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Isidor Gunsberg vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Steinitz - Gunsberg World Championship Match (1890), New York, NY USA, rd 2, Dec-11
Spanish Game: Steinitz Defense (C62)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 18.g3 was an awful oversight. But move like 18...Nc3 is not difficult to miss.
Feb-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Honza Cervenka> After 18.g3? Nc3!, White was certainly lost. It is interesting to note the players comments starting a move or two before their 18th moves.

Regarding his move 16...Rae8, Steinitz said, <I studied twenty minutes for this move because 16...Nb2 seemed to yield some promise, but on consideration I concluded to make another strong developing move, which was sure to be useful in the end.">

Regarding his move 17.Nfe1, Gunsberg said, <"17.Kh1 was better.>

Fritz agrees that 17.Kh1, making the g1 square available for the Knight was a better move than 17.Nfe1. Fritz indicates White's best move and continuation was: (-.38) (20 ply) 17.Rfe1 a5 18.a3 Ra8 19.Qe4 Qh5 20.Qe2 axb4 21.axb4 Nb6 22.Be3.

The move played by Gunsberg, 17.Nfe1, put White at a serious disadvantage: (-.93) (20 ply) 17.Nfe1 Bg5 18.Rb1 Nf4 19.Bxf4 exf4 20.Qd3 Qxd3 21.Nxd3 Re4 22.Rb3. White is now facing threats of ...f3 and ...Rxc4, and is in a very difficult position.

After 17...Bg5, Gunsberg stated, <"An excellent move. White cannot afford to take this bishop, as the adverse knight will enter at f4."> Steintz commented, <"There is hardly any escape from this that I can see">

Regarding his move 18.g3, Gunsberg stated, <"Too late now">.

After 18...Nc3, Gunsberg said, <"A brilliant and surprising coup, which crushes White's game entirely.">

Feb-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 18.Ne3 seems to be playable at first glance but after 18...Nf4 19.Qd1 Qg6 white still faces serious troubles. For example 20.Qxa4 Nh3+! 21.gxh3 (21.Kh1 Nxf2+ 22.Kg1 Bxe3 23.Bxe3 Nh3+ with mate or 22.Rxf2 Rxf2 23.Nf3 b5! 24.Qxb5 Rf8 25.Rg1 Rxd2 26.Nxd2 Bxe3 ) 21...Bxe3+ 22.Ng2 Bxd2 with clear advantage of black.
Feb-08-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Honza Cervenka> After 17.Nfe1? Bg5, Fritz at 18 ply indicated 18.Rb1 was White's best move. See my post of 02/05/08.

Steinitz had noted: <If White had played 18.Bxg5 then 18...Qxg5, followed by 19...Nf4 or 19...e4 accordingly with an irresistible attack.>

A deeper search by Fritz shows White's best move and continuation to be: (-.89) (23 ply) 18.Bxg5 Qxg5 19.Ne3 Nf4 20.Qd2. Black could now try: (-.53) 20...a5 21.a3 Rf7 22.g3 Ref8; or (-.46) (23 ply) 20...Re7 21.c5 Ref7 22.Kh1 e4; or (-.45) (23 ply) 20...Qh5 21.Kh1 e4 22.g3 Nh3; or (-.40) (23 ply) 20...e4 21.g3 Re5 22.Rc2 a6 23.Kh1 Ng6; or (-.37) (23 ply) 20...Rf7 21.g3 Ref8 22.h4 Qg6.

Black has the advantage in each of these lines, but it not clear if there are any significant winning chances.

Regarding 18.Ne3, Fritz agrees that Black has excellent winning chances after: (-1.53) (23 ply) 18.Ne3 Nf4 19.Qd1 Qg6 20.Qxa4 Nh3+ 21.gxh3 Bxe3+ 22.Ng2 Bxd2.

Feb-27-08  Knight13: 12. b4 seems to be bad.
Sep-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: Glad to be able to play "Guess the Move" after seeing this game in the database.
May-30-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here are contemporary annotations from the "Field", reproduced in the "Illustrated Sydney News", dated 28 February 1891:

4. c3 - 4. d4 is justly considered preferable

4...♗d7 - 3...d6 is one of the oldest defences to the Ruy Lopez. Mr Steinitz brought it into prominence within the last few years; but on this occasion he deviated from the more usual move 4...f5, in favour of the text move, which is less enterprising.

5...♘ge7 - anticipating 6. d4, when 6...♘g6 would defend the king pawn.

7. d5 - This advance is only in Black's favour; especially as White follows it up by exchanging his Knight's Bishop, when clearly Black's game is far better developed. 7. ♗e3 and ♘bd2 would seem better.

9. ♘a3 - Bringing the Knights out on the wrong squares seems contagious.

10...♘c5 - Commencing already an aggressive movement with this well-posted Knight.

12. b4 - This move still more compromises White's Queen side, without even getting rid of the troublesome Knight. He might have guarded first against the entry of Black's Queen to g4 by advancing 10. h3, leaving the Knight temporarily undisturbed.

14. c4 - Still more weakening. The alternative move 14. g3, however, is after all only a choice of evils.

16...♖ae8 - Mr Steinitz, having the game in hand now, makes a useful developing movebefore proceeding with the final attack. It is perhaps over cautious in this instance.

17. ♘fe1 - From bad to worse, nut it is a natural consequence of his faulty development.

17...♗g5 - The decisive move.

18. g3 - If 18. ♗xg5 ♕xg5 19. ♘e3 seems to be forced.

18...♘c3 - Winning the exchange and the game. The rest is uninteresting, and only a matter of time. Mt Steinitz played the game with irreproachable correctness; but even a second-rate player would have won the game as played by Mr Gunsberg.

Jan-25-14  GREYSTRIPE: Here is Steinitz with the victory in Center-Holds-Games. Steinitz had control of Center-Game from move no. 17. Bg5. The hard-line control sent the opposer to the edges of the chess. The legendary Steinitz courage did not waver. A chess-player must have the mettle to be able to exchange a piece or two and still make Gauss. The robust Steinitz Rooks-and-Pawns with Bishops is percipient and astute. Steinitz never had a doubt; it is clear in his chess-play. Even if he had a Queen or Rook to deal with, the Center Game is refulgent diatribe. A wise chess-player and a strong man, Steinitz makes no apology for his chess which leaves no question about whether or not he saw what he was doing.
Aug-02-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: (London) Daily News, December 12th 1890, p.3:

<THE CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP. ILLNESS OF MR. GUNSBEBG. (FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.) NEW YORK, THURSDAY.

The second game of the fight taking place here for the championship of the world has concluded in an unexpected manner, and its result will no doubt have marked effect on the ultimate score. The game has been forfeited by Mr. Gunsberg in consequence of his health not allowing of his presence. By the conditions a player not appearing within a certain time forfeits his game, and the full point is scored by his adversary, so that the present record is - Steinitz, 1; Gunsberg, 0; drawn, 1.>

This report was repeated by several other British papers that day, but <our correspondent> suggests this was the original source. I couldn't find such a report in the American papers.

It occurred that this may have been a misunderstanding and that Gunsberg simply failed to reappear after adjournment (there was a scheduled break between 5-7 p.m.), but this is contradicted by a report in the <Saint Paul Daily Globe>, December 12th, p.6, which states the adjournment took place at the 27th move, and that Gunsberg resigned after resumption.

Dec-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Although 16..Rae8 worked out well for Steinitz, it was a rather planless developing move. 16..Rf7 is an alternative making space for ..Raf8. Or Black could consider addressing the loose Knight on a4 with 16..a5.

Also it is worth noting that after 16..Rae8 17 Nfe1?! Bg5 the move 20 g4? is refuted by 20..Nf4! 21 Bxf4 Nc3! (that c3 square again).

Apr-12-20  GMsohum: This opening is not good for Black in modern days
Apr-12-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <GMSohum>, by the 1920s, this Old Steinitz fell out of favour and was supplanted by the modern form, as well as options such as the Open.

Surely a modern master would have plumped for the plan of 9.c4 and Nc3 without much reflexion; the structure then resembles a King's Indian where White has exchanged his bad bishop for the opponent's good one and should have some advantage.

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