Steinitz - Blackburne
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Qe2 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.d3 Bc5 8.c3 O-O 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4 Be7 11.Nbd2 Kh8 12.Nf1 a5 13.a4 bxa4 14.Bxa4 d5 15.Qc2?
Why Blackburne played this I’m unsure, N1d2, seems better, since white can almost castle.
dxe4 16.dxe4 Nd7
Black doesn’t have many moves here, g5, Qd6... Bc5 is met by Qb6 Rb8 Qc4!) I think Steinitz chose Nd7 because it forces one of white’s strong pieces to trade off, or move to a more passive square, the move also prepares f5, and other tactical ideas using the c5 square.
This looks tricky the threat is Nd3+ making the white king forfeit castling, but what about the pawn on e5, looks loose?, white cannot take right away though, because of Nd3+, and after Bxc6? Bxc6 the e4 pawn comes under attack. White played correctly with Rd1.
Another option is Ne3, but after Nd3+ white forfeits castling, this wasn’t that bad though.
This looks bad initially, but actually white cant remove the guard of e5 without putting his own e-pawn at risk eg. Bxc6 Bxc6 Nxe5 Bxe4.
Is Nd4 possible? NO lol, after Nd4 white has Rxd4!
Nxa4 seems good too, but the position becomes simpler for white, where Ba6 asks another question. Bxc6 and Nxe5 both lead to draw’ish endgames.
Blackburne takes the outpost and threatens c7
Does this lose a pawn to Bxc6?, Bxc6 Qxc6 Nxe5 Bxe5 Bxe5 Rae8! and black has a great position.
Blackburne plans to occupy another outpost on f5
Steinitz develops one of his Rooks
What if black takes on f6? Whites idea is Qc1, followed by Nf5, Steinitz obviously sensed the danger and didn’t capture, but it turns out whites idea doesn’t work, after gxf6 Qc1 black had Kg4 Qxh6 Rxb2 with a nasty threat of Re2+, also black had Ne6 , which refutes Nf5.
22...Qe6 23.Bxc6 Qxf6 24.f3
Blackburnes idea i think was to play Bf2 followed by trading off the knight on c5, but this passive move allows black a small tempo with Rb6.
The pawn on b2 is lost, Bd5 Rfb8 meeting this threat with Rb1 is particularly bad, since black just takes on b2 hence the royal fork on d3
25.Bd5 Rfb8 26.b3
Blackburn gives up the pawn on b3 not b2, which would put his Queen under attack.
26....Nxb3 27.Nf5 Nc5
Giving way for the Rooks!
this finally ends the bishops effect on whites king, but allows black to invade the 2nd rank
blackburne lashes out with Nxd6 the idea I think was Rxb2 Nxf7+ Kh7 0-0 or maybe even Bxe5 however Nd3+ ends that idea
again Steinitz chooses the safer route to victory.
30.Qc3 R8b3 31.Qxa5?
Qc1 was the only move, Qc1 Rxb2 and the White queen now threatens f3 Rf1 is met by Rf3.
31... Re3+ 32.Kf1 Rxf3+ 33.Kg1 Rxg3 0-1