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7 Greatest Queen Sacrifices in Chess History
"Let them eat chess." Marie Antoinette...probably.

7 Greatest Queen Sacrifices in Chess History

SheldonOfOsaka
| 47

Hello, my fellow history lovers, and welcome to another edition of the Osaka Papers.

Basketball has the "Buzzer Beater", Golf has its "Hole-In-One", and in Soccer nothing is better than a perfectly struck "Bicycle Kick". But in our Great Game, the epitome of eminence...of majesty...of outright audacity is winning with a queen sacrifice.

So, dear reader, for your entertainment and edification I have decided to compile the 7 greatest queen sacrifices in chess history, and present them to you in puzzle format.

Mayhaps, many of you will find 5 or even 6 of these quite easy, owing to their notoriety, but I warn you, there is one puzzle present that might literally put you at risk of stroke...O_o...

The puzzles have been presented in chronological order, good luck trying to solve all 7 on the first attempt.

So, without further ado, here are the 7 greatest queen sacrifices in chess history.


The Evergreen Game

Adolf Anderssen vs Jean Dufresne 1852



An evergreen in the laurel crown of the departed chess hero. - William Stenitz

For our first entry we must go back to the dawn of time. Before such concepts as World Champion or rating systems. At the time, German mathematics professor Adolf Anderssen was considered the strongest player in the world. The sublimity of this sacrifice lends credence to that opinion.

Black has made a critical mistake by taking the knight of f3, you start things off by playing a move that would put a smile on GothamChess' face.


The Opera Game

Paul Morphy vs Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard 1858



Morphy was probably the greatest genius of them all. - Bobby Fischer.

In 1858, the young American genius traveled to Europe to take on the best that the continent had to offer...he butchered them. In between these forays he was invited to the Opera by two noblemen, and there challenged to a chess game. What followed is perhaps the most instructive game of chess ever played. Morphy demonstrated rapid development and sacrificing in mating combinations, the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard demonstrated how NOT to play chess.

Black's pieces are cramped and underdeveloped, but their king is apparently safe, you'll need to sacrifice in order to expose the dark monarch.


Sucker Punch

Richard Reti vs Savielly Tartakower 1910


The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made. - Savielly Tartakower

Richard Reti is known as one of the principal proponents of Hypermodernism, a school of thought that holds that the center can be controlled by distant pieces, breaking with the classical notion that it must be controlled with pawns. His opponent was Savielly Tartakower a great player and author in his own right, who is famous for his wit and many aphorisms.

In this game, Reti is able to outwit the great master in only 11 moves, executing one of the most famous attacks in chess history. It is hard to believe that a master could be beaten in only 11 moves, but as Tartakower quipped, "the blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made"...

White is under attack, you'll need to defend and get your king to safety before unleashing an assault.


The Gold Coin Game

Stefan Levitsky vs Frank Marshall 1912


A bad plan is better than none at all. - Frank Marshall

Frank Marshall was an American chess champion, who was considered one of the strongest chess players of his era. After the St. Petersburg Tournament of 1914, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall were conferred the title of "Grandmaster" by Tsar Nicholas II, making Marshall an Original Grandmaster.

The Gold Coin Game, is Marshall's most famous win, it is said after the winning move, spectators rained down gold coins onto the board...Haters will say this is completely made up, and the spectators didn't even rain down pennies, but it is a cool story nonetheless.

Black's marvelous piece placement make this sacrifice possible, you'll need to recognize common patterns to see all the variations.


The Game of the Century

Donald Byrne vs Bobby Fischer 1956



Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind. - Bobby Fischer

Mayhaps, there is no chess player so famous or celebrated as Bobby Fischer. Yet in 1956, he was just a 13 year old chess prodigy up against one of America's leading masters, Donald Byrne. These facts notwithstanding, Fischer displayed ingenious innovation by playing a combination that has fascinated chess aficionados for over a half century, earning the moniker "Game of the Century", all things considered, it is not much of an overstatement.

Most will remember the sacrifice, but can you find the correct continuation that most efficiently coordinates Black's pieces?


Toran Two

Roman Toran Albero vs Mikhail Tal 1961



You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one. - Mikhail Tal

Mikhail Tal, also known as the Magician from Riga, is one of the most beloved chess players of all time. His flair for attack, sportsmanship and kind heartiness have made him a favorite of chess fans. Yet, behind the gentlemanly nature and smiling face lurked a killer, this was a man who could kill you over the board. He was able to turn the tiniest inaccuracy into a death sentence.

This fact is deftly demonstrated in one of Tal's most famous sacrifices. In this game, Tal is faced with two options, accept an early draw or sacrifice the queen for an uncertain attack: What do you reckon he chose?

Tal starts things off with a sacrifice, from there it gets more complicated. This puzzle is so hard, it may put you at risk of stroke...Good Luck!


Navigating the Rapids

Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin 2016



I am the best I don’t have any doubt about that, but you gotta prove it when you play! - Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time. Although, he no longer holds the title of World Champion he is still the undisputed strongest player in the world.

In 2016, he defended his world championship title against Sergey Karjakin. The Classical portion of the match had ended in a 6-6 draw, they then proceeded to a 4 game rapid tiebreaker, the first two games were again drawn, Carlsen was victorious in the 3rd, leading to this final game.

Carlsen won the game and the World Championship with an astounding queen sacrifice, the equivalent of winning the World Cup of soccer in the last minute of overtime with a bicycle kick...Incredible scenes.

The White King is under attack, you'll need to defend accurately before going on the attack.


And that was it, that was the 7 Greatest Queen Sacrifices in Chess History. Did any of you actually solve all 7 puzzles on the first attempt? If you did, not unlike Tsar Nicholos II, I would like to proclaim you an honorary "Grandmaster of Online Puzzle Solving", Congratulations!

Moreover, did I miss any of your favorites? Be sure to rant and rave in the comment section about your most beloved queen sacrifices.

As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to share these puzzles with your friends down at the bar or club,

Cheers, SheldonOfOsaka.

{Note: where possible I have left the original annotations, all credit to the authors}