Mayet–Anderssen minature

[The writing here could, and probably should, be improved. Perhaps the game itself, and the commentary, should be omitted?]

The following game is a beautiful little miniature, where Anderssen, as Black, plays a speculative move to obtain an open h-file, and Mayet obliges. The game is of interest to us due to the multitudinous citations for both the games date and location. For example:


Mar-18-04 Aliyah: This is the first game in Rashid Ziyatdinov’s interesting book, GM-RAM (Thinker’s Press 2000), presenting the 250 or so positions he claims are sufficient (though perhaps not necessary?) to know to become a Grandmaster. There are also 59 games he says must be memorized, and this game is the first on the (chronological) list. Actually, the game ends with White’s resignation after Black’s 12th move (Bxf2+). I don’t think Chesscafe should be in the business of altering the historical record.Finally, it’s a lovely game!
Premium Chessgames Member <I don’t think Chesscafe should be in the business of altering the historical record.> I don’t think should be in that business either; anyhow this is the game as we received it. Numerous other online databases indicate that it was played to mate (which is doubtful but possible), perhaps somebody else has another published example to use as a third opinion?
Premium Chessgames Member
Calli: I’ve also seen it published with white resigning after 13…Qd1+. I think this was a casual game and not recorded during the play. Even the players can remember these kinds of games differently. Ed Lasker, for instance, reported the famous offhand encounter Thomas-Lasker with slightly different move orders. Without a scorecard there is no certainty. I think that <Aliyah> is likely correct that Mayet resigned before mate and that the ending moves have been added to the score in order to explain the combo. The best possible source would be the original german publication or some book that quotes the original.
Mar-18-04 Aliyah: In addition to GM-RAM I checked the game in the following source, where again it ends 13…Qd1+ 0-1. Graham Burgess, “The Quickest Chess Victories of all Time” (Cadogan Books 1998), pp. 178-179. Burgess doesn’t give his is a wonderful resource (so is Chesscafe – but never mind about that for now); I just want it to have a well-deserved reputation for integrity and reliability. Calli is right – the original publication or a publication with a direct evidential link to the original would be the best possible source. Speaking of Lasker-Thomas (which I assume is what Calli means), I’ve even seen the game given with White’s Queenside castling as the mating move! Striking, remarkable, unique, deeply satisfying, but not true!
Mar-17-07 MaxxLange: How did the “announcing mate” custom work? When did it go out of fashion? I wonder what happened when someone announced mate when there was not a forced mate?
Premium Chessgames Member
Calli: Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games gives 13…Qd1+ 0-1. Their source is Chess Monthly (Zukertort & Hoffer, 1882). A bit disappointing that the source is not closer to the actual game date, but its better than using modern books.
Dec-05-14 Ziryab: Hoffer and Zukertort (1882), The Chess Monthly states that this game was played during the London tournament of 1851 (p.212). Yet, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games puts the game in Berlin 1859.
Mar-31-15 zanzibar: I found a version ending with 12…Bxf2+ with M-4 to follow in WCL 1952:…WCL gives it as 1851 London.In Shibut’s <Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess> p40 he gives the game as 1851 Berlin.I wonder who gives it as 1859? I’m leaning towards 1851.
Mar-31-15 zanzibar: Also <500 Master Games of Chess> By Dr. S. Tartakower, J. du Mont gives the game as 1851 London.<Great Short Games of the Chess Masters> By Fred Reinfeld gives it as 1851 Berlin.
Mar-31-15 zanzibar: <The Art of the Checkmate
By Georges Renaud, Victor Kahn>
Berlin 1859
Mar-31-15 zanzibar: <Die Meister des Schachbretts By Richard Réti> wisely doesn’t give either location nor year.
Apr-03-15 zanzibar: Doing a little forensics to see where this version of the game came from. Key in on Site tag in the pgn – 31232. (Forever memorialized here on <CG> Anyways, a google search quickly yields a potential source, Joel Johnson’s <Formation Attack Strategies (2012)> featuring games from Brian Wall, Jack Young, Clyde Nakamura, James Rizzitano, etc.++31232+mayet+anderssen&source=bl&ots=erKzqvu3n_&sig=FXEi1RaRaQXkRrCzrtQpftfMv_8″>…

So Joel cites the game as from Berlin 1859, which probably was inherited by <CG>.

(Note – the <CG> comments have been extracted and edited, and don’t represent the entire stream of comments.)

Here’s the current PGN from <CG> (slightly edited):

[Event "Berlin -"]
[Site "31232"]
[Date "1859.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Karl Mayet"]
[Black "Adolf Anderssen"]
[ECO "C64"]
[Source " - 2015-04-01"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.O-O Bg4
7.h3 h5 8.hxg4 hxg4 9.Nxe5 g3 10.d4 Nxe4 11.Qg4 Bxd4 12.Qxe4
Bxf2+ 13.Rxf2 Qd1+ 14.Rf1 Rh1+ 15.Kxh1 Qxf1# 0-1

The position after 7…h5?!, where Anderssen basically steers the game into complications where he will outplay Mayet.

Mayet--Anderssen - diagram 7...h5White could get a good game by playing 8.d3 here, which is a good move. But remember, this game was played during the Romantic Era, be it in 1851 or 1859. So accepting the offered sacrifice was almost mandatory.  Here’s the position after 8.hxg5 hxg5Mayet--Anderssen - diagram 8...hxg4White’s best move is 9.d4 shutting off the bishop’s x-ray to the king. Mayet played 9.Nxe5?, which allows Black to play 9…Nxe4 threatening 10…Ng3, 11…Rh1#. Anderssen, master that he is, plays a move almost as good, 9…g3 , which is perhaps a little more direct in exploting f2’s weakness. Now, when White plays 10.d4 it’s a little too late.

After 10…Nxe4?! 11.Qg4 (White must play complicated and interesting 11.fxg3 to keep advantage), we arrive at the last diagram I will show for the game:

Mayet--Anderssen - diagram 11.Qg4Now Black has two crushing moves, the one Anderssen played, 11…Bxd4, and a slightly more material-centric attraction tactic, 11…Rh1+.

All chess players who see Anderssen handling of the game after 11…Bxd4 fall a little in love with his final attack.

For our purposes, the question is more a biographical one, and less chessic. When and where were this game played, and when exactly did it end?

When I first read the <CG> thread shown above, I missed Ziryab’s comment: So I instead stuck out on my own, and decided to try to find as early a reference as possible.

Mayet -- Anderssen (Game No 16) - English Mechanic and World of Science - No 1509 - Feb 23, 1894This was a 1894 version, shown on the left, played all the way out to mate. It was Game #16 from the “English Mechanic and World of Science”, No 1509, Feb 1894. The trouble, of course, is that there is no location or year give, let alone any attribution whatsoever.


Continuing searching, I found the game referenced in an earlier work – Greenwell’s 1891 book “Chess Exemplified”:

Mayet -- Anderssen - Chess Exemplified - Greenwell p35+36 (~1891)

This version ends at 13…Qd1+, and gives the game as played in London in 1851. Better yet, it gives its source. Which I show here:

Chess Monthly - v3 p211Chess Monthly - v3 p212So, Greenwell almost authentically reproduced his source – Chess Monthly, v3, p212 (April? 1882), ending the movelist at 13…Qd1+, with the proper  location and year for the game. However, it would be easy to believe that game was part of the 1851 London Tournament. But the introduction to the game from Chess Monthly  makes it clear that the game was merely played during the tournament. Probably a casual game to these long time “adverseries”.

But here the trail ends, as far as I could determine (so far). This seems to be the primary reference. Given that the editors of Chess Monthly were Zukertot and Hoffer, it can be considered fairly reliable.

Please, however, if anybody does find an earlier reference, feel free to drop a note on <CG> or a comment here.



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