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Jackson Whipps Showalter vs Harry Nelson Pillsbury
"Action Jackson" (game of the day Sep-05-2012)
Pillsbury - Showalter US Championship (1897), Brooklyn, New York USA, rd 8, Mar-06
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation (C67)  ·  1-0



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Given 39 times; par: 26 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-07-04  clifton: Yes, very nice. Pillsbury could have played better though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Yes, the first part up to 13...Qe4 14 Bd6 is easy to see, but cashing in on material alone won't work with the black queen centralized. I like the way the queen takes up the d6 post right after the exchange of bishop for rook. It freezes the development of black's queenside in one stroke. Moreover the follow-up 18.Re1 prevents Pillsbury from taking the white queen because of mate on e8. 18...g6 looks like a blunder. It renews the threat to take the queen, but allows 19 Qd2 with too many threats. One question though, the finish makes it seem like the attack was unstoppable, but I wonder if Pillsbury could have held with 18...Qh5 making no further weaknesses.
Feb-04-06  Whitehat1963: Beautiful and clear attack!
Premium Chessgames Member
  hesyrett: <tamar> wrote <... I wonder if Pillsbury could have held with 18...Qh5 making no further weaknesses.>  Well, 18...♕h5 19 ♘d4 Δ ♘xc6 might lead to 19...♕h6 20 ♕xh6 gxh6 21 ♘f5 leaving Black in a nasty bind, but I don't see any quick annihilation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <The game opened similarly to the sixth game, Black varying to the sixth move. White sacrificed two pawns for an overwhelming superiority in position. His eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth moves resulted in exchanges of Black's developed pieces, and completely blocked in the black queen's side pieces, after which White quickly obtained a decisive attack against the adverse king, announcing mate in five moves at his twenty-third move.>

Comments by H. N. Pillsbury - Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3/9/1897

Jul-05-12  LoveThatJoker: Tremendous game!

I'm looking forward to seeing this become GOTD someday soon!


Sep-05-12  sevenseaman: Pressure points;

10. Re1 the action begins 12. Prepares the Nc7 fork. 14. Bd6 is double-edged. 15. Bc2, a handy intermezzo! 18. Re1, a deadly dare 21. Qc3!! 23. Nc7!!

If I ever saw a red hot game! Showalter has got to have been a great! Thanks to CG & and LTJ.

Sep-05-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> Thank you for the kind mention. I remember having voted for this to become GOTD on the same date I posted my note here.

Kudos to the person who recognized the GOTD potential this game has and came up with a decent pun for it!


Sep-05-12  Llawdogg: Jackson Whips Pillsbury.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Showalter really Whipps Pillsbury in this game.
Sep-05-12  RandomVisitor: 15.Nd5!

click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64: <15-ply>

[+1.70] 15...Bxb2 16.Rb1 Bd4 17.Nxd4 Qxd5 18.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 19.Bxd1 dxc6 20.Bxb8 Re8 21.Bc2 Be6 22.Bxa7 Bxa2 23.Rd1 Bd5 24.Bb6 g6 25.f3 Re2 26.Bd3 Ra2 27.Bb1 Rb2 28.Bd4 Re2

[+1.83] 15...Bd8 16.Bxc6 dxc6 17.Nc3 Qg6 18.Bxb8 Bb6 19.Qa4 Bh3 20.Bg3 Be6 21.Nd4 Re8 22.Re1 Bd7 23.Rxe8+ Bxe8 24.Qd1 Bd7 25.h3 Qf6 26.Ndb5 Bxh3 27.gxh3 cxb5 28.Qd7

Sep-05-12  RandomVisitor: 7...Be7 8.cxd4 b5 9.Bc2 0-0 =
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: mate to come quickly
Sep-05-12  belgradegambit: <Kudos to the person who recognized the GOTD potential this game has and came up with a decent pun for it!> You're welcome!
Sep-05-12  LoveThatJoker: <belgradegambit> Excellent! :)


Sep-05-12  RookFile: As I've had opportunity, I've been playing over Pillsbury games for about 10 years now. Win, lose or draw, they seem to be always interesting, downright fascinating in many cases.

Pillsbury may not have been the strongest player ever, but I think he may be the most interesting.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Nice attacking game by Showalter. He makes one of the greatest players of the time seem decidedly ordinary. No mean feat!

But how? Just where did black go wrong?

At first I thought it was the ugly-looking 11...Ne8. This allows 12. Rxe8 when 12...Rxe8 falls to 13. Bxc7

click for larger view

So black is obliged to go down the game line with 12...Qxe8. And we've all seen how that pans out.

But then I wondered what else could black have played other than 11...Ne8? White was threatening Nxc7 and Bxd6. For example, 11...Bxb2 (we might as well) 12. Rb1 Bf6 13. Nxc7 Qxc7 14. Bxd6

click for larger view

Uggh. The white Bd6 seems to be worth at least a rook and the black Bc8 isn't earning a gold star from teacher. I don't think that white is winning by force, but I like his position.

So let's rewind a move even further and see if black could have improved. Maybe 10...Bf6 is the smoking gun. Perhaps the congested black position really cannot cope with moving a piece twice in the opening?

Here's the position just before 10...Bf6. White has just played 11. Re1

click for larger view

So what are we thinking here? 11...b5 to relieve some of the pressure and allow the Bc8 to develop? Or 11...Re8 to add some more protection to the Be7?

Time to consult the silicon monster. He thinks that 11...b5 is the best, with just a little worse than equality (0.20). 11...Re8 is worth half a prawn to white because he still has the Bf4-Nc7 trick.

But I have to say that I'm not convinced that Fritz has got it right. I really don't like black's position. I think an earlier deviation still would have been preferable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Tremendous game by Showalter, sharply exploiting the weaknesses in B's position. I'm not sure where things started to go wrong for B. 14 ... Rb8 does not look good but it is already difficult to find a way to equalise. Hard to believe on the basis of this game that the Berlin Wall is now almost the number one choice for drawing against 1 e4.
Sep-05-12  bischopper: for white who has the iniciative and does easier than more be can plege...
Feb-06-16  Abdel Irada: <Once>: I don' t play the Berlin, but intuitively I am suspicious of 7. ...dxc3.

Here I think Black should consider either 7. ...d3 or 7. ...Be7 (or even go wild with 7. ...b5) rather than open lines and develop White's queen's knight to its best square.

Feb-05-19  Patzer Natmas: Old school (1800s heheh) had it down to a science! So many tactics and it seemed one after another!
Sep-25-20  rwbean: "Where did Black go wrong?"

It's all over after 7... dxc3? instead of 7... ♗e7 ... it's >+3 with Stockfish 12 after that. All he can try is 11... b5 (very Deep Blue vs Kasparovish) but he'll still be crushed.

13. ♕d3 is even better ... >+5 ... 13. ♕d3 ♘b4 14. ♘xb4 Qd8 15. ♘d5 d6 ...

Similarly a dance of queens ... 16. ♕d3 ♕g6 17. ♕e2 ♕h5 is much better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: This gambit of Showalter might receive a revival. Nepomniachtchi played 7.c3!? v. Radjubov recently, who replied with the sane 7...Be7, acquiescing to a small disadvantage which was probably not responsible for his eventual loss. Sound or not, the Super-GM level could use a little variety.
Jun-27-21  Albanius: Leonard Barden reported that Nepo surprised Radjabov with Showalter's 7 c3! in the 2021 Paris Rapid & Blitz: "Radjabov preferred 7...Be7 8 cxd4 b5 9 Bb3 0-0 10 Nc3 Bb7 11 Re1 Bf6 12 Bf4 when White has a small space advantage and Nepomniachtchi eventually won... Kasparov was watching and said: 'I wish I could have found this idea when I played Kramnik in 2000!' "
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <Albanius> found the same article that I had found. Checking the DB, 9...0-0 might have been both a new move and not the best move; 9...Na5 and 9...Bb7 have fared well in the past.
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