Polish Immortal

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Polish Immortal is the name given to a chess game between Glinksberg and Miguel Najdorf played in Warsaw. The game is celebrated because of Black's sacrifice of all four of his minor pieces.

Some sources give the date of this game as 1930 or 1935,[1] and give the name of the player of the white pieces as "Glucksberg". Garry Kasparov gives the date of the game as 1928, and the name of Najdorf's opponent as "Glinksberg", attributing these facts to Najdorf and his daughter.[2]

Annotated game[edit]

White: Glucksberg   Black: Miguel Najdorf   Opening: Dutch Defence (ECO A85)

[Notes based on Kasparov's in My Great Predecessors, Part IV, unless otherwise indicated]

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3

Dutch Defence with 2.c4 and 3.Nc3.

3... e6 4. Nf3 d5 5. e3

Savielly Tartakower suggests 5.Bf4.[3]

5... c6 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. 0-0 0-0 8. Ne2

Tartakower recommends 8.Ne5 followed by 9.f4, "countering the Stonewall with another Stonewall".[4]

8... Nbd7 9. Ng5?

This move looks like an elementary blunder, losing a pawn, but in fact the position is more complicated than that.

9... Bxh2+! 10. Kh1!?

After 10.Kxh2 Ng4+ 11.Kh1 Qxg5 Black is up a pawn for nothing. After 10.Kh1, White threatens both Nxe6, winning material, or to trap Black's bishop with g3 or f4.

10... Ng4! 11. f4

Defending White's knight on g5 and cutting off the escape route of Black's bishop; not 11.Nxe6? Qh4!

11... Qe8 12. g3 Qh5 13. Kg2 (see diagram)

a b c d e f g h
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
f8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black knight
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black pawn
e6 black pawn
d5 black pawn
f5 black pawn
g5 white knight
h5 black queen
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
g4 black knight
d3 white bishop
e3 white pawn
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white knight
g2 white king
h2 black bishop
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
f1 white rook
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 13.Kg2; Black begins a series of sacrifices to hunt White's king.
White has surrounded Black's bishop and threatens to win it with Rh1, Nf3, and Nxh2.

13... Bg1!!

Sacrificing the bishop in order to continue the attack on White's king.

14. Nxg1

Not 14.Kxg1? Qh2#, or 14.Rxg1? Qh2+ and 15...Qf2#

14... Qh2+ 15. Kf3 e5! 16. dxe5 Ndxe5+ 17. fxe5 Nxe5+ 18. Kf4 Ng6+ 19. Kf3 f4!!

Threatening both 20...Ne5# and 20...Bg4+.[5]

20. exf4

If 20.Bxg6 Bg4+ 21.Kxg4 Qxg3+ 22.Kh5 hxg6+ 23.Kxg6 Rf6+ 24.Kh5 Rh6#

20... Bg4+!! 21. Kxg4 Ne5+! 22. fxe5 h5#

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chess Notes by Edward Winter – note 3615
  2. ^ Garry Kasparov, My Great Predecessors, Part IV, Gloucester Publishers, 2004, p. 115.
  3. ^ I.A. Horowitz and Jack Straley Battell (editors), The Best in Chess, E.P. Dutton, 1965, p. 93.
  4. ^ Tartakower, in Horowitz and Battell, p. 93.
  5. ^ Tartakower, in Horowitz and Battell, p. 93.

External links[edit]