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Adolf Anderssen vs Jean Dufresne
"The Evergreen Partie" (game of the day Oct-16-2017)
Berlin (1852), Berlin GER
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Pierce Defense (C52)  ·  1-0



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Given 296 times; par: 30 [what's this?]

Annotations by Stockfish (Computer).      [29696 more games annotated by Stockfish]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-28-17  Big Pawn: In light of the 19...Bd4! best defense, which ends with a perpetual, the best move for white is not 19. Rad1, but 19.Be4!

Stockfish 8 (depth = 46) plus Komodo and Fritz all give 19. Be4 as best with a slight advantage to white of around +0.35.


19. Be4 Qh3
20. g3 Rxg3+

Interesting sac.

21. hg Qxg3+
22. Kh1 Bxf2
23. Bxe7 Qh3+
24. Nh2 Bxe1
25. Rxe1

and it's white's slight advantage at about ⩲ 0.39

The line continues

26. Qd1 Nxe7
27. Bxb7 Qxf6
28. Bg2

White has a small plus, but it's not so clear he can win with only two pawns left.

29. Qd3

And there's still plenty of interesting game left to play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: There's a silly question attached to this game. Here's the position after <22.Bf5+>:

click for larger view

Now after 22...Ke8 23.Bd7+, what was Black's final move, 23...Kd8 or 23...Kf8? Both moves allow 24.Bse7#, of course, but which one was it?

Some decades ago, when I had a large book collection, I looked this up. I found the game in no fewer than 45 books or magazines. Of these, 22 had 23...Kd8, and 22 had 23...Kf8. The tie-breaking source was Emanuel's Lasker's 'Manual of Chess" -- which gave 22...Kc6 23.Bd7# in the diagrammed position.

And there's always the possibility that Anderssen announced the mate or that Dufresne resigned, in which cases the move was never played at all!

Yes, it's a silly point. But GOTD's with eight pages of kibitzing rarely stir more interest, so it's something.

Oct-16-17  eykca: <"You can see the hand of a master".>

A borrowed line from when Leibniz challenged his contemporaries to solve a difficult math problem. Legend has it, Newton came home from his farm one day to find the problem in his mailbox. He solved it that evening and submitted it anonymously. Upon viewing the only solution submitted, Leibniz famously said "I recognize the lion by its paw."

Oct-16-17  Taidanii: 17. Nf6+ is a pretty terrible blunder. It appears to be the 2nd worst blunder of the game by analysis. Play should continue 17. Ng3 Qh6. 18 Rad1 O-O 19 Bc1 and the black queens days are numbered.

Stockfish gives a 7 point swing because of 17. Nf6+. It simply equalizes for black. Unfortunately, this is far from a brilliancy and appears to be a club level game by today's standards. Still, great for the time and instructive as always is Anderssen

Oct-16-17  offramp: A very good pun!

<Frêne> is the French word for the Fir tree, the archetypal evergreen.

In Old French this was Fresne, and the tree gave its name to the town of <Le Fresne-sur-Loire> in France.

It was from that town that DuFresne's family originated, although the family later moved to Germany.

Kudos to the punster! As Game of the Day it's my Lock of the Week for Pun of the Year!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A great game by Anderssen- the attack is unsprung quickly!
Premium Chessgames Member For the next few weeks going to be running games features from our Thematic Challenge Voting Page to create discussion and interest in our new team-chess game starting on November 1st.

About the Evergreen, we've done a very thorough analysis of this game: Anderssen vs Dufresne, 1852 [analysis]

Stockfish agreed with Taidanii's statement that White could have easily won with <17.Ng3 Qh6 18.Rad1 O-O 19.Bc1 Qe6 20.Ng5 Qh6 21.Bxh7+ +- +6.87 (37 ply)> but instead 17.Nf6+? gxf6 <⩲ +0.57 (36 ply)>. Furthermore Black ultimately lost because he "took the bait" with 19...Qxf3? whereas <19...Qh3 20.Bf1 Qf5 21.Kh1 Qxf6 22.Bxe7 Nxe7 23.Rxd7 Kf8 = 0.00 (48 ply)> in which case the attack fizzles out and we doubtfully would be talking about it today.

It's been said that the best way to appreciate a masterpiece is not to dissect it; Anderssen was amazingly creative and pulled off his trickery in brilliant style. I'm not so sure modern GMs would find defenses like Stockfish prattles off so easily. Hats off to Anderssen and this gem.

Oct-16-17  bachiller: Good point <offramp>, but I think you have chosen the wrong tree: frène (fresne) in french corresponds to "ash" in english, latin "fraxinus" and spanish "fresno". The town in California named Fresno, presumably ows its name to the presence of those trees.
Feb-09-18  kishore4u: The evergreen party
Feb-09-18  morfishine: Surely, if Black wastes a tempo with 7...d3, then the capture <7...dxc3> is at least as good, possibly better
Sep-28-18  sallyx: According to the book Common sense in chess by Emanuel Lasker, move 12. was Bxb5 and move 22. ... Kc6 23. Sd7#
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sallyx > Scroll to phony benoni’s post from 2017. No one is ever going to know precisely what moves were played in this game, and Lasker writing 40+ years after the fact seems like a decidedly unreliable source.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MDKnight: Since Black is threatening mate, why not the Black King dodge the rook? 20...Kd8 21. Rd7 Kc8
Dec-25-18  HarryP: So 19. Rad1 is not White's best move? Great Mariah. Lasker said 19. Rad1 was "one of the most subtle and profound moves on record."
Apr-23-19  Chessmusings: A forest of complications deeply analyzed here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <MDKnight: Since Black is threatening mate, why not the Black King dodge the rook? 20...Kd8 21. Rd7 Kc8>

22.Rd8+ and:

a) 22....Rxd8 23.gxf3

b) 22...Nxd8 23.Qd7+ Kxd7 24.Bf5+ Kc6 25.Bd7#

c) 22....Kxd8 23.Bf5+ Ke8 24.Bd6+ Kd8 25.Bxc6+ Qxd1+ 26.Qxd1+ Kc8 27.Qd7#

Mar-04-20  MordimerChess: Following Anderssen's death in 1879, Wilhelm Steinitz published a tribute in The Field magazine. He published Anderssen's two most famous games, the Immortal Game and the Evergreen Game. Annotating the famous move 19.Rad1, Steinitz wrote "An evergreen in the laurel crown of the departed chess hero", and from that time it became the name of this incredible game.

But Wilhelm Steinitz couldn't predict how good name he just created. The game became probably the most analyzed one in chess history. Howard Staunton started in 1853 and one of the last serious contributors Garry Kasparov ended in 2003. That's 150 years of crazy game analysis - real EVERGREEN GAME! :)

And I created Evergreen Game Ultimate Analysis! Of course joking, I got headache from that game. The players, Anderssen and Dufresne also got headache, check out by yourself:

Anybody's dare to find the final solution?

Sep-11-21  kereru: @Phony Benoni This is a very late reply to your question, but going back to the original source (Deutsche Schachzeitung, Sep & Oct 1852) the moves were not given, it simply said "White mates in 4" after 20...Nxe7. See pages 338 & 383. So it's quite likely Anderssen did simply "announce mate".
Premium Chessgames Member
  Southernrun: What a nice and amazing game
Feb-07-22  andrewjsacks: Quite a fine game, still and always.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Not bad!
Feb-04-23  generror: <<HarryP:> So 19. Rad1 is not White's best move? Great Mariah. Lasker said 19. Rad1 was "one of the most subtle and profound moves on record.">

He said that in his 1895 <Common Sense in Chess> lectures. In his 1925 <Manual of Chess> (which I recommend to anyone and his Grandma), he says:

"It can now be determined that against correct defense it does not work, that defense being <1...Qh3!>, threatening mate. [...] From here, try as he might, White must either allow a draw or force one himself. [...] Hence, the aesthetic value of Anderssen's move is debatable, even dubious."

To my knowledge, Lasker was the first to discover that Anderssen's combination, as beautiful as it is, is unsound. And although his analyses in that book are nearly a century old, Stockfish hasn't got much to add to them.

Feb-04-23  generror: People often say, and I often think, that analyzing these old classics with engines takes all the fun out of them. However, when Stockfish shows you such awesome variations as (D) <20...Kd8! 21.Rxd7+! Kc8! 22.Rd8+!>, I realize that it just makes me enjoy the games more.

click for larger view

This is by the way the "correct" play according to Lasker, Euwe, Kasparov, Stockfish etc. Then it goes on with <22...Kxd8 23.Bf5+ Qxd1+ 24.Qxd1+ Nd4! 25.Bh3>, which according to Euwe has first been suggested as the winning line in Collijn's <Lärobok>, although he calls it doubtful because of <25...Bd5>. Stockfish prefers <25...Re8 26.cxd4 Bd5> (D), but even that is still at least +5 for White.

click for larger view

In fact, the losing move is indeed <19...Qxf3>, after that, it's just a question of not blundering for White, but the way Anderssen does it here it still absolutely beautiful and impressive.

However, he could have won easily with <17.Ng3 Qh6 18.Rad1 0-0 19.Bc1 Qe6 20.Ng5>, as Kasparov pointed out (or whoever's analysis that was he used in his book). But as he said, "the treasury of chess art would have lost a major masterpiece", and I agree to him; for me, the fascination in chess does not lie in the objectively best move, but in the human creativity it displays so beautifully -- including in how flawed it can be!

In fact, I think one could safely say that it's their unique kind of flaws that defines a player. Tolstoy said: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I say, perfect chess players do not exist; and each imperfect chess player is imperfect in his own way.

Feb-15-23  kereru: Kasparov was not the first to point out that 17.Nf6+? was in fact a poor move, and 17.Ng3 wins material, with the game to follow. But it was just an informal game between friends and Anderssen probably just wanted to have a little fun. Paul Lipke was the first to bring the soundness of Anderssen's combination into question with his suggestion of 19...Rg4, which is probably good enough to draw though White can retain an edge with 20.Re4! 19...Qh3 and 19....Bd4 are also draws, and probably better than 19...Rg4. 19.Be4, which has sometimes been recommended as superior to 19.Rad1, is also a draw. See the wikipedia article on the Evergreen Game for a fairly accurate summary of the current state of analysis.
Feb-17-23  Sirius69: According to my analysis the much abused 17) Nf6 was not the most precise move, but the most romantic move, which actually leads to a heroic but losing defense by black, leading to checkmate in 78 moves. 1-0
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