Sunday, August 4, 2013

The great London 1851 Chess Tournament

Howard Staunton, the great British player first thought of an international
tournament wherein all the best players of the world could be invited to participate. Adolf Anderssen of Germany won the 16 player event and came to be recognized as the first unofficial World Champion.

The preparation of the tournament was under the leadership of Staunton who
was the secretary of the management committee. About 500 pounds was raised as the prize money, which at that time was a very good amount. The tournament was planned as a knock-out contest among 16 of europe's best players. The first round was best of 3 games and the losers were eliminated. Subsequent rounds were best of 7 games with the losers playing consolation matches. Since there was no ELO rating or seeding, the pairings were made by chance.

Kieseritsky, Bird and Lowenthal all lost in the 1st round. The important match
was when Anderssen beat Staunton convincingly 4-1 in the third round (semi-final). In the 4th round final Anderssen beat Wyvill to win the tournament. This was a good result was he was by far the best player those times.

Staunton wrote the tournament book called "The Chess Tournament" in which he blamed his own poor results to the strain of organizing the tournament.
The famous "Immortal Game" (Anderssen-Kieseritsky) was an offhand game which was played during a break in this tournament.
As per the rules of the tournament, Staunton challenged the winner Anderssen
to a 21 game match. Anderssen agreed, but this match never happened as he had to return to Germany to attend to his job as school teacher and later on, ill health of Staunton did not permit him to play competive chess.

Also, after a month of this tournament, the London Chess Club organized another international tournament in rivalry of the fallout with Staunton. It was
interesting that Anderssen won this event as well.

Below i present 2 games, one which was won by Anderssen in the Final, and the other over Staunton in the Semi Final.

Game 1: Anderssen wins with beautiful positional chess ending with a smashing combination.
Marmaduke Wyvill - Adolf Anderssen, Round 4, London 1851
1. c4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Be2 Bb4 5. Bh5+ g6 6. Be2 O-O 7. f4 c5 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 b6 11. a4 Bb7 12. Qc2 Qc7 13. Ng5 h6 14. Nh3 Rae8 15. Bf3 Re7 16. d4 Rg7 17. Ba3 Na5 18. Bxb7 Nxb7 19. Rad1 g5 20. g3 Nd6 21. fxg5 hxg5 22. Qd3 Nde4 23. d5 Qe5 24. Kg2 Rh7 25. Ng1 Rxh2+ 26. Kxh2 Qxg3+ 27. Kh1 Kg7 0-1

Game 2: Anderssen wins with a focused King side attack.
Adolf Anderssen - Howard Staunton, Round 3, London 1851
1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. Nf3 e6 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ba7 7. Bd3 Ne7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qh5 Ng6 10. e5 Qc7 11. Rae1 b5 12. f4 Bb7 13. Ne4 Bxe4 14. Bxe4 Nc6 15. Nxc6 dxc6 16. g4 Rad8 17. Kh1 c5 18. Rf3 Qa5 19. Ref1 Qa4 20. Bd3 Qxa2 21. Rh3 h6 22. g5 Rxd3 23. cxd3 Qd5+ 24. Rff3 Ne7 25. gxh6 g6 26. h7+ Kh8 27. Qg5 Nf5 28. Qf6+ Ng7 29. f5 Qb3 30. Bh6 Qd1+ 31. Kg2 Qe2+
32. Rf2 1-0

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