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Stefan Levitsky vs Frank James Marshall
"The Gold Coin Game" (game of the day Jul-25-12)
18th DSB Kongress (1912)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Marshall Gambit (B23)  ·  0-1
To move:
Last move:

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-27-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Don't get me wrong. It's a great move. A stunning move. A move which deserves a birthday.

But if we are talking about the greatest move ever played then it needs to be "better" than all other moves across every chess games in history.

And that is where I have a problem. Of course, it depends on what you need from a move to be the best ever. If you are looking for a move that needs a lot of calculation, then Qg3 doesn't quite work. The lines are relatively short. Our typical Sunday POTD is usually a lot deeper.

Or you might want a move that is the culmination of a deep plan, say one of Nimzo's zugzwang games. And again Qg3 slightly disappoints. Marshall grabs a loose Bh3 and finds a clever way to hold on to it. Opportunism rather than the culmination of a grand strategy.

Or you might want a move that overturns a material deficit or wins a bucketful of bits or makes a daring queen sac. Fischer's game against Byrne, perhaps? Qg3 doesn't do any of this. Before the move black is a knight up. After the move he is still precisely a knight up.

If Qg3 was an album it would be Bat out of a Hell. A great album, makes a huge impression, bombastic, one of my favourites of all time ...

... But you can't help feeling that' it's not quite in the same league as Sgt Pepper or Pet Sounds or Dark Side of the Moon.

Sep-15-12  Tigranny: Well said Once. Qg3 is definitely overrated like that Kotov with Qxh3. Just in my opinion, and I don't want to sound harsh against the move, it's just not so gold coiny to me if the lines are not too hard to caculate. Marshall's wife even said there wasn't a shower of anything, not even pennies.
Nov-17-12  Amarande: Yet another move in a similar vein, here from a casual game of mine in the English Opening:


click for larger view

Black 38 ... ?

Jan-06-13  Tridel: Wasn't this game called American Beauty before?
Jan-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PaulLovric: <Tridel> I'll attempt an answer. I find it very tiresome when i don't get answers to my inane questions. I am pretty sure this game was called or "punned", pardon the pun, the "American Beauty" when it was used as a "game of the day" (the regular thing posted here daily, way back whenever). Its official and historic name is "The gold coin game", for these reasons, do yourself a favour and have a good look at it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levits...

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Jan-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <PaulLovric> <Tridel> It was used twice with the pun "American Beauty" on Jul-04-05 and Jul-04-08, probably because of Independence Day in the United States.

Game Collection: Game of the Day Pun Index (A-C)

The new pun on the third time came because the game was used for a different reason, on the 100th anniversary of the day it was played.

It is very rare for a game to be used more than once as GOTD, but in such a case only the latest pun is shown.

Jan-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PaulLovric: < Phony Benoni> thank you
Jan-17-13  Tridel: I had no idea that games could be punned more than once. And I checked the link PaulLovric thank you! And thank you Phony Benoni for providing me more info.
Jan-18-13  IndigoViolet: There's only one moniker for this game: <Golden Shower>. Anything else is taking the piss.
Feb-16-13  Tigranny: No offense or anything, and I forgot to add this to previous comment, but I'm pretty surprised that there are a few collections that consider Qg3 the best move ever, especially when complicated continuations in other brilliant games are not even considered.
Feb-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: To declare a move as being "best" one must first establish a criteria to what is meant by "best", and that's not easy. Regardless, I'm sure that most will agree that 23...Qg3 is a spectacular move, particularly if you don't anticipate it. I suspect that Levitsky didn't, and I wish that someone had taken a picture of his face when Marshall played it. And I wonder how long it took Levitsky to resign after Marshall produced 23...Qg3.

The only move I recall with a similar effect was Fischer's 21...Qd7 in R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963. In fact, I think that Fischer's move is even more remarkable because it was so unspectacular, yet Byrne's resignation afterwards was shocking to all those who were witnessing the game. I also wish I knew how long Byrne thought after Fischer played 21...Qd7 before he resigned.

But 21...Qd7 could hardly be considered the best move ever since it was part of a calculated sequence of moves. If any move in this game deserves to be called the best it's 18...Nxg2. It's this move which was, as Byrne said, "the shocker", because it was so unexpected.

So perhaps that's one requirement for a move to be considered the best ever. It must be unexpected both to the opponent and to anyone watching the game. Another requirement might be that the move is part of a deep combination that changes the course of the game, turning either a loss or a draw into a win.

If anyone is curious as to what moves others consider the best ever, check this site: http://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/chess/f.... It considers 23...Qg3 to be the 3rd greatest move ever.

Mar-01-13  wachter123680: Yes, nice comments to many but DanielBryant is so far off on his Kibitzing, my read is there is no option for the Bxf7+ as he put it. Marshall could not have been beaten in this game if this move were possible.
Apr-26-13  fetonzio: the most amazing move ever played?
Apr-26-13  Everyone: <fetonzio> No.
Apr-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: It's certainly one of the most unexpected moves ever played.
Apr-27-13  Nerwal: I would try to rate moves using three criteria.

First would be flashiness. How stunning, beautiful and unexpected a move looks. Well 23... Qg3 is a perfect ten in that area.

Second one would be depth, number and difficulty of variations involved to justify the move. In this case they are just two very short variations and one a bit longer but everything is obvious and forced. Fischer's 18... Nxg2 in Byrne-Fischer is much stronger in that area (or say 17. h4 in Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1981 ).

Third would be efficiency of the move : it should be the best move of the position and by the biggest margin possible. For instance 17. Nd5 in Anderssen vs Kieseritzky, 1851 would fail (it makes a mess of an easy win). Well in this game 23... Qg3 is not necessary at all and some other moves are not much worse, although there are no move obviously stronger and by forcing a liquidation it's not without practical value. By contrast, Alekhine vs Verlinsky, 1918 gives an example of an insane queen move which is the only solution to a complicated problem.

So overall 23... Qg3 only meets criterion 1 and lacks in both 2 and 3. So it wouldn't be my choice for greatest move ever. It may be the most spectacular one, though.

Jun-07-13  JSYantiss: Really like that analysis, Nerwal. A personal favorite of mine is 17...Be6 from Byrne-Fischer, Game of the Century. How would you rate that?
Jun-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Nerwal: I would try to rate moves using three criteria. >

The criteria presented are:
1. aesthetic appeal
2. complexity
3. efficiency

but i would suggest a FOURTH criteria..
4. effect
i.e., what consequence does the move have in the game?

For all it's visual appeal (and it IS undeniably spectacular) it only wins a piece. After 23. ..Qg3 24. Qxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Nxg3+ 26. Kg1 Ne2+ 27. Kh1 Rc3 black has won a knight, and though the position is resignable, it is not forced. White could have chosen to play on a piece down. Whereas in some other games the final blow removes ALL defense with immanent mate that is unavoidable. In such case THAT move would rate higher for it's effect / consequences. It may be true that capturing the queen by a pawn ends in mate... hxg3 Ne2++ or
fxg3 Ne2+ Kh1 Rxf1++ and
Qe4 (to prevent Qxh2++) Nf3+ Kh1 Rxh2++

but these weaker moves are not forced.

Jul-07-13  celtrusco: Disculpen, slo soy un aficionado, pero me parece que la lucha ya estaba ganada mucho antes, con excelentes jugadas como 21...Rh6, para no mencionar otras, y que la textual 23...Qg3 slo fuerza la simplificacin de 24 QxQ, para quedar con la pieza de ms ya lograda, y obviamente ganador final. Igualmente pienso que es una gran partida de Marshall, no slo por el ltimo movimiento.
Aug-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PaulLovric: if the last move of this match is the third best move ever played, why isn't it included in the top 100 games ever played?
Aug-24-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PaulLovric: <<PaulLovric: if the last move of this match is the third best move ever played, why isn't it included in the top 100 games ever played?>>
Aug-25-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < PaulLovric: <<PaulLovric: if the last move of this match is the third best move ever played, why isn't it included in the top 100 games ever played?>>>

Good point!

Aug-25-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Amarande> a similar move in that a major piece is left between two pawns, either of which can capture. Really, the Rf4 is in the way of your Queen, so it's more a clearance move to facilitate Qd2. Anyway, Re4 is a nice move and mate soon.
Aug-26-13  nezhtal: Qg3 is a beautiful move, as is Fischer's 17...Be6 against Byrne but I've gotta toss another hat into the ring. Rashid Nezhmetdinov's 12. Qxf6 vs. Oleg Chernikov Nezhmetdinov vs O Chernikov, 1962 is the most stunning move I've ever seen, not just because of the Queen sac but because of how deep Nezhmetdinov had to see to know there was justification for it.
Feb-08-14  PJs Studio: You're onto something with Nezhmetdinov's 12.Qxf6 nezhtal. I knew it was coming and it still made me jump (like watching a horror movie) when I saw it. Two pieces for the Queen and a God awful amount of pressure.

I would never have the balls to play this move. I do know of Nezhmetdinov's work...he was an awesome thinker.

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