The Immortal Game

The "Immortal Game" is one of the most famous chess games ever played! Played in 1851 as an informal match between two European math professors, Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky, this gem has become a true showcase of classic 19th century chess where startling attacks and sacrifices were all the rage.

There is a great book written about this game and the history of chess that I highly recommend...

 

1. e4 1... e5

2. f4The King's Gambit. White wants to get black to give up control of the d4 square so he can build a big center and develop his pieces quickly. The danger is that white weakens his kingside!

2... exf4 Black accepts the offered pawn! This is a fairly standard response. The other real option is d5, setting up a gambit of his own!

3. Bc4 These days Nf3 is much more common because it prevents Black's next move. However, back when this game was played it was all out war on the King, and aiming your bishop at f7 was a top consideration! 3... Qh4+

4. Kf1Ke2 is just too dangerous.

4... b5 Bryan's counter gambit: Black trys to lure the White Bishop away from it's attack on the weak f7 pawn.

5. Bxb5 5... Nf6

6. Nf3 6... Qh6

7. d3 Some people say this was a new move for Anderssen. White protects the e4 pawn and opens up his other bishop to start bothering black's queen... 7... Nh5Threatening Ng3+ check, which would win the exchange: either Kg1 and then ...Nxh1 or hxg3 and then ...Qxh1+ would be deadly!

8. Nh4 8... Qg5

9. Nf5 9... c6

10. g4 10... Nf6

11. Rg1 White is willing to give up the bishop in order to start an attack on the black queen. 11... cxb5

12. h4 12... Qg6

13. h5 13... Qg5

14. Qf3 14... Ng8Black must move the knight as Bxf4 would win the trapped queen.

15. Bxf4 15... Qf6 Stop and notice black's pieces. They are all on their original squares except for the queen. White has several pieces developed in exchange for his lost bishop.

16. Nc3 16... Bc5

17. Nd5 White looks deep into the position and sees a chance for checkmate! He starts to throw his pieces away as bait for the black queen and bishop.

17... Qxb2 18. Bd6 The trap is set! White looks like a mad man giving everything away, especially his rooks - and with check no less!

18... Qxa1+ 19. Ke2The white King moves to a safe square. White's pieces are all over the black King.

19... Bxg1 20. e5 What a crazy move! White, in the middle of the storm, quietly moves a pawn, effectively shutting out the black queen from getting back to defend the King. White has EXACTLY the right amount of pieces to force checkmate.

20... Na6 21. Nxg7+

21... Kd8

22. Qf6+The queen becomes a decoy to remove the black knight from its duties protecting the e7 square.

22... Nxf6 23. Be7# Truly an IMMORTAL GAME!