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Mikhail Chigorin vs Isidor Gunsberg
6th American Chess Congress, New York (1889), New York, NY USA, rd 34, May-18
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  0-1



Annotations by Wilhelm Steinitz.      [129 more games annotated by Steinitz]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-03-10  SufferingBruin: 28... Nc2 but it took me awhile. I was caught up in the moves others had made and frankly I'm not sure I wouldn't have made a queen move OTB.

Now, if white played 27. g3, I wouldn't know what to do.

Jun-03-10  Patriot: 28...Nc1, such a simple yet powerful move.

I had to rule out more forcing lines first before seeing this.

Jun-03-10  vijaymathslpjz: folks!!!
even this is possible in chess...
Jun-03-10  newzild: 28...Nc1 wasn't my first candidate, but I did get it easy enough. One clue was the position of Black's knight in relation to White's queen. When the knight is separated from another piece by one square on a diagonal, it means that there is no chance of a fork in the immediate future. This meant that the key must involve something other than an attempt to win White's queen. The next option is to win the king.
Jun-03-10  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium)

Chigorin vs Gunsberg, 1889 (28...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Up a P. The White Kh2 is stalemated and vulnerable to checks from Qe1. The White Qc4 and particularly Na4 cannot aid Kh2 rapidly, suggesting that Black can build a lethal local superiority around Kh2. White threatens to capture Pc5, to achieve material equality. The Black Kg8 is secured from check, and moreover from perpetual check as well, because the Black Qe1 prevents the repetitive sequence Qd8-h4-d8.

Candidates (28...): Nc1

28…Nc1 (threatening 29…Ne2 30…Qg1#)

Only the infeasible defense of sacrificing Qc4 prevents mate in the following. <[According to Toga, 29.Nc3 staves off mate at a value worse than -7 P.] >

29.h4 [g3 or g4 Qf2+ 30.Kh1 Ne2 (threatening 31…Qg1#)]

[29.Qxc5 Ne2 30.Qc8+ Kh2, and White runs out of checks]

29…Ne2 (threatening 30…Qxh4#)

30.g3 [or g4] [Kh3 Qg3#] Qg1+ 31.Kh3 Qxg3#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: New York 1889 was a double round tournament of 20 competitors, with draws being replayed in the second round. This marathon tournament lasted from March 25th until May 27th!

This game was played after the final 38th round, as a required replay of their 34th round drawn game. After 38 rounds, Chigorin had scored 29 points and had only his drawn game with Gunsberg to replay.

After 38 rounds, Weiss had 26 1/2 points, and 4 drawn games to replay. Weiss scored 1 win and 3 draws in these additional games, and tied Chigorin for first place with 29 points. Gunsberg was third with 28 1/2 points.

As Chigorin and Weiss were tied for first place, the tournament rules required an additional contest between these players to determine the tournament winner.

The tournament victor was to be the one who first won two games; however the contest was to be discontinued and the first two prizes divided, as soon as four draws had been played. As all four games of the play-off were drawn, the first two prizes for this tournament were equally shared.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Coinhering no codswallop eh <whiteshark>? Chig OE, Qe2 flee the capital choice equalizing exchange bud. A pest catching the black drift would entail drafts c5 or Gun weal in a brevity the queen check Qe1+. Tick it off 28.Nc1 stows away basking for blood after sugar I read h3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This one was too obvious for a Thursday. It is as routine as an OUT call at first.
Jun-03-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: Black, on the move, is up a pawn and his king is much safer. Both knights are on the rim, but black's knight is much closer to an ideal attacking post, e2. White's queen is badly placed for attacking the enemy king or defending her weakened king position. So black simply executes the mating net and white has little better than passes in defense:

28... Nc1 and now:

A) 29.Qxc5 Ne2 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.h4 (otherwise Qg1#) Qg1+ 31.Kh3 Qh1+ 32.Kg4 Qxg2#

B) 29.Nxc5 Ne2 30.Qxe2 appears to delay checkmate the longest.

Most likely, white resigns immediately.

Jun-03-10  timothee3331: I didn't even notice 28...Nc1! I immediately calculated 28...Nc3!? 29.Nxc3 otherwise 29...Ne2 29...Qxc3 and if 30.Qxc3 dxc3 31.Kg1 c4!! 32.bxc4 a5! at least after 30.Qe2 Black no longer has c5-pawn problems and can safely play for the win
Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: Not only did I get this puzzle, but thanks to the wonder of computers, I get to "pick" on Steinitz's analysis.

His suggestion of 23. c3 loses to 23. ... dxc3. White can't retake because 24. ♕e5 pins and wins the Knight -- White's rook can't defend both the Knight and the back rank mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: <kevin86>Har, har... maybe Armando Galarraga needs to take up chess.
Jun-03-10  nariga: How about:

29.Qb5 Ne2 30. Qb8+ Kh2 31.h4

If 31...Qg1+ 32.Kh3, and now White Q can be brought back to defend any further checks.

Jun-03-10  Riverbeast: This was just a poorly played game by white
Jun-03-10  Timetraveller: <nariga> Perhaps you overlooked 31...Qxh4# at the end of your line
Jun-03-10  nariga: Thanks, you are right.
Jun-03-10  Patriot: I think move 27 is very interesting especially after reading Steinitz's notes. According to him, 27.g3 is the only move and may draw.

Black is threatening mate starting with 27...Qe1+. Therefore white's candidates are restricted to stopping this. We've already seen what happens on 27.h3, but what about 27.Kg1, 27.Qf1, 27.g3, or 27.g4?

On 27.Kg1, I would consider first 27...Qe1+ 28.Qf1 Qxf1+ 29.Kxf1 and try to get a feel for what's going on. There is more in terms of forcing moves, such as 29...Nb4 30.c3 dxc3 31.Nxc3. Black does have a pawn advantage so I would say black is at least a little better given the forcing line above.

With 27.Qf1, this move just looks bad because it uses the queen (a powerful piece) in pure defense. I think there is hardly any reason to look at this further and I seriously doubt a master would spend much (or any) time on this.

After 27.g3, black still has a pawn advantage but c5 remains very weak. Steinitz is probably right about this leading to a draw. Even if not true, so far this appears to be the best move.

27.g4. It doesn't appear much worse than 27.g3 except it looks weaker. I would feel much safer with 27.g3, which looks more solid and that's good enough for me. 27...Qf4 becomes an option in this line.

To me, this is what most of chess is about--decisions. Not analyzing deep or finding a tactical shot, but trying to compare candidates and evaluating positions in an efficient manner and deciding which candidate is best given the time constraints. Of course tactics are of the utmost importance and analyzing deep may be required in some positions.

I'll have to see what Fritz says later on.

Jun-03-10  YouRang: Cool! I got the whole thing today. :-)

I admit that my first impression was that this was going to be some sort of promotion tactic, since the knight seemed too far away to join the queen in a king attack.

But the more I looked at it, the idea of 28...Nc1 & ...Ne2 & ...Qg1# seemed very difficult for black to stop effectively.

For example, 28...Nc1 29.h4 Ne2 30.Kh3 Qh1+ 31.Kg4 Qxg2#

No better is 28...Nc1 29.Qxc5 Ne2 since the knight resourcefully guards Pd4, preventing the white Q from guarding g1.

It seems like white's best is 29.Nc3, which sacrifices his knight to prevent mate (better than sacrificing the queen I suppose), but then again, why not just resign?

Jun-03-10  jsheedy: ...Nc1 threatens ... Ne2 and mate with the queen at g3. Let's take a look ... Yep!
Jun-03-10  RandomVisitor: White might be able to draw after 25.Qe8+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I'm still annoyed that I missed this puzzle, plus getting lectured by <Once> to boot is no picnic (It takes so long).

I really misunderstod the power of those connected pawns. Because, if play had continued 29 Qxc5 Ne2, as others have indicated, the pawn at d4 becomes a mightly blocker, protected by the knight, not allowing the white queen access to g1.

click for larger view

If that d pawn could be magically removed after 29 Qxc5 Ne2, the position is a draw.

click for larger view

Could not see the winning thread last night.

Jun-03-10  RandomVisitor: After 27.g3 Qe1+ 28.Kg2:

1: Mikhail Chigorin - Isidor Gunsberg, USA-06.Congress New York (34-2) 1889

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 :

28...Qd2+ 29.Kf1 Qxh2 30.Qxc5
< (-2.49) Depth: 26> 02:53:57 2950718kN, tb=1633

Jun-03-10  rotgut: I got this one (after missing the one yesterday). I noticed the pawn pattern in front of the white king and started thinking "checkmate" because this seems to be the theme of the week.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Jim> It certainly wasn't intended as a lecture, and if it came across that way I am truly sorry. If anything, I thought you were lecturing me (and others) for not giving Nc3 and the perpetual enough attention! :-)
Oct-06-21  DouglasGomes: Steinitz annotations are not very good, Black is much better after his 18th move, 23. c3 dxc3 (winning a pawn) 24. Nxc3? Qe5 wins a piece for Black because of weak back rank and the pin along the a1-h8 diagonal.

From a human perspective maybe it is hard to win, but there is no draw here, although it would be a long game:
<SF: -6.92 d40> 27.g3 Qe1+ 28.Kg2 Qd2+ 29.Kf1 Nb4 30.Qxc5 Kh7 31.Qe7 Qd1+ 32.Qe1 Qxf3+ 33.Qf2 Qe4 34.Qg2 Qf5+ 35.Qf2 Nxc2 36.Qxf5 gxf57.g3 Qe1+ 28.Kg2 Qd2+ 29.Kf1 Nb4 30.Qxc5 Kh7 31.Qe7 Qd1+ 32.Qe1 Qxf3+ 33.Qf2 Qe4 34.Qg2 Qf5+ 35.Qf2 Nxc2 36.Qxf5 gxf5....

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