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The Immortal game

In this article, I am presenting to you, dear readers, the famous ‘Immortal game’. It was a friendly one, played between the mathematician and tactical player the German Adolf Anderssen (1818–1879) and the theoretician Estonian Lionel Kieseritsky (1806–1853), another mathematics teacher.

Anderssen was famous for winning the first great London tournament, which assembled the strongest players at that time, and subsequently crowned the unofficial World Champion, as well as the champion of the checkers game. He conserved this title till he was beaten in a convincible way in a match by no other than the American legend Paul Morphy. When Anderssen died, his obituary was 19 pages long.

Kiesertisky was a common visitor to (Cafe de la Regence) in Paris, played and gave chess lessons for money. He was known for his great contribution to the theory of the King’s Gambit opening. He died pennilessly, and buried in a pauper’s grave, as no one contributed to his burial. Only one person came to his funeral: a waiter from (Cafe de la Regence). Though he beat Anderssen several times, his name is still remembered as it was attached to the present game.

1.e4 e5

2.f4 exf4


Allowing the next move, though later the queen has to retreat after a normal Nf3. As you can see, the Italian bishop was at its peak.


4.Kf1 b5?!

The Bryan counter-gambit. Kieseritzky used to play it and win with it. The idea is to deviate the bishop from the juicy f7 pawn and to expose it on the 5th rank. Even Kasparov was forced to take the Black side in the (King’s Gambit) theme 1993 exhibition match against Short , and had to resign  before playing his 15th move!!

 5.Bxb5 Nf6

6.Nf3 Qh6

[On 6...Qh5 7.Nc3 Bb7 White can play 8.e5 Nd5 (8...Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Qxf3+ 10.gxf3 Nh5 11.d4; 8...Ng4 9.d4 Ne3+ 10.Bxe3 fxe3 11.Qe2; 8...Ne4 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.d3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qxf3+ 12.gxf3 g5 13.h4+-) 9.Ne4± followed by Qe2, with advantage in all cases.]


It was better to play:

[7.Nc3 as was played by Short against (the Boss). 7...g5 8.d4 Bb7 9.h4 Rg8 10.Kg1 gxh4 11.Rxh4 Qg6 12.Qe2 Nxe4 13.Rxf4 f5 14.Nh4 Qg3 15.Nxe4 Enough. 1–0 15...Bxe4 16.Rxe4+ fxe4 17.Qxe4+ Kd8 18.Nf5 Black's heavy materials are hanging.]


threatening Ng3. It was better to play:

[7...Bc5 8.d4 Bb6 9.Nc3 Bb7 10.e5 Ne4 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.h4 planning Ng5.]


[Hubner suggested the much stronger 8.Rg1 intending g4 8...Qb6 9.Nc3 c6 10.Bc4 Qc5 11.Qe2 with a big advantage.]


[8...g6 9.g3 Be7 10.Qg4 c6 11.Bc4 Bxh4 12.Qxh4 d5 13.Bxf4 Qg7 14.Bd6 g5 15.Qxh5 Qxb2 16.Qxg5 Qb7 17.Qe5+ is winning for White.]

9.Nf5 c6

 [9...g6! 10.h4 Qf6 11.Nc3 c6 12.Ba4 Na6 (12...d6 13.Nd5) 13.d4 Ng3+ 14.Nxg3 fxg3+ 15.Qf3 Qxd4 with equal chances.]


 [10.Bc4? d5; 10.Ba4 g6 11.Ng3 Nxg3+ 12.hxg3 Qxg3 13.Nc3 Bc5 14.Qe1 Qxe1+ (14...Qg4 15.Rh4+-) 15.Kxe1 g5 16.Rh5 Be7 17.g3± fxg3 18.Bxg5 Rg8 19.Bxe7 g2 20.Kf2 Kxe7 21.Rxh7 d6 22.Rg1]


[10...g6! 11.Nd4 Bg7 12.c3 Bxd4 13.cxd4 Qxb5 14.Nc3 (14.gxh5 Ba6) 14...Qb6 15.gxh5 Qxd4 16.Qf3 Ba6 17.Ke2 g5 18.Rd1 d6–+ As you see, in that Romantic era, the players defended poorly, in contrarily to their creative imagination in constructing their attack.]



Too greedy. It was better to play:

[11...h5 12.h4 Qg6 13.g5 Ng4 14.Nc3 (14.Ba4 d5 15.Nd4 Bc5 16.c3 Bxd4 17.cxd4 dxe4–+ 18.dxe4 Qxe4 … 19...¥a6+) 14...cxb5 15.Nd5 (15.Nxb5? Qb6) 15...Na6 16.Bxf4 Bb7 17.c4 Bxd5 18.cxd5 Qb6 though the position is messy, Black needs to calculate like an engine to conserve his advantage.]

 12.h4 Qg6

13.h5 Qg5

[Returning back the materials doesn't help: 13...Nxh5? 14.gxh5 Qf6 15.Nc3 Bb7 16.Bxf4 g6 17.Nxb5+-]

14.Qf3 Ng8

15.Bxf4 Qf6

[15...Qd8 16.Nc3 a6 17.Bd6 Bb7 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Bxd6 20.Nxd6+ Ke7 21.Nxf7+-]

16.Nc3 Bc5

 [16...Bb7 17.Qg3 Na6 18.Nxb5 Qxb2 19.Nfd6+ Bxd6 20.Nxd6+ Kf8 21.Be5 Qb6 22.Kg2 f6 23.Rgf1+- planning g5.]


 [17.d4! closing the diagonal was objectively better. But without some mistakes and inaccurate moves form one side or other, how could we reach an (immortal) game?]



[18.d4 is still good: 18...Qxa1+ 19.Kg2 Qb2 20.dxc5 Na6 21.Nd6+ Kf8 22.Be5 Qxc2+ 23.Kh3 f6 24.Nxf6+-; as well as 18.Be3, relying on his development advantage. 18...Qxa1+ 19.Kg2 Qb2 20.Bxc5 Qxc2+ 21.Kh3 Qxc5 22.Rc1 d6 (22...Qxc1 23.Nd6+) 23.Rxc5 Bxf5 24.Qxf5 dxc5 25.Qc8#]


[It was possible to defend with: 18...Qxa1+ 19.Ke2 Qb2! 20.Kd2 Bxg1 21.e5 Ba6! 22.Nc7+ (22.Nxg7+ Kd8 23.Qxf7 Kc8) 22...Kd8 23.Qxa8 (23.Nxa6 Bb6 24.Qxa8 Ba5+³) 23...Bb6 24.Qxb8+ Bc8 25.Nd5 Ba5+ 26.Ke3 Qxc2³ (26...Qc1+=) ]


cutting the communication  between the black Queen and its King side.


[19...Ba6 20.Nc7+ Kd8 21.Nxa6 Qxa1+ (21...Bb6 22.Qxa8 Qxc2 23.Qxb8++-) 22.Ke2]

20.Ke2 Na6

[20...f6 21.Nxg7+ Kf7 22.Nxf6 Bb7 (22...Kxg7 23.Ne8+ Kh6 24.Qf4#) 23.Nd5+ Kxg7 24.Qf8#; 20...Bb7 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qxf7 Nh6 23.Ne6+; 20...Ba6 21.Nc7+ Kd8 22.Nxa6 (After the innacurate: 22.Qxa8?  Black can defend with: 22...Qc3) 22...Qxa2 23.Bc7+ Ke8 24.Nb4 Nc6 25.Nxa2 Bc5 26.Qd5 Bf8 27.Qxb5+- planning Qb7.]

Problem: White to play and mate in 3 moves. Time to solve: 59 seconds.

21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qf6+!! Nxf6 23.Be7#


Did you solve it? if yes, in how much seconds?

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