Tuesday, May 17, 2016

William Steinitz and Ruy Lopez

Richard Zdun was one of the oldest players at the Williamsport chess club during my years there. Coincidently Dick Zdun chose the old Steinitz Variation 3…d6 to defend against my Ruy Lopez.

William Steinitz was born May 17, 1836 in Prague. That city was part of the Austrian Empire known as the Kingdom of Bohemia. Prague became the capitol of the Czech Republic. Steinitz began in the attacking style common to the 1800s. He won the 1862 London tournament. At that time Paul Morphy was involved in the American Civil War. Morphy retired from chess.

In 1866 Steinitz defeated Anderssen in a match. In 1873 Steinitz added positional skills and developed a new style of defense. William Steinitz was a prolific chess journalist and theoretician. Steinitz became world champion by defeating Zukertort. He held the title from 1886 to 1894. Then he lost to Emmanuel Lasker.

The Steinitz Variation 3…d6 is a solid but passive defence to the Ruy Lopez. This Black pawn protects e5, but it blocks the dark squared bishop. It also loosens control on c6.

The key move in our game was 7…c5?! With that pawn thrust, Dick Zdun was saddled with a backward d6 pawn. White blockaded and attacked the d6 pawn. The tactics around d6 allowed White to win a piece. If Black recaptured at the end, then a discovered knight check would pick off a Black rook.

My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers Two Knights Defence. Sign up if you want to receive my weekly training repertoire by email.

Sawyer (2010) - Zdun (1635), Williamsport, PA 1996 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 Nxd4 [5...Nf6 6.0-0 exd4 7.Nxd4 Be7 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Bd3 0-0 10.f4+/=] 6.Nxd4 exd4 7.Qxd4 [7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Qxd4 Ne7 9.0-0+/=] 7...c5?! [7...Bxb5 8.Nxb5 a6 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.Be3+/=] 8.Qd3 Nf6 9.0-0 Bxb5 10.Qxb5+ Qd7 11.Qxd7+ Nxd7 [11...Kxd7 12.Bg5+/=] 12.Nd5 [12.Nb5+/-] 12...Kd8 13.Bf4 Ne5 14.Rad1 Kd7? [14...Ng6 15.Bg3+/-] 15.Bxe5 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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