<%-- Page Title--%> Time Out <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 147 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

April 2, 2004

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Pillsbury the prodigy Chess

Harry Nelson Pillsbury is perhaps the third greatest American player after Paul Morphy of the olden days and, of course, Bobby Fischer (world champion 1972-75) of our times. Pillsbury was an exceptionally gifted man who could have become a great musician also. But as it happens so often prodigies cannot bear the heavy load of their genius for a long time. Pillsbury died at the age of only 34 in 1906. Thus ended the chess career of the man who had stunned the world by finishing first ahead of Lasker, Steinitz, Tarrasch and a host of other strong masters in the great Hastings tournament in 1895.

Many chess players, like poets, died at a very young age. Rudolph Charousek's life was cut short by tuberculosis when he was only 27, Gyula Breyer was 22, Paul Noteboom was also in his early twenties when he died, and Richard Reti was only 40. There are many examples of such highly talented and creative players not living long enough to enrich the game further. Fortunately for us, most of them left a wealth of beautiful games in whatever little time they got to play .

Pillsbury had a refreshingly attacking style. He was playing chess when it was undergoing a transformation in the hands of the new theorists who had lost faith in the "direct assault' that characterized the play of the Romantics of the mid-nineteenth century. W. Steinitz ( world champion 1866-94) was the first player to introduce the principles of positional play. Pillsbury retained his faith in attack but, like the modern players, his play was based on building a set-up with the goal of unleashing a powerful kingside attack. Once his pieces started rolling down the board, the fury of the onslaught would sweep away the opposition resistance with amazing speed. Well, defensive techniques were not that refined in those days, but then don't forget that a player's strength is judged by his standing among his contemporaries only.

Here is Pillsbury's fine win against Burn in Hastings.

White : NelsonPillsbury
Black : Amos Burn

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 00 6.Nf3 b6 7.Rc1 Bb7 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nxd5 Bxd5 11.Bd3 Rc8 12.e4 Bb7 13.00 Nd7 14.Qe2 a6 15.Rc3 c6 16.Rfc1 b5 17.Qe3 Rc7 18.Qf4 Rac8 19.e5 c5 20.Bxh7+ Kxh7 21.Ng5+ Kg8 22.Rh3 Qe8 23.Qh4 Kf8 24.Nh7+ Kg8 25.Nf6+ Kf8 26.Nxe8 Kxe8 27.Qg5 cxd4 28.Rh8+ 1-0




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