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World Chess Championship
1894 Title Match
Game 7 : Lasker - Steinitz

The score was 3-3. Lasker had won games 1 & 3 as White; Steinitz had won games 2 & 4. Games 5 & 6 were drawn. The winner would be the first to win 10 games.

The game is presented here twice. The first shows some key positions; the second is taken from Nick Pope's excellent Chess Archaeology and combines comments from both Lasker and Steinitz. See Pope's site for similar treatment of all games from the match.

Lasker Em - Steinitz W
World Championship Match [7]
New York 1894

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 Steinitz plays the Steinitz Defence. 4. d4 Bd7 5. Nc3 Nge7

This line is rarely played.

6. Be3

Lasker played 6. Bc4 in games 1, 3, & 5.

During the 1896 title match, he switched to 6. Bg5 in the only game which started with this variation. Steinitz replied 6... f6 and the game was eventually drawn.

6... Ng6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O a6 9. Be2 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4

White castled queenside, knowing that Black must castle kingside.

11... Bf6 12. Qd2 Bc6 13. Nd5 O-O 14. g4

This move and the next launch an attack which Steinitz counters easily.

14... Re8 15. g5 Bxd5 16. Qxd5 Re5 17. Qd2

White now loses two Pawns.

17. Qxb7 may have been better, but allows Black to attack with 17... Rb8 18. Qxa6 (18. Qxb8 Qxb8 19. gxf6 Rxe4 is dubious) 18... Bxg5

17... Bxg5 18. f4 Rxe4 19. fxg5 Qe7

How should White continue?

20. Rdf1 White plays for the attack.

Another possibility was 20. Bf3 Rxe3 21. Bxb7 Re2 22. Qxe2 Qxe2 23. Bxa8 Qe3+ 24. Kb1 Qxg5

20... Rxe3 21. Bc4 Nh8

An awkward square for the Knight.

21... Rf8 may have been better.

22. h4 c6 23. g6

White offers a third pawn to keep the attack moving forward.

23... d5

23... hxg6 24. h5 g5 (24... d5 25. hxg6 Nxg6 26. Bd3 'gives White good attacking chances for his three pawns' [Pachman])

24. gxh7+ Kxh7 25. Bd3+ Kg8 26. h5 Re8

Black seeks counterchances against White's King.

27. h6 g6 28. h7+ Kg7 29. Kb1

White uses two moves to keep his own King secure.

29... Qe5 30. a3 c5 31. Qf2 c4 Where will the Bishop go? 32. Qh4

White prepares to offer the Bishop.

32... f6

32... Kf8

33. Bf5 Kf7

33... Qg3! 34. Qh6+ Kf7 followed by ...Re1+. [Pachman]

34. Rhg1

White offers a second chance to take the Bishop.

34... gxf5

34... g5 35. Qh5+ Ke7 36. Qh6 [Pachman]

35. Qh5+ Ke7 36. Rg8 Kd6 37. Rxf5 Qe6

'If the King is exposed to continual checks and cannot find protection behind its own pieces, it is hopelessly lost. ' Lasker's Manual of Chess

38. Rxe8 Qxe8 39. Rxf6+ Kc5 40. Qh6 Re7

40... Re2 41. Qg7 Re7 42. Qg1+

41. Qh2

In a difficult position, Black blunders.

41... Qd7?

41... Re6 42. Qf2+ Kb5 43. Rf8

41... Qd8 42. Qg1+ Kb5 43. a4+ Kxa4 44. Qc5 Re1+ 45. Ka2 Ra1+ (45... Qxf6 46. b3+ mates [Pachman]) 46. Kxa1 Qxf6 47. Ka2

42. Qg1+ White is now winning. 42... d4 43. Qg5+ Qd5 44. Rf5 Qxf5 45. Qxf5+ Kd6 46. Qf6+

White will be at least a Queen ahead.


Lasker, Em - Steinitz, W.
World Championship Match [7]
New York 1894

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 Bd7 5. Nc3 Nge7 6. Be3 Lasker: The game proceeded on novel lines from the fifth move, when, in order to get more advantage out of the position, I changed my line of attack completely. The fundamental difference of the two treatments consisted in the early castling on the queenside and playing for an attack on the kingside.; Steinitz: A novel line of play for the attack. 6... Ng6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O a6 9. Be2 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 Bf6 12. Qd2 Bc6 13. Nd5 O-O 14. g4

Lasker: It seems, however, that I overreached my attack when playing 14.g4. A quiet move like 14. f3 first would have greatly solidified my position.

14... Re8 15. g5

Steinitz: This advance is premature, He evidently overlooked Black's coming scheme. 15. f3 was better.

15... Bxd5 [0:45-0:46] 16. Qxd5

Steinitz: This is bad and should have lost; 16. exd5 was the correct move.

16... Re5 17. Qd2 Bxg5 18. f4 Steinitz: This results in the loss of a second pawn, but is White's best chance of attack now. 18... Rxe4 Pope: The following note appears between White's 18th move and Black's 23rd move.; Steinitz: A kingside attack was here his only chance and White now plays a rather ingenious one. 19. fxg5 Qe7 20. Rdf1

Lasker: Steinitz, by a very finely laid trap, gained two pawns, and, although I could have won at least one of them back by 20. Bf3 , I preferred to go on with my attack.

20... Rxe3 21. Bc4 Nh8

Lasker: Apparently Black underrated the game, otherwise he would have played 21... Rf8

22. h4 c6 23. g6 Lasker: Perhaps my 23rd move was unexpected to him. When I sacrificed a third pawn he did not see his way clear to accept the offer, because I would have forced an open h-file. 23... d5

Steinitz: A little consideration ought to have shown Black that he could safely capture 23... hxg6 , followed by pawn to g5 upon the advance of White's h-pawn to the fifth.

24. gxh7+ Kxh7 25. Bd3+ Kg8 26. h5 Re8 27. h6 g6 28. h7+ Kg7 29. Kb1 Qe5 30. a3 c5 [1:58-1:50] 31. Qf2 c4 32. Qh4

Steinitz: At first glance it would seem that White could win by 32. Bxg6 But this does not realize if Black simply plays 32... fxg6 33. Qh4 Nf7 34. h8=Q+ Rxh8 35. Rxf7+ Kxf7 36. Qxh8 Qxh8 etc.

32... f6

Lasker: On Steinitz's 32nd turn I expected 32... Kf8 whereupon again 33. Bf5 would have left me with good chances for a draw, as the bishop could not well be taken on account of 33... gxf5 34. Rhg1 My opponent preferred to play 32.. .f6 instead, which was a trifle risky. In consequence I held a very strong position, which should have been a warning for Black not to attempt to force the win. In the end Black's winning chances were almost annihilated, if indeed White had not the best of the bargain.

33. Bf5 Kf7 34. Rhg1 gxf5

Steinitz: 34... g5 was probably better.

35. Qh5+ Ke7 36. Rg8 Kd6 37. Rxf5 Qe6 38. Rxe8 Qxe8 39. Rxf6+ Kc5

Steinitz: Now 39... Kc7 was much better.

40. Qh6 Re7 41. Qh2 Qd7 Lasker: However, Steinitz, still playing for a win, committed a great blunder on his 41st move, lost the queen and knight or rook, and resigned shortly afterward.

Steinitz: Disastrous. Black was, however, under pressure of time limit hereabouts. He should have played 41... Re6

42. Qg1+ d4 43. Qg5+ Qd5 44. Rf5 Qxf5 45. Qxf5+ Kd6 [2:55-2:52] 46. Qf6+ [2:56-2:53] 1-0

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