Here’s another in my series on forgotten chess openings, today’s forgotten line being the Steinitz Defence to the Ruy Lopez. It was played with success by three of the greatest World Champions, Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker and Jose Raul Capablanca. Yet these days very few people will touch it.
Why is this? I believe that it’s largely a question of fashion. People don’t play it and then seem to need to justify why they don’t play it by giving various reasons (too passive, cramped etc.). But when I look at the positions and the supposedly good lines for White it doesn’t look that clear.
I’m not the only one to think so. The Argentinian GM, Daniel Campora, has been playing it for years with 2500+ results for Black, not far from his overall rating (with White and Black). That’s a pretty good performance, plus he’ll have a better quality of life through not having to study the latest theory for 5 or more hours a day!
Looking at Campora’s games with the Steinitz he won a lot of them in the endgame. But there’s also this one, a miniature against very a strong player.