Die Immergrüne Partie

Die Immergrüne Partie

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Dr. Hermann von Gottschall


     Dr. Hermann von Gottschall (1862-1933) was a reputable German chessplayer and problemist. He also edited the German periodical "Deutsche Schachzeitung" from 1892-96 (having co-edited with Curt von Bardeleben from 1887-1891) and authored several books on chess (including three books on chess problems and one tournament book), among which was his famous 1912 treatise on Adolf Anderssen, "Adolf Anderssen, der Altmeister deutscher Schachspielkunst, Sein Leben und Schaffen."


Jean Dufresne

     Jean Dufresne was born in Berlin in 1829 on Valentine's Day. His father, Jacob Ephraim Dufresne, was a well-to-do Jewish merchant and Jean reaped all the benefits of a privileged lifestyle, including a good education and an easy life.  But he was bright and seemed to possess a natural talent for chess.  In 1848, Dufresne beat Daniel Harrwitz in an Evans Gambit (coincidentally, Harrwitz drew a match with Anderssen that same year). 





     As a 21 year old law student, Dufresne joined the Berlin Chess Club were he met Adolf Anderssen, whom he considered his chess mentor and with whom he would play many unrecorded casual games thoughout his life.  Two years later, his father lost his fortune. Jean ended up in journalism and publishing. This was his bread and butter until he lost his hearing in 1874 and simply freelanced his writings. But during his stint in publishing he wrote, among many others, "Die Spiele des Calabresen Greco for Schachzeitung" in 1857, a short story, "Verlorne Seelen" in 1860,  "Der Schachfreund" (with Anderssen) in 1862,  his "Theoretisch-praktisches handbuch des schachspiels" in 1863, "Paul Morphy's Schachspielkunst" in 1864, "Der praktische Schachmeister" in 1865, "Paul Morphy's Schachwettkämpfe" in 1868 and  "Philidoria: unterrichtsbriefe zur selbsterlernung des schachspieles" in 1871. Dufresne also published under the anagramic pseudonym "E. S. Freund" non-chess works such as "Rätselschatz: Sammlung von Rätseln und Aufgaben" 1885

     Anderssen and Dufresne collaborated again on an important production:

A most interesting work has just made its appearance in Germany, the joint production of Dufresne and Anderssen. It is entitled the Anthologie der Shochaufgoben, and without entering into any review of this important work for the present we may briefly state that the problems, 364 in number, are selected from the productions of the leading European masters. Besides a number of well-annotated games—a feature especially worth noticing—there are treatises by Professor Anderssen on the King's Knight's Gambit, the Evan's Gambit, and the Ruy Lopez.

     -"The Chess Player's Magazine," Volume 2, edited by Johann Jacob Löwenthal, 1864.


     Later, Dufresne published such works as his most famous "Kleines Lehrbuch des Schachspiels" in 1881, his "Schachturnierbuch" in 1884, "Schachfibel; oder Grundregeln des Schachspiels" in 1888 and "Neuester Leitfaden für Schachspieler" in 1890.

     Although Drufresne's relevance lies more in his writing than his chess-play, it should be noted that he did beat Anderssen in their informal match in 1868 with a score of 3½ - 2½.
[according to Andreas Saremba, at the "Hause des Bankiers Marx"]


     The "British Chess Magazine" translated his obituary in 1893:

On April 13th, the well known chess master and author, Jean Dufresne, died at Berlin, after a long illness. He was born in 1829, and was an honorary member of the Berlin Club. After finishing his earlier education, he studied law and finance till 1852, at Berlin and Breslau ; but when his father had lost all his property he devoted himself to journalism, and finally, in 1874, was editor of the "Berlin Post."  Being compelled to give up this vocation by the complete loss of his hearing, he betook himself entirely to chess, and his love for it made him, though still young, one of the strongest Berlin players. He played a good deal with Anderssen, and for several years edited jointly with him the "Berlin Schachzeitung."  Among his numerous chess works the most important are the large Handbook of Chess, edited in common with Zukertort, and the "Kleine Lehrbuch des Schachspiels." Dufresne's name has become generally known through his editorship of a series of chess columns. The chess world loses in him a talented chess player and a most industrious man of letters.—[originally published in the "Deutsche Schachzeitung"]



     Despite his incredible catalogue of work, Jean Drufresne, who is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee, is best remembered for being on the losing side of Anderssen's Evergreen Game (Immergrüne Partie), . The name "Evergreen Game," according to Dufresne himself in "Der Junge Schachspieler,"1894, stems from Steinitz' remark, calling this game an "evergreen in the laurel wreath of the greatest German chess master" ("Immergrün im Lorbeerkranze des größten deutschen Schachmeisters").


 Below is a glimpse of the Evergreen Game from the pages of Dr. Gottschall's book:













     Paul Morphy called the Evans Gambit, "that most beautiful of openings," and, indeed, until the beast was declawed by Lasker and fell out of fashion for nearly a century, this particular opening led to some of the most spectacular games.  Of all the Evans Gambits ever played, Anderssen's Evergreen Game is, by far, the most famous, possibly the most beautiful, and even after a century and a half, still controversial.



Anderssen image and autograph from Gottschall's book


                                             Anderssen's Evergreen Game

  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.O-O
   A typical postion found in the Evans Gambit









7. . . d3
   Black deviates with 7...d6 or even 7... dxc3 being decidedly better.

   a strong move that has been criticized by Burgess and Nunn who preferred 8. Re1

8. . . Qf6 9.e5 Qg6 10.Re1 Nge7 11.Ba3








Black is ahead by 2 pawns, but White is adequately compensated with greater development and the initiative.

11. . . b5
   Black returns some wood in a valiant attempt to stifle White's impending attack, but Nunn calls this move "the first truly 19th century
move of the game," and a futile attempt at counter-play.

12.Qxb5 Rb8 13.Qa4 Bb6
    13. . . 0-0  14.Bxe7, if 14. . . Nxe7, then 15. Qxa5

14.Nbd2 Bb7 15.Ne4 Qf5 16.Bxd3 Qh5 17.Nf6+
    This temporary sacrifice doesn't force a win, but gave Anderssen the kind of position he loved. 17.Ng3 is objectively better however. 

17. . . gxf6 18.exf6 Rg8 19.Rad1







   Here's where the greatest controversy lies:

Back in 1900 James Mason expressed admiration of White's 19th move in "Social Chess":
                           19. QR-Qsq.!  QxKt  [19. Rad1 Qxf3 ]
                           20. RxKt+!      KtxR  [20. Rxe7+ Nxe7]
                           All forced. If  20 . . . K-Qsq ; 21 RxQP+   K-Bsq ; 
                           22. R-Q8+!  KtxR ; 23. Q-Q7+!  KxQ ; 24. B-B5+   
                           K moves ; 25. B-Q7, mate!  
                           [20.... Kd8 21. Rxd7+ Kc8 22. Rd8+ Nxd8 23. Qd7+
                            Kxd7 24. Bf5+ Ke8 25. Bd7#]

But in "The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games" (Graham Burgess, John Nunn, John Emms), it's written:
               19.Rad1 was criticized by Lasker who preferred: 
                      19. Be4 Qh3  20.g3 Rxg3  21 hxg3 Qxg3+  22. Kh1 Bxf2  
                      23. Bxe7 (if 23. Re2, then 23...Nd4!) 23...Qh3+ 24. Nh2 
                      Qh4  25. Re2 Nd4  26. Bxb7  Nxe2  27. Qxh4  Bxh4 - 
          In "My Great Predecessors", Kasparov offered this variation of Lasker's
          line:  24.Nh2 Bxe1 25.Rxe1 Qh4! 26.Qd1! Nxe7 27.Bxb7 Qxf6 28.Qg4
          "with the initiative".

     Consequently, Black's reply is equally controversial 
19 . . . Qxf3

     One of the most interesting lines I've noticed relied on the defense of d7:

. . .
20.Rxe7+ Nxe7
      20...Kd8 21.Rxd7+! Kc8! 22.Rd8+! Kxd8 23.Be2+!  -Kasparov calls "more prosaic"

21. . . Kxd7 22.Bf5+ Ke8 23.Bd7+ Kf8 24.Bxe7# 1-0 

     These comments aren't meant to analyze the game, but rather to show that even immortal brilliancies can demonstrably flawed, especially after deep analysis over time by scores of great minds and/or with computer assistance.

     The human mind is a glorious and beautiful thing that can be truly appreciated through its creative manifestations - through art, music, mathematics, even chess.  In a chess game, two minds are pitted against each other.  As no mind is perfect, no game is perfect, but beauty that attracts doesn't rely on perfection.   We are often drawn to faces that are lovely, yet imperfect with the crooked smile or too-wide eyes becoming the main appeal.  When these two imperfect minds struggle to see deeper and to plan more cunningly, and one mind succeeds in a most subtle and surprising fashion, a certain beauty can be detected and felt.  A century of analysis, later aided by computers, may find a deeper truths in a position and a better plans than those devised over-the-board, but certainly not a greater beauty.   Anderssen's game, created of course with an imperfect mind, was, like the Mona Lisa with her imperfect smile, a work of art. 

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