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Friday, April 16, 2021

A Typical Pillsbury Game

     In 1902, Samuel Rosenthal (September 7,1837 – September 12, 1902) died. He was a Polish-born French player. Chess historian Edward Winter wrote, "He dedicated his life to chess-playing, touring, writing, teaching and analyzing. Despite only occasional participation in first-class events, he scored victories over all the leading masters of the time (Anderssen, Blackburne, Chigorin, Mackenzie, Mason, Paulsen, Steinitz and Zukertort). He also acquired world renown as an unassuming showman who gave large simultaneous displays and blindfold seances, invariably producing a cluster of glittering moves." 
     The chess world also lost Carl Walbrodt (born 1871) on October 3rd when he died of tuberculosis in Berlin. He was German champion in 1893. 
     In 1902, Emanuel Lasker received a PhD in mathematics from Erlangen University. His dissertation was on geometrical calculus and ideal numbers. On February 23rd his older brother, Dr. Berthold Lasker, won the New York State championship. 
     Harry Pillsbury set a record for blindfold play when he scored +17 -1 =4 in Moscow. And, during the Hanover tournament he played 21 simultaneous blindfold game, scoring +3 -7 =11 against master class players. 
     The Hanover tournament was won by David Janowski. He had started 1902 with an impressive third place finish at Monte Carlo where he managed to squander all his winnings at the casino and ended up with no more than a train ticket home to Paris. 
     Before Hanover he was badly defeated in a training match against Moritz Porges and then lost a match against Carl Schlechter. He then bounced back and in what was probably the high-water mark of his career by capturing first in the very strong Hanover tournament. 
     It wasn't easy though because he was hotly pursued by Pillsbury who had started off with two losses but then came roaring back with 11.5 points out of 14. Pillsbury's rampage allowed him to almost catch Janowski. When the two met in the 15th round he was only a half point back. Right out of the opening Pillsbury allowed Janowski to have his beloved two Bs, but in the strategic struggle that followed Pillsbury finally erred and allowed Janowski to score the point. 

     It's a standard and unsympathetic tradition that Janowski was a only a punching bag for the super-GMs of his day. It's said he knew how to attack, but not when (!) and besides that, he knew little else. His more profound games are largely ignored. 
     The following game is an instructive tactical one. The loser, Swidersk, was an odd fellow. I did a post on him HERE and a post on Pillsbury's syphilis HERE. The game is a good example of Pillsbury's attacking style which seems elegant, simple and effortless.

Harry N. Pillsbury - Rudolf Swiderski

Result: 1-0

Site: Hanover

Date: 1902

Queen's Gambit Declined

[...] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 b6 According to my database this very rare move scores about as well as the more usual moves. White wins 36 percent and loses 29 percent. Against the more common 3...Nf6 white wins 39 percent and loses 16 percent. 4.♘f3 ♗b7 This is quite logical, but it should have been delayed and 4...Nf6 played first so as to prevent white's 5th move. (4...♘f6 5.a3 ♗b7 etc.) 5.cxd5 exd5 6.e4 Seizing the initiative. 6...dxe4
6...♘f6 is met convincingly by 7.e5 ♘e4 8.♗d3 ♗b4 9.O-O O-O 10.♕c2 ♗xc3 11.bxc3 c5 12.♘d2 and black's position is all thumbs.
7.♘e5 Typical Pillsbury. 7...♗d6 Best.
7...♘f6 in order to prevent white's next move runs into 8.♗c4 ♘c6 Here instead of trying to grab a little material white does best to keep piling on the pressure. 9.♗b5
9.♘xf7 This fails to win the exchange. 9...♕xd4 10.♕a4 ♗b4 11.♕b3 ♖f8 12.♗e3 ♗xc3+ 13.bxc3 ♕d7 14.♖d1 ♕e7 15.♘g5 ♘a5 and black has equalized.
9.♗xf7+ This move is also quite good and it leaves black in dire straits after 9...♔e7 10.♘xc6+ ♗xc6 11.♕b3 ♕d6 12.O-O
9...♗b4 10.♕b3 O-O 11.♗xc6 ♗xc6 12.♘xc6 ♗xc3+ 13.bxc3 ♕d6 14.d5
8.♕g4 Very strong. 8...♔f8
8...g6 isn't any better as after 9.♗c4 ♗xe5 10.dxe5 ♕d4 11.♗b5+ c6 12.♗g5 ♕xe5 13.O-O-O white has a very strong attack.
9.♗c4 An obvious looking move, but it had to be carefully calculated. 9...♗xe5 10.dxe5 ♕d4 This meets with a brilliant refutation that Swiderski totally missed.
10...♘d7 was relatively bets but white stands well after 11.♕g3 ♕e7 12.♗f4
11.♗d5 The B cannot be safely taken. 11...c6
11...♗xd5 12.♕c8+ ♔e7 13.♗g5+ f6 14.exf6+ gxf6 15.♖d1 and white is winning in all variations. For example 15...♕b4 16.a3 ♕d6 17.♘xd5+ ♔f7 18.♘xc7
11...♘c6 also leads to a slaughter. 12.♕h5 g6 13.♗h6+ ♘xh6
13...♔e8 14.♕g5 f6 15.♕h4 ♘xe5 16.♖d1 ♘d3+ 17.♖xd3 ♕xd3 18.♗xb7 ♖d8 19.♗xe4 ♕d6 20.♗f4 ♕e6 21.O-O ♘e7 22.♖e1 and black is helpless.
14.♕xh6+ ♔e8 15.♕g7 ♖f8 16.♖d1 ♕c5 17.O-O ♕e7 18.♘xe4
12.♗xe4 ♕xe5 It's hard to see, but by allowing the e-file to be opened black has sealed his fate.
12...♘a6 was relatively best. After 13.♗f4 ♘c5 14.O-O ♘xe4 15.♖ad1 ♕c4 16.♘xe4 ♕xe4 17.♖fe1 white is much better.
13.♗f4 ♘f6 14.♕h4 ♕e7 15.O-O-O This is the correct move although some sources give 15.O-O 15...♘e8 16.♕g3 ♘a6 17.♖he1 ♖d8 He sets a trap! 18.♗d5 The B returns to its beloved d5 square...ominous.
18.♗xc6 ♖xd1+ 19.♘xd1 ♕c5+ 20.♘c3 ♗xc6 and black has won a piece and at the same time his K is out of danger.
18...♕c5 19.♖xe8+ Very pretty, but, as the engines like to point out, not as efficient as some other moves. Sometimes you just want to say "Boo on engines!"
19.♗xf7 is a pretty move, too. 19...♖xd1+ 20.♖xd1 ♔xf7 21.♖d7+ ♔g8 22.♗e5 ♕f8 23.♖d8 ♔f7 24.♘e4 and at last black's K can't avoid his fate.
19...♔xe8 (19...♖xe8 20.♗d6+) 20.♕xg7 cxd5 There was nothing better. (20...♖xd5 21.♕xh8+ ♔d7 22.♖e1 ♘c7 23.♕b8 is decisive.) 21.♕xh8+ ♔d7 22.♕xh7 ♔c8 23.♕xf7 It's pretty clear that all the extra Ps should win with little trouble. 23...d4
23...♕xf2 24.♘e4 ♕h4 (24...dxe4 25.♕e6+ mates next move.) 25.♕f5+ ♖d7 26.♘d6+ ♔b8 27.♕xd7
24.♕e6+ ♖d7 25.♕g8+ ♖d8 26.♕g4+ ♖d7 27.♗e3 A nice final touch. 27...♗xg2 28.♖xd4 Swiderski gave up.
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