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

Jan 8, 2014, 12:00 AM 8 Strategy

"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: 

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