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James Moore Hanham vs Wilhelm Steinitz
2nd City Chess Club Tournament (1894), New York, NY USA, rd 5, Oct-30
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  0-1



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Jul-05-10  TheaN: Monday 5 July 2010


Target: 0:40;000
Taken: 0:08;479

Material: Black up, ♗+♙

Candidates: <[Qg1†]>

I think White is a piece down here because he gave it away, in the assumption Rf1 would win him a Rook back. Well, not really.

<31....Qg1†! 32.Rxg1 Nf2‡ 0-1> playing a smothered variation. Time to check.

Jul-05-10  Ryan Razo: Black's Queen became the decoy after 31... ♕g1, and since there is no other choice for White, Steinitz finishes him off with a nifty mate with the knight. 31... ♕xf1 first came to my mind, but since 2 pieces are guarding the rook, we had to look for other moves, hence 31... ♕g1. BTW, I believe it is not a smothered mate, as a hostile piece covers h2. If it were a friendly piece, then its a smothered mate, hemming in the unfortunate king.
Jul-05-10  JohnBoy: NIce job, <Once> - though what on earth (or the starship Boobyprize) it has to do with this game remains a mystery. For the next movie...
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  Once: <JohnBoy> The point was meant to be that in today's puzzle the black queen was the equivalent of Star Trek's red-shirted security officer. In other words, a totally disposable character whose only job was to give its life away to let the main actors do their thing.

And that points to a typical mating force being at least three pieces - one to be sacrificed and two to construct the mating net. Or, back in the language of star trek, a typical away mission would involve Kirk, Spock plus the guy in the red shirt.

I find that lower-graded players hate to sacrifice pieces, even if it is a pseudo-sacrifice which quickly results in a mate. And they also think that they can whip up an attack with just one or two pieces.

So my little Star Trek story was intended as a little chess parable. Don't be afraid to sacrifice a piece if mate follows soon after. And always try to bring along at least three pieces into an attack so that you have got one to sacrifice. All wrapped up in a bit of whimsy, hopefully making it easier to remember.

Still a mystery?

Jul-05-10  JohnBoy: Not in the slightest. Very good. Thx.
Jul-05-10  TheTamale: Hanham doesn't fare so well as White because he can't employ his beloved Hanham Variation of the Philidor Defense. I wonder why he didn't try to fashion some sort of "Hanham Attack" version of it for White? I think it's better to play for a position you can work with than one that is slightly better theoretically.
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  OhioChessFan: <<once> I want to hear about your chess pi theory! >

<wasspwot> here's my Chess pi theory:

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  Once: <OhioChessFan> A lot tastier than mine! Love the star trek pic - spot on.
Jul-05-10  rubato: 22.dxe5? why sac the Knight?
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  Phony Benoni: <rubato: 22.dxe5? why sac the Knight?>

click for larger view

White was losing a piece anyway. If the knight on c4 moves to safety, Black plays 22...exd4 attacking the knight on e3 while threatening to win White's queen with 23...Ne2+ or 23...Nxh3+.

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  chrisowen: Close off Qg1+ to damage it mate soon. Quiet positional play 4 5 dud spins. Black loops knight 16.Nxf4 over fast and Moore in cowardly cowering classics not amusing him. Qg3 sell garcon a salut d'Amour. Kh8 and 26..g5 winning gains out of the question.
Jul-05-10  turbo231: got it but it took too long. <once> you are a treasure sent from heaven.
Jul-05-10  Marmot PFL: White should have traded that Nc4 for Bb6 while he had the chance. On c4 it was just in his own bishop's way. Oh well, only about 10% of the guys Steinitz beat were any good. Andressen, Zukertort, Gunsberg, Chigorin, 3 or 4 others.
Jul-05-10  TheChessGuy: My first puzzle back and I see a detailed discussion of the redshirt! <Once>, thank you for confirming the validity of my decision to return!
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  OhioChessFan: Ensign Ricky = Black Queen in today's POTD
Jul-05-10  jheiner: It's always interesting when you learn something and then that same day see it somewhere else.

Today I ran into the term "Lopez Bishops" which I hadn't heard before. For those who don't know, it refers to the position for White in variations of the Ruy Lopez with Bishops on c1 and c2. Often these beautifully placed pieces end up as part of a later mating attack.

As soon as I saw today's puzzle I thought "Aha! Look at those beautiful Lopez Bishops...but for Black!"

Granted, the e6 Bishop is not identical to a c8 Bishop, but very close.

Nevertheless, thought a few people would enjoy that.

And always fun to start the week with a smothered mate. A real crowd favorite.

Jul-05-10  JohnBoy: There is some Soviet school phrase about playing the spanish game. Any references? Personally, a pain in the a$$. I like to either play some sort of exchange or delayed/double delayed exchange or lese let my opponent steer me in to the Marshal - I kind of like playing white there (so I'm a masochist...)

Nice recent games by Carlesen and Karjakin in the Spanish. Any suggestions as to how to play black? Required prep versus Scotch and King's gambit and various speeds of Piano.

Jul-05-10  cjgone: I still love mondays.
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  Phony Benoni: This is the only place I am aware of on the Entire Interet, and probably the Rest of the Universe, where so many people love Mondays.
Jul-05-10  kramputz: <Once: Never wear a red shirt on Star Trek... > ......Trekees are lousy chess players.


Jul-05-10  muralman: Took two looks. I just hate Mondays. I have a phobia over easy puzzles. I think that is because I always look to hard at the puzzle looking for tricks.

So, the second time, I bothered to look at the bishop cutting off the kings escape.

And we are back to the Queen sacrifice, though this time it i s a double barreled shot guns, covered by the bishop.

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  Once: <kramputz: Trekees are lousy chess players.>

I am intrigued by the concept of a Trekee. If a Treker is someone who does Star Trek, is a Trekee someone who has Star Trek done to them? :-)

Jul-06-10  kevin86: The same theme as a smothered mate-only "open sandwich method"
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