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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 94 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
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Kibitzer's Corner
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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>

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
May-23-13  LIFE Master AJ:
May-23-13  LIFE Master AJ:

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

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Dec-14-13  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

Dec-14-13  john barleycorn: The most recent game with this opening

Anand - Kramnik 0-1

Dec-14-13  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
Feb-11-14  jgodo: beautiful game, wonderful!!!
Sep-13-14  LevonKarapetyan: In this game Georg Rotlewi vs Akiba Rubinstein 22th move is wronge (22....Rc3??). Becouse there is 23.Bb7!! and white is winning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: 23.gxh4 Garry Kasparov: <The queen has to be taken, since no hopes are offered by either 23 ♗xc3 ♗xe4+ 24 ♕xe4 ♕xh2 mate, or 23 ♗xb7 ♖xg3 24 ♖f3 (24 ♗f3 ♘xh2) 24...♖xf3 25 ♗xf3 ♘f2+ 26 ♔g1 (26 ♔g2 ♕h3+ 27 ♔g1 ♘e4+ 28 ♔h1 ♘g3 mate) 26...♘e4+ 27 ♔f1 ♘d2+ 28 ♔g2 ♘xf3 29 ♕xf3 (29 ♔xf3 ♕h5+) 29...♖d2+.>

Garry Kaspaorv, On My Great Predecessors Part I, Everyman Chess, 2003, p. 188

Oct-21-14  1 2 3 4: <LevonKarapetyan> No, white is NOT winning, Rubinstein just would've do Rxg3
Nov-28-14  MindCtrol9: When are we going to see combinations like in this game again?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <MindCtrol9> Probably never. The combination is so well known that nobody will ever fall for it again.

Just joking. I'm sure you're talking about the quality of the combination. And the answer to that question is somewhere between "never again" and "every day", and it will never be decided because there will never be a absolute standard for judging beauty.

There have been combinations that were longer, more complicated, contained more sacrifices, were more surprising. I think this game stands out for its sheer logic, the crystal clarity that becomes apparent when you study it in depth. It's inevitable, with everything falling just perfectly into place.

One game I think might rival it, and even shares some of its ideas, is R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963. Like this, that game gives me goosebumps with its combination of depth and clarity.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <MindCtrl9> When the Rotlewis of our day start getting paired against the Rubinsteins.
Nov-28-14  devere: According to Stockfish 5-64 White's first significant error was 11.Bd3; if instead 11.cxd5 exd5 then 12.Be2 is equal, and grabbing the pawn with 12.Nxd5 is also worth considering.

Stockfish rates 17.f4?! as weaker than Rfd1, 18.e4? as seriously weakening, and 19.e5?? as fatal.

What followed was of course was an amazingly beautiful combination by the great Akiba Rubinstein. After 23...Rd2!! checkmate is forced.

It's also worth mentioning that George Rotlewi was a very strong chess master, who during his brief career defeated many famous players, such as Schlecter, Nimzowitsch, Spielmann, Marshall, Bogoljubov, and Akiba Rubinstein. Rotlewi's chess career was brief only due to ill health.

Dec-12-14  tanu123: one of the best attacking games from who is not known for attacking style,but famous for endgame skill
Dec-17-14  KeyanChess: This game shows the importance of tempo in chess. Rotlewi lost tempo with 11. Bd3? and 10. Qd2?! and that allowed Rubinstein to begin an attack, including a beautiful combination. His play was nearly flawless. 22...Rxc3!!! and 23...Rd2!!! were simply amazing and brilliant! Any chess player would be proud to play a brilliant game like this.
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