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Johannes Zukertort vs Wilhelm Steinitz
Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886), St. Louis, MO USA, rd 9, Feb-10
Queen's Gambit Declined: Vienna. Quiet Variation (D44)  ·  0-1



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Given 62 times; par: 56 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-06-04  Checkmate123: Steinitz pioneered the defence of the Queen's Gambit Accepted, and used this blockade which is still recognised as the standard and best plan for Black.
Mar-06-04  Checkmate123: Steinitz knew what he was doing and had a plan all along, and got a glorious ending while Zukertort did not have much of a plan. This made the difference
Aug-04-04  acirce: Kasparov comments this game in an interesting way in OMGP, it is <hard to annotate from the standpoint of the 21st century; by present-day standards it contains too many mistakes> but it also <played a colossal role in the development of chess understanding> due to Steinitz' positional superiority. It confirms my stand on yesterday's masters as incomparably worse than today's but with enormous historical significance. Chess like science where every new generation knows more than the one before.
Aug-04-04  fred lennox: Kasparov is only revealing his shortcommings as an annotator when he says something like that. In comparing yesterdays masters to todays is like comparing the explorer, the adventurer to the establisher and refiner. It takes more talent to be the former, just as it takes more talent to be a Columbus than a 16 year old caption today who can sail the Atlantic.
Aug-04-04  acirce: What exactly are you not agreeing on in Kasparov's comment, did it NOT contain lots of mistakes?
Aug-04-04  fred lennox: I disagree that it is hard to annotate because of the mistakes. It sounds contradictory to say this and then to state it played a colossal role in developing chess understanding. Then again, it depends how you annotate. It's not practical to annotate the game like todays games. Annotation has changed as much as the game and is the reason, I believe, why the game has changed so. If you annotate like Timman a few pages could be devoted to one move. So much annotation these days refer to other games and now there's the computer. Kasparov said it's difficult to annotate period and I see his point. I don't mean to imply chess players are less talented, but of a differant kind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Too many mistakes? I has to admit that I don't see them. Of course, I am no Kasparov....:-)

Well, Zukertort's problem in this game was that he failed to find an effective plan of play in a position with isolated d-pawn or later with hanging pawns c+d. Only many tenth of years and many thousands of played games later it was established how to treat this type of position and any modern grandmaster playing with white pieces would be probably able to show the dynamic potential hidden there. But it hardly can prove that yesterday's masters were "incomparably worse than today's", only the development of chess knowledge advanced a little bit in past 120 years. I think that Zukertort in his top form with current knowledge of chess would be dangerous opponent even for Garry the Great. And Steinitz maybe even without it....:-)

Aug-04-04  acirce: I don't know what that is supposed to mean, "with current knowledge of chess"; the point is that they didn't have that. Chess understanding has evolved and THEREFORE they were worse, but at the same time the best players of this era helped said understanding to develop and so are indispensable links in the chain...
Aug-04-04  ughaibu: I also think Kasparov's comment is a cop-out. Does he list the mistakes or explain what manner of "mistake" he thinks the game is over filled with? I think this game is in Euwe's Development of Chess Style which had a recent facelift from Nunn, if anyone has access to a copy of either edition perhaps they could comment further.
Aug-04-04  acirce: Sure he lists the mistakes as he is annotating the game. I will not quote him in full because that would take too much time but here is the essential content of his annotations to every move that is given a question mark:

21.Bxd5? is <A fundamental positional mistake: before ..g7-g6 has been played, White should not take on d5!> He suggests 21.c4.

23.Re3? is <Play at the level of that time: an attempt to attack the king with inadequate means. What kind of attack is possible here?> Instead he suggests 23.d5 b5 24.Qh3.

28.Rf3? is, according to Garry, worse than 28.Rd2 but even here Black would keep an advantage with best play (he gives many lines).

29..Bc6? is <a serious mistake. Much stronger was the tactical blow 29..b5! suggested by Vukovic.>

30.Rg3? is <a mistake in reply, and this time a fatal one.> He says that <30.d5! suggests itself> and gives lines to support it.

31.Rg6? is <A coffee-house move! There was more sense in 31.c5 (31.Rh3!?)>

35.Nd1? <More tenacious was 35.Nf1>

Aug-04-04  ughaibu: The problem with a lot of this is that a move that is not technically the "best" is often considered to be a mistake, whereas, if such a move is part of a plan that's consistently pursued it's not in reality a mistake. The breaking of routine is in itself a great weapon, the fact that this game predates the routine doesn't invalidate the ideas. How does this compare with the number of moves that Kasparov considers to be mistakes in a game that he openly admires?
Aug-04-04  acirce: Not sure I understand. A wrong plan is wrong no matter how consistent. In this case for example Zukertort's attempt to attack without the position being ripe, I guess. "Rules" are made to be broken if it can be done in the concrete situation but creatively breaking such "rules" is different from not knowing about them at all.
Aug-04-04  ughaibu: Chess just isn't that limited and the prevailing view that a given position has a best move and a required plan is what leads to all these games with f3 against the Najdorf as seen at Linares, the consequences being a bunch of draws. If Kasparov's assertion that Bd5 is a mistake is true then there is no justification for considering later moves, until black's Bc6, to be further mistakes, if white still had a playable game then the moves weren't mistakes, they were eccentricities and a player with the strength to follow through on their eccentricities has the advantage of putting their opponent on unfamiliar ground. The idea that "correct" chess is good chess is nonsense as far as I can see, "let's play 25 moves of Najdorf Sicilian, three new moves and agree a draw", what a futile exercise for all concerned.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AdrianP: Although Gazza criticizes this game for the number of inaccuracies - and they are inaccuracies, I certainly think he *admires* this game - who wouldn't.

The point that Gazza is making is exactly the point that <Acirce> highlights, that chess understanding has developed to such an extent that Gazza can confidently point out wrong plans where Zukertort/Steinitz might not even have known the nature of their errors. I agree with this point, and Gazza is pre-eminently qualified to make it. Indeed, Gazza's highlighting of wrong plans is much more instructive than when he points out errors in calculation (which anyone with a computer and some time can do now).

<A coffee-house move!> Gazza once called Anand a coffee-house player, so perhaps this isn't as damning as it sound... ;-)

Aug-04-04  fred lennox: 5e3<5.e4 Bb4> 10.Bb3<10.d5 => 17.Bh4<threatening18.Nxd5> 22.c4 Rdd8<22...Ra5 23.d5 ( )> 23.Re3<23.d5 b5> 25.Rh3!? h6!( )<25...fxe5 26. Qxh7+ Kf8 27. Rf3+ [27.Rg3 Rd7] Bf7 28.Qh5 Qd7 [28...Rc7 29.c5; 28...Rd7? 29.Qh8+ ( )]29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qxg7 [30.Qh4+ =], and 31.h4 or 31.d5> 27...Ba4! 28.Rf3?!<28.Rd2 b5 29.Rf3 Qb8 [29...bxc4 30.Qa3] 30.cxb5 Rc1+ 31.Nd1 e5, threatening 32...Rxd4 and 32...e4 ( ) 30.Rg3<30.d5 exd5 31.cxd5 Bxd5 32.Nxd5 Rc1+ (- +)...f5 (threatening 31...f4) 34.Rxe6<34.Qxe6 Rc1+ 35.Nd1 [35.Nf1 Qxe6 36.Rxe6 Bd5 ( )] Qxe6 36.Rxe6 Bd5 37.Re1 Bxa2 38.Rxa2 Rxd4( )> 38....Qxe4<38...fxe4? 39.Qxc8 Qxd2 40.Qf5+ =>

Notes by Steinitz

Aug-04-04  acirce: I don't think either that there is always one single "best" move or one single "correct" plan, nor does Kasparov, I assume. But that doesn't mean that there aren't positional mistakes. Everyone is also fully aware of the fact that objectively dubious moves can be wise choices in practical play but what Kasparov is doing is pointing out the earlier lack of understanding of chessly principles and the gradual development of such understanding thereby putting the great players of the past in their historical context. And yes if someone of Zukertort's strength played in Linares it would certainly be fewer draws...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Kasparov's criticism of 21.Bxd5 as a "fundamental positional mistake" seems to be a little bit harsh, although 21.c4 would have been better, especially when little jokes like 21...Qg5 give nothing here, for example 22.h4! Qh6 23.Rcd1 Ne7 24.Qe4 b6 25.d5 . But Zukertort wanted to eliminate an active Knight and I don't think that the matter would be considerably different with black pawn on g6 instead of g7.

Also I don't see why 23.d5 b5 (23...f6 24.Ng4 Qd6 25.Rcd1 Bf7 or 23...Qd6 24.Rcd1 b5) 24.Qh3 is superior to 23.Re3 which brings the Rook on the 3rd line where it can operate freely.

I agree that 29...Bc6 was a slip and that 30.d5! exd5 31.Nf5 Qf8 32.Rg3 could get black in trouble. But I think that after 29...b5 30.Qg6 Qe7 31.Ng4 things are not so clear, for example 31...Rxc4 32.h3 f5 33.Nxh6+ Kf8 34.d5! and black cannot play 34...gxh6 for 35.Rg3 Qf7 36.Qxh6+ and white wins. Does Garry give another line better for black here?

31.Rg6 was a tactical mistake. Steinitz could have played 32...Kf7! (32...Kf7 33.c5 Qe7 34.Rg3 f4 35.Rg4 fxe3 ) but to save the game here was impossible for white. 35.Nf1 Qc7 36.Rd1 Bd5 37.Rxc1 Qxc1 38.Qe3 Qxe3 39.Rxe3 Bxa2 is hopeless for white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <I don't know what that is supposed to mean, "with current knowledge of chess"> It is everything revealed and written about chess strategy, theory of openings, endgame technique etc. up to now, which anybody can find in a library or on Internet.
Aug-04-04  acirce: Yes and 19th century players didn't have access to that. They were part of the process that created it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AdrianP: <Honza> Re 21. Bxd5, Kasparov also cites Lasker "White should have retained his excellent bishop, but in pursuit of forcing moves and combinations associated with them he even gives up his strong bishop.".

Re the suggestion of 29...b5 Garry continues 30. Qg6 Qe7 31. Rh3 Qf7 finishing there with the comment "all the chances are with black.". Garry does not consider your 31. Ng4. Your 31. Ng4 looks like an interesting try - Gazza is inviting analysis here, somewhere -

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <AdrianP> Thanks for link. I have sent that idea with 31.Ng4 to Garry (or to Karsten Mueller).
Aug-04-04  acirce: Well done Honza, agreed, looks interesting. I wonder if it will meet the approval of King Garry.
Aug-05-04  Calli: <ughaibu> I have the Euwe/Nunn edition. They pass by 29...Bc6 without comment. Was there some other move you wanted to know? OMGP is big mess. Often there are conflicting "!?" anotations. Bought the first one when I saw it for under $25, but not really interested in the others.
Aug-05-04  ughaibu: Calli: nothing special I just wondered if they were less dogmatic than Kasparov appears to have been, on the other hand Euwe wrote the book as a history of chess ideas so may well have annotated in the same manner for the same reasons, it's a long time since I looked at the book.
Aug-05-04  Calli: <ughaibu> Euwe is a far less obnoxious annotator than Kasparov. In this game he also doesn't like 23.Re3, saying that the Rook belongs behind the hanging pawns. Other than that, I think there are a couple of "!" marks for Black. Far less than OMGP.
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