Monday, August 11, 2008

Pillsbury-Tarrasch, Hastings 1895

In 1895 Harry Nelson Pillsbury traveled to Europe to compete in his first international tournament -- and he won, ahead of such luminaries as Lasker, Tarrasch and Chigorin. Though a frequent and successful tournament competitor over the next few years, he never succeeded in obtaining the match for the world championship he sought. His long illness and early death in 1906 deprived the world of one of its greatest players. Among his other contributions to the game, Pillsbury demonstrated the worth of the Queen’s Gambit in an era when anything other than 1. e4 e5 was often dismissed as “Irregular.”

Pillsbury – Tarrasch
Hastings 1895


1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Rc1 0-0 7. e3 b6 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. 0-0 c5 11. Re1 c4

At the time most masters thought that Black’s Queenside pawn majority should give him the advantage—given time, he will advanace his b- and c-pawns and create a passed pawn on the c-file. Pillsbury shows that White’s active pieces are of greater import.

12. Bb1 a6 13. Ne5 b5 14. f4 Re8 15. Qf3 Nf8 16. Ne2 Ne4 17. Bxe7 Rxe7 18. Bxe4 dxe4

White does not object to exchanges, for the Black Bb7 cannot easily participate in the defense of the Kingside.

19. Qg3 f6 20. Ng4 Kh8 21. f5 Qd7 22. Rf1 Rd8 23. Rf4 Qd6

White has steadily strengthened his position while Black temporized.

24. Qh4 Rde8 25. Nc3 Bd5 26. Nf2 Qc6 27. Rf1 b4 28. Ne2 Qa4

It seems that Black’s strategy has succeeded, for he must now obtain a passed pawn on the Queenside. But all the White pieces are poised for an attack on the Black King.
29. Ng4 Nd7

Not 29. ... Qxa2? 30. Nxf6! and wins.

30. R4f2 Kg8

And now if 30. ... Qxa2 31. Nf4 Bf7 32. Ng6+ Bxg6 33. fxg6 h6 34. Nxh6 gxh6 35. Qxh6+ Kg8 36. Rf5 wins.

31. Nc1 c3 32. b3 Qc6 33. h3 a5 34. Nh2 a4 35. g4 axb3 36. axb3 Ra8


37. g5! Ra3 38. Ng4 Bxb3 39. Rg2 Kh8 40. gxf6 gxf6 41. Nxb3 Rxb3 42. Nh6

Threatening 43. Rg8 mate.

42. ... Rg7 43. Rxg7 Kxg7 44. Qg3+! Kxh6

Forced, as 44. ... Kf8 45. Qg8+ picks off the Rook at b3.

45. Kh1!

A quiet but deadly move -- Black is helpless against the threat to close the mating net with 46. Rg1.

45. ... Qd5 46. Rg1 Qxf5 47. Qh4+ Qh5 48. Qf4+ Qg5 49. Rxg5 fxg5 50. Qd6+ Kh5 51. Qxd7 c2 52. Qxh7 mate

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