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Karl Hamppe vs Philipp Meitner
"The Immortal Draw" (game of the day Jun-07-2015)
Vienna (1872), Vienna AUH
Vienna Game: Hamppe-Meitner Variation (C25)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <The Immortal Draw> (part 3 of 4)

<Komodo 9.02> Komodo also evaluated 11...Ne7 to be Black's best move and evaluated the position at [+1.09], d=35, after 11...Ne7 12.c4 d4 13.Kxc5 a5 14.Qa4+ Kd8 15.Qxa5 Rxa5+ 16.Kb4 Nc6+ 17.Kb3 b5 18.d3 bxc4+ 19.dxc4 e4 20.Bd2 Ra8 21.Ne2 Bd7 22.Be1 Kc8 23.Nf4 Kb7 24.h3 f5 25.a4 d3 26.Kc3 g5 27.Nxd3 exd3 28.Bxd3 Ne5 29.Bc2 Bc6 30.Rf1 Be4 31.Bxe4+ fxe4 32.Rf5 Rhe8 33.Rxg5 Rad8 34.b3 h6 35.Rh5 Rd6 36.Bf2 Rd3+ 37.Kb4

Yes, of course it also found it necessary to give up White's queen to avoid mate and evaluated 17...b5 as Black's best move. And Komodo saves a tempo from Stockfish 6's 20.Bf4 by 20.Bd2, since Stockfish later plays 22.Bd2. Komodo also tries a different approach to activating Black's king and connecting its rooks by 21...Bd7, 22...Kc8, and 23...Kb7. And its 26...g5 is certainly the most aggressive attempt so far to activate Black's k-side and center pawn majority, although it only forces White to do what I think is the best thing to do, return some of its material in order to destroy Black's passed pawn center by 27.Nxd3. And I think that 35.Rg7 keeping the rook more active was better than 35.Rh5 since Black can protect its Ph6 without difficulty.

This is the final position of Komodo 9.02's PV:

click for larger view

I think that White stands better than Komodo's evaluation would indicate. White is up two pawns, its king is safe, and it has a B vs. N open board advantage. Black's only trump card is its advanced passed e-pawn, but it can also become weak.

But I am apparently wrong. After either 37...e3 or 37...Nc6+ 38.Ka3 e3

Komodo evaluates that it is necessary for White to give up its bishop for Black's advanced e-pawn either immediately by 38.Bxe3 or after it queens by 45.Bxe1. Restarting the analysis from the final position Komodo evaluates the resulting position at d=32 as follows:

1. [-1.94]: 37...e3 38.Bh4(A) Nc6+ 39.Ka3 Nd4(B) 40.Rb1 e2 41.Rb2 Re4 42.g4 Rxh3 43.Be1 Rd3(C) 44.Ka2 Rd1 45.Bc3 Nf3 46.Rxh6 Nd2 47.Bxd2 Rxd2 48.Rxd2 e1Q 49.Rhh2 Rxg4 50.Rhg2 Re4(D) 51.Rb2 Rd4 52.Rge2 Qa5 53.Rbc2 Rd3 54.Rb2 Rd1 55.Rb1 Rd7 56.Rbb2 Rd3 57.Rg2 Qc3 58.Rg5 Qf6 59.Rb5+ Kc8 60.a5(E) Qd6(F)

click for larger view

(A) At lower plies Komodo played 38.Bxe3 immediately.

(B) This position certainly doesn't look very good for White!

(C) 43...Rxh5 44.gxh5 Nf3 might be more straightforward. But "straightforward" means nothing to a computer.

(D) Apparently Komodo evaluates possible mating attacks more than "straightforward" simplification. But White is close to building a fortress, a concept that chess engines have difficulty with.

(E) White is apparently trying to win!

(F) I am not sure that Komodo can figure out a way for Black to win in spite of its great material advantage.

2. [-1.86]: 37...Nc6+ 38.Ka3 e3 39.Be1 e2 40.Ra2 Rd1 41.Bf2(A) Re3 42.a5 Rf1 43.a6+ Ka8 44.Rxh6 Rxf2 45.Rxe2 Rfxe2 46.Rxc6 Rxg2 47.Rxc7 Rg6 48.Kb4 Rxa6 49.Kb5 Ra7 50.Rc8+ Kb7 51.Rh8 Rxb3+ 52.Kc5 Ra5+ 53.Kd4 Rf3 54.Rh7+ Kc6 55.Rh6+ Kd7 56.Rh7+ Ke6 57.Rh6+ Rf6 58.Rh4 Kd7(B) 59.Rg4 Rd6+ 60.Ke4 Rc5 61.Kf3 Rd3+ 62.Kg2 Re5

click for larger view

(A) Apparently Komodo is more than willing to give up White's bishop for Black's e-pawn but Komodo's Black is not accommodating.

(B) After 58...Ra3 followed by 59...Rff3 White's h-pawn will fall and, if it comes to that, Black's king is still in the square to prevent White's c-pawn from queening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <The Immortal Draw> (part 4 of 4) - Conclusions

The most recent released versions of Houdini and Stockfish generated lines and evaluations that were very similar to those generated by their earlier versions. And neither could seem to make White's small advantage a winning one.

Komodo, on the other hand, played the Black side more aggressively and efficiently than either Houdini and Stockfish, first forcing White to give up most of its material advantage (just like the other two engines did) and then obtaining a material advantage of its own after either 37...e3 or 37...Nc6+. But Komodo doesn't seem to play these endings very well in spite of its great material advantage, and in the first case (37...e3) maybe not even a winning one, although I think that Komodo should be able to win the second case (37...Nc6+) although it seems to make it more difficult than it needs to be.

Of course, like the earlier analyses, this is just a sequence of moves that COULD happen, not necessarily what WOULD happen. So, even though some variations resulted in a likely win for White, this is not conclusive. Many deviations are possible and they could change the assessment of the PVs.

And I'm reasonably sure that neither Hamppe nor Meitner conceived of the complicated game that would have resulted if they had not gone for the draw! So, <sofouuk>, if you want to try improvements for either side, I wish you luck.

Jun-09-15  sofouuk: I think it's clear that this is not really about Hamppe or Meitner anymore :) and 9...Qa4 was clearly the best move in the position, in the sense that it gave white the greatest probability of losing the game

11...Ne7 is certainly better than the alternatives and then it's essentially forced until 17.Kb3. the immediate b5 should be the best reply bcz black knows for sure he's going to play that, in contrast to other moves, so the serious analysis starts here

click for larger view

certainly black's game plan has changed to hoping that the pawn center compensates for the material disadvantage, but as intuition and <AylerKupp>'s lines show, white won't be able to break the center up without sacrificing a piece, and black has to prevent white being able to do that with advantage. if white never manages to challenge the center his game will never get going, bcz the qside pawns are easily contained, and there is even the danger of being steam rollered through the middle - the central pawns are stronger than they might at first look

it's extremely difficult to analyse such positions bcz both sides are shadow boxing and there are so many plausible moves at each turn - in short it's the kind of position where good correspondence players can really shine :)

I'm going to state with confidence that 18.Nh3 is the best move, not just bcz it develops a piece but also there are variations where the ability to immediately jump to g5 or f4 restricts black's options. d3 looks slow and gives black the game he wants

... to be continued, I guess

Jun-10-15  sofouuk: well after playing around with variations most of the day i'm going to admit that i give up :) the evals seem to be biased towards white due to the material advantage, but in fact it's extremely difficult for white to develop and coordinate - black really does have a lot of play and white is always a tempo or two too slow (this is a bit surprising because in the starting position black's development is hardly better than white's).

as one example of what rybka came up with (<AylerKupp> has posted similar lines already, or possibly even an identical one ...) after 18.Nh3 Ra8! (black is waiting for d3 and knows the rook must move after Bd2) 19.d3 bxc4 20.dxc4 Rb8+ 21.Kc2 Bf5+ 22.Kd1 Rb3!

click for larger view

it's hard to believe at first that this leisurely rook maneuvre is the best plan in the position, but now white is so tied down that rybka just shoves a3-a4 with Ra1-a3 follow, getting the black rook off b3 at the cost of doubled isolated pawns on an open file - it's hard to see white winning after that

this could mean that 18.d3 is better than Nh3, but in any case i'll withdraw the claim that 'white is clearly better' - in fact, nothing is clear bcz it's so hard for white to coordinate effectively and the two central passed pawns are worth more than a minor piece (if we value them at e.g. 3.5 points white would still have a material advantage, but only if he can successfully deploy that material)

in which case i'll give white credit for playing Kb4 over Kb5 in the first place - Kb5 would've significantly increased the chance of losing while perhaps only slightly increasing the chance of winning, and the quick fire draw by repetition is a far more attractive finish to boot

Aug-29-15  rwbean: Great analysis by <sofouuk> and <AylerKupp> ... I suggest just running a tournament with the latest versions of Stockfish, Komodo and Houdini after 11. ♔b5 ♘e7 as this seems to be the most interesting position?
Aug-31-15  rwbean: After 11. ♔b5 ♘e7 12.c4 d4 13.♔xc5 a5 14.♕a4+ I started a 20 game tournament:

Stockfish 6 vs Komodo 8 using Scid vs Mac on a Macbook Pro, 1 GB each of hash, 30 seconds each for moves ... White won 17 games, 3 were draws. A lot of the games looked like easy "fortress" draws for Black to me (e.g. White pawns on a3, b2, d2, White rook on a1, White bishop on c1, Black bishop on b3, Black rook on a4, Black pawns on d3, e4) but I must have been mistaken... unless I should run it all again with a longer time control?

Sep-05-15  rwbean: I finished a 10 game tournament at 5 minutes per move with the same programs. Unfortunately I've noticed that Stockfish 6 is crashing a bit.

This time (making it a draw if the evaluation is fairly balanced and Stockfish crashed) it got 5 wins for White and 5 draws. There are lots of positions which look like easy fortress draws but the programs don't seem to understand too well.

Jun-24-16  rwbean: How about some other people run some tournaments after these two positions: 11. ♔b5 ♘e7 12.c4 d4 13.♔xc5 a5 14.♕a4+

(a) 14... ♔d8 15. ♕xa5 Rxa5+ 16. ♔b4 ♘c6+ 17. ♔b3

(b) 14... ♔f8 15. ♕xa5 Rxa5+ 16. ♔b4 ♘c6+ 17. ♔b3

It can split up quite a lot after that, there are many reasonable moves for Black in either position. I'm interested to know how well programs understand "fortress" draws.

Feb-13-17  Straclonoor: <rwbean: How about some other people run some tournaments after these two positions: 11. ♔b5 ♘e7 12.c4 d4 13.♔xc5 a5 14.♕a4+ (a) 14... ♔d8 15. ♕xa5 Rxa5+ 16. ♔b4 ♘c6+ 17. ♔b3 ... I'm interested to know how well programs understand "fortress" draws> Below is the line. Final position of the line don't look like fortress Stockfish 110217 64 BMI2 1.30 (depth 40) 11.Kb5 Ne7 12.c4 d4 13.Kxc5 a5 14.Qa4+ Kd8 15.Qxa5 Rxa5+ 16.Kb4 Nc6+ 17.Kb3 b5 18.d3 bxc4+ 19.dxc4 Ra6 20.Bd2 e4 21.Ka2 Ne5 22.Re1 Bb7 23.c5 Ra8 24.Bf4 Ng6
Mar-04-17  rwbean: I put it through Stockfish as well again with at least 8 hours per move ... got

14 ... ♔d8 after 49 ply
17... b5 after 48 ply
18. d3 after 48 ply
18... bxc4+ after 49 ply
19. dxc4 is forced
19... e4 after 47 ply (although it does like 19... ♖a8 too) 20. ♗d2 after 46 ply
20... ♖a6 after 46 ply
21. c5 after 47 ply
21... ♗e6+ after 49 ply
22. ♗c4 after 52 ply

evaluation is +1.55 to +1.65

11. ♔b5 ♘e7 12.c4 d4 13.♔xc5 a5 14.♕a4+ ♔d8 15. ♕xa5 Rxa5+ 16. ♔b4 ♘c6+ 17. ♔b3 b5 18. d3 bxc4+ 19. dxc4 e4 20. ♗d2 ♖a6
21. c5 ♗e6+ 22. ♗c4

and the PV is

22... ♔c8 23. ♗xe6+ fxe6 24. ♖e1 e3 25. ♗xe3 fxe3 26. ♖xe3

White is a pawn up and has a passed a pawn versus Black's passed e pawn, and has two pawn islands versus Black's three. There doesn't seem to be a way for White to set up a fortress. White is just clearly better.

Oct-15-17  Lambda: My Stockfish likes 9. d4 exd4 10. Bxa6 bxa6 11. a3 and it thinks white is about +2! Taking the pawn on g2 apparently doesn't help.

click for larger view

Feb-08-18  kishore4u: What is this??
Feb-08-18  ughaibu: <What is this??>

A question mark.

Feb-09-18  zborris8: zing!
Feb-09-18  Howard: Larry Evans ran at least 3-4 questions about this game in his CL&R column back from about 1975-77, as I recall.

In fact...I just came across one of those questions last night when perusing some back issues.

Jun-03-18  The Kings Domain: :-) Fun game.
Aug-18-19  Chesgambit: some masters play this varition
Aug-16-20  rwbean: ... 11. ♔b5 ♘e7 12.c4 d4 13.♔xc5 a5 14.♕a4+ ♔d8 15. ♕xa5 Rxa5+ 16. ♔b4 ♘c6+ 17. ♔b3 ...

just had another look with Stockfish NNUE latest version.

17 ... e4 at 41 ply, +2.24

also 9. d4 is +3.85, 8. d4 is +2.97, and so on

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <dippel>
This is very strange! Three almost identical Vienna games - this one Hamppe vs Meitner played in Vienna 1872 and this one: A Nilsson vs J Eriksson, 1991 played in Helsingborg, Sweden 1991, and the same variation Tim Jaksland vs S S Larsen, 1991 played in Lyngby, Denmark 1991. All of them ended in a draw, but it seems as if the competitors in Helsingborg and Lyngby have learned the immortal draw by heart! What’s going on? Can anyone explain?

Another example of the "Immortal Draw" being played out in another tournament - Frauenfelder v Gschwend, Swiss Boy Championship, 1956, although this time it was the Black king that wandered up the board.

Both Frauenfelder and Gschwend had lost badly the previous day and therefore decided to make an amusing and spectacular draw.

Dec-07-20  sudoplatov: I looked at this on an analysis site (I think Stockfish). At moves 8 and 9, the site thinks White gets a 2-Pawn advantage with d4 and that Black gets a bit of an advantage with ...d4. Seems like both sides thought that the square d4 had a Bouncing Betty underneath.
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: From what I understand this game has been debunked. It's a fake.
Dec-22-20  RandomVisitor: A modern look at the draw-busting 11.Kb5:

click for larger view


<66/101 3:34:09 +2.30 11.Kb5 Ne7 12.c4 d4 13.Kxc5 a5 14.Qa4+ Kd8 15.Qxa5 Rxa5+ 16.Kb4 Nc6+ 17.Kb3 b5 18.d3 bxc4+ 19.dxc4 e4 20.Bd2 Ra6> 21.Ne2 Re8 22.Rd1 Bd7 23.Ka2 Kc8 24.Nc1 Bg4 25.Be2 Be6 26.b3 d3 27.Bf1 Ne5 28.Kb2 Rb6 29.Kc3 Rc6 30.Bf4 Nxc4 31.bxc4 Rxc4+

Dec-22-20  RandomVisitor: 5.g3 is a drawing line that is not as exciting:

click for larger view


<73/21 3:43:39 0.00 5...Qxe4 6.Qe1 Qxh1 7.Qxe5+ Kf8 8.Qxc7 Qxh2+ 9.Bg2 Nc6 10.Qd6+ Nce7 11.d3 Qh5 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.Re1 Ng4+> 14.Kf1 Nh2+ 15.Kf2

Dec-23-20  RandomVisitor: The computer would prefer 5.g3 to 5.Ke3:

After 5.Ke3 the machine would deviate from the game with 7.Qe1 because it finds a problem of some kind with the move actually played, 7.Kc3:

click for larger view


62/80 8:07:04 -0.26 5...Qf4+ 6.Kd3 d5 <7.Qe1> Nf6 8.c4 dxc4+ 9.Kc2 Qxe4+ 10.Qxe4 Nxe4 11.Bxc4 Nf2 12.d3 Nc6 13.Ne2 Nxh1 14.Be3 Bg4 15.Nac3 0-0-0 16.Rxh1 Nb4+

What is wrong with 7.Kc3, as played? It seems 7...d4 is better for black:

click for larger view


62/76 6:02:06 -1.31 7...d4+ 8.Kb3 Qxe4 9.Qf3 Qg6 10.c4 Ne7 11.Qg3 Qf6 12.Nf3 e4 13.Ng5 Bf5 14.d3 e3 15.Ne4 Bxe4 16.dxe4 Ng6 17.Bxe3 dxe3 18.Qxe3 Nd7

Mar-04-22  VerySeriousExpert: Here is a very interesting publication on this game. Its title is ' Was The Immortal Draw (1872) Inspired By The Jerome Gambit Win (1863)?? '. Its URL is .
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