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Cinderella pawns
Compiled by soberknight
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Every pawn is a potential queen, but usually that potential remains unfulfilled well into the endgame. Here I honor the brilliant masters who crowned, or threatened to crown, a "Cinderella pawn" in the opening or middlegame, even if only for a fleeting half-move. Some sacrificed a boatload of material to win, others could not hold the defense despite heavy odds, but all provide everlasting entertainment. Enjoy!


Alekhine sacrifices three queens!
Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1922 
(A90) Dutch, 53 moves, 0-1

Competitive Piece Munching
Tal vs Sviridov, 1969 
(B75) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 18 moves, 1-0

The Cinderella h-pawn!
Larsen vs Spassky, 1970 
(A01) Nimzovich-Larsen Attack, 17 moves, 0-1

Central Pawn Power
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886  
(D53) Queen's Gambit Declined, 29 moves, 0-1

A beautiful new addition
V Malakhov vs V Zvjaginsev, 2004 
(E97) King's Indian, 43 moves, 0-1

An elaborate exchange of rooks
Karpov vs Kasparov, 1993 
(E86) King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.Nge2 c6, 27 moves, 0-1

Who needs this queen, anyway?
Y Rusakov vs B Verlinsky, 1947 
(C20) King's Pawn Game, 10 moves, 0-1

It is better to have queened and lost...
Spassky vs Bronstein, 1960 
(C36) King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense, 23 moves, 1-0

What the heck? Queen with check!
S Robovic vs Van Wely, 1992 
(B52) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 40 moves, 1-0

A strange gambit
A Grosch vs J Grabenhorst, 1987 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 12 moves, 1-0

Underpromotion to Knight: checkmate!
Wiede vs A Goetz, 1880 
(C33) King's Gambit Accepted, 7 moves, 0-1

Look! The knight changed colors!
Korody vs Bologh, 1933 
(D08) Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit, 8 moves, 0-1

How to win by moving only pawns
NN vs H Bruening, 1907 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 6 moves, 0-1

A "dead" pawn threatens the unthinkable
T Espig vs G Moehring, 1973 
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 25 moves, 0-1

Victory for the No Name Cinderella
Jonathan Wilson vs NN, 1795 
(C37) King's Gambit Accepted, 11 moves, 0-1

Whoops!
Koblents vs V Zagorovsky, 1946 
(C34) King's Gambit Accepted, 10 moves, 1-0

A bust to the King's Gambit
S Buecker vs C Herbrechtsmeier, 1983
(C34) King's Gambit Accepted, 10 moves, 0-1

Smyslov's counterattack
Keres vs Smyslov, 1953 
(A17) English, 28 moves, 0-1

McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 
(B32) Sicilian, 37 moves, 0-1

Deja vu!
Janowski vs Ed. Lasker, 1924 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 71 moves, 1/2-1/2

Two queens for one
Shirov vs Yudasin, 1994 
(E42) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein), 36 moves, 1-0

The Usurper
Serper vs I Nikolaidis, 1993 
(E70) King's Indian, 48 moves, 1-0

J Walker vs A Smith, 1884
(C28) Vienna Game, 21 moves, 1-0

The Early Bird...
Glicksteen vs E Lawrence, 1971 
(A02) Bird's Opening, 9 moves, 0-1

24 games

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