The Brilliancy Prizes

The Brilliancy Prizes‎

GM Julio_Becerra
21 | Amazing Games

Why has chess survived the test of time? Because in addition to the enjoyment created by competing and winning, whether it be a match, a master title, or an important prize, it also has the ability to please us when we reproduce and play over beautiful games; time and time again, and tens of times until fatigue! It was based on this notion that tournament sponsors took the initiative to award the best games played in each match and gave a brilliancy prize to the creator of the game. Of course, there have been many brilliant unofficial games as well, the two most famous being: "the Immortal" and "the Evergreen."

Today I want to show you two games which have great historical importance. The first one which was played between Henry Bird and James Mason, New York 1876, and has the distinction of having been awarded the first brilliancy prize ever in a tournament! The second one was played between George Marco and Geza Maroczy, Vienna 1899; the game is unique and was the only game I can recall which won the brilliancy prize despite being a game of 78 moves, where the position is totally symmetrical after move 22, and where the game is mostly played with only pawns and knights.

At the present time, when the tradition to award prizes to the best games of each contest has almost disappeared, it continues to be a source of pride for me, having obtained this high distinction in the US championship match of 2007. Perhaps, one day, when the history of brilliancy prizes is re-written...

















More from GM Julio_Becerra
The Walking ECO

The Walking ECO

He Learned Directly from God, Part 5

He Learned Directly from God, Part 5