Pretoria News - - THE X-FILES -

Wil­helm Steinitz (1836-1900), the first of­fi­cial World Cham­pion was also the first ma­jor player to em­brace po­si­tional chess in an era of sac­ri­fices and gam­bits. Steinitz made the tran­si­tion most markedly dur­ing the Vi­enna tour­na­ment in 1873 where all his games were im­bued with po­si­tional play. Nat­u­rally he could play com­bi­na­tional chess when called upon as the fol­low­ing fa­mous en­counter shows.

Steinitz Wil­helm - Von Bardeleben Kurt [C54]

Hast­ings (Eng­land), 1895

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 d5?! (To­day the Moller At­tack is de­fanged via 7...Nxe4! 8 0-0

Bxc3 9 d5 Bf6 10 Re1 Ne7 11 Rxe4 d6) 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.0–0 Be6 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bxd5 Bxd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Re1 f6

15.Qe2 (Even stronger was 15 Qa4+ as 15... c6 is met by 16 Qa3! Qd7 17 Rxe7+ Qxe7 18 Re1. Black would have to play the loos­en­ing 15...b5) ... Qd7 16.Rac1 c6 17.d5! (Clear­ing the d4 square for his knight) ...cxd5 18.Nd4 Kf7 19.Ne6 Rhc8 20.Qg4 g6 21.Ng5+ Ke8


22.Rxe7+! Kf8 (If 22...Qxe7 23 Rxc8+ and 22 ...Ke7 23 Qb4+ Ke8 24 Re1+ Kd8 25 Ne6+ win­ning) 23.Rf7+ Kg8 24.Rg7+! (24...Kxg7 25 Qxd7+) ...Kh8 25.Rxh7+

(At this stage Von Bardeleben left the tour­na­ment hall and did not re­turn, thus in­di­cat­ing his res­ig­na­tion in a novel if un­sport­ing way. What he had seen com­ing and what Steinitz later demon­strated to the spec­ta­tors was the fol­low­ing force­ful con­tin­u­a­tion... Kg8 26.Rg7+ Kh8 27.Qh4+ Kxg7 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7+ Ke8 31.Qg8+ Ke7 32.Qf7+ Kd8 33.Qf8+ Qe8)34.Nf7+ Kd7 35.Qd6#) 1-0

‘One mas­ter on whose pres­ence at the Café Bauer I could un­fail­ingly count any evening was Kurt von Bardeleben. He was an easy­go­ing per­son in his fifties. When he had any money at all you could tell it by the bot­tle of Bordeaux on the ta­ble; he sipped it one glass af­ter an­other in the leisurely man­ner of a con­nois­seur. He al­ways wore a black-cut suit of du­bi­ous vin­tage. Ap­par­ently he could never spare enough money to buy a new suit although I learned one day that at fairly reg­u­lar in­ter­vals he re­ceived com­par­a­tively large sums through the sim­ple ex­pe­di­ent of mar­ry­ing and shortly af­ter di­vorc­ing some lady who craved the dis­tinc­tion of his noble name and was will­ing to pay for it.’ (Ed­ward Lasker)

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