Immortal Losing Game

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The "Immortal Losing Game" is a chess game between the Soviet grandmaster David Bronstein and the Polish International Master Bogdan Śliwa played in 1957 in Gotha. The name is an allusion to the more famous Immortal Game between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky. The game acquired its name because Bronstein, in a completely lost position, set a series of elegant traps in an attempt to swindle a victory from a lost game, although Śliwa deftly avoided the traps and won.


The game[edit]

White: Bogdan Śliwa   Black: David Bronstein   Opening: ECO A81

1. d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nf6

Both players have fianchettoed their bishops. If White had played the now-standard 4.c4 instead of 4.Nc3, the Leningrad variation of the Dutch Defence would have been reached.

5. Bg5 Nc6 6. Qd2 d6 7. h4 e6 8. 0-0-0 h6 9. Bf4 Bd7 10. e4 fxe4 11. Nxe4 Nd5 12. Ne2 Qe7 13. c4 Nb6?

13...Nxf4 14.Nxf4 Qf7

14. c5! dxc5 15. Bxc7! 0-0? 16. Bd6

White wins the exchange by skewering Black's queen and rook.

16... Qf7 17. Bxf8 Rxf8 18. dxc5 Nd5 19. f4 Rd8 20. N2c3 Ndb4? 21. Nd6 Qf8 22. Nxb7 Nd4!

22...Rb8 23.Qxd7+−
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
d8 white knight
f8 black queen
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
g7 black bishop
e6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
b5 black bishop
c5 white pawn
b4 black knight
d4 black knight
f4 white pawn
h4 white pawn
c3 white knight
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white queen
g2 white bishop
c1 white king
d1 white rook
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 23...Bb5!

23. Nxd8 Bb5! (see diagram) 24. Nxe6!

24.Nxb5?! Qf5! ...
  • 25.Nxd4?? Nxa2#
  • 25.Qxb4?? Qc2#
  • 25.Nc3?? Nxa2+! 26.Nxa2 Nb3#
  • 25.Rde1?? Nxa2+ 26.Kd1 Qb1+ 27.Qc1 Qxc1#
  • 25.b3 Qxc5+ 26.Kb1! (26.Nc3?? Ne2+! 27.Qxe2 Qxc3+ 28.Kb1 Qa1#) Qf5+ 27.Kc1! Qc5+ draws by perpetual check
  • White can still probably win with 25.Qf2! Nxa2+ 26.Kd2 Nxb5 27.Ke1

24... Bd3! 25. Bd5!

25.Nxf8?? Nxa2+ 26.Nxa2 Nb3#
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
g7 black bishop
g6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
c5 white pawn
d5 black queen
b4 black knight
d4 white knight
f4 white pawn
h4 white pawn
c3 white knight
d3 black bishop
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white queen
c1 white king
d1 white rook
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 26...Qxd5!

25... Qf5! 26. Nxd4+ Qxd5! (see diagram) 27. Nc2!

27.Nxd5?? Nxa2#

27... Bxc3 28. bxc3!

28.Qxc3?? Nxa2+ wins the queen.

28... Qxa2 29. cxb4!

29.Nxb4?? Qb1#

1–0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]