Steinitz (USA) – Chigorin (RUS) 12½-10½
Havana, 1st January until 28 February 1892
Dr. Tarrasch from Germany was not ready to cross the Atlantic, so there was not too much possibility to play him on the American continent where the money for such contest was easier to be collected. After Chigorin had won Steinitz in a two games’ cable match, a race ensued between New York, St Petersburg and Havana as to who would organize the re-match between both players. The conditions proposed by Havana were more suitable for Steinitz, and after a couple of re-arrangements, he let the Cuban organizers hold the return match. The rules went back to ten wins and extra games if the score finished even 9-9. The prize of $2,000 in gold was sponsored by the Cuban’s friends of Steinitz.
As written in ICM of November 1891, Steinitz still believed strongly in his chances.
“By the time that this is going to press I shall be on my way to Havana and the Chess championship of the world will soon be placed on a trial which, under all the circumstances, will probably be the most severe one which the title has encountered since it was assigned to me over twenty-fire years ago. Some of my friends have always been more sanguine in the expectation of my success than I have allowed myself to be on any occasion when I entered for a hard public contest. Still less have I any right or reason to exhibit much assurance in the present instance, when I have to meet one of the most formidable opponents thai has ever entered the Chess arena. Mr. Tschigorin is, moreover, much younger than myself and full of ambition, while I have arrived at a time of life which can hardly be suitable to the heavy exercise of brain gymnastics, for it should be remembered that since the development of public Chess matches no previous Chess master has held an unchecquered match career for more than about ten years in succession, and the strength of Chess champions generally begins to decline after the age of forty. The tax which my literary duties impose upon me during such a contest must also be taken into accounts well as the peculiarity in my match play, which has been shown in my past records, namely, that I am subject to a breakdown a* the result of overwork and want of practice in the earlier part of the struggle from which it is difficult to recover, and it may be impossible for once to rectify a bad start.
Nevertheless, I always give hope the benefit of the doubt, and I feel confident to win. Whatever I can do under all the handicapping conditions, under which I am placed will be done, and I trust that the sense of patriotic duty which I owe to the country which has treated me so well and which I have made my home, will afford me sufficient inspiration for accomplishing the heavy task of bringing back the Chess supremacy to American shores. But whatever the result of the forthcoming match may be, I may say now that it is almost sure to be my last public performance of that description, though I must reserve further remarks on that subject for a future occasion.”
Chigorin was strongest than two years ago and made a very impressive start leading the match after the 12th game 5-3. With his legendary perseverance, the champion evened the score and gained the advantage of one point before the last game. In this last game, Chigorin has a decisive advantage until he overlooked a mate in two moves. Probably this 23rd game will stay in the chess history as the worst blunder made into a world championships match.
Published in ICM dated November 1891 (an issue which was probably delayed as the games started in January 1892), the games were also published in New York Tribune and also appeared later in the German Staats-Zeitung. The notes and analytical comments in the introductions, excepting those of the first and second games, are by Steinitz.)
The great Chess match for the Championship of the World and $2,000 a side between W. Steinitz, of New York, and M. Chigorin, of St. Petersburg began under the auspices of the Havana Chess Club, at the Centro Asturiano, one of the wealthiest clubs among Spanish-speaking nations, numbering now over 5,300 members. It must be added here that the latter club has bought the house on the Prado from El Casino Espanol for the sum of $100,000, and that they have spent another $ 100,000 for extensions and in generally beautifying the place. The Centro Astutiano has not only subscribed most generously to the expenses of the chess match but has also placed at the disposal of the Havana Chess Club one of the finest rooms for the match.
The first game was played before a grind assemblage of local magnates, most of the foreign Consuls being also present. Senores Martinez and Ponce, the umpires for Steinitz and Tschigorin, tossed for the first move, Ponce drawing the White man. The umpire, Judge Golmayo, then called play, whereupon Chigorin opened with 1. P—K4. Steinitz unhesitatingly advanced likewise his KP two squares, and the game quickly turned into an Evans Gambit which Steinitz accepted. Intense excitement arose when, after the 6th move of White, the identical position arose which formed the starting point of the cable game played at this opening between these two masters. The veteran, however, abandoned his defence 6…Q—KB3, substituting instead the recognized course, 6…P—03. Hut on the next move he departed from the generally adopted plan of development, namely, 7… B—Kt 3, pinning instead the adverse KKt with his QB. The Russian master, who is perfectly at home in nil the variations of this opening, at once refuted the innovation of his opponent, for after 8 B—QKts, 8 PxP; 9 PxP, Steinitz was compelled to retire his QB—Q2 in order to meet the threatened advance of the adverse Queen’s Pawn which else would have involved the loss of a piece. The game was now already in favor of the Russian who steadily gained ground, and on the 16th move obtained entrance with his Knight at Q6, checking. The Black King, having the move, forfeited the privilege of castling, and, although this is not considered a serious predicament by the modern school, things looked very gloomy for all those who do not believe in the efficacy of a fighting Monarch. The danger of Black’s position became apparent when on the 18th move Chigorin sacrificed his Knight for a Pawn. Steinitz was compelled to accept the Grecian gift, else he would have lost a Rook, whereupon Chigorin with a few ponderous strokes completely wrecked the adverse
The second game of this important Chess contest was played before a large assemblage. It was Steinitz’s move, and while the pieces were being arranged the crowd kept itself busy conjecturing the result of the day’s game and guessing at the kind of opening to be chosen by the American champion. The general belief was that Steinitz would play a close opening, either a Queen’s Gambit or the Zukertort opening, to which he exclusively resorted in his first match against Tschigorin, as well as throughout the series pf games with Gunsberg at the Manhattan Chess Club, last winter. This general belief was substantiated by the fact that Steinitz, in expounding the theories of the modern school, both in his book, ” The Modern Chess Instructor/’ and in his international chess magazine, had demonstrated that the first player would not be able to obtain any advantage in open games. Therefore great was the surprise when Steinitz opened the second game with 1. P-K4, and greater yet when he adopted the Ruy Lopez, which he had declared to be favorable to the second player.
The form of the Ruy Lopez chosen was, however, quite in harmony with his style. He proceeded with P—Q3, followed by P—QB3, and then brought his Queen’s Knight over to K3 via Q2 and KB3, before the development of his Queen’s Bishop. This peculiar treatment originated with Steinitz, who introduced it in the first game of his match with J. H. Blackburne, in 1876. He revived this opening successfully at the London tournament in 1883, and subsequently in his second match with Zukertort, in 1886,
Tschigorin introduced a commendable innovation on the eighth move by early advancing his Pawn to Queen fourth. On the tenth move, Black hit upon a novel scheme, viz., to bring King’s Knight over to the Queen’s side via Q2, thereby forcing the exchange of the adverse King’s Bishop against one of the Black Knights. Steinitz captured the Queen’s Knight and thus obtained a slight advantage in position for the ending, as Black had an isolated and doubled Pawn on the Queen’s Bishop file.
The Russian master then managed to exchange Steinitz’s remaining. Bishop for his Knight, which left him with two Bishops against two Knights, quite a compensation for the inferiority of his position on the Queen’s side. On the twenty-second move, Chigorin instituted a King’s side attack, which developed some highly interesting stages. But Steinitz stood his ground, and on the thirty-second move, the game was given up as a draw, in an even position.
The developing moves of the first game proceeded up to Black’s 10th move when the defence made the alteration 10.. . Kt—B3. On the 12th move, Black challenged a King side attack by allowing his KBP to be doubled and the Russian master promptly accepted the battle on that wing. Black relieved himself from the pressure by giving up the KBP, and isolating the hostile QP on the 17th move. The struggle of the two parties took place on opposite flanks, and the defence emanated with the superiority on the Q side, on which two strong center Pawns were formed, while Black’s K-side was made safe. Black could have won with ease on the 27th move if he had persistently advanced his strong QP, but under the apprehension of subsequent time pressure he hastily effected an exchange of Queens and made a weak move with his King, which exposed him to a strong attack from the adverse doubled Rooks. He maintained two passed Pawns on the Q side when an adjournment took place on Black’s 32d move, which was sealed. Neither player was in good form, and both complained of indisposition. When the game was resumed, Steinitz offered a draw which was accepted. Subsequent the analysis pointed at first in White’s favor, but Chigorin admitted next day on closer examination that the issue would have been very doubtful.
Duration, four hours, in which Chigorin was about three minutes ahead.
The opening, a Ruy Lopez, followed the lines of the second game up to Black’s seventh move. Then came what may be considered a retreat of the attacking player by 8 … B—R4. This indicated to experts the formation of a new plan. The object of the retreat was the preservation of the King’s Bishop from an exchange as explained in the notes. But it occasioned no little surprise when, as early as the eleventh move, Steinitz opened fire on the King’s side with the advance of the Rook’s Pawn. When this play was discussed at the end of the game by some friends, who remarked that it was contrary to the principles of the modern school, Steinitz answered: ” As a rule I am not a dangerous assailant in the early part of the game, but I espied a weakness on the adverse King’s wing, and one must not put his fingers into my mouth, even in my old age, or I may bite.”
The rush on that side proceeded until White had made a breach in the King’s Rook’s file, which he opened for his unmoved Rook. Black had in the meanwhile tried to effect a counter demonstration on the Queen’s file, but the result of the exchanges that followed was that White’s King’s Bishop was strongly posted in a commanding position, pinning the adverse Knight, and Black’s King’s Pawn was involved and subject to immediate attack. White’s eighteenth move was difficult to determine upon, for it blocked the attack against the King’s Pawn, yet it was necessary. Two moves later White’s Queen apparently beat a retreat to the front row from a masked battery which the opponent had planted with his Rook on the King’s file. But the real object of this move became apparent when battle was offered by White on the Queen’s file, and Steinitz, after sacrificing one Rook, was enabled by a happy inspiration to give up the other, and thus, owing to the previous retreat of the Queen on the second move, to effect a mate by force in seven moves with a series of checks.
On the previous day, Chigorin claimed one of the three days of rest to which each player is entitled according to the rules.
The opening, an Evans Gambit, ran the course of the third game up to Black’s twelfth move, when Steinitz elected to withdraw Kt to Kt sq. instead of Kt—K 2 as in the previous Evans. During the next half a dozen moves, the Russian directed his attack as usual on the K-side, and succeeded in making a rather unpleasant hole in the adverse quarter, which gave him menacing opportunities with his Queen and Bishop on the long diagonal. Steinitz in the meantime prepared a break through on the QB file, after having obtained command of the K file, which was bound to be opened, and he effected his purpose on the twenty-third move. A complicated and difficult open battle followed, in which the Q-wing was completely cleared of Pawns on each side, with the exception of Black’s passed QRP. The game was adjourned on White’s thirty-second move, and then the attack turned into the hands of Steinitz, who was also a pawn ahead. Probably he could have made more of it on the thirty-fourth move if he had shut out the adverse Queen by Kt—K5, but the game remained also greatly in his favor for the ending after the exchange of Queens which followed, as White was saddled with an ugly double Pawn, and could scarcely make use of his King. Steinitz threatened alternately to obtain possession of the seventh row with his two Rooks, and to sweep off the adverse K side Pawns or to advance his formidable QRP. The Russian fought the uphill battle like a lion, and he developed fine defensive and attacking resources which delayed the adverse progress. Especially a diversion on the K side by the advance of his KBP was admirably conceived and he relieved himself of a double Pawn by doubling the opponents KBP at the expense of one Pawn, obtaining, however, strong attacking freedom of action for both his Rooks on the KB file. But all his ingenuity ought not to have been of much avail, and Steinitz had still a winning game until he allowed himself to be caught by an inattentive slip on the 48th move, which led to exchanges that bought about an ordinary draw position, through Black was still a pawn ahead. Duration of the game was seven hour.
Should the opening of this game stand the test of analysis, it will show that in the cable match Steinitz could have pursued a better policy right at the beginning of his attack against the Two Knights Defence. The early part of White’s play will give food for reflection to experts of the
modern school as well as of the old one. Castling on the tenth move, almost at the opening of White’s game, in the cable match was one surprise, while on the twelfth move White advanced the Queen’s Bishop’s Pawn in a manner that is opposed to the doctrines of the new school. But Steinitz concluded that he could afford to weaken his Queen’s Pawn (actually this Pawn did not advance further until the forty-third move), in view of his being likely to force two Pawns that had passed the centre on the Queen’s wing. With the exception of the fact that Black tore open the adverse King’s side by exchanging Bishop for Knight, the chief part of the developing battle was fought on the Queen’s flank, White pressing for the establishment of the clear majority of two Pawns on that side, without, however, being able to make much progress with those Pawns. On the twenty-fifth move (somewhat close to the time limit) Steinitz could have won the exchange with an excellent game. The fight then proceeded with indifferent results, though it was evident that Steinitz had a winning superiority for the ending, provided he could escape the contingency of remaining with Bishops of opposite colors. This was, however, the difficulty, and the Russian tenaciously delayed the advance of the Queen’s Pawn, which he brought to a standstill. But he had to employ Ins two minor pieces for the purpose, and ultimately to weaken the King’s side, in order to support his Bishop, which was subject to attack. This led at last to the opening of Whites campaign on that wing, with good prospects of success, which were soon realized. For the fortunes of the time limit turned in Steinitz’s favor and Chigorin, under time pressure, lost on the thirty-ninth move a Pawn which formed the chief protection of his King. Black was then drawn into a net with his King in which his pieces were blocked and could not stir without leaving him open to disaster, while the victorious progress of White’s passed Queen’s Bishop’s, Pawn could no longer be stopped, Chigorin then resigned. Time—6 hours 7 minutes.
A new idea was developed on the seventh move of the defence by 7… B-Q2. The Rev. T. C. Sanders, of Oxford, first called my attention to this move about three years ago, and Herr Alapin, of St. Petersburg, considers it Black’s strongest line of play. On the tenth move, Black left it open to the opponent to exchange Queens and Bishops and to recover the Pawn. But Chigorin wisely refrained from accepting the offer, as his position would have become precarious for the ending on account of the weakness of his QBP. In the progress of development Black instituted an early attack on the Q side for the purpose of driving back the adverse Queen and shutting out the QB, Steinitz castled on the 17th move, leaving a pawn to be taken which he could have easily preserved on the 16th move by pinning the Knight with the Bishop at QR5. He had planned a K-side attack which seemed to be very promising and greatly confined White’s pieces. He had an excellent game with even forces, but on Black’s 23d move there came a collapse such as sometimes occur. Chigorin had laid a trap whereby he apparently lost the exchange and a Pawn, and Steinitz dropped into it, over-looking that after KBP was captured with a check he could not escape from a mating position. Duration, two hours and forty minutes.
There was another surprise for lovers of novelties in openings, for Steinitz, in lieu of the orthodox 8. BK2, retreated the Bishop right back to B sq, No doubt those who merely judge by the result of that game will decry the innovation as one of Steinitz’s eccentricities and crotchets. But Steinitz claims that he had the best of the game up to his eighteenth move, which was an error, for which he intends to excuse himself by playing the same opening again.
Chigorin’s part was performed as well as the nature of the position demanded. He developed rapidly and offered to give another Pawn on the eleventh move, which his opponent could not venture to take, and then he created holes in White’s King Wing and in the centre, after which he castled on the Queen side. Steinitz also developed that wing and answered correctly ingeniously planned attack which his opponent instituted from the fifteenth move. But White’s eighteenth move was a blunder, and Chigorin, with his usual vigorous ingenuity, took advantage of it, and by a fine combination won the Queen’s Pawn, after which he doubled the Rooks and forced the gain of the Queen practically for one Rook, whereupon Steinitz resigned.
Duration, one hour and forty-five minutes.
Steinitz, who has been suffering from his usual complaint, insomnia, claimed one of his off days for next day (Sunday), and the ninth game was therefore fixed to take place on the following Tuesday.
Up to White’s 11th move, the opening was identical with the seventh but at this point, Chigorin chose to recover his Pawn at once by exchanging Queens and Bishops. On the last occasion, I have remarked that this plan left White’s Q-side in a weak condition, and this was the case in the present game. Steinitz developed rapidly and pressed his attack on the open Q file and on the same flank, while Tschigorin made strenuous efforts to cross with his King in support of his weak Pawns on that wing. In this, he succeeded on the 26th move, which involved a very fine combination, for he apparently allowed his opponent to gain a Pawn and to form two strong passed Pawns. Hut on closer examination it will be seen that White would have gained two minor pieces for the Rook with an excellent game. His position remained, however much inferior; but, as usual, when it came near the 30th move, which is the first mark of the time-limit, there was some flurried play. On the 28th move Steinitz had the choice of planting one of his Knights at a strong post at QB5, which he had long been aiming to occupy, but he played the wrong one, and Tschigorin by a serie of master strikes liberated his imprisoned Rook, which perfectly equalized the position, whereupon the game was abandoned as draw.
Duration four hours and a half.
The opening was a repetition of the eighth game up to White’s 10th move when Steinitz forced his adversary to Castle K side by Q—K2, which also gained some valuable time on the next move. Yet the champion’s game seemed to be unsatisfactory, which goes to prove that White’s venture on the eighth move is not a commendable one, for though his development was afterward natural, his opponent had on the 14th move an excellent opportunity of breaking in with good effect by Kt—B5. Tschigorin, however, neglected that and prepared a complicated attack against the Q side, as White was bound to Castle on that wing. A hot battle followed, in which Chigorin, with great ingenuity, left pieces almost en-prise for a time, and laid traps which had to be avoided with the greatest caution. Usually, the heaping up of forces against an equal number of pieces ought not to have amounted too much, though the King was on that side, but, as sometimes happens, the defence, owing to its difficulty, was the first to be worn out. On the 36th move Steinitz could have emerged from the contest with a piece ahead by Kt — K3, but with a strange infatuation he made a premature attack on the K-side, which, though it won a Pawn, almost imprisoned his Queen, and allowed his adversary to disentangle his forces with a free game. Close on the heels of this weak play followed one of the worst disasters that had ever occurred in a match. Steinitz on the 30th move, though he had still about four minutes to spare, became excited and overlooked the fact that his Queen was in danger of being caught. He recklessly advanced his KKtP for the attack, and when his opponent, who had only about a half a minute’s time at his disposal, immediately seized the winning opportunity, Steinitz at once resigned.
There was some surprise when Chigorin for the first time in the match abandoned his favorite Evans Gambit and started out with a Lopez. It was assumed that the Russian master had something effective in store against the defence 3…P—Q3, which Steinitz advocates in his book, and which he .promptly adopted on this occasion. But the progress of the development seemed to leave the positions evenly balanced, and White made no perceptible attack up to the 16th move when Chigorin directed his efforts toward gaining the adverse KRP. This plan rather exposed his K-side, but Chigorin thought that he could afford it because he would compel the exchange of Queens immediately afterward. However, the position he arrived at was not favorable to his game, and he had soon to return the surplus Pawn in order to save himself from immediate disaster. When forces were equalized Steinitz had evidently the best of the game all along the line, and White’s K-side was subject to a vigorous attack from the two Rooks on the open KR and KB files, in conjunction with the Knight and Bishop. Steinitz accordingly kept on harassing that wing, until, on his 32d move, he secured the fall of one of the adverse Pawns that formed the key to White’s position. In this predicament, Chigorin offered to sacrifice the exchange for a Pawn. But this was not enough for Steinitz, who judged that he could get more oat of the position by a direct attack against the King, and a knotty situation was brought about to Black’s 33d move when the game was adjourned.
On the resumption, Steinitz moved the wrong Rook, or else he would have won quicker. On the 37th mov,e he could also force a win by a fine but rather complicated combination, which was pointed out by Senor Golmayo. But Steinitz’s plan was straight though based on a similar idea to that of the Cuban champion, and by confining the adverse King with threats of mate he forced the gain of a clear Rook on the 45th move, whereupon Chigorin resigned.
Senor Vazquez has pointed out a most ingenious line of play by which the Russian master could effect a draw. Namely, if 26 Kt—K3, 26.. R—R3; 27 Q—Q sq., 27 QxPch; 28 KxQ, 28 Kt—B5 disch.: 29 K—Kt3, 29 R—R6 ch, 30 K— B2, best (if 30 KxKt, Black mates by Kt— Kt3), 30… R—R7 ch., and draws by perpetual check.
Steinitz essayed another experiment as first player in the Two Knights’ Defence. In his former days he used to make some happy hits with original diversifications in the openings, but whether his general judgment was incorrect this time or whether he committed merely some tactical fault is difficult to determine. Anyhow, his early sortie on the Q side, ignoring the hostile K-side attack, was on this occasion disastrous. The Russian master, with his usual high-spirited energy, concentrated all his forces against the breach which he had effected on the twelfth move on White’s right wing by exchanging Bishop for Knight and practically Steinitz had become defenceless by the twentieth move. Two moves later there was a very interesting episode, when White endeavored to bring his Queen back to e2, which might have given him a safe defence, but Tschigorin promptly stopped the retreat by threatening a brilliant sacrifice of a Rook which would have led to an elegant mate. However, White gained hardly any delay by avoiding that combination. His exposed King was choked up by the hostile forces, and being driven out into the open by some few clever strokes of the opponent, he had to resign on the twenty-sixth move, when mate in a few more moves, the alternative being the loss of Knight and Queen was forced.
Duration, 3 hours and 19 minutes.
Chigorin returned to his favorite Evans Gambit, and the game went forward like the third and fifth games of the match up to Black’s eleventh move, which struck out a new line of defence by KtxP. It seems that both players had been previously under a misapprehension about the outcome of this position, and both had erroneously assumed that a piece was lost for Black after White’s thirteenth move. When Steinitz, who was evidently the first to correct the mutual error of analysis, replied 13,..B—B6, Chigorin took nearly fifty minutes for his answer, which was of a defensive character. His examination, no doubt, had convinced him that he had lost the spring in the attack and that he was bound to make the best of a bad case with two pawns behind. This he did with highly commendable courage, and he guarded himself skilfully against the entrance into his camp of the hostile pieces, of which the two Rooks were concentrated menacingly on the open King file. He even succeeded in weakening the adverse Queen’s flank by some clever maneuvering which took advantage of a doubtful exchange of minor pieces on Black’s twenty-sixth move. A hole was created at Black’s QB3 into which White planted one of his Knights on the thirtieth move. Three moves later the same Kt intercepted communication between the two Black Rooks in an elegant manner, and Steinitz had to exercise great care not to let the attack on the K-side, which he had already begun, slip from his hand. However, his cool removal of R—Kt 6 on the thirty-third move secured him the gain of a third pawn, the KRP, with the superiority on both wings. The game was adjourned on White’s thirty-fifth move, R—B2, which, no doubt, was not as good a defence as Kt—Q square.
On the resumption of play, Steinitz sacrificed the exchange for a fourth Pawn, and subsequent analysis proved that White’s game was untenable from that point. In actual play, only three more moves were made on each side, and Chigorin resigned when the loss of his Queen was forced.
Duration, four hours and twenty minutes.
A Ruy Lopez, which Steinitz had not played since the fourth game was at last, made again the order of the day, and it went on in the same way up to Tschigorin’s eighth and ninth moves, which denoted a new defensive course, On Black’s eleventh move Tschigorin’s plan divulged itself more clearly when he opened an outlet for his QB by P—QKt 3, after which he tried an attack on the adverse QP, which, however, he could not sustain for more than two moves. His Bishop had then to beat a retreat to Kt-2, and a position of a double Fianchetto was revealed. Steinitz then assumed the attack on the K- side, which at least must have forced exchanges that would have left Black’s Queen’s side in a weak condition. Chigorin deliberated long at the critical juncture which arose on the seventeenth move, and he decided to give up the KRP in a manner which involved an ingenious and deeply hidden trap. Steinitz, however, avoided this by his reply, Q—R 3, on the nineteenth move, which gave him a powerful attack with one Pawn ahead and another hanging fire. There were no minor pieces left, excepting Bishops of opposite colors, but the position of Black’s King was greatly compromised. Another crisis arose on Black’s twenty-second move when Chigorin allowed the advance of the hostile KBP with a check, which confined his King still more. He had done this in the hope of arriving at an ending after exchanging Queens, in which case the far-advanced pawn would have fallen and Black could make a good fight, even if White won some other pawns in the meanwhile. As a matter of course, Steinitz played for avoiding such a contingency and for holding the position tight until he could break through with a forcible attack against the exposed adverse King, his opportunity came on the twenty-eighth move, when he took the KKtP with the Bishop.
At that juncture, he could have won in a neater manner, as pointed out by Senor Golmayo. But his own attack was forcible enough, and the adverse King’s side was at his mercy on the thirty-first move, when Chigorin as a last resource tried “with the ingenuity of despair,” as Staunton would have called it, a sort of theatrical coup d’etat. He captured the KBP with the Queen, checking, and if White in the excitement of the fight had retaken with the Rook he would have been mated in three moves. But no such accident happened, and when Steinitz retook with the King, Chigorin resigned.
Duration—3 hours, 40 minutes.
It speaks well for the new defence in the Evans Gambit in the form adopted by Steinitz in the thirteenth game that Chigorin altered his attacking plan this time on the eighth move by Q—R 4. The modification regained his Pawn quickly, but at the expense of his. position, which was manifestly inferior to that of his opponent. On the sixteenth move, the attack was on the other side. White’s QP became isolated and his K-side was also broken up a few moves later. Chigorin defended his position with extraordinary skill, and Black could not make much progress, excepting that on the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth moves he might have won a Pawn in a position which would have made it difficult for the opponent to play for a draw. As usual, when the thirtieth move was near there was hasty play on both sides. Steinitz’s thirtieth move was especially compromising for his game. He had prematurely brought his Kt for the attack at KB 5, but after White’s excellent answer he found on examination that the sacrifice which he had planned would not work, and he had to retrace his steps with the loss of time and position. Tschigorin then instituted with his usual skill a harassing attack against the K side which Steinitz failed to answer properly on the forty-third move, again near the mark of the time limit, and at a point where he could have obtained the better game by Q—Q7. With a few fine strokes, Chigorin surrounded and confined the adverse pieces and placed the opponent’s defence under extreme difficulty. But just on the forty-sixth move, when the turn of the time limit had been passed, Steinitz broke down by a blunder, overlooking a rather simple sacrifice of a Queen, which cost him a clear piece. He then resigned.
A revival of a variation which is nowadays rarely adopted, though it was considered standard play in Morphy’s time, marked the opening from Black’s fifth to White’s eighth move. The latter was a new departure with the view of holding the balance on the King’s side until White’s attack on the other wing, which is usually weakened for the defence in this form of the Lopez, should mature. After some early preparations, in which Black operated rather threateningly against the adverse K-side, Steinitz opened battle on the other wing on the fourteenth move, and on the nineteenth, he forced an exchange of Queens at a time when he had manifestly the best of the position on the Q side. Soon after he compelled Black to advance the KBP and Chigorin’s King’s-wing as well as his center became conspicuously loose. White then kept on harassing the opponent with an irritating attack with his Pawns on the Queen’s wing until he obtained a good opportunity for a pawn sacrifice on the thirtieth move, after which Black’s pieces and the King were soon subjected to a state of siege, while White had a formidable passed QKt P, which was sure to gain heavy material, as actually happened. Black tried to relieve himself by advancing his passed QRP on the thirty-third move. Steinitz captured that Pawn with the Bishop, which was left en prise, with the assurance, however, of winning afterward a Rook and coming out with the exchange ahead in a clear and simple position. The game was then adjourned and Chigorin sealed his thirty-fourth move, which, when play was taken up again, turned out to be an attempt to make his escape with his King eventually at KR2. White’s reply promptly proved this plan a disastrous failure and within three moves on each side, Black lost a clear Rook for the advancing pawn and then surrendered.
This game will be memorable for the theoretical development of the new line of the Evans Gambit, which came into practice in this match, Steinitz altered the defence on the eighth move by BxKt, and on his eleventh, it became clear that he intended to give up a piece. Chigorin took nearly an hour for his answer and then accepted the offer. His position was precarious, but his calculation comprised a fine retreat of the Queen to R3 on the sixteenth move, which was, in fact, the turning point. In subsequent analysis, Steinitz suggested as his reply 16 .. .P—Kt 5, and the result of the examination was that the defence would have obtained an enormous power of attack, in all variations, leading to brilliant terminations in Black’s favor, with the exception of one line of play, in which Black, however, had a sure draw by perpetual check. The issue is considered so conclusive that Tschigorin is expected to abandon the line of attack which he tried in the last two games, notwithstanding his success, and it is even doubted whether he will play the Evans Gambit again. In actual play, however, Steinitz thoughtlessly proceeded to win a Rook at once, overlooking that within two moves his Knight would be lost, and his opponent would come out with two minor pieces for a Rook He made a hard fight after that, alternately trying diversions in the centre and on the Queen’s wing. But Tschigorin made masterly use of his superior forces, and, assisted by a weak twenty-seventh move on Black’s part, which lost the latter a pawn and gave White’s Knight entrance in the centre, he formed his attack with his usual scientific power, culminating in the thirty-second move with a fine sacrifice of a Bishop, that won for him the Queen against Rook and exchange. Black’s pieces, moreover, were so confined that the defence was soon drawn into a mating net from which there was no escape.
Duration, 4 hours, 26 minutes.
The long-expected Zukertort opening, which Steinitz had adopted all through his last match with Chigorin in 1889. and also, in a slightly varied form throughout, against Gunsberg, had its turn this time. In the development after the defence 1.. .P—KB4, Steinitz began his tactics of attack as early as the fifth move, by P—Q5, on the blocking and crowding system. He followed this up with a King’s Fianchetto, and then came a struggle for position, which was seen more distinctly on White’s part in the fifteenth move to be based on the plan of breaking through with the KP in the center. Chigorin’s pieces were much cramped and he tried to release himself by opening the QB file
His maneuvering freed his game somewhat, at the expense of a certain weakness on the Q side and the isolation of his QP. Being pressed for time as early as on the twenty-first move, Tschigorin made a hasty sally with his Kt on the Q side, which gave the opponent an opportunity of obtaining full command on the open King file, and to plant his Rook strongly at K6. In the attempt to dislodge that Rook, Chigorin overlooked that White could give up the exchange and capture a Pawn, coming out of it with two Bishops and a Pawn for the Rook. The game was then virtually over, though Black fought on desperately. On the thirty-fifth move, Steinitz could have effectuated a brilliant mate, by sacrificing his Queen, in six moves, as was pointed out by Senor Vazquez. The actual play, however, went straight for the King, and terminated with a little firework sacrifice of the Queen, after which White would have immediately Queened another Pawn and must have mated in a few moves. Chigorin thereupon resigned.
Duration 3 hours 59 minutes.
As for the previous matches, the World Champion Steinitz gave exclusive comments and views in his “Magazine” ICM dated of December 1891:
Another “Pyrrhus victory,” to quote the term applied by Dr. Tarrasch to the result Of my match with Mr. Gunsberg of last year. It was a close race all along and almost a toss up to the last who should win. Perhaps I may rest satisfied with my score on the principle that if one cannot have what he likes he must like what he has. Yet I have to say that if Chigorin, who so nearly got the best of me, had really defeated me in this contest, he might have beaten my name but hardly my game as I played it in former years, This implies no denial of the great genius of the Russian master, which is of the highest order, and it only queries my powers of representing still in actual play and outside of theoretical researches the “modern school” as opposed to the “old style,” to which according to many of his admirers. Chigorin is considered to stand pledged almost exclusively. By the way, the latter assumption will scarcely be borne out by a careful study of his games in the last match, and for the connoisseur of modern play it need not be pointed out that such moves as B—K 2, in the Queen’s Gambit declined (to which the Zukertort opening is virtually resolved) or Kt—Q2 before bringing out the QB, which was adopted by Chigorin in the defence of the Ruy Lopez, as well as once in the Zukertort opening, or the Russian’s own invention, Kt—R3, in the Evans, do not belong to the old modes of warfare. It is also significant that since the death of Mackenzie, Chigorin is almost the only one of living masters who has not openly declared in favor of the new ideas. Be that as it may, the fact remains that I could not cope with the Russian master as successfully as I have done with other great matadors, including Zukertort, who distinctly embraced the modern art, but I think that the new theories of the game ought not to be held responsible for my personal defects. The seventeenth game of the contest will probably illustrate my meaning. It dealt, I believe, a hard blow to the time-honored Evans Gambit, which was the most powerful weapon in Chigorin’s arsenal. The Russian master fulfilled my predictions that he would not play that opening again during the contest, and yet I had actually lost the very game in which I adopted a totally new line of play, which seems to demonstrate that opening finally in favor of the defence.
Other rising masters may do better, and I trust they will, for the sake of progress in our noble pastime. But this involves a question which I have been repeatedly asked to answer by experts and amateurs in Havana, and which I consider it due to taking up in public, namely, the question of superiority between Chigorin and Dr. Tarrasch, the German master, whose great tournament record is now considered by many to entitle him to take the foremost place among European players. If I had to decide the matter for myself stone I would gladly declare in favor of Tarrasch, though this might be taken almost as a confession that he is superior to myself. After the Manchester tournament, I gave my opinion in the international Chess Magazine that Dr. Tarrasch may perhaps be the greatest Chess genius that ever lived, and that there was neither proof pro nor contra. The admission of the latter possibility is the highest praise that I could bestow on the German master, for hardly as much could be said of any other living player including myself* But in the exercise of my public duty I must try to hold the scales of reputation according to recognized measures, and I consider it unfair to judge the matter excepting by a match test between the two named rivals. Before leaving technical subjects I desire to correct one of my comments to the fourteenth game of the match in which I described 8 Q—K2 in the Ruy Lopez as a novelty. This move is already well established, though I am under the impression that I was the first to point it out in one of my early notes to that form of opening. But in reply to some remarks in the press which seemingly charge me with drawing on my imagination for “sensational” news, I beg to say that this was never my style of criticism at any time. The comment in question was simply due to a lapse of memory.