14 January 2014

Find the Best Move

Lesson of the Week

The young chess players in my several chess clubs this week have an opportunity to discover the finish of one of the games from the Adolf Anderssen -- Howard Staunton match at the 1851 London International chess tournament. Staunton organized the event to coincide with the London World's Fair. It was the first World's Fair and the first international chess tournament. Anderssen won the knock-out tournament and was considered the best player in the world until Paul Morphy beat him in a match later in the decade.

White to move


  1. 1.f5! when the 2.Bh6 threat is lethal.

    So, after 1.f5 Qd8, White has the blood-thirsty follow-up of 2.QxN! KxQ, 3.f6+ Qxf6, 4.exf6 mate.

    I've seen this game before, but I didn't remember the answer, had to work it out since 3.Bh6+ can be met by ...Kxh7, when 4.Bg5+ Kg7, 5.BxQd8 RxB has merely traded off White's great h7 pawn.

    What's remarkable about this position is how Anderssen has doubled his rooks on the third rank and left his king-pinned. In fact, if I remember this game correctly, he walked into that pin intentionally with his king!

    1. Wait, I got sloppy again as 4.exf6 is obviously not mate.

      4.h8Q+! RxQ, 5,e5xQf6+ Kg8, 6.RxR+ KxR, 7.Bh6! when Bg7+ followed by Rf3-h3-h8 mate. tsk tsk, need to be meticulous with the details. :-D I suppose I got it right this time, but then again I have seen this game before. ;-)

      Going over one of these games blitz-like is better than spending one's time playing a blitz game, IMHO.

    2. linuxguy, I think that 7.Rh3+ leads to a faster checkmate, but otherwise your analysis looks correct.

      In the game Staunton met f5 with Qb3. After a few spite checks culminating in the queen's desparado, there was no defense against checkmate.

      Anderssen's 29.f5 is the key, of course. Seeing how that brings the bishop into play is the point of this week's lesson.