Personal Mona Lisa

Personal Mona Lisa

| 23 | Tactics

Preparing last week's column I replayed the "Immortal Game" one more time and couldn't help but think: yes, the Anderssen - Kieseritzky game is wonderful, but is it really the most beautiful game ever played? Of course it is impossible to answer a question like this because as a well-known saying goes: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, with thousands of games played every year, how can we know that 'the most beautiful game ever played' didn't happen in a little open tournament played by two little known masters? After all, the "Immortal Game" was just an informal one, played during a break in an official tournament.

Every chess player had a game of his life at some point. Most such games played by giants are well-known and published in countless numbers of books. But what about mere mortals who never became World Champion or even GMs? Can we deny that the game Breyer-Esser, Budapest 1917, played by a young talented master Gyula Breyer just 4 years before his untimely death was a piece of beauty and probably has the right to also be called immortal? We analyzed this game here:

 I cannot agree more with a comment by member UnbornGM who wrote:

 "People oftern talk about Vinci, Picasso, Van Gough, and many more. For me, this one game has much more art in it than Mona Lisa.  This is just beautiful."

So, with this article I want to start a collection of the most beautiful games played by particular players.  I can easily miss some true gems, so I sincerely hope that you my dear readers will suggest your picks for the best games ever played.

And I want to start with the best game ever played by GM Eduard Gufeld.  Why him? This choice was very simple. Unlike most chess players, GM Gufeld always knew what his best chess creation was and even called the following game his Mona Lisa, the best game he ever played. As he jokingly said, for Fischer or Karpov it is easy to play fantastic games since they are geniuses in every single game, meanwhile a genius inside of GM Eduard Gufeld woke up only once...

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your attacking skills, so the games are given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)

It is easy to see that Black's position in the next diagram looks desperate.  White's attack is in full swing already while Black's counter play hasn't even started.  What should Black do?



Black managed to defend against the first wave of the attack and even brought his Rook close to White's King, but here come the new threats.  What should Black do?
Finally White's attack is repelled (at least for one move) but how should Black continue his own attack?
Finally, it becomes clear that Black is on top and his attack should be decisive by any count.  But what is the most efficient way to finish White off?
In conclusion, let me quote GM Gufeld himself: "Every artist hopes to create his own Mona Lisa and every chess player dreams to play his own "Immortal Game". Even today, many years later, when I remember this game, it makes me happy. It is in moments like this you forget about all the games and tournaments that you lost and you feel that your dreams come true!"
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