Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

It's a Miracle! Part 2

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jul 7, 2013

Last week we saw violent outbreaks of stalematis in the games of Kasparov and Reshevsky. One of the most curious cases of this infectious disease happened in the games of another famous world class player, Mikhail Chigorin. Look at the position that occurred in his game vs. Joseph Henry Blackburne:

Image: Thoughts from the Line

You probably think that in the diagram position White resigned. Yes, that would be a logical conclusion of the game. It is amazing that a very strong chess player like Blackburne decided to continue playing in a completely hopeless position. It is even more amazing that Chigorin, who was a Candidate for the world title, allowed a well known drawing mechanism and almost missed a sure win!

It is logical to expect that such a close call was supposed to engrave the concept of stalemate into Chigorin's mind. But look what happened six years later:

As you could see in last week's article, stalematis always strikes three times, so you shouldn't be surprised by the next game of Chigorin. Yet, it is astonishing that the Russian player missed a stalemate in the same tournament (!) in a situation where it could save his own game!

Mikhail Chigorin

As they say, one man's loss is another man's gain. Look how Vishy Anand used this exact idea to save his game against Vladimir Kramnik:

Another lesson to learn from the Chigorin's stalemate debacle (vs. Schlechter) is: never assume that you force your opponent into a winning pawn endgame until you checked a possible stalemate! Here are two examples from GM games:

To be continued...


  • 24 months ago


    Great article, thanks! :)

  • 2 years ago


    the Israel Albert Horowitz (?) vs. Max Pavey (?) one is on Tactics Trainer

  • 2 years ago

    FM zibbit

    GSerper: Hjartarson - Popovic can't remember the colors but was a nice stalemate combo possible, take on f5 or f4

  • 2 years ago


    Here in Venezuela we say: The best hunter, the hare escapes

  • 2 years ago


    more please...

  • 2 years ago


    Nice games! I really liked Horowitz vs Pavey

  • 2 years ago


    interesting, thanks.

  • 2 years ago


    they won't give you your CoffeeMaster norms unless you can pull off a few stalemates  

  • 2 years ago


    u may continue pls

  • 2 years ago


    very nice i love his article Chigorin is very clever indeedSmile

  • 2 years ago


    this is amazing..continue pls.

  • 2 years ago


    Here in Venezuela say Hope is the last thing to be missed.

  • 2 years ago


    Brilliant article, thank you!

  • 2 years ago


    He doesn't take the rook with his king because if he did, there would be no more moves available to white, causing stalemate 

  • 2 years ago


    Interesting article Gserper. However, I feel like a more appropriate image would be a screenshot of the movie Faceoff featuring allstar actor Nicholas Cage as well as John Travolta. Food for thought.


  • 2 years ago


    Why he would not kill the rook with the king? he really waited to kill with the queen?

Back to Top

Post your reply: