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 Steinitz - Rock 

 Wilhelm Steinitz (2735) - J. Rock (????) 
  Exhibition Game London,  1863   

[A.J. Goldsby I]

Nunn writes: 
"Wilhelm Steinitz (born 1860) bestrode the second half of the 19th Century like a colossus. After beating the aging Anderssen 8-6 in a match which had gone 4-all, 5-all and 6-all; he was regarded as World Champion and defied all challengers for 28 years ... yielding at last, at the age of 58 to Emanuel Lasker thirty-two years his junior. Steinitz found chess a happy-go-lucky game to be played by the light of nature; he left it a thorough-going science." 

He continues: "What is not so well remembered today is the fact that he had his own romantic period as a young man in Vienna - where he gloried in the name of 'The Austrian Morphy.' The following game was played in an exhibition in London and nothing annoyed Steinitz more than its attribution to Morphy by several chess writers." 

[ - GM John Nunn in his book, "The King Hunt,"  by Nunn & W. Cozens. Game # 7, pages # 19-21.]  

Chernev writes: 
<< Years ago a friend of mine used to greet me with, "Show me the Steinitz game again." 
      This was the little beauty he meant, and he never failed to get a thrill out of the winning combination. >> 

   [ See the book, {The} "1000 Best Short Games of Chess,"  
      by Irving Chernev. Game # 514, pages # 254-255.  (Chernev gives this game played at the odds of a Rook, remove White's QR.) ]  

1. e4 e52. Nf3 Nc63. Bc4 Bc54.b4,  ('!?')  The Evans Gambit. 
This opening has been played by practically every World Champion. White gives up a pawn for a huge increase in time. 

This opening was once called, "A gift from the gods to a languishing chess world." (Although since the Evans was originated like 200 years ago, I can hardly imagine why the people of that epoch felt chess was languishing!) 

Nunn writes: 
"For sixty or seventy years this gambit held its own in first-class Master practice and produced brilliancies galore, with White winning the short games and Black the long ones. In the end it was the cold appraisal of Lasker which evolved a simple treatment of the defence which was tantamount to a refutation --- until Kasparov's successful revival in the 1990's!" (Garry Kasparov - Vishy Anand; Riga Memorial, 1995.) 

     [ White could also play: 4.c3!?, which is the Giuoco Piano. 
        Then play could continue:  4...Nf6; 5.d4 exd4; 6.cxd4 Bb4+; 7.Nc3 Nxe4; (!?) 
Bxc3!; 9.d5! Bf6; 10.Re1 Ne7; 11.Rxe4 d6; 12.Bg5 Bxg5; 13.Nxg5 h6!
        14.Qe2! hxg5; 15.Re1 Be6!; 16.dxe6 f6!; 17.Re3!, "The Goldsby Variation."

(See the diagram directly below.)

  White plays the "Goldsby Variation." This line has never been tested at the GM level.


            For verification, see the book, 
          "Winning With The Giuoco Piano and the Max Lange Attack," by GM Andy Soltis. {2nd Edition.} Chap. # 4, page # 59.]   



4...Bxb45. c3 Ba56. 0-0,  This is natural. 
Nothing wrong with castling, but 6. d4! may have been slightly more challenging. (It also may just transpose.) 

The book line is: 6. d4!, exd4!; 7. 0-0, Nge7!; 8. cxd4, d5!; 9. exd5, Nxd5; 10. Ba3 ('!'), [10. Qb3!?]  10...Be6; 11. Bb5, f6; ('!') 12. Qa4!?, Bb6; 13. Bxc6+, bxc6; 14. Qxc6+, Kf7; ("=") and Black is slightly better according to Botterill and MCO-14. (This line is not re-playable on the js-board.)

( Go to my web page on the game  Morphy - Marache;  to see some analysis on the main line of the Evan's Gambit. Or  contact me  for if you would like the long version of this game in  ChessBase  format. It contains a complete survey {repertoire} of the Evans' Gambit. ) 

     [Chernev gives a slightly different move order for this game: 6.d4 exd47.0-0 Nf68.Ba3 Bb6; 9.Qb3 d5; 10.exd5 Na5; 11.Re1+ Be6; 12.dxe6!, etc. 
        I give Nunn's move order as correct. (It was also the one given in the newspapers after this game was played.) ] 

6...Nf6!?;  Developing can't be bad. 

But its not 100% clear what defense - or what move order Black should adopt here. 

     [ 6...Bb6; 7.Ba3!?(White could also play: 7.Qb3!?; Or 7.d4!)  7...d6; 8.d4! exd4;  
Nf6!?; 10.e5! dxe5; 11.Qb3! Qd7; 12.dxe5 Na5; 13.exf6!! Nxb3; 14.Re1+ Kd8;
       15.Be7+ Ke8; 16.fxg7 Rg8; 17.Bf6+ Qe6[]; 18.Bxe6 Bxe6
( Not 18...Nxa1??; 19.Bxc8+ Be3; 20.Rxe3#.);  
19.axb3; ("+/-") White is winning, he has an extra piece. Howard Staunton - Cochrane;  London, 1842. ]

7. Ba3!?,   White puts indirect pressure on Black's King.

Nunn writes: 
"In the Evan's Gambit; the standard attacking moves d4, 0-0, Ba3, Qb3, etc. These moves can be transposed in a bewildering number of ways, providing plenty of chances for Black to go wrong. 7. Ba3, as was played here by Steinitz, is (a little) less forcing than 7. d4, but it succeeds brilliantly because Black allows his King to be caught in the centre." 

     [White could play: 7.Qb3!?; or 7.d4!

7...Bb6?!;  (Maybe - '?') 
 " 7...d6;  followed by ...0-0; should give Black a safe game. "  - Nunn. 

     [7...d6; {Unclear?}]

8. d4 exd4
9. Qb3 d5?; Opening lines.
Black makes the [by now] classic mistake of opening up the position when he is badly behind in development and his King is still stuck in the middle. 

10. exd5 Na5; (!?)  Risky?

Nunn writes: 
"When White plays Qb3 in the Evans' Gambit, Black always likes to counter with 6...Na5; hoping to destroy the light-squared Bishop. No doubt it was with this in mind that Black vacated the square with 7...Bb6. But this time Steinitz is ready with an astonishing answer."

11. Re1+!,  The best. 

     [Nunn writes:  "Black's plan has more than one refutation: the simple 11.Bb5+ c6
bxc6; 13.Re1+ Be6; 14.Rxe6+! , would have also forced resignation." ] 

11...Be6; []  This move is pretty much forced. 

Nunn writes: 
"This must have been Black's intention, for if 12. Qb4, Black escapes with 12...Nxc4; 13. Qxc4, Qxd5. In any case it is Black's only chance; the alternative 11...Kd7; is hopeless: 12. Ne5+ Ke8; 13. Bb5+, c6; 14. dxc6. However, as in many chess brilliancies, someone has been taking too much granted." 

     [ 11...Kd7; 12.Ne5+ Ke8; 13.Bb5+! c6; 14.dxc6, ("+/-") ]  

Chernev writes:  "Now comes a little chess magic:"

12.dxe6!!,  An incredibly brilliant move. 

Nunn writes: 
"A game won by Staunton from Cochrane some twenty years before, (which may have 
been known to Steinitz) ran ...  < {See the note after the sixth move.} >  The sacrifice as played by Steinitz leads to an even more summary execution." 

      [12.Qb4?! Nxc4; 13.Qxc4 Qxd5; ("=/+") ] 

;  Black takes the Queen. (The computer suggests instead the move, 12...c6.) 
Now the game becomes one of [pure] pursuit of the Black King.

13. exf7+ Kd7
14. Be6+ Kc615. Ne5+ Kb516. Bc4+ Ka5
17. Bb4+ Ka418. axb3#.  (Check-Mate)  1 - 0 

Nunn writes: 
"Some sources claim that this game was played at Queen's Rook odds. Curiously enough this would make no difference, for Steinitz does not get round to developing even his Queen's Knight, and although the Rook does give check on the last move it would still be mate even if the Rook were not there. One suspects that some journalist, noticing this, introduced the  'queen's rook odds'  in an attempt to gild what is already a perfect lily as it stands." 

A very brilliant and beautiful game by the great Steinitz.  

(Game # 7 in Nunn and Cozens book, "The King-Hunt.")  


This game is often said to have been played at odds, but that has never been proven and GM John Nunn (among others) feel that this is incorrect. (I think Nunn is right, the game was published in newspapers, and no mention was made of it being at odds, although Steinitz showed it many times. Perhaps the old lion felt the need to embellish this game? Or was someone else guilty of this?) Whether or not this game was played at odds or not, matters little to me - as the game is unbelievably beautiful and brilliant. It is a mate, with the Rook on a1 ... or without it!!  (It is a mate even if you remove the White QN!!)  


This game was played during Steinitz's earlier era, during which  he earned the 'handle' of "The Austrian Morphy." 


Steinitz is the father of the "Positional School of Chess," and probably changed the game like few others. (He was also the first official World Champion.) GM Nunn said he, "Found chess a game and left it a science." He also played many beautiful and outstanding games of chess. His game vs. Curt Von Bardleben from Hastings, 1895;  is picked by MANY authors and critics as:  "One of The Most Beautiful Games of Chess Ever Played." (It also won the First Brilliancy Prize at a tournament that: a.) Probably had dozens - if not over a hundred - of viable candidates;  b.) Was probably the first real and great International Tournament. (This event was won by the American, H. N. Pillsbury.)   


I have many books devoted to the life and games of this great player.  
Probably THE book on the story of his life is:  "William Steinitz, Chess Champion.(A biography of the Bohemian Caesar.) by Kurt Landsberger.  


The best book containing the most games of the champion has to be: 
"The Games of Wilhelm Steinitz,  First World Chess Champion."
  (Games annotated - culled from original sources - by Wilhelm Steinitz. Edited by Sid Pickard.)  


Thanks to the two individuals - who both adamantly refused credit by name - who researched this game for me. One lives in London, England. (He is a chess-playing pal on one of the servers I play on.) The other lives in Cleveland, Ohio; and has spent perhaps over a hundred hours researching various topics for me in the "John G. White Collection," at the Cleveland Public Library. 


  (Code initially) Generated with ChessBase 8.0    (This page was last edited on:  04/14/2014 .)  

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