214 ( +1 | -1 )
"The beauty of a chess game is assessed, and not without good reason, according to the sacrifices it contains."
-- Rudolf Spielmann
Brilliancies are the gems of chess. Just one brilliant game can make you famous--even if you lose.
"It is because combinations are possible that chess is more than a lifeless mathematical exercise," said Reuben Fine. "They are the poetry of the game; they are to chess what melody is to music."
Alexander Alekhine once complained that by a peculiar coincidence the two most brilliant wins of his career (vs. Bogolyubow at Hastings 1922 and Reti at Baden Baden 1925) "remains undistinguished because there were no brilliancy prizes awarded in either of these contests!"
The 19th century was a swashbuckling era filled with naive delight in the sacrifice as an end in itself. Along came Wilhelm Steinitz who proclaimed, "a win by an unsound combination, however showy, fills me with artistic horror." Thus began the modern era.
Nowadays risky sacrifices usually are thwarted by ruthless defense. But sweet melodies sometimes are created by players nobody ever heard of. "Full many a gem of purest ray serene...is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air."
We unearthed this obscure gem played by two unknowns in 1967 and fed the diagram to a computer to see how long it took to find the killer. Presto! A split second.
This king hunt is notable for the last move as well as the dizzying gyrations of Black’s queen from one side of the board to the other. Where did White go wrong?
An old Keres analysis cites 15 Qxe4 Re8 16 d4 as the right path. A better defense also is 19 d3 Qxh2 20 Qxa5 Qxg2 21 Kd1. Later White overlooked 22 Qd4! refuting the attack. Black then missed a win by 23...Qe7! and White in turn could have averted disaster by 24 Nxc6!
RADCHENKO Two Knights Defense
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5 6 Bb5 c6 7 dxc6 bxc6 8 Be2 h6 9 Nf3 e4 10 Ne5 Qd4 11 f4 Bc5 12 Rf1 Qd8 13 c3 Nd5 14 Qa4 0–0 15 b4 Qh4 16 Kd1 Rd8 17 Kc2 Bf5 18 bxc5 e3 19 Kb2 Rdb8 20 Ka3 Qd8 21 Bb2 exd2 22 Rd1? Bc2! 23 Qxc2 Nb3 24 Nc4 Nxa1 25 Qxd2