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Mikhail Chigorin vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship Match (1889), Havana CUB, rd 1, Jan-20
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Slow Variation (C52)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-16-06  Calli: 27...Rxa2?? "An extraordinary blunder. Black overlooked that the check at a1 was guarded by the Queen."

53.g5 "White's attack is now obviously irresistible. The latter part of the game has been played by Mr. Tschigorin with consummate mastery."

-Notes by Steinitz

Oct-09-06  rjsolcruz: A gambit in a World Championship! It was certainly the days of the wild west!
Nov-24-07  PADutchImprover: 26 . . . Nxd5, pinning his own knight, was bold (even if the game went against him).
Nov-24-07  PADutchImprover: Steinitz resigns in the face of mate in 2. Useful checkmate position displayed at the end of this game.
Dec-14-07  talisman: i see... Tal described himself as a "Chigorinist".
Feb-28-08  Knight13: This is complete central domination.
Mar-02-09  WhiteRook48: 26...Nxd5 seems BAD
Feb-05-10  backrank: It seems to me as if Black still could defend the knight by 27. ... Ra5 28. Bxb6 Rb5, with a tenable position (and probable draw). However, why didn't he take the d-pawn on move 25 already (25. ... Qxd5) ?
Mar-06-12  RookFile: This is a good game and a good effort by both sides.
Nov-16-14  Ke2: <rjsolcruz> Yes these were the good days. Tchigorin played the Evans 8 of the times he had White, and only 1 Ruy Lopez (Steinitz defence). I think people definitely underestimate the Evans still!
May-27-15  mandor: Nice ideas by both sides, especially for Chigorine. Nice dynamic play. At move eleven seems that black achived favorable pawns structure, but seems to have its good points! Nice exploding of tactical shots. But I wish how white should play with 26...Ra5 for example .. (instead Nxd5)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I played through this and all the matches for the World Champs up to Capa and Alekhine etc and these were crazy indeed.

Steinitz and Chigorin kept making really bad moves alternating with brilliant ones. The Evans Gambit like the King's is completely playable. When Keres faced the KG from Lombardy (about 1956 or so) he commented that it was only fashion that dictated that it wasn't still played.

And indeed it seems that the current thinking for example is that because of the complex theoretical history of the Ruy Lopez and the Berlin Defense etc now we know that the Giucco Piano which was once considered almost a beginner's opening is now considered the most theoretically sound. Of course this will continue to be argued as the Ruy can transpose.

If someone like Wei Yi or perhaps Aronian plays for the World Championships it might be that Gambits could be the order of the day.

They are hard to handle by the defending side. Imagine if the challenger played a different "maverick" opening every game. This would mean the defending champion's team would be driven nutters...There are supposedly "dubious" lines that certain players love and to see say the Evans again in the World Championship would be interesting. He would also be respected who played it...or the KG or some of the strange lines (but effectively still sound) against 1 d4 etc....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: In this match though Steinitz should have definitely avoided the early Qf6 line.
Apr-30-18  Big Pawn: Chigorin was always trying to refute what he considered the dogmatism of Steinitz’ theories, which by this time had become accepted as the new, modern chess i.e. the accumulation of small advantages and the belief that a position can be defended against any brilliant attack if there weren’t any weakness or if the opponent hadn’t accumulated the little advantages (good knights, outposts, two bishops, better pawn structure etc...).

In this game, after move 13, Chigorin had willingly exchanged his Italian bishop and destroyed his own pawn center, leaving Steinitz what he wanted: two bishops and a better pawn structure. But Chigorin had greater piece mobility and Steinitz was slow to get that Nd8 corrected. All in all it was very even. I guess Steinitz was able to show that despite White’s fluid, mobile, dynamic gambit position, he wasn’t able to successfully break through with an attack.

Steinitz blundered playing ...Rxa2 when ...Rxa5 would have kept it even.

This is an interesting game and a particularly interesting match because both players have a point to make about chess philosophy and aren’t just trying to win. Chigorin didn’t want to be boxed in with Steinitz’ theories. Steinitz was the scientist and Chigorin the artist. The nonconformist Chigorin railing against the accepted system of Steinitz was echoed a generation later with Nimzovich and Tarrasch, with Nimzovich following after Chigorin and Tarrasch following after Steinitz.

Apr-30-18  WorstPlayerEver: Consequent is 16... f6

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