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Adolf Anderssen vs Lionel Kieseritzky
"The Immortal Game" (game of the day Sep-05-2007)
Casual game (1851), London ENG, Jun-21
King's Gambit: Accepted. Bishop's Gambit Bryan Countergambit (C33)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: The key move to this game, in my opinion, is 20. e5!!
Aug-16-02  pawntificator: I love a good queen sacrifice. e5 was a good move to cut off the black queen. By that time white had crept up so much on the black king... why didn't black play 20....Nc6? He was probably trying to guard against a night fork on c7.
Aug-16-02  MorphyFan: The king's gambit is such a beatifull opening. It makes the game feel so dangerous and chaotic. Sometimes you can never tell who is really winning until the last few moves.

I agree with sneaky in that 20. ed5! was definetly the game winner. I also thought that 20 Bd6 was a brilliant offer, and that in general whites play was pretty darn genuis.

Aug-18-02  levigun: pawntificator - 20....Nc6 leads to a pretty quick checkmate. after 20...Nc6, then 21. Ng7+ Kd8 22. Bc7#
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: The critical defense is not 20...Na6 (which leads to a forced mate) but instead 20...Ba6(!)

My chess computer prefers 20...Ba6 too.

I forget where I read this, but the exhaustive analysis (which was way over my head) concluded that White stands better in that line. No forced mate, just better. But like Larsen, I don't trust long analysis variations.

Aug-18-02  pawntificator: 20...Ba6 21 Nc7+ Kd8 22 Qxa8 and black can't defend his even looks like mate soon with 23 Qxb8 Bc8 24 Ne8
Oct-19-02  Danilomagalhaes: More solid defenses are 3...d5 or 3... g6.


Nov-19-02  verynice11: Brilliant game! It's integriry is questionable I think. Who moves thier horse up to a-6 instead of c-6? I would like to know what black's reasons for that was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: First of all, it's called a "knight," but moreover the integrity of this game is impeccable. It wouldn't have been dubbed the "Immortal Game" if Black played like a patzer. Kieseritzsky played 20...Na6 to prevent 21.Nxg7+ Kd7 22.Bc7#, but as we see that defense fails to the queen sac. Admittedly he had a better move, but in over-the-board chess it's almost impossible to find.
Nov-19-02  drukenknight: what would modern players play 4...Bc5?
Nov-20-02  refutor: 4. ... d5 is the line in Michael Adams vs Shirov, 1997 shirov got a good position after 5.exd5?! Bd6 6.Nf3 Qh6 7.Nc3 Ne7 8.Ne4 Nd7 9.Nxd6+ Qxd6 but adams ended up getting shirov in a perpetual (admittedly the move order with 3. ... Qh4+ is a very rare bird in today's game and the position after 4. ... d5 actually transposed after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.exd5?! Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Bd6 etc. )
Nov-20-02  drukenknight: thanks for research on the opening. What if after 4....d5 5 exd5 Bg4? hmmm I've seen this B/Q thing before w/ white.

or if 4...Bc5 5 d4 f3 6 dxc5 Qxd4 ?!?

Feb-12-03  chesspatzer: It is games like this that made me want to play chess.
Apr-02-03  Elrathia Kingi: I count five sacrifices. It amazes me that Anderson was able to coordinate his forces as he did, rendering his opponent's pieces useless by taking control of all useful points on the board. The winning move was 17.Nd5! which led up to an inevitable mate.
Apr-02-03  electrobyte: This is an exceptional case where by not moving 3. Nf3 in King's Gambit opening, white could still maintain its stability and win the game.

This game is one of my favourites. It was first introduced to me by my coach about 15 years back. The most important lesson I learnt from this game is to make sacrification (at the right position, off course). I used to memorize every step of this game. It's good to have my memory refreshed!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: 3.Bc4 is the way that Fischer thought the opening should be played, too--probably because he placed a lot of stock in the Fischer Defense to the 3.Nf3-style King's Gambit. I've also seen Judit Polgar play the 3.Bc4 variation. It amazes me that White can put up with being checked on h4 like that. It reminds me of that statement (was it Petrosian?) that you must play each game as if "balanced on a precipice."
Apr-02-03  poodle: What is the point of 4...b5?
Apr-02-03  Spitecheck: To deflect the bishop from A) attacking the central d5 square and B) the a2-g8 diagonal perhaps?
Apr-02-03  ughaibu: Poodle: See for example this game: Morphy vs Maurian, 1855
Apr-06-03  poodle: Thank you for your insights. I found the following comment on 4...b5 by David Hayes on the "Logical Chess" site's annotation

"Bryan's Counter Gambit. A dubious gambit in modern times, but typical of the attacking style of that time. Here black lures the Bishop from it attacking diagonal against the sensitive f7-pawn, and provides a diagonal for development of his own Bishop to b7 where it will bear down on white's King side. All this value for the price of a pawn."


Apr-06-03  ughaibu: My favourite move in this game is 10. g4, all the subsequent play flows from this plan of gaining time by attacking the exposed pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Sizzle, I'm not 100% sure about this but I believe I've read that Em. Lasker concluded (after exhaustive analysis) that the critical defense of 20...Ba6 was, alas, insufficient. I'm tempted to summon the name of "Crafty" on this one, but this could be the kind of position that computers might not be very good at analyzing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I found this with Google: some info by Bill Wall

<The immortal game is one of the most famous games in all of chess. It was played by Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879) and Lionel Kieseritzky (1806-1853) as an informal game, played at the Simpson's on the Strand Divan in London in July, 1851. Anderssen sacrificed his bishop. two rooks, and his queen to deliver checkmate in 23 moves. This may have been a swindle and Black may have resigned in a drawn position, at least prematurely if Black had continued with 20...Ba6 instead of 20...Na6.


After 20.Ke2, Kieseritzky resigned. Some sources give the following continuation.

20...Na6 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qf6+! Nxf6 23.Be7 mate 1-0
. . .

D) 20...Ba6!? 21.Nc7+ Kd8 22.Nxa6 (22.Nxa8? Kc8)

D1) 22...Bb6 23.Qxa8 Qc3 24.Qxb8+ Qc8 25.Qxc8+ Kxc8 26.Bf8 h6 27.Nd6+ Kd8 28.Nxf7+ Ke8 29.Nxh8 Kxf8 30.Ng6+ Kf7 31.Nb8 Ke8 32.c3 Ne7 33.Nxe7 Kxe7 34.Na6 Ba5 35.Kd2 Ke6 36.d4 Kd5 37.Kd3 Bb6 38.Nb4+ Ke6 39.c4 bxc4 40.Kxc4 and White has an extra pawn in a tough endgame;

D2) 22...Qxa2 23.Bc7+ Ke8 24.Nb4 Nc6 25.Nxa2 Bc5 (25...f6) 26.Qd5 (26.Bd6) Bf8 27.Qxb5 Nd8 28.Bd6 Nh6 29.Nxh6 gxh6 30.Qd5 Rc8 31.c4 Bxd6 32.exd6 Nc6 33.Nb4 and White should have the edge;

D3) 22...Qc3 23.Bc7+ Qxc7 24.Nxc7 Kxc7 25.Qxa8 Nc6 (25...Bc5) 26.Nd6 Nxe5 27.Ne8+ (27.Nxb5+) Kb6 28.Qb8+ Ka5 (28...Ka6?? 29.Nc7+ Ka5 30.Qxb5 mate) 29.Qxe5 f6 30.Qd6>

Apr-07-03  crafty: 20. ... ♗a6 21. ♘c7+ ♔d8 22. ♘xa6 ♕c3 23. ♗c7+ ♕xc7   (eval -0.44; depth 12 ply; 5000M nodes)
Apr-25-03  namssur: I am new to this kibitzing... but have studied the games here for a few months now. In this game i find tthe very essence of skill,bravado,determination and yes ... GENIUS.. what ever pocessed anderssen to play in such a manner must be logic...4 ...count them FOUR pieces against the lone queen must account for matter what the position is... furthermore ..when the bishop goes to c5... then anderssen knew that he had hisopponent ... but only in my opinion!
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