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Adolf Anderssen vs Wilhelm Steinitz
5th BCA Congress, London (1862), London ENG, rd 1, Jun-17
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Rio de Janeiro Variation (C67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-17-03  Kenkaku: This game should be entered as Wilhelm Steinitz, bringing even more parity between these two players' records vs. each other.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka:, this game was not played in 1882, but in 1862. By the way Anderssen died in 1878.
Jul-06-03  morphynoman2: This game is analyzed by Bird in "Chess Masterpieces". I resume some notes:

6...Nb8?!; 6... Nd6!;

10... c6?!; 10... Bd7!;

21. Nxe7? Rb5!!; 21. Kh1!

22. f4 Kf8! 23. f5 Rxe7 24. Qh6 Kg8 25. Qxf6 Rxe1 26. Rxe1 Rxf5 27. Re7 Qd8! with chances for both players.

23. Qxe8 Rg5 24. Kf1 Qh3 25. Ke2 Re5

35... Rc5??; 35... Rb6! 36. Rd3 Kf8

Feb-24-05  RookFile: I think Anderssen showed some nice
endgame technique.
Feb-28-05  malbase: This game is in Lasker's Manual of Chess.
Black had an edge up to move 26. Black blundered with 26 -;Qf5? By exchanging Queens Black was left with weak pawns.
This game was a learning experience for Steinitz. Patience is required in playing chess.
Nov-21-09  heuristic: mo' better moves:

14...Kf8 15.Qd3 Kg8 16.Rad1 a6 17.Qe3 Kf8

21.Qf4 Qb5 22.Nxe7 Qg5+ 23.Qxg5+ fxg5

22.f4 Kf8 23.c4 R5 24.Qd3 Rxe7

35...Ra6 36.Kg2 Ra3 37.Rb1 a5 38.g4

Jan-30-12  Knight13: 32...Rxg3 33. hxg3 f5 is better for Black than the line Stenitz chose, which completely locks his king up in a hopeless position to contribute anything.
Sep-26-12  Naniwazu: Better than 16. dxc6 was Nxb5! the point of which is after 16...cxb5 17. Qxb5 Rf8 18. Qb7 White forks Black's Rook and Bishop and the only way to defend is to relinquish the Knight with Nd7 or Na6.
Jan-05-15  poorthylacine: Anderssen played the first part of the game in a splendid way, and got a winning position at the 20th move, but he fell then in the ingenious defensive trap of Steinitz (20...Kg7!), which he did certainly not expect; after 21.Kh1! Black was still lost... But later Steinitz missed an opportunity to exchange the queens (at the 26th move); his blunder of the 35th move hastened an end which anyway was no more to avoid.

(Analysis of G. Barcza)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ziryab: This game is remarkable. Steinitz defended well after getting a passive position from the opening. He could have maintained an even game with 26...Qb7 instead of going into a rook ending with such awful pawns. Even then, Anderssen showed some fine technique to bring home the win.

J. Lowenthal points out 21.Kh1! in the tournament book.

Feb-03-18  Nerwal: Anderssen's 13. gxf3!? is a very interesting and creative choice. However the positional 13. ♕xf3 is probably not worse.

Steinitz did not defend well but the position was unpleasant and after 14... b5? already beyond repair.

21. ♘xe7? ♖b5!! is a devilish trap and the star move of the game by Steinitz.

Then when Black has saved the game and got an equal endgame it is quite a surprise to see Anderssen playing the rook endgame this well and Steinitz this badly.

Jan-02-22  SymphonicKnight: To 26...Qf5 Lasker, in Lasker's Manual of Chess appends a ?, asking, "Why Black should have proposed to exchange Queens here is explicable only from the supposition that he looked out for some violent, some forcing move. The natural move was 26...Qc6." Following 27.Qxf5, Lasker continues, "Now white has obviously the best of it, all of the black pawns being weak. Moreover, Steinitz did not defend patiently and thus failed to make use of the slender opportunities he had. White won the ending with ease."

However, Stockfish evaluates 27.Qxf5 as 0.00, and actually evaluates the line as far as 35...Ra6 as also 0.00 instead of 35...Rc5? as played, which is given +1.5 at depth 30. This shows a lack of objectivity based on result and misses the resilience of Steinitz' position which should have been a draw even after white's 35.hxg3.

Feb-06-23  generror: The very first encounter between Anderssen and Steinitz is not the most flashy game of its time, but I found it a fascinating battle where both play great moves. Steinitz defends himself smartly in a cramped position and achieves equality via a most devious swindle, but he then blunders the well-deserved draw in the endgame, which Anderssen conducts perfectly.

It's also interesting for being an early Spanish Game. Steinitz' <6...Nb8?> instead of <6...Nd6> or <6...a6> gives him a pretty cramped position, and after <12...Bxf3?> and <14...b5??>, White could already have been winning with <16.Nxb5! cxb5 17.Qxb5 Rf8 18.Qb7 Na6 19.Qxe7> (D), being up two pawns and controlling the center. (Also note the funny symmetrical ravaged kingsides -- yep, we're still deep in the romantic era.)

click for larger view

But Anderssen's <17.c7!> combination is good enough, and after <20.Qe3> (D), threatening <Qh6+>, <Kh1> and <Rg1>, things look really bleak for Steinitz.

click for larger view

Here now Steinitz plays <20...Kg7!>, apparently giving up his bishop to save his king. Now <21.Kh1!> followed by <Rg1> would have easily won for Anderssen. But he happily goes for the material via <21.Nxe7??>, but after <21...Rb5!>, it must have dawned on him that victory wasn't as near as he had hoped. Yep, you guessed it: It's a classic swindle, and a fine one and that.

Now, he could at least have retained a slight advantage with <22.f4! Kf8 23.c4!>, but, as usual in these cases, instead he blunders himself, losing his knight with <22.Nf5?> because after <22...Rxf5!>, capturing the rook doesn't help much because of <23.Qxe8 Rg5+ 24.Kf1 Qh3+ 25.Ke2 Re5> (D) and now Black has a queen for two rooks in a very equal position, just as in the continuation that Anderssen chose instead.

click for larger view

What a crazy sequence of moves, and it definitively shows that even back then Steinitz was an awesome player! The ensuing endgame however shows that he still had to learn a bit. Or maybe he just wasn't content with maintaining a draw, but after <35.hxg3> (D), he for some reason decides to give White a nice passed pawn in exchange for a worthless blocked and doubled pawn via <35...Rc5? 36.Rxd6 Rxf5??>. What the heck, Wilhelm!

click for larger view

And after Anderssen's clever <37.b4!>, the game is suddenly lost because there's just no way the rook will be able to stop these pawns. Steinitz swindled himself XD

A highly intense and enjoyable game that, in my eyes, is much more interesting than many of the flashy early "classics" with their flawed sacrifices, however beautiful they are. To understand that sequence of moves 20-22 was just pure bliss, and I'm definitively looking forward to the games on my chronological todo-list. It seems that they finally started to play chess in the 1860s and not just go for the equivalent of a bar brawl. This game deserves to be better known!

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