Evoking Harry Pillsbury

Evoking Harry Pillsbury

Mar 18, 2016, 11:29 PM |

"Pillsbury was, after Morphy, undoubtedly the greatest chess talent of the USA. However, their careers were completely different: wheras Morphy slowly, quietly and joylessly extinguished the candle of his life, Pillsbury aspired for the candle of his life to burn constantly at bothe ends. "Wine, women and not harmless songs, but strong cigars" - this was Pillsbury's principle of life." - Alekhine


I owe this victory on the White side of a London System to the games of Harry Pillsbury, who died at only age 33.


His "Pillsbury Attack" was so powerful where it was said: "If Pillsbury has played Ne5, then Black is lost.


Let us see the original Pillsbury Attack from Hastings 1895 against Tarrasch.

Pillsbury-Tarrasch, Hasting 1895, 2nd Round 1-0

Lazaro-Anand, Leon 2006, 1-0

Fast forward 110 years ahead and we see Anand perish against a Pillsbury Attack.

Formation of the Pillsbury Attack

Returning to Earth from the lofty heights of Elite Chess, my opponent has just played 7. ... Nh5 (moving a piece twice in the opening).

This allowed me to play 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. Ne5 and with gain of tempo on the Knight at h5, White can follow up with Bd3, 0-0, f4 and Rf3 (Pillsbury Attack).

The Knight on e5 is stronger than a Rook

Moving forward in the game, the Pillsbury Attack has developed on thematic lines.

The Knight on e5 is a beast, the g-pawn has advanced and the Rook developed along the 3rd rank.

One almost doesn't have to think in playing 20. Rxh5 which destroys the Black pawn shelter.

The Knight can then eye f6 or h6 and White's other Rook enters along the g-file. Large advantage to White.

Who Should Lead the Way?

White to Move

I didn't continue in the most efficient manner, by playing 25. Qg4 I intend to follow up with Qg2 and win the pawn on e4, thus centralising my pieces.

More crushing would have been 25. Rg5 with the idea of Qg4 to follow, thus leading with the Rook either to the 7th or 8th Rank. 

Very instructive regrouping for me (and not showing a tinge of materialism).

Power of Centralisation

White to Move

I was very happy with the conclusion to the game as a testimony to the power of centralisation.

White's Knight removes the Rook from defence of the 6th rank, thus allowing his own Rook to threaten at h6.

Destruction follows on the long dark diagonal.

My Game Annotations and Analysis