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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs West
ENG (1885)
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-28-16  alphee: Keep it simple, very cute as sneaky said!
Mar-28-16  Sularus: QxP+, then Rh4++
Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: This is Kanye's most famous game.
Mar-28-16  patzer2: <bbouaziz: 17. Qg5 being the best of the game> Objectively, stronger than 17. Qg5 (+0.99 @ 22 depth, Deep Fritz 15) is 17. Rad1 (+4.56 @ 20 depth, Deep Fritz 15)

After 17. Rad1 (diagram below)


click for larger view

White either wins the pinned Bishop (e.g. 17...e3 18. Qxd7 Qxd7 19. Rxd7 ) or picks off the Queen with a discovered attack mate threat after 17...Bc6 18. Qh6 Rg8 19. Rxd8 (#10, Deep Fritz 15).

Mar-28-16  Abdel Irada: ∞

<bbouaziz>: Are you by any chance from Tunisia?

Mar-28-16  Abdel Irada: ∞

<zb2cr: Blackburne was nicknamed <The Black Death>. He must have felt he needed to live up to the name with 20. Qxh7+, Kxh7; 21. Rh4#.>

Ironically, in this case, he received his nickname thanks to his play with the black pieces, which he tended to handle particularly aggressively.

This victory (and others like it) might better have qualified him for the alternative sobriquet "The White Death" — although admittedly that would sort rather less well with his name.

Mar-28-16  Timi Timov: Blackburne vs Ken West
Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Mate in two by queen sac. Typical Monday.
Mar-28-16  dfcx: <Phony Benoni: I do get tired of the queen sacrificing herself to enforce checkmate. Why not play 20.Rh4, and give Black's queen a chance to sacrifice herself gloriously in a lost cause?>

The longer variation with black sacrificing both queen and rook:

20.Rh4 Qb6+ 21.Kh1 Qb1+ 22.Rxb1 Rg7 23.Qxg7#

Mar-28-16  David2009: The Monday puzzle shows the climax to a now well-known forced mate pattern starting 19.Qh6 etc.

Blackburne played to entertain and instruct his simultaneous opponents. When this game was played (1885) this smothered-mate mating tactic was much less well known. Amateurs like me and my peers (fellow kibitzers) are standing on the shoulders of forgotten giants who have popularised the game by writing about and diffusing knowledge of this mating tactic. Nowadays in any club match I would expect my opponent to be aware of this kind of mating attack, to defend against it. A hundred and forty years ago this would not have been true.

Sure, 20.Rh4 wins: but replace the Bd7 by a Nd7 and the Q sacrifice is the only way to bring home the bacon quickly. The Q sacrifice is both more aesthetic (IMO) and more instructive


click for larger view

Alternative puzzle: White to play and win

Mar-28-16  saturn2: Qxh7 and the rook mates afterwards.
Mar-28-16  lentil: I've actually played this combo a few times!
Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: These are useful combinations to remember as the pattern recurs. I've done quite a few of these. They never cease to be beautiful even if they are "easy". They are not easy for every one. I don't think I would ever have discovered any of these kinds of moves without studying tactics for hours years ago.

I needed also to study how to avoid blunders: in fact we all do. They say its worth about 100 to 200 points to at least minimalize blunders.

The other way is to give up chess. This means that one gets a perfect score with no losses.

Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <lost in space: I love Mondays, especialaly when they are bank holidays! 20. Qxh7+ Kxh7 (forced) 21. Rh4#>

You spelt or spelled "especially" wrong, I mean wrongly....

I know they have bank holidays in England or Britain, but I always keep thinking that that means the Bank goes on holiday. Be a bastard if there were no holes in the wall as there wasn't when I was younger...

Here in Kiwiland it is Tuesday already and the Easter holidays have ended. But Monday was a holiday. The Americans usually use the term vacation.

Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I suppose the Exchange French at least means you get away from the normal stodge lines in the French. I've never essayed it...
Mar-28-16  TheTamale: Why didn't Blackburne play 17) Qh6 instead of 17) Qg5, since that's where the queen was headed anyway?
Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <The Tamale> 17.Qh6 right away allows 17...Rxe5 which ruins the intended tactic.

So 17...Rxe5 and if White continues with 18.Rf4, Black has 18...Rh5 and the attack is beaten back.

(not to mention that White loses his Queen.)

Blackburne knew what he was doing.

Mar-28-16  maladictum: I agree with <TheTamale> : if, as <Chancho> suggests, after 17.Q-h6, Black plays 17... Rxe5 18. Q-g7#... ; the rook must guard g7,as in the game...
Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <maladictum> You're right.

(forgot about the unprotected g7 square.)

But after 17.Qh6 Rg8 18.Rf4 Qf8. The combination Blackburne intended does not work.

Mar-29-16  maladictum: <chancho> 19.BxQ ... and all is as it should be :-)
Mar-29-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <maladictum> I missed the unprotected g7 square and then add to it by missing the Bishop on a3.

At least when I go wrong I go wrong big.

Mar-29-16  maladictum: In fact, that one lost tempo allows Black to play c6, but he misplays with 18...Q-a5. I suggest 18... Q-b6+ followed by 19.(almost any)Q-e3,pinning the R to the Q, thereby buying a few more moves in a lost game.
Mar-29-16  maladictum: <Chancho> Nope, I'm wrong about 17.Qh6. Blackburn DID know what he was doing. 17.Qh6 Rg8 18.Rf4 g5, and Black holds in a strange looking position. However, I still think West went awry with Qa5
Mar-29-16  Abdel Irada: ∞

<Here in Kiwiland it is Tuesday already and the Easter holidays have ended. But Monday was a holiday. The Americans usually use the term vacation.>

No, we don't.

May-23-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: The Decline of the West
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