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Adolf Anderssen- The chess magician of the 19th century

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In the series Champion Born On This Day, I present you a game by Adolf Anderssen, a champion considered to be the greatest master of sacrifices and checkmates.

Adolf Anderssen was born on 6th July, 1818 at Breslau (present-day Wroclaw in Poland. Since 1842, Anderssen dominated the World Chess, winning multiple tournaments for three decades.

Anderssen was so famous and popular for his skills in Chess that the Breslau University awarded an honorary doctorate to him. The first official World Chess Champion Wilhelm Steinitz spoke and wrote very highly of Anderssen –

“We all may learn from Morphy and Anderssen how to conduct a king’s-side attack, and perhaps I myself may not have learnt enough.”

Anderssen’s sense of initiative was no less than that of Paul Morphy. His ‘Immortal Game’ and ‘Evergreen Game’, are noted down in all books on Chess classics. These two games have been studied by some greatest masters of all times. They all expressed high regards for the creativity and imagination of Anderssen.

In the words of Garry Kasparov, these games “bewitched the contemporaries and became known as ‘Immortal’ and ‘Evergreen’ games.”

Learn from the Champion

Today we will see ‘The Evergreen Game’, which has been annotated by hundreds of Chess players.

Adolf Anderssen – Jean Dufresne, Berlin 1853

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0–0

The famous Evans Gambit. White gives up a Pawn or two to get an advantage in development.

7…d3?! 8.Qb3 Qf6 9.e5! Qg6

9…Nxe5 is not possible due to 10.Re1 when Black loses at least a piece.

10.Re1 Nge7 11.Ba3 b5?

11…0–0 was called for.

12.Qxb5 Rb8 13.Qa4 Bb6 14.Nbd2 Bb7 15.Ne4 Qf5 16.Bxd3 Qh5

Jean Dufresne

Adolf Anderssen

White has a huge advantage and it is time for decisive action. In accordance with his own romantic style Andersen continued with a Knight sacrifice to open up files against Black King.

17.Nf6+!? gxf6 18.exf6 Rg8!

“At first sight an open g-file gives Black excellent counter-attacking chances, but Anderssen’s calculations were beyond the fears of an ordinary human being.” — Garry Kasparov.

19.Rad1!

“I will spare you hundreds of analyses by following generations of chess players. After endless debate they have agreed that 19.Rad1 was better than the alternative 19.Re4. Now the best reply was19…Rg4!, ( Recommendation of Dr Emanuel Lasker) which would pose some difficult problems for White, but in the emerging wild complications White would, in my opinion, retain the upper hand.” –Garry Kasparov.

19…Qxf3?

Jean Dufresne

Adolf Anderssen

“Now White’s king is suddenly just one step from decapitation. But how can we reproach Dufresne from not recognising the magic of a genius?” — Garry Kasparov.

20.Rxe7+! Nxe7

Jean Dufresne

Adolf Anderssen

This allows a stunning checkmate.

The alternative 20…Kd8 21.Rxd7+! Kc8 22.Rd8+! Kxd8 would have staved off the mate at cost of the Black Queen. However, after 23.Be2+ Nd4 24.Bxf3 Bxf3 25.g3 Bxd1 26.Qxd1, there is no doubt about the outcome.

21.Qxd7+!! Kxd7 22.Bf5+ Double check! 22…Ke8

22…Kc6 would have led to 23.Bd7#

23.Bd7+ Kf8 24.Bxe7#

An unbelievable combination indeed!

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Praveen Thipsay is one of the earliest Grandmasters and the first Indian to win the Commonwealth Chess Champion. He is a FIDE Senior Trainer who has been a coach to many promising Indian Chess players.

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