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Larry Christiansen vs Eugene Meyer
Lone Pine (1977), Lone Pine, CA USA, rd 1, Mar-20
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-26-03  Jonber: Larry Christiansen wrote about this game:

“There was some grumbling that the judge for the brilliancy prizes, tournament director Isaac Kashdan, tended to favour quantity over quality. For instance, a simple rook or queen sacrifice would be selected over a more complex piece or pawn sacrifice. I once had a game against Eugene Meyer where I had the choice between sacrificing a rook or queen to deliver mate and chose the queen to grab Kashdan’s attention. Sure enough I received a brilliancy prize for that game, despite competition from games with far more complex but less generous combinations.

I finished this game for “business reasons” with 25 Qxh5 gxh5 26 Rxh5 1-0.”

Source: E, Winters; Chess Notes; #3034;

Aug-26-03  Shadout Mapes: Actually, that quote originally appeared in his book, Storming the Barricades.
Aug-26-03  Jonber: Actually, yes and no. It’s true, as anybody who follows the link will see, like you probably have done, Winters quotes from Christiansen’s book, but the source of the quote is nonetheless the above-mentioned webpage.
Aug-26-03  Shadout Mapes: I wasn't trying to prove you wrong or anything, I didn't follow the link and recognized the quote from Christiansen's book (which is very good, BTW). Sorry for any misunderstanding.

It is an interesting topic. Kasparov considered his best game the one where he sacrifices a pawn to keep the two bishops and won the endgame (as of 1999, I think the game vs. Topalov is another one of his favorites). Does anyone here have a comment on such differences?

Aug-29-03  Jonber: Don’t worry <Shadout Mapes> I know you weren’t looking for trouble; I was just covering my ass in case the quote was incorrect or something. ;)

But you’re right; the topic of what can be considered brilliancy in chess is interesting. I, for one, can understand Kasparov’s frustration (though not his behaviour) when his loss against Radjabov in this year’s Linares was awarded a brilliancy prize.

In my opinion a brilliant move is simply a move that is winning in all variations and requiring profound and considerable understanding to find. A flashy sacrifice leading to a forced mate isn’t sufficient to be brilliant, since all that’s needed to find it is relative simple calculation. A brilliant game would be a game won as a result of one or more brilliant move.

Aug-30-03  Shadout Mapes: Exactly. The "Game of the Century" should be praised for Na4, not Be6, and the "Opera House" game should be praised for Nxb5, not Qb8. I guess the forced mates are just easier to understand than your complicated pawn sacs.

I will refer back to the Kasparov comment that I'm too lazy to type out, and for some reason because it's in a cbh file i can't copy/paste it. He basically says chess amatuers don't care about the Gruenfeld Defense, don't care about subtle positionings of the queen, or a pawn sac in a famous position, they just want a clear win.

Aug-30-03  Jonber: It would have been interesting to hear the Kasparov quote.

You can double click on a comment in Chessbase (cbh-files) to open an edit-window, or you can export the game to .pgn and then open it in a text editor.

Aug-30-03  ughaibu: In the "opera house" game the move I find most impressive is Qb3.
Aug-30-03  Jonber: It’s an interesting thought that Qb3, which was a brilliant move then, today is a simple book move. We should be humble to the fact that we stand on the necks of our predecessors.
Aug-30-03  Shadout Mapes: Doesn't seem to work, but I'll just type out the quote. This is in an article about his game against Topalov.

"Indeed, from now on, it will be very difficult for me to say that my best game has not been played yet. From the professional point of view, I believe my game with Svidler is even better, but chess amateurs do not care about the Gruenfeld defense! Chess amatuers do not care about a Pawn sacrifice in a famous position, or about a piece counter sacrifice. They don't care about the few possible moves with centralization of pieces or about the transfer of the Queen, when one can enjoy the combination and see the romantic appeal of a modern chess game with a good opening and an interesting flight, when there is a certain romanticism that seems to have fallen into oblivion."

Aug-30-03  sleepkid: hmm, I wouldn't have neccesarily given it a brilliancy prize. It's not a particularly unique sacrifice. I've played the same one (or similar ones based on the bishop controlling the long diagonal) dozens of times.
Sep-03-03  Jonber: Interesting side note, I’ve just read an article by Yassir Seirewan where he gathers several analyses of Kasparov’s game against Topalov, and concludes that the sacrifice that made the game famous is flawed.

This brings up another question, is brilliancy still brilliancy even if the opponent could have equalised with a move he didn’t find?

Sep-04-03  bunti: Although white made a nice queen sacrifice to force mate, he missed the opportunity for an even earlier mate after black blundered with his 22nd move of Rad8. White could have played the even more "brilliant" 23rd move of Rfh3 where no matter what black does it is mate in four moves.
Sep-14-03  sleepkid: A brilliancy is still a brilliancy even if it is disproved in later analysis.

Some good examples that I can think of in the respect are...

Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960 where Tal's wildly speculative (and complicated), but very difficult to meet 21. ...Nf4!?! won the game, but later analysis showed it to be incorrect.


Bronstein vs Ljubojevic, 1973 where Bronstein's sacrifice of a rook (for practically nothing) has had some doubt cast on it in analysis, but it still remains an absolutely enchanting game.

Jan-05-04  Minor Piece Activity: Jonber, the sacrifice wasn't flawed. It wins if accepted. Topalov's defense was flawed, not that you can blame him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I love the combo of moves:♖f5;♕h5.The Godfather had a saying:"Never ask a second favor when the first has been refused"-This game would be "If you refuse my first sacrifice,I'll give you a sacrifice you can't refuse!"
Feb-14-05  aw1988: The Opera game is simply great for the fact how much Morphy was better than the other players of the time.
Feb-15-05  RisingChamp: It is somewhat unfair to characterize two amatuer noblemen as being "the other players of his time",its like showing Anands games against Jens Beutel Mayor of Mainz(who is a strong amateur like these noblemen) and saying Anand is ahead of his time.
Jan-01-06  Jonber: Minor Piece Activity: The distinction you make is correct. I also agree that you can hardly blame Topalov.

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