A Glorious Queen Sacrifice! - Best Of The 50s - Stoltz vs. Steiner, 1952

A Glorious Queen Sacrifice! - Best Of The 50s - Stoltz vs. Steiner, 1952

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
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13

In 1954, Gosta Stoltz became Sweden's second grandmaster after Gideon Stahlberg. In the prior three years, he won consecutive Swedish Championships from 1951-1953. His greatest game must be the following, a masterpiece from the Stockholm Interzonal against the American Herman Steiner. It must have been incredibly satisfying to win the most brilliant game in such an important international even on one's home turf.

For his part, Steiner is also a fascinating figure who was one of the best American players in the first half of the 20th century. Steiner emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian empire at a young age, first reaching New York, and then heading to California, settling in Los Angeles. Steiner founded the Hollywood Chess Club which was frequented by notables such Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Charles Boyer.

Unfortunately, Steiner passed at the age of just 50 from a sudden heart attack that took place in the California State Championship in 1955. Steiner had won the previous two championships.

Top 10 Games of the 1950s

This game is by no means perfect, but the ideas and patterns are too rich not to love. Stoltz gets a big advantage in the opening with an original plan of castling queenside. He then sacrifices a piece to shred Steiner's kingside. Steiner misses his chances to play ...d5!! and hold on. Then, with a forced win on the table, Stoltz plays the Amazing 24.d5!?! sacrificing his queen to open the h-file and long diagonal and create two passed pawns. Steiner had one defense available, but with his 26th, he selected the wrong square for his queen, allowing 27.g6!! which won the game beautifully.

My annotations are below

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