Adolf Anderssen: A Good Positional Player!
Everybody knows about Adolf Anderssen's combinations: "the Immortal" and "the Evergreen"... but, who knows about the positional games from Anderssen?! Yes, its true, Anderssen was a great positional player! Of course he shines in combinational play and is an outstanding tactical player (maybe the first in the history of chess) but later in his career he turned towards positional play. A knowledge of the combination is the foundation of positional play!
Anderssen was born in Breslau (now called Wroclaw), in the Prussian province of Silesia, in 1818. He studied philosophy and mathematics and taught at the college of his native city until his death on March 13, 1879. Anderssen lived a quiet and stable life, and his passion was playing chess. Anderssen's hometown was so proud of him that in 1865 Breslau University awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Anderssen first came to the attention of the chess world when he published Aufgabe fur Schachspieler, a collection of 60 chess problems, in 1842. This article has two studies from this collection; one is a mate in 4 and the other is a mate in 5. When I was writing this article, I showed the first problem to my student Erik Hecht who found mate in two. At that moment I realized I had placed the king incorrectly on g8. Maybe you can find this mate too.
After the London 1851 Tournament, tournaments were becoming more frequent, and the general adoption of the round robin format was becoming more common. Anderssen obtained a very successful tournament record at this late stage in his career (starting at age 50): he achieved five first places, two second places, two third places; and a sixth place in the final year of his life, when his health was failing. I only hope my student, who will be 50 this year, can achieve equal success!!
This article also highlights an important Anderssen game where he defeated Paulsen in Vienna, 1873. This battle cleary shows Anderssen's skill as a positional player. My comments on this game will test your positional knowledge as well.