Anderssen. Three Off-hand Games in A Theoretical Debate of The Times. 'WOW Chess'!

Anderssen. Three Off-hand Games in A Theoretical Debate of The Times. 'WOW Chess'!


Good Afternoon my friends. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you are all well in these turbulent times.

Sorry - quite a bit of reading to do again!

A couple of articles ago I showed one side of the great dichotomy that was Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen. On that occasion I included this game, from his tournament legacy - the serious stuff!

As I mentioned, the opening line there - 9.d5 in the Evan's Gambit - was a huge theoretical debate at the time. You could write a whole book on just the evolution of this line. Whilst doing the notes to that game, a number of others came in to my head, which I scribbled my usual cryptic references to, on my sheet of A4 - yes, I am still stuck in the old ways of doing things.

With a couple of hours to escape from reality I went looking for two of them, and in the Anderssen book mentioned there, and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, which used it as primary source,

I spotted another off-hand game which I recognized at once.

So, to lighten the mood a little, I went over the three games quickly adding a few notes as I did so, and will give them here for you to hopefully - enjoy.

On the serious chess evolutionist side, they were part of the development of main line theory of the time - Strong players often used off-hand games to try out new ideas in particular openings ( I think Alekhine used simultaneous display and exhibition games in a similar way. Perhaps a future article!! In the months prior to the Anand - Kasparov match, I had already predicted Kasparov's back-up defence to 1.e4 by looking at how he was experimenting. )

From the other side - as someone who just loves chess - they are a delight. Anderssen having fun - he would rattle off game after game, hour after hour against anyone who would sit opposite him, coming up with all sorts of incredible ideas.

Of course, hundreds of those games were never saved. ( It was once said of Cecil De Vere that his most beautiful creations were never recorded for posterity ) but some of the more attractive ones were - both wins and losses.

So, enjoy the games!

Firstly the one that I stumbled back across. As imperfect as you would expect, but with some nice ideas, and a surprise finish.

(I have done some quick notes as I went along, but let's not forget the circumstances in which they were played - writing full critical analysis - with computer help - would almost certainly take longer that the games actually lasted! To my mind, the time spent on analysis of 'The Immortal', 'The Evergreen', etc. misses the point a little - the games were guys having fun - like online blitz today.

All instinct, intuition and adventure and having fun. Even so, playing in that way Anderssen could come up with ideas that were just extraordinary, so let's enjoy them and not pointlessly dissect them.)

The two games against Zukertort - the two played many, many hundreds of such off-hand games, and both benefited from them. Again, you could write a book of interest just on those games. These two games were both played over the Christmas holidays of 1866 in Breslau, as far as I can make out.

And finally this next game. I first saw it in a book by Barcza et al.

I still have my copy after 45 years. The binding has cracked from repeated opening and reading, opening and reading, opening and reading, over 4 and a half decades, and it is all held together with yellowing sellotape. 

The book inspired the teen-aged version of me to study and to learn more. The game made a HUGE impression on me - 'WOW chess'.

If this game doesn't inspire you, then nothing will.