The Immortal Bullet Chess Game - Top 10 of the 2000s - Schmaltz vs. Har-Zvi, 2001
Do you know of a more incredible chess game played in just 35 seconds?

The Immortal Bullet Chess Game - Top 10 of the 2000s - Schmaltz vs. Har-Zvi, 2001

NM SamCopeland

I had an incredible time compiling my list of the top 10 chess games of the 2010s so I've decided to continue that project, moving backward one decade at a time to look at the greatest chess games played in each decade.

Next up is the 2000s, one of the chess decades that I felt less informed about, despite the fact that it was the first decade in which I was actively playing chess. The decade largely between Kasparov and Carlsen's reigns was a turbulent one as multiple players claimed the title of world champion (Kramnik, Topalov, and Anand, not to mention aspirants such as Kasimdzhanov and Ponomariov), but none was able to truly separate themselves from the others as Kasparov and Carlsen did.

While online audiences on Twitch and YouTube for chess events did not explode in popularity until the 2010s, playing online chess did take off, at least among serious players, and many amazing chess games began to be played online. Personally, I vividly remember watching players like Hikaru Nakamura (Smallville), FFL Gata Kamsky (Talion), Alexander Grischuk (depressnyak), and Roland Schmaltz (Hawkeye) battling on the ICC for the top rating spots.

Schmaltz was the bullet king, but it was one of his bullet 1|0 losses (against GM Ronen Har-Zvi) that became the "Immortal Bullet Chess Game" and ranks #10 on this list of the best chess games of the decade.

Top 10 Games of the 2000s

The game is not perfect (It would be almost unfair if a bullet game was...), but it is absolutely brilliant. After an opening in which the first ten moves for both sides were probably played in a total of ten seconds, Har-Zvi spots some thrilling ideas and throws his knight into Schmaltz's position, and when it's captured, he sacrifices his queen in an amazing attempt to drag Schmaltz's king up the board.

The sacrifice is NOT sound, but with one inaccurate but natural move, Schmaltz let slip first the win, and then, a moment later, the draw. Har-Zvi finished with a beautiful checkmate in which he drove Schmaltz's king all the way to his 8th rank.


  • Chess beauty can be created even in 35 seconds!
  • Try to give back material to stifle the mate when your opponent sacrifices for mate.
  • Bullet chess is about intuition more than anything else.

My brief annotations are below. I provide annotations and evaluations not to criticize the players' bullet moves, but to further enjoy their brilliance and all the amazing sidelines and ideas that emerge.

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