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PaChess Magazine



Known as the "Immortal Game", this magnificent example of Adolf Anderssen's combinative power is still considered one of the best games of all time.
Black neglects his development and Anderssen offers both rooks to show that two active pieces are worth a dozen sleeping at home.

Place: London (1851)
White: Anderssen, A.
Black: Kieseritzky, L.
ECO: C33

1. e4 e5
2. f4 ...
King's Gambit. A fine old opening.
2 ... exf4
King's Gambit Accepted. The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it! Except that the King's Gambit cannot be refuted. But black can obtain a fully playable game this way.
3. Bc4 ...
Bishop's Gambit. Not refuted, and an interesting line.
3 ... Qh4+
4. Kf1 b5
The Bryan Counter Gambit where black wishes to draw the bishop away from the a2-g8 diagonal.
5. Bxb5 Nf6
6. Nf3 Qh6
The black queen proves to be out of play here. Better was 6 ... Qh5.
7. d3 Nh5
7 ... g5 was a more natural way to defend the f-pawn.
8. Nh4 ...
Kg1 would stop black's threat of Ng3+ winning the exchange. However, white would now drop a piece instead.
8 ... Qg5
9. Nf5 c6
9 ... g6 10. h4 Qf6 11. Nc3 gxf5 12. Qxh5 would give white the lead in development.
10. g4 Nf6
11. Rg1 ...
This piece sacrifice pursues white's aggressive policy started with 8. Nh4. The important d5 square will now become available.
11 ... cxb5
12. h4 Qg6
The queen is a useless bystander now.
13. h5 Qg5
14. Qf3 ...
Now threatening to trap the black queen with 15. Bxf4
14 ... Ng8
So black is forced to retreat to the home square.
15. Bxf4 Qf6
16. Nc3 ...
Although white has only two pawns for a piece he has a winning position due to his large lead in development. Black's pieces, with the exception of the queen and the b-pawn, are all on their original squares.
16 ... Bc5
17. Nd5 ...
This introduces a double rook sacrifice, where white will give up both of his rooks, even though he is already a piece down.
17 ... Qxb2
Position after 17 ... Qxb2
18. Bd6! ...
Thus begins the "Immortal Sacrifice". A brilliant move, the main point of which is to divert the black queen from the a1-h8 diagonal. Now black cannot play 18 ... Bxd6? 19. Nxd6+ Kd8 20. Nxf7+ Ke8 21. Nd6+ Kd8 22. Qf8++
18 ... Qxa1
19. Ke2 Bxg1
The best defense, as noted by Steinitz, was 19 ... Qb2, but fortunately for posterity Kieseritzky didn't figure that out. 19 ... Qxg1 would again allow white a forced mate: 20. Nxg7+ Kd8 21. Bc7++
20. e5 ...
By blocking the queen off the protection of his g-pawn, white is threatening to mate in two with 21. Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Bc7++
20 ... Na6
More resistance could have been offered by 20 ... Ba6, but white should still win after 21. Nc7+ Kd8 22. Nxa6 Bb6 23. Qxa8. With Na6 black covers the c7 square from white's dark squared bishop. However, just when you think black might defend, Anderssen explodes the position with yet another brilliant line.
21. Nxg7+ Kd8
22. Qf6+ ...
By sacrificing the queen white has mate next move.
22 ... Nxf6
The only move.
23. Be7++
Final position
A forced mate by three minor pieces while black still has most of his pieces on the board.
Truly a magnificent game ... the "Immortal Game".