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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Casual game (1863), London ENG
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Morphy Attack (C51)  ·  0-1



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Given 29 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-31-04  sneaky pete: Uncle pete's "believe it or not":
Who is this NN? Bachmann, in Volume I of his "Schachmeister Steinitz", states it's "L. from Manchester" and has the game played in the Cigar Divan in 1864. Mr.L(everson) was a recent victim of Blackburne in the game of the day. Now compare this game with Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1862 (10th game from the match played in London, January 1863, not 1862) and discover that NN or "L" is none other than The Black Death himself!
Nov-07-04  stuck: Blackburne missed 27. Rxg7! Looks like it would have turned the game around.

27 ... KxR 28. Rg1+

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <stuck> Hello! Welcome to the group! That's an interesting suggestion, but note 27. Rxg7+!? Kxg7 28. Rg1+ Qg6 giving up the Queen for 2 Rooks with a double-edged position.
Nov-08-04  stuck: Thanks <tpstar> I admit concrete variations aren't my forte, but after 29. RxQ fxR 30. Ba3! the e pawn is well defended, blacks only break on the c file is prevented, and the black bishop is locked out of the game. I see a break for white on the f-file, but no corresponding break for black. My plan would be to place pawns on e5, f4, h4, march the white king to the center to bolster d4, then break on f-file and penetrate with my queen. I am having a difficult time seeing how black holds the position. I think I'll slip on down to BestBuy, buy ChessMaster, and play it out. Hopefully I get Fritz8 for Christmas :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <stuck> I believe you have found a major improvement over the game continuation starting with 27. Rxg7+! Kxg7 28. Rg1+ Qg6 29. Rxg6+ fxg6 30. Ba3! and Black is in a severe bind. Note 30 ... de? 31. Qxe4 Re8 (31 ... Rxd4? 32. Bb2 is simplest) 32. Qxc6 wins the exchange (32 ... Rdxe7 33. Bxe7 Rxe7), and on 30 ... Re8 31. e5 & 32. Qc3 picking up the Pc6 (33. Qxc6), then infiltrating with the Queen (34. Qf6+ & 35. Qe6) winning quickly. Nice job!
Nov-09-04  sneaky pete: The improvement 27.Rxg7+ .. was first published in the British Chess Magazine, 1934, a discovery of F.N.Jameson afer studying the game in the 1933 English translation of Reti's "Masters of the Chessboard". After 27... Kxg7 28.Rg1+ .. Kotov ("Train like a grandmaster") suggests 28... Qg5 is superior to Aitken's 28... Qg6. This puzzles me a bit. After 28... Qg5 29.Qe3 Rxe7 30.Rxg5+ hxg5 31.Qxg5+ Kf8 32.Qh6+ Ke8 33.Qxc6+ .. (line given by Kotov) white should win. After 28... Qg6 in tpstars's line 29.Rxg6+ fxg6 30.Ba3 Re8 31.e5 .. black can still offer resistance with 31... Rdxe7 32.Bxe7 Rxe7 etc.

White missed another opportunity (unnoticed by Reti) to save the game. He should have played 31.Ba3 .., mentioned by Harding in "Evans Gambit and a system vs Two Knights Defense" (Chess Digest, 1991). Harding gives no analyses or evaluation of this move however. Black should play 31... Qe3 when 32.Rxf7+ Rxf7 33.Qxg6+ Kh8 34.Qxf7 Bxd4 35.Rg3 cxd5 36.Bc5 .. with a probable draw might follow.

Mar-27-11  Lovuschka: As Jakov Neistadt notes in his Buch "Damenopfer", 34.Rh4 is a brillant trap. After the "obvious" move 34...Qe2

click for larger view

white can sacrifice his queen with 35.Bf8!! (or the less spectacular 35.Bc1) and has a perpetual check. 35...Qxd3 36.Rxh6+ Kg8 37. Rgxg6+ Kxf8 38.Rf6+ Ke7 39.Re6+ draws.

Steinitz however avoided the trap, played 34...h5 and won. Neistadt also recommends 34...Qf6 similarly here, and computers show that 34...Qf6 would even have been a bit stronger.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: Bird (not the young Blackburne, to avoid sad tears) should have studied the game and discovered 27.Rxg7+!! ; then he could claim Steinitz was really a patzer compared to Morphy, who would of course have seen the winning sacrifice!! LOL...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: <27. Rxg7+! Kxg7 28. Rg1+ Qg6 29. Rxg6+ fxg6 30. Ba3! and Black is in a severe bind. Note 30 ... de? 31. Qxe4 Re8 (31 ... Rxd4? 32. Bb2 is simplest) 32. Qxc6 wins the exchange (32 ... Rdxe7 33. Bxe7 Rxe7), and on 30 ... Re8 31. e5 & 32. Qc3 picking up the Pc6 (33. Qxc6), then infiltrating with the Queen (34. Qf6+ & 35. Qe6) winning quickly. Nice job!>

I'm not seeing something I suppose. After 27. Rxg7+ Kxg7 28. Rg1+ why not just ...Kh7?

If 29. Rxg8 then Rxe7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Now compare this game with Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1862 (10th game from the match played in London, January 1863, not 1862) and discover that NN or "L" is none other than The Black Death himself!>

Harding's Blackburne biography disputes this is the tenth and final game of the match (Game Collection: Steinitz - Blackburne (1862-63)), played on January 5th 1863.

<Many books and chess magazines have followed <Bachmann> #53, in saying that the following were the moves, or at least that it was a Blackburne-Steinitz game of this period. Its authenticity is now being questioned, perhaps for the first time. Steinitz was definitely Black but the identity of his opponent, the date and the occasion are unclear. [...]

When the game was first published, Blackburne was not named. It appeared in the <I.L.N>, 9 October 1863: "Chess in London. A very instructive Game, played lately at the Grand Cigar Divan between Steinitz and an Amateur of Manchester." The Blackburne-Steinitz match took place at the London Chess Club, not the Divan, and much earlier in the year. Moreover, in the game header, Staunton identified the first player as "Mr. L" but there was at this time no strong amateur in Manchester with that initial, though there were some rather weak ones (Leresche, La Fontaine, Lewis) who are unlikely to have played as strongly as White does for much of this game. Bachmann repeated the score in his fourth volume (#961 on page 377) and, clearly taking it from the <I.L.N>, now said it was played at the Cigar Divan in 1864 naming White as "L. aus Manchester."


To conclude, although White eventually lost, it was through miscalculating difficult tactics and not because of failed strategy as Reti alleged. The general quality of White's play was high for that period and Steinitz had a much tougher fight than provincial amateurs usually gave him. Given that the loser was stated to be from Manchester, White indeed probably was Blackburne but the game was probably played later in 1863, around the same time as Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1863. What actually happened in the tenth match game will probably remain forever a mystery.>

Jun-03-20  Petrosianic: Reti's Masters of the Chessboard thinks the game is decided by Move 38, and describes 39. f4 as a last trap. (if 39...Bxd4, Rxh5+ gxh5 41. Qg3 Bxg1 42. Qg7 mate).

However, it looks like 39. f4 is in fact THE losing move, and that White was still okay before it.

Same motif as the last note. If 39. Qc1 Qxb2 40. Qg5 Re6 41. Rxh5+, and White can hardly lose.

click for larger view

41...Kg8 42. Rh8+ Kxh8 43. Qh6+ Kg8 44. Rxg6+ draws.

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