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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Wilhelm Steinitz
"And Like a Torrent Rush" (game of the day Oct-23-2021)
Steinitz - Blackburne (1876), London ENG, rd 6, Feb-29
Scotch Game: Horwitz Attack. Blackburne Variation (C45)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-18-05  offramp: I like this variation of the Scotch where black takes route 1 to win the e-pawn and there doesn't seem to be much that white can do about it.

Blackburne gave away a few too many pawns and Steinitz defended and attacked well, though he could have shortened the game by 42...Nxg4.

Steinitz loses a knight and we get a ♖+♖ v ♖+6♙ ending which Blackburne might have been able to save.

Apr-18-05  Milo: What a find! It looks like white is getting killed, but as you say, the knight changes things a little. Does 49.Rf7 give black any chances?
Apr-21-05  paladin at large: Thanks <offramp>, this one is fun. If after 42.....Nxg4, is there not a mating threat emanating from 43. Qb6+ followed by 44. Rf8+ or R f7+ ?
May-07-05  aw1988: GOOD GOD! I think this is probably one of the most complicated games played- ever!
Sep-14-06  percyblakeney: <49. Re2> seems to give white good drawing chances, for example <b3 50. Rxg7+ Kb6 51. Rg3> and it's uncertain if there is a winning line somewhere for black. Also <49. Rxg7+> might work after <Kb6 50. Rff7> and it's at least not easy to win for Steinitz.
Jan-28-11  OJC: What an ending! I couldn't find published analysis on the R+R vs. R+6P finale except from the match book. I wonder if a detailed analysis has been reached starting from move 49.

From Steinitz in the match book (freely available on google books):

"... [Steinitz], remaining with a rook behind for six pawns, three of which were bound to fall; but, having his king near to support the other three pawns, he succeeded in a difficult and long ending to force the game."

"In answer to 49. Re2, Black would have protected the e-pawn by Ra5, followed, according to circumstances, either by Rb5 or Rd5, which would have enabled Black to lead his combined pawns to victory, supported by the K."

May-16-13  Xenomorphy: That was an entertaining game. I was very impressed with Blackburne's ability to put up such a dogged defense. I would have most likely resigned much sooner.
Oct-04-14  Ke2: Hmm, 2 Rooks vs Rook & 6 pawns isn't in the endgame directory.
Oct-23-21  Brenin: "Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King."
Oct-23-21  nalinw: What a game - Steinitz the strategist meeting Blackburne the tactician tactic for tactic ..... and winning!

More GOTD like this please - better to have distant puns and great games rather than good puns and mediocre games .....

Oct-23-21  Jamboree: Another interesting try leading to a similarly bizarre endgame would be

46...Ng4+?! (looks good at first but leads to nearly fatal 7th-rank weaknesses) 47. Rxg4 Qxg4 48. Rf7+! Qd7!? (stops mate at the cost of a queen) 49. Rxd7+ Kxd7 50. Qxh3+ Kc7 51. Qg2 Ra4 52. Qxg7+ Kb6...

...and black has a rook and four connected passed pawns vs a queen. It's a guaranteed draw if black wants it (the white king can never penetrate), but maybe somewhere around move 158 black can eventually force a win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: Great game with a wild opening, complex midgame and very rare (unique?) endgame. Will play through it again to appreciate it better. For what it's worth SF 36 ply gives 0.0 after 48.Rxg6.

Good pun although somewhat reversed since the torrent of Pawns came from the Austrian player not the British. Would have fit better if Blackburne had been Scot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Think of Steinitz as the King, and Blackburne, his unruly and covetous Northern neighbour.
Oct-23-21  AlicesKnight: Apparently the name "The Torrent" was the name of an opening in the old form of chess, Shatranj. From the days when the Rs were the most powerful pieces, and it was unusual for Ps to advance fast and far at the start. Philidor might have approved.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: The pun refers to the Scotch Game in the opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: And of course, it also refers the the endgame with Pawn "torrent" crushing white...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Instead of 45...gxh3+(?) Steinitz should play 45...Qh6!! with idea 46.h4 (or 46.hxg4 Qh1+ 47.Kg3 Rg1+ 48.Kf4 Qh6 with decisive attack; of course, 46.Rxe5 is refuted simply by 46...Qxh3+ 47.Qxh3 gxh3+ and 48...dxe5) 46...Nf3 47.Qe7+ Kb6 48.Rxg4 Ne5 49.Qd8+ Ka7 50.Rgf4 Ng6 51.Rg4 Qc1!! (diagram) and black wins.

click for larger view

Oct-23-21  WhoKeres: It was in the mid-1870's that Steinitz changed his style to include a more positional foundation to his games. You'd never know that by playing over this tactical melee. I think Steinitz's predominant trait with black was his desire to adopt plans where he was up material; his fondness for somewhat dubious opening schemes (the Qh4 defense to the Scotch and his defenses to the Evans Gambit among them) allowed him to play, and often win, in this fashion. Thank you Honza for bringing this beautiful game to our attention!
Sep-04-22  Saniyat24: 36...Nd4...! Steinitz just keeps on attacking in this game...!

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