The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT COMICS - Mark Ru­bery

Joseph Black­burne (1841-1924) was one of the top six play­ers in the world for two decades. Ini­tially he was an ac­com­plished draughts player and it was only at the age of 18 that he learnt the moves of chess. Tak­ing lessons from Hor­witz he quickly de­vel­oped his skills, par­tic­u­larly in the endgame phase, and in 1869 when he won the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship he took the game up pro­fes­sion­ally. For more than 50 years he was to tour Great Bri­tain giv­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ous and blind­fold dis­plays and in the 1880s he ar­rived briefly in Port El­iz­a­beth to give a 10-board blind­fold si­mul­ta­ne­ous – an SA record that stands to this day. Nick­named the Black Death, he bright­ened up th­ese nor­mally solemn oc­ca­sions by cracking jokes and drink­ing co­pi­ous amounts of whiskey. A fa­mous anec­dote has him down­ing an op­po­nent’s drink and then declar­ing: “He left it en prise so I took it en pas­sant!” He was the win­ner of nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments in­clud­ing Berlin 1881 when he out­dis­tanced the field by three points, but his style and tem­per­a­ment were not suited to match play and he was rarely suc­cess­ful against world-class play­ers.

At the age of 58 Black­burne con­vinc­ingly de­feated the world cham­pion.

Lasker, Emanuel – Black­burne, Joseph Henry [C62] London (4) 1899

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.d5 Nb8 6.Bd3 Be7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Ne2 c6 9.c4 Na6 10.Ng3 Nc5 11.Bc2 b5 12.b4 Nb7 13. dxc6 Bxc6 14.cxb5 Bxb5 15.a4 Bd7 16.0–0 g6 17.h3 h5 18.Be3 a5 19.b5 Rc8 20.Rc1 Nc5 21.Nd2 h4 22.Ne2 g5!? (Sac­ri­fic­ing a pawn for an at­tack down the g file) 23.Bxg5 (23 Bxf6 was less risky) …Rg8 24.Bxh4 Bxh3 25.Bg3 Be6 26.Re1 Ng4 27.Nf1 Bg5 28.Rb1 Rh8 29.Nc3 Bf4 30.Nd5 Qg5 31.f3 Rh1+! (An un­ex­pected move but it wins in ev­ery case-Black­burne) 32.Kxh1 Bxg3 33.Nxg3 (33 Re2 Qh4+ 34 Kg1 Bh2+ 35 Kh1 Nf2+! 36 Rxf2 Bg3+ 37 Kg1 Bxf2#) … Nf2+ 34.Kg1 Nxd1 35.Nf5 Bxf5 36.exf5 Qd2 37. Rexd1 Qxc2 38.Rbc1 Qxf5 39.Nb6 Rd8 40.Nc4 Nb7 41.Ne3 Qf4 42.Kf2 Qxa4 43.Rc7 Nc5 44.Rh1 Rd7 45.Rc8+ Ke7 46.Rhh8 Qd4 0–1

“Black­burne will al­ways be re­mem­bered with af­fec­tion in his own coun­try and prob­a­bly re­garded so in many other lands he vis­ited. He was a ‘good mixer’ and a very en­ter­tain­ing com­pan­ion who had picked up much in life be­sides chess.” – PW Sergeant



2013) Ch Team Euro Aro­nian, Bacrot-( 10– Rgc2! Kf141. Rxg2 Ke140. Rxf2+ Rxd339.

Kh7 c8Q+38. Kxh8 Rh8+37. Rxe2!36…

“Vlad learnt chess at the age of five. There was no lack of chess cul­ture even in that re­mote town of Soviet Rus­sia. But op­por­tu­ni­ties of ad­vance were fewer. It was here that fate played its part. For­tu­nately for him a lo­cal chess player watch­ing games of Vlad be­came a fan of our lit­tle hero and wrote to Mikhail Botvin­nik. Kram­nik says, the Pa­tri­arch used to re­ceive such let­ters from all cor­ners of the USSR and he need not have paid at­ten­tion to this one. But he did and re­sponded by ask­ing for the lad’s games. When the games were sent he sub­jected them to metic­u­lous scru­tiny and con­cluded that there was a tal­ent here. Soon Vlad re­ceived an invitation to at­tend the Botvin­nik School where fa­mous dis­ci­ples like Kas­parov de­liv­ered lec­tures.” – From Kram­nik’s DVD My Path To The Top

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