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Adolf Anderssen vs Howard Staunton
London (1851), London ENG, rd 3, Jun-??
Scotch Game: Haxo Gambit (C45)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-28-03  ughaibu: In the concious taking of risk in order to unbalance the position Anderssen anticipates Lasker, hypermodernism and the entire modern school of chess, attitudes well beyond anything codified by Steinitz.
Jul-06-03  morphynoman2: 22... Rxd4!

25... Rxd4 loses. Black must play 25... Nf4 26. Kg1 Qd1 27. Kh2 Qxd4 28. Qxd4 Rxd4 29. Rh4 Ne6 with a solid extra pawn in the endgame.

Aug-05-03  fred lennox: 25...Nf4, Kh2
Mar-15-04  mtalfan104: 25... Nf4, 26. Kh2 Ne2
Jul-06-06  aragorn69: 22.-Rxd4!? is a beautiful shot, but I am not convinced it wins.

It is true that, after 23.Qc3 Rxe4 24.f3?! Rxe3 (after 24-Qxh5 25.Rxh5 Rxe3 Black might be better, but has a long way to go still) 25.fxg4 Rxc3 26.bxc3 (exposing White's bishop) Re8, Black has a superior endgame.

However, 23.Qb3!? might be more precise, as after 23.-Rxe4 24.f3 Rxe3 25.fxg4 Rxb3 26.Bxb3, the endgame emerging is far from clear: Black has material advantage, but White has a lot of pressure on the f7-square, along the h- and d-columns, and will get to the 7th file with at least one of his rooks.

Jul-06-06  RookFile: <ughaibu: In the concious taking of risk in order to unbalance the position Anderssen anticipates Lasker, hypermodernism and the entire modern school of chess, attitudes well beyond anything codified by Steinitz. >

Could it be that I actually agree with ughaibu? Wow!

Jul-06-06  ughaibu: Cheers, let's unwrap a chocolate bar.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <In the concious taking of risk in order to unbalance the position Anderssen anticipates Lasker, hypermodernism and the entire modern school of chess, attitudes well beyond anything codified by Steinitz.>

I think it's more likely he missed the possibility of 22....Rxd4 when playing 20. Rh5?!. Anderssen had a much better game coming out of the opening and did not need to unbalance the position.

Jul-27-09  Knight13: 16...hxg3!! Yup. Totally Anderssen style, who never dismissed the possibility of kingside attacks.
Apr-23-10  SirChrislov: Staunton's comment in the tournament book:
"I give a diagram of the situation(after white's 25th move), because it affords another example of how Black, through physical exhaustion, threw away his games.":
Apr-24-10  Boomie: <keypusher: I think it's more likely he missed the possibility of 22....Rxd4 when playing 20. Rh5?!. Anderssen had a much better game coming out of the opening and did not need to unbalance the position.>

Actually, 20. Rh5 is fine. 21. fxe4 is the lemon. 21. Qxe4 gives white an almost winning position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Boomie> Looks like you are right, e.g. 21...Rfe8 22.Qc2 Nf8 23.Rdh1 h6 24.R5h4 Ne6 25.Rg4 (Shredder). I've known this game for years and never considered 21.Qxe4. Thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part I

Here are Staunton's annotations (a strange brew of the baroque, the querulous, the obtuse and the insightful, all bathed in bias) + Shredder (in brackets). This was an eventful game!

After 12...Qd7

From this point Black commenced an attack, which, properly followed up, must, I think, have given him the game.

<Shredder and any 1600 agree that White's position is better. But the remainder of the game illustrates Tarrasch's joke, <Chess is a terrible game. If you have no center, your opponent has a freer position. If you do have a center, then you really have something to worry about! >>

13.Kg2 Nh5 14.Ne2 Ne7 15.Ng3 Nxg3

<Staunton had played essentially the same attack in the previous game of the mini-match, Staunton vs Anderssen, 1851. There, though, he was able to get in ...Nf4. Here he has just wasted time and handed Anderssen an open h-file.>

16.hxg3 d5 17.Ba2 Rad8 18.Rad1 <the immediate Rh1 followed by e4-e5 is more efficient> 18...c6 19.Rh1 Ng6 20.Rh5 dxe4 21.dxe4<?> Qg4

This move Mr. Anderssen appears to have overlooked when he played the K.R. to his 5th.

<As <Boomie> pointed out, it is Mr. Anderssen's 21st move, and not his 20th, that is at fault. See my earlier post for a possible continuation after 21.Qxe4.>

22.Rdh1 Rxd4

The position is extremely critical for both parties. If Black, instead of continuing the offensive, had played P. to K.R's 3rd, his adversary might have completely baffled all his designs by moving P. to K. B's 3rd, &c.


Undoubtedly his best move.


Black might also have played as follows, securing two pawns for the loss of the exchange:--

23...Q. takes K.P. (ch.) 24.P. to K.B's 3rd. Q. to her 6th. 25.B. takes R. Q. takes B. 26.Q. takes Q. B. takes Q. &c.


23...Q takes K. P. (ch.) 24.P. to K. B's 3rd. Q. to her 6th. 25.B. takes R. Q to K's 7th (ch.) 26.K to R's 3rd., or (A.) <see below> 26...B. takes B. 27.Q. takes B. Q. takes K. B. P.

And Black must regain a Rook, and then will have a winning game.

<White can save his rooks with 28.Qd1, whereupon Black has 27...Nf4+ 29.Kh4 and then either ...Qxh5+ with a murky ending or ...Ng6+ with perpetual check.>

(A.) 26.K. to Kt's sq.

(He might also interpose the Bishop, but that seems less advantageous for him.) <Indeed.>

26...Q. to her 8th (ch.) 27.K. moves. Q. takes B. 28.Q. takes Q. B. takes Q. And I prefer Black's game.

<Shredder prefers White after 29.Rd1! (29...Bxb2 30.Rb1 Bxa3 31.Rxb7). But Black can win a critical tempo for the ending with 26...Rd8!, forcing 27.Bd5 and then 27...Qd1+ 28.Kg2 Qxd4 29.Qxd4 Bxd4 30.Be4 Bxb2 with a likely win.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part II


Threatening a death-blow next move.

<Shredder finds a beautiful combination after 24.f3 Nf4+! 25.Bxf4 Re2+ 26.Kf1

click for larger view

26...Rfe8!! 27.Bxf7+! (27.fxg4 Rf2+ 28.Kg1 Rxb2+ 29.Qe3 Bxe3+ 30.Bxe3 Rxe3 31.Bc4 b5! 32.Rxh7 Kf8! 33. R1h2 Rxg3+ 34. Kf1 Rxh2 35. Rxh2 bxc4 ) 27...Kxf7 28.Qc4+ Qe6 29.Qxe6+ R8xe6 30.R1h2 Re1+ 31.Kg2 R6e2+ 32.Kh3 Rxh2+ 33.Kxh2 Re2+ 34.Kh3 h6 and Black has a winning ending.>

24...Bd4 25.Bxd4

<Anderssen could have tried 25.Qc2 Bxe3 26.fxe3 Rfe8 27.Bb1 Qd7 (27...Rxe3? 28.Rh8+ Nxh8 29.Rxh8+ Kxh8 30.Qh7#) 28.Qc3! R4e5! 29.Bxg6 hxg6 30.Rh8+, but after 30...Kf7 Black is still better.>

I give a diagram of this situation, because it affords another example how Black, through physical exhaustion, threw away his games.

click for larger view

Suppose now, instead of at once taking the Bishop, he had played, as he afterwards pointed out he should have done:--

25...Kt. to K.B's 5th (ch.) 26.K to Kt.'s sq. or (A.) <see below> 26...Q. to her 8th (ch.) (Checking with the Kt. at K's 7th would cost Black the game. <True, despite the royal fork.>) 27.K to R's 2nd. Q. takes B. 28.Q. takes Q. R. takes Q. 29.R. to K. R's 4th. Kt. to K's 7th.

And Black has five Pawns to four, and a Knight against a Bishop. <Note that Staunton thinks a knight is better than a bishop in an ending. This was apparently the conventional wisdom at the time.>

(A.) 26.K to R's 2nd. K takes R. 27.P. takes Kt. K.R. to K. R's sq.<??>

And wins. <Believe it or not, after Staunton's move, 28.Bxf7, threatening mate via Qg3!, wins for White. But 27...Rxf4 threatening ...Rf3 would be decisive for Black.>

25...Rxd4 26.R1h4

White avails himself admirably of the advantage his opponent's remissness afforded him.


He had no other resource. His error at the 25th move, slight and unimportant as it looked at first sight, cost him the game.

<Incidentally, Shredder finds that neither side plays the Q+B v. 2R ending very accurately. Staunton's last three moves in the game are all lemons.

I really enjoyed looking at this battle, with all its tactics on the board and in the variations. Despite Staunton's caviling, it was pretty well-played by 1851 standards.>

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