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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Emanuel Lasker
Lasker - Steinitz World Championship Rematch (1896), Moscow RUE, rd 5, Nov-21
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern Variation (D50)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-07-05  aw1988: A dangerous game. See how many people would stumble here.
May-07-05  aw1988: Hmm. Yes he could have.
May-07-05  aw1988: Why did you delete your post? White does indeed mate by the line you gave.
May-07-05  gladiator367: Steinitz missed 40. Qf6+ Kg8 41. Re1-e8#!!! how could he miss that and call it a draw?
May-07-05  azaris: Of course Lasker played 35...Qxd4 and not 35...Rxd4??. The score as given is "not even wrong".
May-07-05  gladiator367: Sorry i reposted it in this post above,it is actually a quicker kill for white..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: This is another of the 1896 match's hand-to-hand fighting games, where once again the veteran ex-champion instigates complications.

<17.g4> is very sharp, but unfortunately for Steinitz has a tactical flaw. The rather surprising <17.Ne4> is quite playable, and if 17...Qxc2, then 18.Nxf6+ Nxf6 =

Instead of 17...Nxc3, <17...Bxd4> would have given Lasker a significant advantage, e.g. 18.Nxd5 Qxc2 19.Bxc2 Bxb2

Steinitz could have held his own with <27.Nxf5+!>. This takes advantage of the discovered attack on <f5> by his bishop, 27...Kf8 (the reason being if 27...Qxf5?? 28.Qb4+ wins the Queen outright) 28.Qb4+ Kf7 29.Nd6+ Bxd6 30.Qxd6 Re8 31.Ba4=

Steinitz is frustratingly close, but never quite close enough to a win, e.g. <28.Qxe6+!?> Kf8 29.Nxf5 Rh7 30.Rd7 Bc8 31.Ne7 Qxe7 (or 31...Bxd7 32.Ng6+ Kg7 33.Qxd7+) 32.Rxe7 Bxe6 33.Rxh7 Bd6 with a Bishop for two pawns and all the prospects.

<40. Qf6+> would simply lose the Queen.

Mar-01-08  Knight13: <gladiator367: Steinitz missed 40. Qf6+ Kg8 41. Re1-e8#!!! how could he miss that and call it a draw?> 40. Qf6+ Qxf6 and Steinitz might as well flip over the table.
Sep-16-10  soothsayer8: What an exciting game, you don't see these sorts of draws very often, both players clearly going for the win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Chessical> <Steinitz is frustratingly close, but never quite close enough to a win>

Actually, Nunn gives two missed wins for Steinitz in <John Nunn's Chess Course>

click for larger view

Here 27.Nxf5 is stronger than 27.Rxb7+, and it wins. After 27...Kf6 (best defense) Nunn writes <now the most convincing win is by the attractive 28.Rd5!> Quite a difficult move to see before playing 27.Nxf5, and also after.

Against 27.Rxb7+, Lasker should have most definitely played 27...Kf6 instead of taking the rook. Why let white attack with a recapture with check, when getting the king out of the way now can gain black a tempo? Nunn writes: <The key point here is that by refusing the sacrificed rook Black gains a tempo for his own counterplay and makes it harder for White to break down the pawn-chain defending the black king.> Of course, Nunn gives the lines in the book.

After 28...Kf6:

click for larger view

29.Nxe6, Steinitz move, is strong, but with 29.Nxf5 <white could have won more simply> (This is really not a missed win, as White is still winning.) Nunn gives <29...Rae8 (after 29...exf5 30.Qc6+ Kf7 31.Bb3+ Kf8 32.Rd7 White mates quickly) 30.Rd7 Rhf8 31.Nd4 with overwhelming threats; one line is 31...Qh5 32.Rh7 Rf7 33.Rxh5 Rxb7 34.Rxh2 winning material.

The other missed win is in the next move. After 29...Qg8:

click for larger view

30.Nd4. Nunn writes <With this move, White finally throws the win away. It looks wrong to block the d-file, and concrete analysis shows that White could have won by 30.Nf4! Bxf4 (30...Qc4+ 31.Bd3 Qf7 32.Qa6+ Kg5 33.Bc4 and White wins easily) 31.Bb3 Rh1+ 32.Ke2 (32. Qxh1 Qxb3 33.Qc6+! also wins but it is more complicated) and Black must surrender his queen.>

About that <White wins easily> in the line in parenthesis, I was a bit puzzled, and had to ask the computer what happens if 33...Qe8:

[Analysis diagram]

click for larger view

Can you see it?

Well... what happens is 34.Rd7!

Overall, an insanely tactical middle game. And of course, Nunn analyzed with the benefit of a computer. Too bad that Steinitz missed the win. This was the fifth game of that match and he had lost the first four. It would have been nice for his morale.

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