Steinitz's Fundamental Maxim: The King as a Strong Piece

  • FM Cats4Sale
  • | Jan 8, 2014

"The King is a strong piece" preached Wilheim Steinitz, 1st World Champion of chess. "It is more important than all of the other pieces combined times infinity (for, if it is "captured," the game is automatically terminated), and it is tough; it can defend itself from the opposition." Throughout his career, Steinitz demonstrated this idea through his many games and especially in his matches with Tschigorin; he would accept the pawn in the Evans' Gambit and hold tight for many moves. In particular, Steinitz earned the epithet of the "Fearless World Champion" because of his gambit that he invented:

It is important to study these classics because they can help you in your games, or, at the very least, give you some ideas! Recently I played the following game in "Steinitz" style:

I hope I have convinced you of the toughness of the King! At the very least, I hope that chess is now more beautiful to you in that you can see that it follows its own twisted but orderly internal laws - and, sometimes even paradoxical. For your amusement and pleasure, I leave you with one more example of the strength of the King from a composition by Sam Lloyd: 


  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    In the first game, the last move was Rc6#, not dxc6.

  • 3 years ago

    FM Cats4Sale

    Thanks for all the nice comments. WishMaster_89, you are correct, my apologies. On 23...Kg3, 24.Rh3 Kf4 25.Rh4 is indeed a draw as adamschmalhofer mentioned. I didn't conisder 25...Kxg2, because 23...Kg5 I saw was a win.   

  • 3 years ago


    @WishMaster_89, kahaqqani:
  • 3 years ago



    On 23...Ke3 white has 24.exf6+ Bxe6 25.Re4# 

    but i don't know about 23...Kg3.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    agreed, wishmaster.  also, loved the article!!!

  • 3 years ago


    I found a few mistakes in game 2. In the analysis of move 15

    On 15...fxg5, he has the wonderful (for him) 16.Ng6!! hxg6 17.h5! and I have no good defense against 18.hxg6 with checkmate

    There is no need to play h5.. hxg5 is checkmate!!

    On move 23 he sais only move like the previous but black has Ke3 or Kg3

  • 3 years ago


    Beautiful games, and article

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