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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anderssen : A Deadly Chess Tactician.

Pin It If we dig through the History starting with the golden age before Morphy and Steinitz, when men were men and their only object in playing chess was to win as beautifully as possible.

The crowining glory of the era was Adolf Anderssen, a teacher from Breslau in Germany. The public was stunned by the sheer beauty of his published games, two of which were so astonishing that one was dubbed 'Immortal' and the other 'Evergreen'

Both games have remained justly famous until the present day, so it is rare to find a chess-player who is not familiar with them. Nonetheless, letus look at them. Nonetheless, let us look at them briefly.

The diagram below is from the 'Immortal Game'. Anderssen targets the black queen, and is willing to leave his bishop en prise in order to gain the time to go after it .

Andersen - Kieseritzky London 1851

White to Play

11 Rg1! cxb5 12 h4 Qg6 13 h5 Qg5 15 Qf3

The threat is the lethal 12 Bxf4, so Black must either give back the piece or retreat the Knight to its starting square. He chooses the latter.

14 ---Ng8 15 Bxf4 Qf6

Black has ony his queen in play. Meanwhile, Anderssen can develop his knight to c3, with the intention of playing it to d5 with gain of time.

16 Nc3 Bc5

It is quite likely that Anderssen's keen analytical vision saw this possibility when he played 22 Rg1, and that the double rook sacrifice that follows figuered in his thoughts even then.

17 Nd5 Qxb2 18 Bd6 Bxg1 19 e5 Qxa1+ 20 Ke2

Apparently, this is the crucial position for assessing Anderssen's idea.

20 --Na6

There are many other ways for Black to play, and all of them have since been proven to fail. The mov played by Kieseritzky looks very reasonable.
Anderssen proves that it can, however, and in a way that makes the game truly immortal. He will throw in his queen as well.

21 Nxg7+ Kd8 22 Qf6+!! Nxf6 23 Be7# (1-0)

Second game is the Evergreen Game. Anderssen starts with a piece sacrifice to open up the e-file

Anderssen - Dufresne Berline 1852

17 Nf6+ gxf6 18 exf6 Rg8!

Unfortunately, the sacrifice has also opened the g-file for Black and that, combined with the bishop on the long diagonal and the queen on h5, could spell trouble for White on f3 and g2. Anderssen must hurry to finish the game or risk being mated himself. That is just the recipe for abject failure or dramatic beauty.

19 Rad1!

Anderssen leaves the kinght en prise betcause he has sen a magnificent mating finish. Understandably not seeing what is to come. Dufresne eats a hearty meal.

19 ---Qxf3?
Anderssen already two pieces behing, now throws in a rook and his queen to force a beautiful two bishop mate. Every move must be a check as Black threatens his own immediate mate.

20 Rxe7+! Nxe7 21 Qxd7+!! Kxd7 22 Bf5++ Ke8 23 Bd7+ Kf8 24 Bxe7# (1-0)

Over the following century and a half, these two games were scrutinized by many analytical talents and were found to be less than perfect.

In the Kieseritzky game, most of the moves in the opening were deemed to be weak. We can accept that. We are wel aware that modern opening play is far more sophisticated than it was way back then. However, even the later play seems to have been a catalogue of errors.

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