Thursday, 17 September 2009

From the way back machine

Australian chess historian Paul Dunn sent me the following game from 1899. It was played between WS Viner and George Foster in the 1899 School of Art Chess Championship. WS Viner was also the father of Phil Viner, who is still the chess columnist for The Australian, 110 years after this game was played.
I've left the commentary from Julius Jacobsen in the notes. Jacobsen was the chess columnist for the Daily Telegraph, where this game first appeared. Despite the glowing praise Jacobsen gives to Viner's play, the sacrifice on move 5 is unsound, and Foster's real mistake came as late as move 16. Up until then he was either better or equal.

Viner,William Samuel - Foster,George H [B00]
School of Arts CC Sydney, 1899
[Jacobsen, Julius]

1.f4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.e4 Bg4 4.Bc4 Nd4 This sort of attack depended upon the adverse KKt being pinned usually turns out badly; ... e5 was better play. 5.Bxf7+ A fine conception. It is, of course, obvious that White can win a pawn, but then is threatened with loss of rook and pawn immediately afterwards, and before making the text move, he must have fathomed the position. 5...Kxf7 6.Ng5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Nf6 9.Qe6 Nxa1 He should have left the rook, and have rather played ... Nd4. 10.e5 dxe5 11.Qf7+! Kd7 12.fxe5 h6 13.Qe6+! Ke8 14.exf6 gxf6 14... Qd3 was stronger, although in that case White could have continued with 15.Qe3, eventually remaining with a piece to the good. 15.Qf7+ Kd7 16.Ne6! The average player would here have been content to win with a clear rook by 16.Qe6+ followed by 17.Nf7, but Mr Viner proceeds in more masterly manner. 16...Qe8 17.Nc5+ Kc6 If 17... Kd8, White mates in three moves. 18.Qe6+ Kxc5 19.d4+ Kb5 20.Na3+ Ka4 White announced mate in four. An elegant termination. 1-0

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