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Adolph Anderssen (2658) - Jean Dufresne (2341)[C52]

"The Evergreen Game"

Berlin 1852

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5

The Italian Game.

4. b4!?

The Evans Gambit.

4...Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4 exd4 7. 0-0

Nowadays 7. Qb3! is considered best, though the text is playable.


Not the best but this was 150 years ago and opening theory was in its infancy. Better was: 7...d6!

8. Qb3

Playable alternatives are 8. Re1 as suggested by Pachman to which no good defense has yet been found as well as 8. Bg5!?


Forced. If 8...Qe7? 9.Ba3 d6!? 10.e5 Nh6 11.exd6 cxd6 12.Re1 with advantage to white.

9. e5!

The pawn cannot be taken. White gains space in the center and gains time. White has has the initiative.


(Not 9...Nxe5? 10.Re1 d6; 11.Qb5+ c6 12.Qxa5 White is clearly better.)

10. Re1!


A logical developing move. Bachmann, one of Anderssen's biographers, first suggested as better 10...Bb6!? intending 11...Na5 when Whites Queen may have to retreat by 11. Qd1.

11. Ba3! b5!?

This move is thought to have been a book move at the time of this game. It is a counter-sacrifice aimed at moving the bishop off its classic diagnol and to gain time to develop the black Q-side.

12. Qxb5 Rb8 13.Qa4 Bb6

Black cannot safely castle now if 13...0-0?? 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.Qxa5 wins a piece.

14. Nbd2 Bb7

In the spirit of counter-attack against g2, so typical of 19th century play with both players going for all out mate. 14...0-0 may have looked too passive but it is blacks best move.



This move simply loses time. Now 15...0-0?! is met by 16.Bxd3 with the threat of 17.Nf6+ though the threat remains if he doesnt castle. Emanuel Lasker suggested 15...d2!? here but blacks defense remains difficult. Tim Harding won a postal game that continued 16. Nexd2, 0-0 17. Ne4.

16. Bxd3 Qh5

Chernev writes: "Running away from the threat 17.Nd6+ winning the black Queen.

17. Nf6+!

Chernev gives this move an exclaim. The simple idea of opening lines to the Black King. The astounding part of this move is that Anderssen has already calculated this line to a forced win! An amazing feat for any Master!

Fritz 7's first choice is: 17.Ng3! when White is also strong. 17...Qh6 18.Bc1! Qe6 19.Bc4 Nd5 20. Ng5 though no one would remember this game had he done so.

17...gxf6 18. exf6 Rg8

Blacks defense is actually a superb trap. If 19. Bxe7, Qxf3 leaves white with no effective discovered check: 20. Bd6+ (best), Ne5! 21. Rxe5+ Kd8 22. Be4 Qxf2+ 23. Kh1 Qxg2+ 24. Bxg2 Bxg2# This is no doubt the line that Dufrense expected. But...

"Now comes what Lasker calls "one of the most profound moves on record."

19. Rad1!!

A very deep move. it is not at all obvious what white intends.


In some extensive published analysis it was suggested that black could defend by 19...Rg4!? but the line is refuted by 20. c4 Rf4 21. Bg6!! with a winning attack.

After the played move (19...Qxf3) black is 2 pieces up and has various mate threats. He probably thought he was winning but...

20. Rxe7+! Nxe7

(20...Kf8? 21.Re3+ wins the black Queen)

[Best was : 20...Kd8 though white wins after 21.Rxd7+! Kc8 (Or 21...Kxd7?! 22.Bf5+ Ke8 23.Bd7+ Kd8 24.Bxc6+ and mates.) 22.Rd8+!! Kxd8 (Not 22...Rxd8? 23.gxf3 Also bad is: 22...Nxd8? 23.Qd7+ Kxd7 24.Bf5+ and mates.) 23.Bf5+ Qxd1+ 24.Qxd1+ Nd4; 25.Bh3! Bd5 26.Be7+ Ke8 27.cxd4 winning GM J. Nunn.) 23...Nd4 24.Bxf3 Bxf3 25.g3! Rg5 (Or 25...Bxd1 26.Qxd1 "with a boring but winning endgame." - GM Garry Kasparov.) 26.cxd4 Ra5; 27.Be7+ Kc8 28.Qc2 Bxd1 29.Qxd1 and wins.]

21. Qxd7+!

A truly beautiful Queen Sacrifice that forces mate!


22. Bf5+ Ke8

(If 22...Kc6; then 23.Bd7#)

23. Bd7+ Kf8;

24. Bxe7#

"An extremely attractive checkmate" - GM J. Nunn and FM Graham Burgess.

(or23...Kd8 24.Bxe7#)

1 - 0

Tactical Themes: open files, demolition, discovery, double attack

Mating Themes: King in the center, Two Bishops mate, Smothered mate.

I consider this to be the 6th greatest attacking game of all time.