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Elijah Williams vs Howard Staunton
"Book of Elijah" (game of the day Dec-06-2021)
London (1851), London ENG, rd 4, Jul-03
Sicilian Defense: McDonnell Attack (B21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-23-06  sneaky pete: 35.Rh8+ Kf7 36.Ne5#

Staunton on his 30th move: "As in many of his games in the Tourney, Black's moves seem to be made mechanically, as a sort of form that must be gone through, but the result of which he was utterly indifferent about." Translated: I overlooked the strength of 32.Nxg6 ..

Apr-28-09  WhiteRook48: 34 Rxh2 is the best recapture
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <sneaky pete> I wouldn't be so cynical about Staunton's excuse. It sounds an awful lot like a case of burnout to me, and an understandable one considering all the effort he had put into organizing the tournament. I've been there, and I recognize the symptoms. The last thing you want to do at the moment--or ever again--is to play chess.
Jan-12-13  RookFile: I tried being a TD and playing and found I played poor chess. So, I stopped being a TD.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Williams again takes Nimzowitschian advantage of the weakness on c5/c4 after BxN. (viz. Staunton vs E Williams, 1851)

Amazing finale. I'm sure Staunton thought he was going to win on the long diagonal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One would hardly think this game was played in the Romantic Era, what with the play against the doubled pawns and White ceding the bishop pair to create weaknesses.
Mar-07-14  TheFocus: I believe it was Chernev who described Williams as the first true hypermodern player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Incidentally, re the quote from the tournament book <sneaky pete> posted, 30....f5 was not an error, since Black's game was hopeless by then. Funnily enough, the attempt to exploit the long diagonal with 28....Qc6 was a losing blunder. Instead retreating the queen to d8 would have forced White to protect the g5 pawn, thus blocking the h-file.

After 31....Rh7:

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Shredder prefers 32.Qxh7+ Kxh7 33.Rh2+ Kg8 34.Nd5!. Williams' move (though it is beautiful) allows Black to stave off mate with 32....Qh1+ 33.Qxh1 Rxh1+ 34.Kf2 Rh7, though after Nf4 and g4-g5 he's still lost.

Even 32.Qe2?? would have kept some advantage for White, but Nxg6 was a good deal stronger!

I wonder why Staunton played 34....Re8 (as opposed to resigning). In the book he writes "And White wins" without giving the mate, as in his loss in the final game with Anderssen: Anderssen vs Staunton, 1851.

This game must have shocked Staunton. He had given Williams odds in the past.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Whatever the Book of Elijah is, I've never heard of it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 32...Qh1+ 33. Qxh1 Rxh1+ 34. Kf2 Rxf1+ 35. Kxf1 would have been a trifle better for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 32.Qxh7+ Kxh7 33.Rh2+ Kg8 34.Nxg6 was possible too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I think it's likely a reference to the 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-western action film, <The Book of Eli>.
Dec-06-21  The Kings Domain: Fine victoriana. Love these games from long ago.
Dec-06-21  nimh: My first reaction on seeing this was like "A Williams game?! Surely, it can't be a coincidence!" But it likely is
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Why did Black play 34...Re8 instead of resigning? One possible explanation is that after Staunton had played his move, Williams then announced the mate in 2. This would end the game without the moves actually being played on the board.

They did things a little differently in 1851,

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