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Blackburne / R Steel vs Zukertort / L Hoffer
London 'Simpsons' (1881)
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: 5.d3 is the "Pianissimo" variation. Some books will knock this move as too quiet, but it is hardly that. It safeguards the e4-pawn and allows White to develop his queenside minor pieces before attacking, as happens in this game. (It's comparable and compatible to the King's Indian Attack.)

15.Nd4 appears to give away a piece. Instead, equal exchanges of Bishops and Knights leaves white slightly better w/a strong center. White gains space and time, then brings his heavy pieces to bare against the Black monarch.

The 27.Rb1 places an absolute pin on the b7 pawn, which White takes advantage of by robbing the a6 and c6 squares w/the other rook. White adds a fourth piece, Nb6 trapping the Black queen.

Black hopes to get rook, knight and an escape path for his king in exchange for the Black queen sitting on c8, and thus initiates the fateful exchange 35...bxRc6 opening the b-file.

Instead of capturing the Black queen, 36.Nd7# finishes with a discovered double check. A player as good as Zukertort probably saw the finish and allowed White the privilege to finish w/a brilliancy.

Blackburne was a phenomenal crushing attacker with the supreme ability to open the g-file to the opposing castled king; in this case the mirrored equivalent is the b-file. The pawn lever 22.b5 was the subtle move that gave White a lasting initiative, followed by the mate threat 23.Qa5.

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