Variation. General (B56)  ·  0-1



explore this opening
find similar games 1 more M M Sterling/Pillsbury game
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can get computer analysis by clicking the "ENGINE" button below the game.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-05-15  RookFile: Unusual to see a Sicilian from Pillsbury. White needed to refrain from exchanges.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Chess Master versus Chess amateur. Pillsbury makes short work of Sterling.

1. e4 c5

As RookFile aptly notes, the Sicilian was hardly Pillsbury's bread and butter. But he used it to good effect here--thanks in large measure to weak play throughout by Sterling.

2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 d6

Spurning 5...e4, the so-called "Pelikan Variation."

6. Bb5

Unusual but not bad. 6. Bg5 can lead to the Richter-Rauzer Attack, and 6. Bc4 to the Velimirovic Attack.

6... Bd7
7. 0-0 g6
8. Be3 Bg7
9. NxN

Obviously awed by his celebrated opponent. 9. f3 was the best way to try for an advantage.

9... bxN
10. Bd3 0-0
11. Qd2

Though Sterling's play to this point had been unambitious, he could have retained equal chances with 11. Qd2. From here, however, Sterling quickly got into major difficulties.

11... Ng4

The position was now:

click for larger view

12. f3?

Allowing Black to trade off White's dark-square Bishop left Sterling in something approaching a strategically lost game--at move 12!! He should have played 12. Bf4 (or even 12. Bg5).

12... NxB

Now Pillsbury's g7 Bishop rules the board.

13. QxN Qa5

13...Qb6 was even stronger.

14. Nd1

That this sort of move was necessary confirms the bankruptcy of White's opening play.

14... Rab8
15. c3 Rb7
16. a3 Rfb8
17. Rb1

17. Rf2 would have been better, but Sterlong would stil have suffered from his prior bad play.

17... Be6
18. Qe2 Ba2

18...Bb3 was better and would save time.

19. Ra1 Bb3

The position was now:

click for larger view

Sterling's pieces and gnarled and awkwardly placed. He now proceeds to ruin his already bad position until it is beyond repair.

20. Rb1?

He had to try either 20. Ne3 (as suggested by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book) or 20. Bc2.

With the text, Sterling's position downgrades from bad to dead lost. Pillsbury never gives him a chance to recover.

20... Qa4!
21. Kf2?

Rosenthal says this move was forced because of the threat of 21. BxN, but the remedy here was even worse than the disease.

22... c5

Contrary to what Rosenthal claims, 22...BxN was not as good as the text: 22...BxN 23. Rf1xB Rxb2 23. RxR RxR 24. QxR QxR leaves White with excellent winning chances, but the text was far better.

The position after 22...c5 was:

click for larger view

White's game is in the last throes. How Pillsbury went about finishing off Sterling from here will be discussed in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Pardon the typo at the end of my last post. The last move, of course, was 21...c5 and not 22...c5 (and the noted on that move likewise has incorrect move numbers). Sorry about that!

In any case, with 21...c5 Pillsbury's advantage was overwhelming. He quickly disposed of the faltering Sterling from this point.

22. Qd2 c4!

White is crushed.

23. Be2 Qa5
24. Kg1

24. Qe3 was better, but Sterling's position was already beyond repair.

24... BxN
25. R(f)xB

The position was now:

click for larger view

25... Bxc3!
26. Qd5

He obviously cannot play 26. QxB (because of 26...QxQ) or 26. bxB (because of 26...RxR). Sterling could safely have resigned at this point. What follows is a massacre.

26... QxQ
27. exQ

27. RxQ was slightly better, but by this point it hardly mattered.

27... Bxb2

The position was now:

click for larger view

28. Kh1

"Of course, if 28. Bxc4 Bd4+ followed by RxR and wins" (Rosenthal in the Tournament Book).

If Sterling wanted to play on, he might as well have played 28. Kf1 (a better way to get his King off the fatal diagonal.

If Sterling imagined he might have some chance because of the Bishops of opposite colors, once Pillsbury wins a third pawn, it was time to lower his flag.

28... c3
29. Bd3 Bxa3

Little additional commentary is required. Pillsbury is now up three pawns in an endgame in which even a patzer could probably beat the strongest computer. In what remains, Sterling somehow manages to make his position worse with nearly every move, while the Pillsbury steamroller reduces Sterling's position to rubble.

30. h3 Bb2
31. Bc2 Rb4
32. Rd3 a5

This slaughter is almost painful to watch.

33. Re1 Kf8

Pillsbury could have shortened resistance with 33...a4, but he does not even allow Sterling the chance to win back one of his three lost pawns.

34. Re2 a4
35. Bb1 Bc1


36. Ba2 Bd2

click for larger view

If this were a fight, they would have stopped it.

37. RexB cxR
38. Rxd2 Rb2

click for larger view


Sterling at long last threw in the towel here.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Paris 1900
by suenteus po 147
Paris 1900
by JoseTigranTalFischer
El dominio de la columna semiabierta como eje de presiĆ³n
from Partidas modelo con temas variados by rbaglini
Paris 1900
by Mal Un

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC