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Simon Winawer vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Vienna (1882), Vienna AUH, rd 2, Jun-24
Three Knights Opening: Steinitz Defense (C46)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-26-05  aw1988: Steinitz wins with opening of the day against player of the day, using his own variation.
Jan-24-06  Whitehat1963: And why did Winawer play on after Steinitz promoted to a queen?
Sep-10-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: This was the second of a two-game playoff to decide the winner of the great Vienna 1882 tournament. Winawer had won the first game. After this game Winawer and Steinitz were declared joint winners.

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail...

Sep-10-07  Calli: 27.Qf4? "The offer of exchanging Queens is ill-advised; White would have had a perfectly even game otherwise. Herr Winawer subsequently admitted that he had ignored the effect of Black's next move after exchanging." Qxf4 28.Rxc4 c4! "This move exercises a most important effect on Black's prospects in the ending, for it forces the separation and isolation of White's pawns on the Queenside."

comments by Steinitz, move annotation by moi.

Sep-10-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli> Interesting. 27. Qf4 was an understandable mistake under the competitive circumstances. In effect, Winawer had draw odds with White. His approach was reasonable; he played for an attack (Rf3-h3), but tried to avoid doing anything committing, and traded pieces every chance he got. Unfortunately he got careless or nervous as he approached his goal.

Great game by Steinitz. It would be interesting to collect examples of successful must-win games with Black. I know of this game and Short's win over Gurevich in Manila 1990. Geller-Korchnoi from the 1960 USSR championship, although I don't think that was in the last round. Lawrence Day posted some impressive examples of Petrosian playing for the win as Black, but I don't know how many were "must-win" in the sense that Winawer-Steinitz and Gurevich-Short were.

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian

Sep-10-07  Calli: Okay, so whats the right 27th move? Rf1 maybe?
Sep-11-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
How about <27. Bb5 Re7 28. Bc6>? I don't see a Black breakthrough after this.
Sep-11-07  Calli: <beatgiant> Bb5 makes sense - was needlessly worried about Qa1+, Qxa2 but , of course, White has Qc3+, Ra1 trapping the Q.
Sep-12-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <beatgiant, Calli & Keypusher> Fritz finds a number of playable moves for White at move 27. A search at 17 ply finds the following 11 moves with evaluations ranging from (.00) to (-.11).

(.00) 27.a3, 27.g3 & 27.h4

(-.01) 27.c3

(-.03) 27.Rf4, 27.Kh1

(-.04) 27.Qc1, 27.h3

(-.06) 27.Rf1, 27.Rf2

(-.11) 27.Bb5

A deeper search of the top candidates should find several lines that would enable White to hold the game.

Winawer's 27.Qf4 was Fritz's 20th choice and had an evaluation at 17 ply of (-.32).

In the book, "William Steinitz Selected Chess Games" edited by Charles Devide and expanded by David Hooper, (original title - "A Memorial to William Steinitz" edited by Charles Devide and published in 1901); the following annotation is given for the move 27.Qf4: <With the position perfectly even, to say the least, with to all outward appearances nothing at all threatening, why should not White exchange Queens, when a draw means first prize? But that was just what Steinitz had expected, desired, and figured upon.>

We now know, the position was not perfectly even after White made the move 27.Qf4.

However, Winawer may still have been able to draw. A few moves later he had a good chance of obtaining a draw, if he had played 34.Rb7! instead of 34.a3.

A possible continuation after 34.Rb7 could be: 34...a5 35.a3 Rc3 36.Kd4 Rxa3 37 Rxc7 or 34...Bxa2 35.Rxa7.

Sep-12-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: A deeper search by Fritz confirms that 34.Rb7! would enable White to draw.

(-.20) (22 ply) 34...a5 35.a3 h4 36.g3 hxg3 37.hxg3 Ke5 38.Ra7 Bd7 39.Ra8 c6, and now, (.00) (20 ply) 40.Rg8 Kf6 41.Rf8+ Ke7 42.Ra8 Be6 43.Ra7+ Kf6 44.Rc7.

(-.02) (22 ply) 34...a6 35.Kd4 h4 36.g3 g5 37.gxh4 gxh4 38.c4 Ra5 39.Rxc7 Rxa2 40.Rh7 Rxh2 41.Rh6+.

(.00) (22 ply) 34...Bxa2 35.Rxa7 Be6 36.h4 g5 37.g3 g4 38.Kd4 Bf7 39.c3 c6 40.Be2 Be6 41.Rc7. Also, if 35...Bf7 36.h4 Ke5; 35...Bg8 36.h4 Ke5 or 35...Bc4 36.Kd4 Bf7 37.h4, all are (.00) (22 ply).

(.14) (22 ply) 34...Ra5 35.Rxc7 Ke5 36.Re7 Kf6 37.Re8 Ra3 38.h4 Ke5.

Apr-21-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Pawn and Two>
I agree that <34. Rb7> is a better defence, but I have lots of questions about Fritz's analysis.

On <34...a5 35. a3>, I don't understand the motivation for <35...h4>. It only helps White relieve the cramp by allowing pawn trades. A more natural reply is <35...Ke5> centralizing the king.

In a line like 34...a5 35. a3 Ke5 36. g3 Bd7 37. c4 g5 38. Rb8 Be6 39. Rb5 Rxb5 40. cxb5 Bf7 41. h4 g4, etc. White is still tied down by the weak points and is gradually running out of moves.

Apr-21-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Beatgiant> I had Fritz take a look at your suggested line: 34.Rb7 a5 35.a3 Ke5.

In this position, at 28 ply, Fritz found several lines that indicate a draw: (-.01) 36.h4 Bd7 37.c4; (-.01) 36.Rb8 h4 37.Re8; (-.01) 36.Ra7 h4 37.Ra8; and (-.02) 36.g3 Bd7 37.Ra7.

Fritz then evaluated the position at the end of your suggested line: 34...a5 35.a3 Ke5 36.g3 Bd7 37.c4 g5 38.Rb8 Be6 39.Rb5 Rxb5 40.cxb5 Bf7 41.h4 g4.

This position was found to be equal (.00) by 17 ply deep, and the evaluation stayed at (.00) all the way to 30 ply deep. Here are two possible continuations: (.00) (30 ply) 42.Bf1 Bb3 43.Bd3 a4 44.Bf1 or (.00) (30 ply) 42.Be2 Bb3 43.Bf1 Bg8 44.Bd3. White is not running out of moves, and the position is equal.

Apr-22-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Pawn and Two>
I'll take your comments in the reverse order, since the evaluation of the possible Bishop ending is important for the rest of the discussion.

<Fritz then evaluated the position at the end of your suggested line: 34...a5 35.a3 Ke5 36.g3 Bd7 37.c4 g5 38.Rb8 Be6 39.Rb5 Rxb5 40.cxb5 Bf7 41.h4 g4.> <White is not running out of moves, and the position is equal.>

I foresaw something like 42. Bf1 Bb3 43. Bd3 Ba4 44. Bf1 Bc2 45. Bg2. Then after, say, 45...Bb1, White is reduced to moving his bishop between g2 and h1 (hence <running out of moves>), although I can't find a Black win (maybe that's why Fritz thinks <the position is equal>).

<I had Fritz take a look at your suggested line: 34.Rb7 a5 35.a3 Ke5.

In this position, at 28 ply, Fritz found several lines that indicate a draw: (-.01) 36.h4 Bd7 37.c4; (-.01) 36.Rb8 h4 37.Re8; (-.01) 36.Ra7 h4 37.Ra8; and (-.02) 36.g3 Bd7 37.Ra7.>

I doubt Steinitz would play the latter two lines with ...h4, preferring ...g5 instead as explained in my earlier kibbitz. I think that leads to lines similar to the one we discussed above. But <36. h4> prevents this idea, and I haven't found any strong attack against that.

Apr-22-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Pawn and Two>
Which brings us to my other question:

After Fritz's <34...Ra5 35.Rxc7>, why wouldn't Black play the obvious <35...Rxa2>? At first glance, Black has fairly good winning chances here with the outside passed pawn.

Apr-22-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <beatgiant> In the line 34.Rb7 a5 35.a3 Ke5 36.g3 Bd7 37.c4 g5 38.Rb8 Be6 39.Rb5 Rxb5 40.cxb5 Bf7 41.h4 g4, if now 42.Bf1 Bb3 43.Bd3 Ba4??, would be a very serious mistake.

After 43...Ba4??, White has a strong advantage, 44.Bc4! Bc2 45.Bf7 Bxe4 46.Bxh5 Bf5 47.Be8 d5 48.h5 d4+ 49.Kd2 Kf6 50.Bg6 Bd7 51.a4 Be6 52.Kd3 Bb3 53.Be8 Ke5 54.Bd7, wins for White.

Perhaps an improvement can be found for Black, but 43...Ba4?? is a very serious error. On any other 43rd move by Black, White has at least a draw.

In the line 34.Rb7 Ra5 35.Rxc7 Rxa2, Fritz found 6 moves for White, at a depth of 26 ply, that it evaluated as equal (.00).

These 6 moves are: (.00) 36.Kd4 g5 37.g3; (.00) 36.g3 Ra4 37.Rb7; (.00) 36.h3 Ra4 37.h4 (.00) 36.h4 Ke5 37.Rg7; (.00) 36.Rb7 Ra1 37.g3; (.00) 36.Kf4 h4 37.Ke3.

I think 34.Rb7! will enable White to draw, regardless of how Black responds.

Jan-25-09  WhiteRook48: <and why did Winawer play on after Steinitz promoted to a queen?> Maybe he was hoping to promote his own pawn to a queen.
Jun-22-09  WhiteRook48: I can usually count on my opponents to play 16...Bxa2??
Aug-07-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Impressed by 28..c4, finding scope for Black's R along the 5th rank.
Sep-01-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Everett: Impressed by 28..c4, finding scope for Black's R along the 5th rank.>

A very famous move in its day, almost a calling card for Steinitz. See comments at p. 55 re a similar move a dozen years later.

https://www.google.com/books/editio...

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