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Adolf Anderssen vs Lionel Kieseritzky
"The Immortal Game" (game of the day Sep-05-2007)
Casual game (1851), London ENG, Jun-21
King's Gambit: Accepted. Bishop's Gambit Bryan Countergambit (C33)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  louispaulsen88888888: Adalbert? Felix? Bagration??? I bet this kid had a hard time in school!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

“Why Worry?

It is too easy to take life and your a little too seriously these days.

The modern chess player will typically worry about next month’s mortgage payment, the phone bill or ChessBase Database incompatibilities with Windows ’95. He may drown his sorrows in the local after a particularly harsh from Fritz 4.

Worse still, a bad six months might well see an unhealthy drop in rating points, fewer invitations, little or nothing in the way of appearance fees and depressing trips to Wolverhampton to up a quick quid un a rapid-play event,

I find that the best antidote to these symptoms is a return to traditional values of the 19th century,

In those days, chess was played in cafes with the typical alcohol consumption a little more than the two units recommended to today’s beleaguered modern man. The so-called ‘Immortal Game’ was played in Simpson’s-in-the-Strand in 1851.”

There follows the ‘Immortal Game’

David Norwood, Weekend Telegraph. March 1977


In his financial woes ending with depressing trips to Wolverhampton David forgot to mention that a good source of income was a newspaper column where one can reshuffle old often repeated games. :)


Aug-18-19  Chesgambit:
Mar-02-20  MordimerChess: I went thru the 18. Bd6 line, It seems that Steinitz miał rację (stockfish też) 18...Qxa1+ 19. Ke2 Qb2 20. Kd2 Bxg1 21. e5 Ba6 22. Nc7+ Kd8 23. Nxa6 Bb6 24. Qxa8 Ba5+ 25. Ke3 Qc1+ etc..

If white move the king on the light squares they're gonna lose the queen on A8. But the situation is very delicate. One false move by any side and the game can be lost. Only the best engine moves draw. Crazy :)

The First Immortal Chess Game ever. London 1851. White sacrificed bishop, two rooks & queen. Check mate!

My analysis:

These two players played many games. Kieseritzky won the match, Anderssen won Eternity!

May-22-20  MrCalculater: my program, greenplain, 3 ply computer and my program, starlight, 6 ply, both cannot see the sac. only my best deep starlight can see it(8 ply)
Sep-20-20  SlurpJurp: When I analyze move 18. Bd6, stockfish jumps from +5.7 to 0.0, even though the move doesn't appear to be a blunder. In fact, following the engine's evaluation, the position is dead even, which is so weird. The engine seems to find it very difficult to make a plan as white, even though white has a clear advantage. In fact with the moves (18. Bd6 Qxa1+ 19. Ke2 QB2 20. Bxc5 Qxc2+ 21. Kf1 Qxc5 22. d4 Qc6 23. Qf4 f6 24. Nd6+ Kd8) black has effectively nullified the white attack, with the computer giving an evaluation of 0.0.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Although terrible, still an immortal.
Feb-14-21  oolalimk1: After 19 moves black has 2 rooks,2 knights and a bishop still on their original squares, and his king a sitting duck in the center. Then on move 20 if he plays Ba6 instead of the blunder Na6 there is no immortal game. Fritz 11.
Dec-12-21  opengame: Anderssen overwhelmed the board with his attack.
Jan-03-22  DouglasGomes: 18. Bd6 is not of clinical precision but it is enough to win the game. Stop using low-depth analysis. In Mordimer's line 22. Bb4 is a better move. 20. Kd2 Bxg1 21. e5 Bb7 22. Nxg7+ Kd8 23. Qxf7 gives White a strong attack
Premium Chessgames Member
  Southernrun: The kindle version of the book The Mammoth Book of the Worlds Greatest Chess games has this game in it and the 18th move by black is Qxa1+. The game continues and ends the same as shown above. Would this be a typo error in the book as can’t find another variation of this game showing that move?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: It was 19...Qxa1+ See Wikipedia: It's my understanding that various kindle versions tend to have more typos, less editing.

Ugh, have you been drinkin'? Then don't be drivin'. Your automobile might get hurt.

May I suggest David Shenk's remarkable book "The Immortal Game" after you sober up. It is about this particular game, but more so the history of chess:

Having said all that... (Better 18...Qxa1+ 19.Ke2 Qb2!) Thus, the suggestion 18...Qxa1+ is analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: AJ's page is a fine source as well: (One is expected to read the prior posts -- all 19 pages, but if you're under the influence, that's not such an easy task.) AJ includes analysis from various sources, including "The Mammoth Book of The World's Greatest Chess Games" by GM's John Nunn, John Emms & FM Graham Burgess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: A prior post:

<Feb-24-16 luftforlife: In his The Middle Game in Chess, GM Dr. Reuben Fine analyzed this game from 18. Bd6 through its conclusion, and followed the moves just as they are iterated here. His annotation (which I've altered only by conversion to one form of modern-day notation and by identifying the cumulative move numbers) diverges from the alternative 1879 Steinitz line provided above (interlarded with the PGN moves), with the following predicted moves and consequences flowing from the alternate move 18. . . . Qxa1: "If here, e.g. 18. . . . QxRa1+; 19. Ke2, QxRg1; then 20. Nxg7+, Kd8; 21. Bc7#."

Reuben Fine, The Middle Game in Chess (New York: David McKay Co. 1952, Tartan softcover reprint, September 1972), at 20 (notation converted, cumulative enumeration substituted).

Best to all, ~ lufty>

Mar-26-22  Z free or die: Such a famous game deserves a proper Source... or maybe two!

<CPM v1 N1 (Jul 19, 1851) p2> - Kling & Horwitz --

<ILM v3 (Feb 1855) p82> - ?? (Brien maybe?) --

Premium Chessgames Member
  Southernrun: Thanks for all the input and sources..figured likely a kindle issue. No clue why my text about came out like that from typing but no drinking and driving today..or ever luckily
Jul-08-22  DouglasGomes: If 20... Ba6, then 21. Nc7+ Kd8 22. Nxa6
22... Nc6? 23. Bc7+ Ke8 24. Nd6+ Ke7 25. Qxf7#
22... Bb6 23. Qxa8 Qc3 24. Nb4 Bc7. 25. Kf3 Nh6 26. Nxh6 gxh6 27. Nd5 Qxc2 28. Bxc7+ Qxc7 Nxc7 Kxc7 30. Qxa7+
22... Qxa2 23. Nb4 Nc6 24. Nxc6+ dxc6 25. Qxc6 Qxc2+ (to avoid mate) 26. Qxc2 Rc8! 27. Qb3 and Qxf7 is fatal (as in 27.. Nh6 28. Nxh6 gxh6 29. Qxf7 Re8 30. e6)
22... Qc3 23. Bc7+ (...Ke8? 24. Nd6+ Ke7 25. Qxf7#) Qxc7 24. Nxc7 (...Kxc7, the rook on a8 and the knight on b8 will be both lost) Nc6 25. Nxa8 g6 26. Kf1 (getting out of the fork) gxf5 27. Kxg1

In view of: 27... Kc8?! 28. Qd5 Kb8? 29. Qd6+ Kxa8 30 Qf8+ Kb7 31. Kg7 White's knight cannot be trapped, thus White has a decisive advantage in all variations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Fun fact--The Immortal Game makes an appearance in Season 2, Episode 5 of the Apple+ TV show Slow Horses. Quite a witty appearance, in fact.
Jan-26-23  generror: Ah, the famous Immortal Game. Of course, I had to go through it with Stockfish like probably everyone here, but by know I wasn't surprised to see that Anderssen's combination isn't 100% sound, although digging through the variations was fascinating and yielded some interesting insights.

It's a good old King's Gambit as we all like it, e.g. followed by Counter- and Counter-Countergambits galore and rabid attacking by both sides. <10.g4?> is a first mistake, because <10...g6! 11.gxh5 gxf5 12.Rg1 Qh4 13.Qf3 cxb5> (D) would have won Kieseritzky a piece, but as his pawn structure and development would both have been non-existent, his advantage would still have been slight.

click for larger view

However, his position is essentially lost after <16...Bc5??>; although <17.Nd5> is of course a nice move, <17.Nxb5 Ba6 18.Nfd6+ Bxd6 19.Nxd6+ Kf8 20.e5> (D) would have won the queen without any flashy sacrifices.

click for larger view

But Anderssen also blunders. After <18.Bd6??>, black could actually have drawn the game with <18...Qxa1+ 19.Ke2 Qb2!!>, because after <20.Kd1 Bxg1 21.e5 Ba6 22.Nc7+ Kd8> (D), White just has no way to prevent Black harrassing the king with checks.

click for larger view

However, the position is incredibly unclear and requires superhuman accuracy by both sides, so I as usual don't blame it on the players.

Also, while I really love that little <19.e5!?> push, the objectively better move seems to have have been <19.Re1>, although this line looks extremely risky and again requires incredibly accuracy: <19...Bb7 20.Qf4 f6 21.Kxg1 g5 22.hxg6 hxg6 23.Bc5 Na6 24.Bd4 Qxc2 25.Nd6+ Kf8 26.Nxb7 Rh2 27.Qxh2 Qxh2+ 28.Kxh2> (D), and now it's a won endgame with White being up a bishop for a pawn.

click for larger view

And at last, Kieseritzky could have played <20...Ba6> instead of <20...Na6??>, and although it looks crushing, it isn't quite clear how exactly Anderssen would have won. I I mean, Kieseritzky just has so material to offload at the right moment!

So yeah, nothing new -- engines always have something to nag, and all those great combinations wouldn't work against them. But who cares? We humans are flawed creatures, and to me, all these mistakes are just part of what makes this an amazing and beautiful game. In the end, I think I'd agree that Kieseritzky essentially lost because he just never managed to get his pieces into play.

Jan-26-23  generror: Also, kudos to Kieseritzky who, despite usually being known only as loser of this game, was regarded as one of the top players of the world back then despite his uneven tournament play and a "passion for the unsound", as Wikipedia puts it. Wikipedia also says he wasn't popular because of his "narcissistic" character, but that's no different from many creative geniuses; humans tolerate any narcissist as long as he has success (cf. Staunton).

Also, despite his narcissism, it was he who telegraphed this game to Paris, where it was published in the July 1851 issue of <La Régence> whose editor he was (see ); this original publication also ends the game after <20.Ke2>. AND he invented the first three-dimensional chess version. Definitively an interesting man and not just an immortal loser.

Jan-26-23  generror: Here's my translation of Kieseritzky's original annotations, together with my unwarranted comment to his comments.

<8.Nh4> "The White only had two ways of saving the rook, that is, 8.Ke2 and 8.Nh4, because by playing 8.Rg1 they would lose the bishop by 8...Qb6." (Not true, because then simply 9.Nc3.)

<8...Qg5> "This is not the correct move; one had to play 8...g6, and then if the White push 9.g3 respond by 9...Be7." (Right about the 8...g6, not the 9...Be7.)

<11.Rg1> "From this moment on, the White play better."

<11...cxb5> "Instead of taking the bishop that the White had cunningly left en prise, it would have been much better to push 11...d6 to get rid of that knight as soon as possible."

<14...Ng8> "The only way to save the queen." (Not really; the continuation would be <14...Bb7! 15.Bxf4 Nxg4!> which forces an exchange of queens.)

<17.Nd5> "Perfectly well combined."

<17...Qxb2> "The capture of this pawn and the attack against the two towers does not produce the result that one would be tempted to hope for." (Lovely understatement!)

<18.Bd6> "Coup de grâce, which nullifies all the efforts of the adversary. This game was played by Mr. Anderssen with remarkable skill."

Feb-10-23  Sirius69: 20)------(Ba6) still loses but offers more resistance against whites onslaught and lengthens the game to an otherwise fantastic finish.
Apr-23-23  steinitzfan: I remember a ways back (before Fischer was champion and when computers played like high school kids) reading an analysis of this game where the author claimed that 18Be3 was superior to the text 18Bd6. He appears to have been correct but it's an engine-quality move before there were engines. Kudos to that author - whoever he was.
Apr-24-23  Cassandro: <steinitzfan:..the author claimed that 18.Be3 was superior to the text 18.Bd6>

Yes, but maybe even better is 18.Re1, preventing Black from playing ...Qxa1+ and at the same time getting the rook into action AND avoiding the bishop trade that would ensue after 18.Be3.

May-06-23  DouglasGomes: After 18... Qxa1+ 19. Ke2 Qb2 20. Kd2 Bxg1 (...Bb6 21. Bb4! leads to equally complicated variations but let's take the rook now) 21. e5 Ba6 22. Bb4! [threat Nd6+ mating] Qxe5

(... f6 23. exf6 gxf6 24. Qe4+ Kf7 25. Nd6+ 24. Qe8 Qxb4+ 27. Nxb4 Kh6 28. Ne4 Nc6 29. Qxa8)

(... Nh6 23. Nd6+ Kf8 24. g5!)
(... Be3+ 23. Qxe3 Nc6 24. Nxg7+ Kd8 25. Ba5+ Nxa5 26. Qc5 Qxc2+ 27. Qxc2 Rc8 28. Qb2 the variation keeps going and going)

(...Qxb4+?! 23. Nxb4 Nc6 24. Nd6+ Kd8 25. Nxc6+ dxc6 26. Qxc6 Rc8 27. Nxf7+ Ke7 is similar but less favorable to Black due coordination issues)

23. Nd6+ Qxd6 24. Bxd6 Nc6 25. Nc6+ Kd8 26. Qxf7 Nge7 27. Nxa8.

You will be surprised by the SF evals, it does not give Black an even game at any variation. At no point it is a forced draw!

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