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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Mikhail Chigorin
Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship Match (1889), Havana CUB, rd 2, Jan-22
Queen Pawn Game: Anti-Torre (D02)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Curious game. White never castles at all, while Black castles on move 23 (which makes his position immediately hopeless).

Despite a ragged opening, Fritz thinks Black is OK until 15...fxg4. Chigorin's last chance is 23....Qxd5, though White retains a sizeable advantage. 26....Bh4 (26...Bf6? 27. g5) 27. Ke2 followed by Bxe5 is even worse for Black than losing the exchange, Fritz thinks.

One useful technical point to remember: 30. Rc7 followed by Rf5+ and Rff7 is stronger than Steinitz's 30. Rc8+.

Feb-27-08  Knight13: No need... 12...f5?! messed the whole thing up; Chigorin overlooked 13. g4!!
Aug-18-10  soothsayer8: Not a good looking game by Chigorin, especially 23...O-O??
Mar-06-13  Garech: Man, Chigorin seems to miss a lot of tactics, given he was one of the first "Great Russian Masters."


Apr-30-18  Big Pawn: Interesting chess from both players until 15...fg. Until this point, one gets the impression that they are both playing chess from move one, rather than some memorized opening.

As usual, Chigorin throws down the gauntlet on move two with ...Bf4, basically telling Steinitz, “I’m trolling you with this move and I’m going to prove that your theories are over generalized. I’m going to spend my own tempos to give you my bishop!”

But Steinitz knew that Chigorin had some success with this, his own invention, by exchanging on f3 and putting piece pressure on d4, so he one upped him by avoiding his own dogma and playing 3. Ne5! What follows seems to be some highly original chess.

With 12...f5 Chigorin again trolls Steinitz and shows him he doesn’t care about the hole on e5. Steinitz, true to his principles, fights for the center with 13. g4 but after ...Nf6 14. h3 Ne4, Chigorin has navigated his way to an even position. However, he blundered with 15...fg when 15...0-0 would have kept the balance.

So once again we clearly see the two schools of thought colliding, but the game is decided by a blunder. Neither the first or second game of this match is a triumph for either philosophy.

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