Steinitz at Vienna 1898. Old Lion - New ideas.
Pillsbury, Steinitz and Chigorin, from the group photograph. Vienna 1898.

Steinitz at Vienna 1898. Old Lion - New ideas.


Well, my last post - here  - gave me a bit of a surprise!!

I threw in a game - Steinitz - Lipke from Vienna 1898 as it was the first one that came into my head to illustrate an aspect of Steinitz's chess thinking. It captured the imagination of those who looked at it more than the game that the article was built around!!

I also realised from the comments that people were actually prepared to look at the real Steinitz, rather than the version that the writers of cheap and cheerful chess history try to present.

A big lesson for me, and I can only express my genuinely humble gratitude to those who took the time to comment so constructively. 

They made me realise that there are actually players out there who are prepared to look beyond the 'good story' stuff, and take what I do seriously. Thanks guys! Your kindness and time spent is genuinely appreciated.

Given that response I have decided to post some serious study material for those prepared to put the time and effort in.

In one of my replies to a comment on the Lipke game I said that Steinitz's games in that tournament were well worth studying. Given that this weekend I have more time on my hands than normal  - no grandparent duties for a change!! - I decided to collect together a few  of his games from the tournament, and do some proper annotations to them, to show what I meant.

When the tournament was played Steinitz was in his 60's, and in bad shape both physically and mentally. His result - 4th place - in a very long and tough tournament, against stellar opposition, was a magnificent achievement.

Despite his age, infirmity, and the strength of the opposition - finishing behind the likes of Tarrasch and Pillsbury was hardly a bad result - he came in 4th, ahead of some genuinely fine players. And he played - despite the predictable oversights and errors caused by tiredness, etc - some wonderful chess.  He was still a great fighter, and an outstanding, deep, and original chess thinker.

So some games to study. I have tried to annotate them properly, and put them into the context of the time and Steinitz's chess thinking and ideas.

All feedback welcomed if I have made mistakes along the way.

First a loss, which illustrates both the negatives mentioned above, and a concept of his that was mentioned in the previous post.


 So, on to some games to study. In a couple of them I have pointed out positions where things have stabilized and it is important to  make a serious evaluation of what is going on. We can't all be a Steinitz, but we can learn from him!

Hopefully anyone prepared to put the time in will enjoy the games, and learn from them.

Next a game that influenced the younger - with hair! - version of me. I can date the time that I bought the tournament book from the fact that I took up this opening line after reading it.

A bit of fun against the tail- ender.

And  finally a game that is 'only a draw', but a fascinating one. Such games rarely appear in the ' Best Games Of' books - you have to go look for them!!