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Steinitz-Martinez, 1883

Local and regional newspapers are becoming fruitful in adding to the number of chess games recorded of Wilhelm Steinitz. Chess columns in any city's newspaper would record a visit by the champion, often giving game scores from any exhibitions performed by Steinitz. These papers need only to be read.

For example, in the years 1882 and 1883 Steinitz played three separate 7-game informal "training matches" against Dion Martinez, which allowed Steinitz to test some favorite opening ideas. We have game scores for the first match and most of the second match, both played in 1882. Until now, however, none of the 3rd match games were known. But then researcher Patsy D'Eramo read the New Orleans Times Picayune (citing an unavailable Philadelphia Times chess column for October and November 1883), and there in print were three new Steinitz games from this lost match.

Thanks to Patsy D'Eramo's research we can say that the mysterious missing match is being recovered, and games 1 through 5 are now identified. Further details about this match and the "Collected Works" CD can be found at where we look forward to further finds in the historic papers! Here let's focus on an example of Steinitz in action, the previously unknown first game of the third Steinitz-Martinez match begun on October 30, 1888.

Steinitz - Martinez

[Event "match 3"] [Site "Philadelphia"] [Date "1883.10.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Martinez, Dion M"] [Black "Steinitz, Wilhelm"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C45"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "1883.??.??"] [EventType "match"] [EventCountry "USA"] [Source "Pickard & Son"] [SourceDate "2003.10.15"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qh4 {[Black responds to the Scotch Game with a pawn grabbing venture that leads to gambit play - a line today called the Steinitz Variation.]} 5. Nb5 Qxe4+ 6. Be3 ({An interesting move attributed to Louis Paulsen, though} 6. Be2 {is played more often.}) 6... Kd8 ({The newer } 6... Qe5 {has appeared lately, but the text move has not been refuted.}) 7. Nd2 Qg6 ({The retreat} 7... Qe8 {should be investigated.}) 8. Nf3 ({In the third round of this match, which was given in "Collected Works" as game number 602, Martinez accelerated his attack with} 8. Bd3 {and lost in 30 moves.}) 8... Be7 ({The calm} 8... d6 {looks better, or perhaps 8...Nb4!? if he wishes to speculate}) ({Steinitz was suspicious of the ...a7-a6 maneuver, as he discussed in the London-Vienna correspondence match. Analysis by R. Fine supports that conclusion, e.g.} 8... a6 9. Nbd4 Nge7 10. Bd3 {(offering a gambit which M. Euwe continues as follows.)} Qxg2 11. Rg1 Qh3 12. Rg3 ({Euwe does not mention} 12. Ng5 {and if} Qxh2 {then} 13. Ndf3 {is very threatening.}) 12... Qh5 13. Rg5 Qh6 14. Qd2 {[%cal Ye1c1] intending 15.0-0-0 and a tremendous attack}) 9. Bd3 Qh5 10. O-O Nf6 11. Ng5 Qxd1 12. Raxd1 Rf8 13. Bc4 { [Black must return the pawn now, but diffuses the White attack.]} Ne5 14. Bxf7 d6 {[Any capture leads to checkmate. In recovering his pawn, however, White loses the initiative.]} 15. Be6 Bd7 16. Nd4 h6 17. Bxd7 Kxd7 18. Nge6 Rf7 19. Nf4 Re8 20. b3 Bd8 21. h3 Ne4 22. Nfe2 c6 23. c4 a6 {[Black will expand on the Queenside, advancing his pawn majority.]} 24. Nc2 b5 25. f3 Nf6 26. Bc5 Bc7 27. cxb5 axb5 28. Nc3 Ng6 29. Bf2 Nf4 30. Rfe1 Rfe7 31. Rxe7+ Rxe7 32. Kf1 N4d5 33. Ne2 c5 34. Rd3 Kc6 35. Nc3 Nxc3 36. Rxc3 Nd5 37. Rd3 Bb6 38. Ne3 Nxe3+ 39. Rxe3 Rxe3 40. Bxe3 d5 {[White will be pushed back in the center, and his counter action on the wings is insufficient.]} 41. Ke2 d4 42. Bd2 Kd5 43. Be1 c4 44. Bb4 Bc5 45. Be1 Bd6 46. bxc4+ bxc4 47. a4 Bf4 ({Black begins to waver. The direct} 47... d3+ {is better.}) 48. g3 d3+ 49. Kd1 Be3 50. Bc3 g6 51. Ke1 h5 52. g4 hxg4 53. hxg4 Bd4 54. Kd2 Ke5 ({He should have played} 54... Bxc3+ 55. Kxc3 g5 $1 {with a winning position.}) 55. a5 Kd5 {[White's next move ensures the draw.]} 56. f4 Ke4 57. Bxd4 Kxd4 58. a6 c3+ 1/2-1/2

A Steiniz game can still instruct and entertain, even one that has been lost in the archives for 130 years!