The greatest chess games of all time #1 The Evergreen Game

The greatest chess games of all time #1 The Evergreen Game


   Hey everyone. I took a long break from blogging because I felt like my blogs weren't at the level I wanted and I wasn't getting a return either. Now I am back with a hopefully great series.

   Ladies & Gentlemen... Welcome to a series where I analyze and talk about the history of the greatest and the most amazing chess games of all time. I really hope you enjoy it.


   Today, I will start with the Evergreen Game, played between the two fellow countrymen, Adolf Anderssen and Jean Dufrense in Berlin in 1852, as Jean lived there and Anderssen often visited the German capital. Apparently, the title of Evergreen is given to a plant, that retains green leaves for its whole life. And indeed, this game will always be green, in chess player's hearts.

Adolf Anderssen:

   At the time the game was played in 1852, Anderssen was considered the best player in the world. Nowadays he is known as an unofficial world champion because of the lack of world championship matches organized back then. He was renowned for winning a very important tournament in London in 1851. But before that?

Adolf Anderssen

   Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen, or more simply Adolf Anderssen, was born in 1818 in Breslau, Prussia (currently Wroclaw, Poland). He lived there most of his life, with his mother and his sister. He studied Mathematics at university a began playing chess as a hobby. Later in life, he became a professor of mathematics.

   He learned chess as a boy, from the book "50 games by Labourdonnais and McDonnel", the two authors being the strongest players of the 1830s-40s. This book proved to be the beginning of a great and extremely rich chess career.

London tournament 1851:

   In 1848, Adolf Anderssen drew against a very strong player called Daniel Harrwitz. After others saw his success, he was invited to a huge tournament in London in 1851 to represent Germany.  However, Adolf could not afford to travel to London. Luckily, the director of the tournament, also a very strong player, had faith in Adolf and promised Anderssen he would cover all costs if Anderssen lost. Anderssen couldn't refrain from accepting the brilliant offer and began to prepare by playing other strong players such as Mayet, Dufresne and Josef Szen.

Howard Staunton

   Anderssen went on to win the tournament, therefore gaining the respect of many whilst being regarded as one of the best chess players of his time.

Difficult opponents:

   Like any chess player, Anderssen did have losses. One of his most fierce opponents was Paul  Morphy from New Orleans, who managed to beat all the European players that he played against.

Paul Morphy

Mr.Morphy is the greatest player to have ever played the game - Adolf Anderssen

   Also, in the mid-1860s, Adolf lost to Wilhelm Steinitz (who later became the first official world champion) but that shouldn't make you doubt Anderssen's greatness.

Wilhelm Steinitz

   Anderssen was known for his heroic (some call it romantic) attacking style. A lot of players were adopting this style of play at the time until Wilhelm Steinitz proved that it is best to accumulate small advantages, rather than going for an all-out attack. However, our German master also knew how to handle the positional game. A good example is when he beat Morphy with the Anderssen opening (1.a3), resulting in a more closed and positional game which took them all the way down to the endgame.


   Anderssen died on March 13, 1879, in his hometown. His cause of death was a heart attack. Bombing raids during World War II damaged his grave in Breslau.

Anderssen's grave with a little message from FIDE

Jean Dufresne:

   Dufresne lived in Berlin throughout his whole life. He attended law school but was forced to abandon his studies when his father ran into financial difficulties. He subsequently became a journalist.


Dufresne wasn't the best novelist. He wrote his novels under the pseudonym E. S. Freund.

Dufresne found more success writing chess books, one of which, Kleines Lehrbuch des Schachspiels ("Small handbook of chess") which taught several generations of players. In a letter to Paul Dirac at the end of 1929, Werner Heisenberg deemed Dufresne's handbook "the best book about the theory of Chess".He also wrote a popular book on Paul Morphy.

The opening:

   I have decided that in these articles, I will make a special devotion for explaining the opening of these games. So the game started:

   The Evans Gambit is an opening created by Captain William Evans, and he came up with the idea of giving up a flank pawn to get central initiative with c3-d4 pawn pushes while he was crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Captain William Evans

   The Evans Gambit arises from the Italian game, created by Gioachino Grecco, one of the first professional chess players. Dufresne studied the move 7...d3, instead of getting greedy with further pawn captures like 7...dxc3. Although it's objectively better to develop the g-knight to e7 or to play the move d6.

   But the point of this move is to give a pawn back (because if the pawn is never captured it can become an extremely dangerous passed pawn), and if Bxd3 the bishop gives up the strong diagonal and loses a tempo, and if Qxd3 the queen is developed early which is unprincipled, and might be taken advantage of.

   Anyway, white generally doesn't take that pawn, and it never really becomes any dangerous, any time soon due to white's quick attack. To avoid this choice, other options would have been to decline the gambit completely with 5...Bb6, or to go back with the bishop after taking the pawn with 6...Be7, these two being the most sound alternatives.

The game:

   Yes, finally the moment everyone has been waiting for, if you don't know this game, then you should:

   To conclude, this is a really beautiful game, and that is the first chess game I have by-hearted. I really hope you enjoyed it, and suggest the game I need to cover next.

If I ever get such a position I want it on my tumb stone - Ginger GM


Agadmator's chess channel Lessons-The Evans gambit

Dufresne's Wikipedia

Anderssen's Wikipedia Master database