The current year has given a splendid excuse for exhuming games from the great tournament of Hastings 1895. With a field including the new world champion, Emanuel Lasker, and his predecessor, Wilhelm Steinitz, as well as Dr Siegbert Tarrasch, who was claiming the title of world tournament champion, and all the other leading players of the day, Hastings was the most magnificent event of the era.

The winner, however, was none of the established giants, but the young American Harry Nelson Pillsbury, who was, incidentally, the only man in the field without a moustache. Only 23 when he won the Hastings tournament, Pillsbury never had such a triumph again. He died in 1906, still in his early thirties, with the death certificate attributing his demise to "over- exertion of the brain". Later research, however, established the cause of death to be syphilis, contracted through over-exertion of the procreative organs during a dull moment at St Petersburg in 1896.

In his victory at Hastings , Pillsbury showed splendid fighting spirit and good theoretical preparation. His repertoire of openings, with the made-in-the-US label, often caught the Europeans by surprise, and he picked up several points with 3...g6 against the Ruy Lopez and the "Pillsbury Attack" - cxd5, Ne5 and f4 - in the Queen's Gambit Declined. His "Stoneware Defence" to the Evans Gambit also did its job, as the following game shows.

White: Henry Bird

Black: Harry Nelson Pillsbury

1 e4 e5 21 Rh3 d4

2 Nf3 Nc6 22 Bc1 Qe6

3 Bc4 Bc5 23 Qc2 d3

4 b4 Bxb4 24 Rhxd3 Nd4

5 c3 Bd6 25 f5 Qe4

6 d4 Nf6 26 Ba3 c5

7 Ng5 0-0 27 Qf2 Ne2+

8 Nxf7 Rxf7 28 Kf1 Rxd3

9 Bxf7+ Kxf7 29 Rxd3 Qxd3

10 f4 exd4 30 Qxe2 Qxf5+

11 e5 Be7 31 Kg1 Qb1+

12 exf6 Bxf6 32 Kf2 Bd4+

13 0-0 d5 33 Kg3 Qg6+

14 Nd2 dxc3 34 Kh3 h5

15 Nf3 Kg8 35 g3 Qg4+

16 Rb1 b6 36 Qxg4 hxg4+

17 Be3 Bg4 37 Kxg4 Be3

18 Qa4 Bxf3 38 Kf3 Bh6

19 Rxf3 Qd6 39 Ke2 c2

20 Rd1 Rd8 White resigns

With 7.Ng5, 8.Nxf7 and 10.f4 Bird hoped to demolish Black's 5...Bd6 (which Pillsbury had already played in an earlier game), but when the dust settled Black had two strong pawns for the exchange. 26.Ba3 was a nice joke - 26...Nxc2 is met by Rxd8+ forcing mate on f8 - but Pillsbury's reply defused it while improving his own position.

There are two good books of the Hastings 1895 tournament. The official tournament book can occasionally be found in antiquarian bookshops. Failing that, Hastings 1895 - The Centenary Book by Colin Crouch and Kean Haines, is a good substitute for pounds 18 from Chess & Bridge Ltd (0171-388-2404) or British Chess Magazine (0171-603-2877).

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Pharmacuetical

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Real Staffing, one of the UK'...

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Independent journalist James Moore pictured outside Mile End underground station in east London  

The true cost of being disabled goes far beyond just the physical

James Moore

Palestinian natural resources lie beneath this terrible conflict

Shawan Jabarin
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform