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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Pillsbury’

Hastings History (30.12.2017.) 966

The 93rd Hastings Congress started on Thursday and continues for 9 rounds until next Friday. The top 3 seeds are the GMs Deep Sengupta of India (2589); Alex Fier of Brazil (2587) and Jakhongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan (2518). In spite of their undoubted strength, it could be argued that they are not exactly familiar names to the man in the street, even to those who follow chess events.

However, a lesson could be learned from the very first congress held in the town in 1895. In May of that year, having explored the idea of an International Masters Tournament, and secured generous local funding, the Hastings Club Secretary sent out invitations for a tournament with a prize fund of £500 (£60,000 today) and guaranteed consolation money for non-prizewinners. There were 35 entries, mostly the great and good from around the world, including the current and future World Champions, Steinitz and Lasker, and the Committee had to narrow the entry down to 22. Inadvertently, they allowed in the Venetian Beniamino Vergani, an amiable chess journalist who had only arrived to report on the event, but mistakenly put his name on an entry form. He was ranked with another relative unknown, Harry Pillsbury of the U.S. It would be a bit cruel to say they weren’t household names – even in their own households, but they were certainly unknown quantities in Europe. As expected, Vergani came last, but Pillsbury, to everyone’s amazement, came clear 1st, and from then on was never out of the headlines. 2nd was Tchigorin, 3rd Lasker, 4th Tarrasch & 5th Steinitz.

Here is one of his wins from Hastings.

White: H. Pillsbury. Black: W. Steinitz.

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Var. [D35]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.e3 Be6 8.Nge2 Nc6 9.g3 cxd4 10.exd4 Bb4 11.Bg2 Qb6? 12.0–0 0–0–0 Though this move has been criticised, it’s almost forced. Black must protect his d-pawn and his king would be unsafe on e8 or g8. 13.Na4 Qa6 14.a3 Bd6 15.b4 Bg4 16.Nac3! Ne7 17.b5 Qa5 18.Qb3 Kb8 19.h3 Be6 20.f4 f5 21.Rfc1 Rd7 22.Na4 Rc8 23.b6! This prevents Black doubling his rooks and limits scope for his queen. 23…a6 24.Nec3 Rc6 25.Bf1 Rd8 26.Na2 Bd7 27.Nb4 Rcc8 28.Nc3 Rg8 If instead 28…Qxb6 29.Nxa6+ Ka7 30.Nb4 leaves White with a fine attacking game. Or if 30…Bxb4 31.axb4+; Or if 28…Bxb4 29.axb4 Qxb6 30.b5 axb5 31.Na4 again, with a fine game. 29.Kf2 h5? 29…Rg6 is better. 30.h4 Bxb4 31.axb4 Qxb6 32.Be2 Rg6 33.Nxd5 Qe6 34.Bf3 Bc6 35.Re1 Bxd5 36.Rxe6 Bxb3 37.Rxe7 Rc2+ 38.Re2 Rc3 39.Rae1 Rb6 40.Rd2 Rxb4 41.d5 Rc2 42.Rxc2 Bxc2 43.Bxh5 Be4 44.Bxf7 Rd4 45.Be6 Rd2+ If 45…Bxd5 46.Bxf5 46.Re2 Rd3 If 46…Rxe2+ 47.Kxe2 and White’s h-pawn will romp home at leisure. 47.Re3 Rd2+ 48.Ke1 Rd4 49.h5 Bxd5 50.Bxf5 Bf7 51.h6 Rd8 52.g4 a5 53.g5 1–0

Last week’s 2-mover was taken from a book in which White’s pieces are printed in red and Black’s are blue, which makes it easy to transcribe incorrectly. The 2 bishops on the 7th rank should have been white, as here, not black. Apologies.