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Georg Rotlewi vs Akiba Rubinstein
"Rubinstein's Immortal" (game of the day Jan-06-09)
Lodz (1907)  ·  Tarrasch Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D32)  ·  0-1
To move:
Last move:

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Given 92 times; par: 46 [what's this?]

Annotations by Carl Schlechter.      [12 more games annotated by Schlechter]

explore this opening
find similar games 6 more Rotlewi/Rubinstein games
sac: 22...Rxc3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  haydn20: A comment from another page sent me here, and I'm glad I came!
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: When white is a full 2 tempi behind in a symmetrical position after 14 moves it is clear that he hasn't done a very good job with the opening.
Jan-15-13  somitra: This is the game Anand refers to while commenting on his win with Black against Aronian @ Tata steel 2013.
Jan-15-13  andrewjsacks: <somitra> Have not heard Anand's comments, but saw the similarity immediately. Somewhere today Akiba is smiling because he did it first and only maybe better, but Vishy's claim is genuine: his is an instant classic attacking gem, with very similar themes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: As I played over this game, for some reason Wagner's "The Ride of the Valkyries" began to play in my mind's ear.
Jan-16-13  Llawdogg: Yes, just like Anand's Immortal.
Jan-16-13  FadeThePublic: this is a real immortal, not a prepped immortal...there is a difference and the way Anand tried to fake that it wasn't prep at the board was cheesy. Great game Akiba, he would beat Anand imho anytime.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <FadeThePublic: this is a real immortal, not a prepped immortal...there is a difference and the way Anand tried to fake that it wasn't prep at the board was cheesy.>

(1) Anand never, to my knowledge, made such a pretense. Can you show otherwise?

(2) There is absolutely nothing wrong with a prepared variation, as long as the preparation is one's own work and not that of a computer or another player, and there is nothing in Anand's game to suggest that either of those provisions applied.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Abdel Irada: ... (2) There is absolutely nothing wrong with a prepared variation, as long as the preparation is one's own work and not that of a computer or another player, and there is nothing in Anand's game to suggest that either of those provisions applied.>

I would be extremely surprised if one or more engines and one or more of Anand's seconds weren't involved in preparing this line with him. It would be crazy for a player these days to prepare opening novelties without using engines.

Jan-17-13  somitra: <andrewjsacks>: Here are the two videos where Anand discusses this game and mentions that the present game (Rotlewi vs Rubenstein) has the same ideas with Bishops on b6, b7. He praises Rubenstein's version highly saying that in his version, there is also Rxc3, Rh3 etc.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <FSR>: True. I suppose I should have inserted an "exclusively" somewhere in there. :-)

My point is that the preparation was undertaken by and for him, rather than simply being copied in its entirety from some other (dishonestly unacknowledged) player's work.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: A game with a similar sacrificial theme is Marshall vs Schlechter, 1907 Marshall's pretty 23.h4! sets it up but Schlechter does not fall for it, so the mate is only in the notes. Actually played before Rotlewi-Rubinstein.
Feb-10-13  Diglot: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.dxc5 <The main continuation here is 6.a3 a6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.b4 Ba7 9.Bb2 0-0 10.Qc2 Qe7> 6Bxc5 7.a3 a6 8.b4 Bd6 9.Bb2 0-0 10.Qd2?! <10.cxd5, 10.Qc2, or even 10.Rc1 would be better here. This move costs White a tempo soon, though it wouldnt have necessarily done so if it was followed up with 11.cxd5> 10Qe7! <A subtle move that will soon show the imprecision of 10.Qd2>

11. Bd3? <White loses a tempo with this due to Blacks next two moves. Better was 11.cxd5> 11dxc4 12.Bxc4 b5 13.Bd3 Rd8 <This shows the point of 10Qe7. Now White has to move the Queen again in order to get the her off the open file now occupied by Blacks Rook> 14.Qe2 Bb7 15.0-0 Ne5! 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 17.f4!? <An attempt at blunting Blacks initiative and simultaneously launching his own counter-offensive, but is possibly not the best move here. A safer alternative for White is 17.Rfd1 which, after 17Qc7, could be followed up by 18.f4 (18Bxc3 19.Rac1 Nd5 20.Bb1) or 18.Rac1 (18Bxh2+ 19.Kh1 Qb8 20.a4). Another safe alternative is 17.Rac1 which would be followed by 17Bxh2+ 18.Kxh2 Qd6 19.Kg1 Qxd3 20.Qxd3 Rxd3 21.Ne2. A more unintuitive move for White is 17.Na4, which could possibly be followed by either 17Rxd3 or 17Bxb2>

17Bc7 18.e4?! <Imperative for White was to get a Rook centralized with 18.Rfd1 (18.Rad1 or 18.Rac1 are viable alternatives)> 18Rac8 19.e5?? <The decisive mistake which gives Black a winning attack. As with move 18, White needed to develop a Rook to a central file> 18Bb6+ 20.Kh1 Ng4! <The beginning of Black's decisive attack> 21.Be4 <There is no better move for White. For example: 21.Qxg4 Rxd3 22.Ne2 Rc2; and 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qxg4 Rd2; and 21.Ne4 can be met by either 21Qh4 or 21Rxd3; and lastly, 21.h3 can be met with either 21Ne3 or 21Qh4> 21Qh4 <Also winning is 21Nxh2 (followed by Nf1 and Ne3)>

22.g3 <Again, there is no better defense for White. If 22.h3 then 22Rxc3! and White has two options: 23.Bxc3 Bxe4 24.Qxg4 Qxg4 25.hxg4 Rd3 and White has a completely won game; or 23.Qxg4 Rxh3+ 24.Qxh3 Qxh3+ 25.gxh3 Bxe4+ and White has to either accept a quick mate with 26.Kh2 or stave it off for a while with 26.Rf3> 22Rxc3!! <The point is to get rid of a protector of the e4 square> 23. gxh4 <Black may as well accept the Queen sacrifice, though 23.Bxb7 is Whites best response but 23Rxg3 still gives Black a winning attack> 23 Rd2!! <The point is to deflect the Queen away from its protection of the e4 square> 24.Qxd2 <No matter what White does here, there is a swift mate to follow> 24Bxe4 25.Qg2 Rh3! 0-1

<White resigns in face of the imminent and inescapable checkmate (e.g. 26. Rf3 Bxf3 27. Qxf3 Rxh2#). Note that Rubinstein played the correct 25 Rh3 instead of the blunder 25 Bxg2 which only leaves the door wide open for White after 26. Kxg2 Rc2+ 27. Kg3 Ne3>

Feb-10-13  andrewjsacks: <somitra> Right. Thank you. Yes, the parallels were obvious. Now a second great game with those themes, and no doubt there are a couple of others.
Feb-12-13  SirChrislov: "Every great player has a game which became his visiting card to chess history."

--Y. Razuvaev

This was Rubinstein's.

Bravo Anand for the win against Aronian. Here's another one with "waves" of Rotlevi-Rubinstein, Polugaevsky vs Ftacnik, 1982

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <FadeThePublic: this is a real immortal, not a prepped immortal...there is a difference and the way Anand tried to fake that it wasn't prep at the board was cheesy. Great game Akiba, he would beat Anand imho anytime.>

familiarity with previously played positions is not a crime. Every one of us has learned elements of the game from previously played games. But how are you to know that Akiba didn't bring previous home analysis to the board? such an assertion is nonsense.

Apr-10-13  RookFile: This is just a beautiful game by a great chess artist.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ:
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ:

By popular demand, I have added a few diagrams to this page.

Dec-14-13  MarkFinan: White looks sound here and then plays 10.Qe2 which even though it wasn't the losing move, it seems a bit odd to my patzer eyes. Brilliant game though, those bishops together on the b7-g2 and b6-f3 diagnals are always big trouble, even if you're facing a near novice.

<By popular demand, I have added a few diagrams to this page.>

Then by an even more popular demand they were deleted, lol. Stop lying to yourself AJ because nobody else believes you pal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <LIFE Master AJ> fyi, this Rubinstein game is NOT the so-called Polish Immortal.

This is the Polish Immortal:

Glucksberg vs Najdorf, 1929

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: The most recent game with this opening

Anand - Kramnik 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: This is the game Marshall-Schlechter which is mentioned in the notes (colours reversed):

Marshall vs Schlechter, 1907

Jan-19-14  Zuainedison: Its similar to Aronian vs Anand, 2013
Premium Chessgames Member
  jgodo: beautiful game, wonderful!!!
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