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Isidor Gunsberg vs Max Harmonist
"Piano in Harmony" (game of the day Apr-06-2012)
5th DSB Congress, Frankfurt (1887), Frankfurt am Main GER, rd 9, Jul-23
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo (C50)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Wow, it was pretty wild game! I am far from being sure that Harmonist's (probably forced as 16...Qd6 17.cxd5 Ra1+ 18.Kc2 Rxe1 19.Rxe1 Qxd5 20.Bc4 Nd4+ 21.Kb1 does not look promising for black) combination beginning with 16...0-0 was absolutely correct, but never mind! The game is really fantastic. (Of course, white could not play 17.Rxe5 for 17...Ra1+ 18.Kc2 Nd4#)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: In the final position black threatens with 27...g5+ and 28...Qxd5# or 27...Qd6+ and 28...g5#. If 27.Qa2 then 27...Qd6+ 28.Re5 g5#. If 27.Re3 then 27...Qg5+ 28.Ke5 (28.Kf3 Qg4#) 28...Re8+ 29.Kd6 Qd8#. If 27.h4 then 27...g5+ 28.hxg5 hxg5+ 29.Ke5 Qxd5#.
Aug-07-04  percyblakeney: Gunsberg would have saved a draw with 22.Kc2, but I do like Harmonist's 16th move...
Oct-24-04  patzer2: An opening alternative to consider for White is 4. Nc3 as in Short vs Aleksandrov, 2004.
Oct-24-04  patzer2: The Evans Gambit with 4. b4 used to be the popular and courageous alternatives, but more recent results such as Jobava vs Aronian, 2004 seem to have discouraged its use in modern praxis.
Oct-24-04  Swindler: Nice pun, makes me think about the song "Ebony and ivory" by Stewie Wonder and Paul McCarthney.
Oct-24-04  kevin86: "Piano" means quiet-the true name for the musical instrument is-pianoforte-meaning soft/loud. This is a description of the instrument's versility as a soft,lyrical sound or a loud thunderous one.

Note black's "piano" sac of his queen on moves 15 and 16

Oct-24-04  thesonicvision: 17. Rxe5...doesn't work because?
Oct-24-04  percyblakeney: 17.Rxe5 would be followed by Ra1+ 18.Kc2 Nd4#.
Oct-24-04  thesonicvision: ah yes, of course. i tend to underestimate nights.
Jan-24-07  Timothy Glenn Forney: Here's my analysis of the position after 16.c4 using advanced chess. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 d6 5.Be3 Bb6 6.Nbd2 Nf6 7.Nf1 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Qd2 h6 10.O-O-O Be6 11.Bb5 Qd6 12.Ng3 f5 13.Bxb6 axb6 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.Rde1 Rxa2 16.c4 Qf4 17.Bxc6+ bxc6 18.Rxe6+ Kd8 19.cxd5 Ra1+ 20.Kc2 Qa4+ 21.Kc3 Qa5+ 22.Kc2 Qa4+ 23.Kc3 Qa5+ 24.Kc2 Qa4+ 3-fold repetition 1/2-1/2
Spike 1.2
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Amazing game. White's king was having a nightmare.
Apr-06-12  rilkefan: SF points out that 19.Ne2 was much better. Black wins a bunch of pawns after ...Qxf2 20.cxd5 Qxg2 but 21.Nf4 and the knight ends up being too strong on e6.
Apr-06-12  goodevans: <patzer2: The Evans Gambit with 4. b4 used to be the popular and courageous alternatives, but more recent results such as Jobava vs Aronian, 2004 seem to have discouraged its use in modern praxis.>

Well Nigel Short is still prepared to give it a go (but then again he'll try anything!). His more recent game, Short vs G Sargissian, 2008, has 6.d4, which is much more in keeping with the spirit of the gambit than Jobova's rather tame 6.Qb3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I get the pun. The Piano is the opening. One player has a variant of the word "harmony" in his name.

Is it musical pun week? The other day we had the Beatles "Fixing a Hole" as the pun.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: White's last chance is for mate on g7, but that is easily solved.
Apr-06-12  sfm: <percyblakeney: Gunsberg would have saved a draw with 22.Kc2, but I do like Harmonist's 16th move> I also fell over this move. A little detail to mention, eh?
Apr-06-12  kevin86: A wild game,white's king is forced out of his crib to await checkmate.
Apr-06-12  drpoundsign: rap song "played ya like a piano"
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Piano fortissimo?
Apr-06-12  zakkzheng: won't Rxe5 do the job for white?
Apr-07-12  goodevans: <zakkzheng: won't Rxe5 do the job for white?>

I assume you mean 17.Rxe5, whereupon 17...Ra1+ 18.Kc2 Nd4# is curtains.

Feb-13-23  generror: Boy, what a game! I checked it out because I was amazed that Harmonist, famous for losing Schiffers vs Harmonist, 1887 and finishing last at that tournament, did manage to beat Schallopp, Burn and Gunsberg at that same tournament, even winning the brilliancy prize for this game. But to be frank, neither me nor Stockfish couldn't find much brilliancy here. It's a wild and wildly entertaining brawl, but the only move that I'd give an exclamation mark here is the well-timed <7...d5!>. Everything else is pretty mindless 19th-century "ATTAAAAACK!" style.

Gunsberg blunders first with <14.Nxe5??> which would be losing after <14...Rxa2! 15.c4 Nb4 16.Bxc6+ bxc6 17.Kb1! O-O> (D), and now Black is threatening mate after <18...Rfa8> and White has to sacrifice his knight with <18.Nxc6> to survive.

click for larger view

But after <14...Qxe5??>, <15.Rhe1> would have been advantageous for White after <15...Rxa2 16.c4 Qd4 17.Kb1>; <15.Rde1> is a draw.

Then Harmonist nearly blunders it with <16.0-0??> because now <19.Ne2! Qxf2 20.cxd5 Ra1+ 21.Kc2 Rxe1 22.Rxe1> would have been winning for White who is simply up a piece.

But after <19.cxd5??> it's draw again: After <21...Qa5+> (D), White could have easily forced perpetual check by <22.Kc2>; because if <22...Qc5+?? 23.Qc3 Ra5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5+ 25.Kd2 Rxd5> White simply is a piece up.

click for larger view

After <22.b4??>, Black can hunt the king out into the open field, leading to the following memorable position after <24.Ke5>:

click for larger view

Yeah, it's always good if your king is leading the attack against the enemy heavy pieces -- very romantic! ;)

Definitively an entertaining game, but in my opinion, Max Harmonist (great name by the way!) only won this one mainly because Gunsberg blundered more than he did. (As usual, I mean no disrespect to the players; I blunder more in one game than both together ever did :)

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