Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chess Log: Quick Checkmate Against Old Steinitz

1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♘c6 3. ♗b5 d6 4. d4 exd4 5. ♘xd4 ♗d7 6. ♘xc6 ♗xc6 7. ♗xc6 bxc6 8. ♕f3 ♘f6 9. e5 ♘d5 10. c4 ♘e7 11. exd6 cxd6 12. O-O ♕c7 13. ♖e1 ♖b8 14. ♘c3 g6 15. ♗f4 c5 16. ♖ad1 ♖d8 17. ♘d5 ♕d7 18. ♘f6 1-0 {Black checkmated}

I played White. 1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♘c6 3. ♗b5 d6 is known as the Old Steinitz Defense, named after Wilhelm Steinitz, generally considered to have been the world champion of chess from 1866 to 1894, although there was no official world championship at the time. 4. d4 is a standard move for White, 4. ... exd4 is mentioned in Modern Chess Openings, 13th Editiononly in passing as leading to a line which is better for White, and when I responded with 5. ♘xd4 we were, as far as I can tell, off the reservation, doing things which Grandmasters wouldn't even consider doing, for reasons obvious enough (to the Grandmasters) that Modern Chess Openings saw no reason to warn against them. I knew that 5. ♕xd4 is considered the proper move here, but after playing it many times both here and, more often, in the corresponding place in the Modern Steinitz Defense, I was very tired of it, because -- at least at the level of chess I play -- it tends to lead to mid- and endgames with many pawns and few pieces remaining, which I find relatively boring. This game turned out completely different than that, with Black being mated when his King was immobilized by his own Rook, Queen, Knight, black Bishop and just one of his Pawns. By the 17th move, I don't know whether Black had any good options left. 17. ... ♖d7 instead of 17. ... ♕d7 would've kept the game going longer, but at the cost of Black trading his Queen for my Knight, just for starters, with other Very Bad Things looming.

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