Raymond Keene

London pride | 6 December 2012

This week I continue my homage, during the London Classic which finishes this coming week, to great players who have achieved outstanding things in London. In 1866 Wilhelm Steinitz defeated Adolf Anderssen in what was, to all intents and purposes, a World Championship clash. Steinitz marked it as the beginning of his World Championship tenure, which lasted until 1894.
Anderssen-Steinitz: London (Game 13) 1866; Ruy Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 d3 d6 5 Bxc6+ bxc6 6 h3 g6 ‘Preparation for an assault by a mass of pawns as taught by Philidor. For this purpose it is essential to maintain many obstructions in the centre. The bishop which aides the centre from g7 is there well placed.’ (Lasker) 7 Nc3 Bg7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Bg5 h6 10 Be3 c5 11 Rb1 Ne8 Making way for the f-pawn. 12 b4 cxb4 13 Rxb4 c5 14 Ra4 A dangerous rook journey; 14 Rb2 f5 15 Nd5 Nf6 etc was a quieter alternative. 14 … Bd7 15 Ra3 f5 (see diagram 1) 16 Qb1 16 Nd5 is correct, and if 16 … f4 17 Bd2 g5, then 18 Nh2. 16 … Kh8 Black can deny his opponent counter-chances with 16 … Nc7, since 17 Qb7? is not possible on account of 17 … Rb8 18 Qxa7 Ra8. 17 Qb7 a5 18 Rb1 a4 19 Qd5 White sounds the retreat but 19 Nd5 was more consistent. 19 … Qc8 20 Rb6 Ra7 21 Kh2 f4 22 Bd2 g5 23 Qc4 Qd8 24 Rb1 This is a mistake. 24 Nd5 was much more energetic, with possibilities of active counterplay: 24 … h5 25 Ra6! Rxa6 26 Qxa6 g4 27 Ba5! Qb8 28 Nh4 Kh7 29 Qb6 (29 Nb6 Be6) 29 … Qa8 30 Qd8. 24 … Nf6 25 Kg1 Nh7 26 Kf1 h5 27 Ng1 This is probably the decisive error.

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