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   Welcome to MY web page on the 9th greatest game of chess ever played. Many hours of work went into bringing you this page. I hope you enjoy it. (page-banner, rot-rub1.gif; 05KB)

   Gersh Rotlewi (2390) - Akiba Rubinstein (2630)  
  Lodz, Poland/ 12,1907.  

[A.J. Goldsby I]


 (The ratings are VERY conservative estimates, esp. by modern-day standards!) 

You definitely will need a chess set to play over this game. 
    Click  HERE  to go to a page with this game on a js re-play board.    

 (See the bottom of this page for escape links, or click the "Back" button on your web browser.) 

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 The 9th Greatest Chess Game Ever? 

   ******  One of the most beautiful games of all time. ****** 


("The Polish Brilliancy," or the "The Polish Immortal Game."   ... or I prefer: "Rubinstein's Immortal Masterpiece.")
("Rubinstein's Colossal Immortal Game."  - GM H. Kmoch.)  

A MODEL GAME, for Attack on the King, & tactics. 


Chernev writes: 
"The great artist of the endgame displays his virtuosity in yet another field. He unleashes an attack with the fire and elegance of a Morphy, and unfolds combinations and brilliant sacrifices that would do honour to Tal or Alekhine." 
<< 'THE RUBINSTEIN IMMORTAL'  >>  ................................................
      "undoubtedly ranks with the most famous games of all times. (!!) There is nothing like seeing this game for the first time --- 
        or the second, third, or tenth time!" 

Irving Chernev in his book,  "The Golden Dozen." (Copyright 1976, Oxford University Press.)


NOTE:  I wrote nearly ALL of my comments and annotations long before Soltis came out with his book, "The 100 Best."  (I first annotated this game for a friend in the 80's. He was kind enough to make notes and pass them along to me when I finally got my own computer.)  But I did (of course!) update my comments when Soltis came out with his excellent book. 

(Brief opening survey included in the context of this game.) 

1. d4 d5;   
Rubinstein was a classical player and rarely ventured outside the confines of the double QP openings as Black.  (When facing 1. d4.) 

2. Nf3, (development)
A good and natural move. 

This one move accomplishes 3 very important things: 
# 1.)   Most importantly, it controls the center; 
# 2.)   It develops a piece; 
# 3.)   It prepares the possibility of King-side castling by White. 


     [ The more normal move order(s) to reach the openings,   (The Tarrasch and/or 
         the Semi-Tarrasch)   that are used in this game, is:  2.c4 e63.Nc3 c5;  ('!?')  
        This is the full-blown  "Tarrasch Defense,"  Black will often accept an isolated 
        Pawn for active play. 


          The   "Semi-Tarrasch"   arises after the following moves:  3...Nf6; 4.Nf3!? c5; 
          5.cxd5 Nxd56.e3 Nc67.Bd3 cxd48.exd4 Be79.0-0 0-0; 10.Re1 Bf6; 
          11.Be4! Nce712.Qd3 h6!13.Ne5 Nxc314.Qxc3 Nf515.Be3 a5!?
          16.Rac1!? a4 The end of the column.  17.Red1,  {Diagram?}  Centralizing. 
             ( 17.Bxf5!?, - {A.J.G.} )    17...Nxe3!?;   Karpov suggests 17...Ra5!?; 18.Nc4, Rb5;  
            and calls it unclear.     (17...Ra5!?)    18.Qxe3!?,  (Maybe - '!')  Keeping the most 
           the most powerful piece in the center.    (18.fxe3!?)     18...Qb619.Ng4!?, "+/="  
           (Maybe - '?!')  {Diagram?}   A curious position.  (One that is difficult to evaluate.)  
           DeFirmian says this position is slightly better for White, the computers says it 
           is slightly better for BLACK!  ("=/+")  I think "unclear" is a probably a better and 
           more accurate assessment of this position. 

          (White lost this game, so this is  NOT  a case of theory being influenced by the result!)

             GM V. Topalov - GM A. Karpov;   Linares, ESP/ 1995.   
             [ See MCO-14;  pg.'s # 428 - 429.   Columns # 85 - 90, (mainly) 
               Column # 85 here; and notes (a.) thru (f.).  Mainly note # f here.).  ].  

            ( Perhaps better is: 19.Qe2!"Maybe +/=" - {A.J.G.}


        (Returning to our brief exam of the main line of the Tarrasch Variation.)  
        4.cxd5 exd55.Nf3 Nc66.g3!?,  (Maybe - '!')  The best move here.  
        The treatment pioneered by none other than Rubinstein himself!!!   (6.dxc5!?)  
6...Nf67.Bg2 Be78.0-0 0-09.Bg5 The main lines in today's world of opening 
         theory.   ( 9.dxc5!?, "+/="    9...cxd410.Nxd4 h611.Be3 Re812.Rc1!?,  ('!') 
         I believe this is the main line here.  ( White can also play: 12.Qb3!?, or 12.Qa4!? ),  
12...Bf8;  The main line.  ( 12...Bg4!?)    13.Na4!?,  Again, we are just following the 
         main line in MCO here.   ( 13.Qa4!, "+/="  - {A.J.G.}   13...Bd714.Nc5 Ne5!?; 
         15.Nxd7,   White wins the Bishop pair.   ( Not 15.Nxb7? Qb6!16.Qb3 Rab8;  
           17.Qxb6 axb6; 18.Rc7 Bc8!;  "-/+"  (Maybe "-/+") The Knight on b7 is now  
           surrounded.  {A.J.G.} )    15...Qxd7; 16.Bf4, "+/="   White is probably just a 
         little better in this position. 
         [ See MCO-14;  pg.'s # 436-437. Col.'s 1 - 6, (mainly)  Column # 1; 
           and notes (a.) thru (f.). ]    ( Interesting is: 16.h3!?, "~"   ]  


A good and natural move. Black guards the center, prepares K-side castling, and also is ready to play the pawn break, ...c5; attacking the center.

     [  Black could also have played:  2...Nf6!?;  maintaining the symmetry.  ].  


3. e3!?,   
It seems illogical to shut in the QB this way, but Rubinstein (or his contemporaries) never did seem to care for the Pillsbury Attack. (Bg5.)

This is because that for  OVER  150 years, most right-thinking Masters truly believed that White's QB was best left on the Queen-side. 

(See the game,  J.H. Zukertort - J.H. Blackburne;  London 1883. This is the best game that clearly shows this type of thinking. This game is also one of the greatest brilliancies of it's day. That game easily belongs - in my opinion - in the list of, ... "The Ten Greatest Chess Games" ... that were played prior to the year, 1900!) 

     3.c4!?,  will probably transpose to more Modern lines of the book. (Queen's Gambit Declined.)  ].  


This is the (pure) Tarrasch Defense. 

     [ 3...Nf6; "=" ] 


4. c4 Nc65. Nc3 Nf6;    
The Semi-Tarrasch Defense, by transposition. 

6. dxc5!?,    
Today we know that this move is premature. (White goes for the immediate isolation of Black's QP.) 


     [  The best move, according to Modern Theory is:  6.a3! a6;  {Diagram?} 
        The best move, Black mimics White - and he is also copying the first player's 
         idea.  (Black could also play: 6...cxd4; 7.exd4 Be7; 8.Bd3 dxc4; 9.Bxc4 0-0
          10.0-0 b6
; 11.Qd3 Bb7; 12.Bg5 Rc8; 13.Rfe1, "="  with about an equal position.) 

         7.dxc5,  {Diagram?}  This is the move favored by theory. (Today.)  

          ( MCO gives the analysis: 7.b3!? cxd4; 8.exd4 Be7; 9.c5 b6; 10.cxb6 Nd7;  
            11.Bd3 a5; 12.Nb5 Qxb6; The end of the column. 13.Bf4 0-0; 14.0-0 Na7!?; 
"Better is 14...Nf6; with a small disadvantage." - N. DeFirmian.  
             15.Nc7 Rb8; 16.b4!?,   
( 16.Qe2!, "="  - {A.J.G.} )   16...Bb7!?;   
(Or 16...axb4; 17.axb4 Nf6;  "="  - {A.J.G.})   17.bxa5!?,  
(17.Qb1!, "+/="  - {A.J.G.})   17...Qxa5; "="  B. Gelfand - V. Kramnik;  
              Sanghi Nagar, 1994. [ See MCO-14; pg.'s # 432-433, column # 102, & note # (z.). ] 
              (Here White played 18. Qe2.  Then Black played 18...e5?; {Bad.}  
              Now ... 19. Nxe5, Qxc7;  20.Rac1. "+/"  and White is nearly winning. )

         7...Bxc5;  (Maybe - '!')  This is easily the best move here.  8.b4 Bd6; (Maybe - '!') 
         A nice pawn gambit.   (8...Ba79.Bb2 0-010.Qc2 Qe711.Rd1, "+/="  
"~"  - Powerbook.)     9.Bb2,  (Maybe - '!?')  There is nothing wrong with 
         just plain development, but...   9...dxc410.Bxc4 0-011.Qc2 b512.Bd3 Bb7; 
         13.Rd1, ('!')  {Diagram?}   Seemingly the most straight-forward. (The best move.) 
           (13.Ne4!? Bxb4+; 14.axb4 Nxb4; 15.Nxf6+ Kh8; 16.Qc3 Nxd3+; 17.Ke2 Nxb2;  
            18.Nh5! f6
; 19.Qxb2 Qd5; {Compensation.}  "with a very unbalanced position."   
            {A.J.G.}   Utasi-Klinger;  Havana, 1986.  [ See NCO, page # 401, line/row # 6,   
             and note # 29.]
)    13...Rc814.Qb1 Qe7!;  "="   {Diagram?}  
         Equal, or perhaps a very,  very tiny  advantage for White.  (Analysis line.)  

         The continuation:  6.cxd5 exd57.g3!?{Diagram?}  would reach lines similar 
          to the pure Tarrasch Defense. 
          (Except that White does NOT normally have a pawn on e3!)  ].  


6...Bxc5; (material balance)  {Diagram?}  
The most natural. 

     [ Black could also try: 6...dxc4!? ("~") ]


7. a3 a6!?;  (Probably - '!') 
This gives Black's Bishop on c5 a "hidey-hole" on a7, prepares b7-b5, and blunts the worst effects of a possible b2-b4-b5 advance by White. Additionally this move is an excellent waiting move.

Rubinstein's handling of this opening is nearly flawless. 

8.b4 Bd6; (Nearly - '!') 
A good aggressive move, and a nice gambit of a pawn. (Which White cannot immediately accept.)

9. Bb2,   
White fianchetto's his QB, as will Black. (White may actually be a little bit better here.)  



This deployment of the Bishops is very common the variations of the Semi-Tarrasch. 

"Nothing wrong with development, but..." 


     [  Not 9.cxd5!? exd5; 10.Nxd5?? Nxd5; 11.Qxd5?? Bxb4+; 
        & wins White's Queen. ("-/+")  ].  


9...0-0!;  (Very nice.)   
Black continues his development, AND ... offers a gambit. (Which White should not take.) 

     [ 9...dxc4!?; 10.Bxc4 0-0; 11.0-0, "+/=" ]


10. Qd2!?, (Maybe, probably - '?!') 
This move is ill, and not well thought out. 

The Queen will soon be a target in the open Q-file. The Queen may have been better off on c2. 

(GM Hans Kmoch labels this move as a definite inaccuracy.) 


     [ 10.Qc2, is probably better.  (Much better.) 

        Or  10.cxd5 exd5; 11.Be2, "+/=" 
(Not 11.Nxd5?? Nxd5; 12.Qxd5?? Bxb4+;  etc.); 

        Or 10.Bd3!? , etc. ].  


Black develops, and offers a gambit at the same time. 

Andy Soltis also gives this move an exclam. 

 '!' - GM Andrew Soltis;  '!' - GM Ruben Fine.  


11. Bd3?!,  (Probably - '?')  
White develops - he possibly does not wish to exchange pawns and change the pawn structure. (Open lines for Black.)  

But White loses at least two tempi with this move, especially in combination with his previous inaccuracies.  

<<Bad, as White loses tempi.>> 

 '?' - GM's Nunn & Soltis. 

 (I personally think the question mark is a bit harsh. I have studied the games of this period very carefully, and very often tempo did not 
   seem to be a crucial consideration in the choice of moves. Opening theory was also  MUCH  less developed in those days! 

   REMEMBER:   This game was played over one-hundred years ago!!) 


     [ The correct move is: 11.cxd5! exd5; 12.Nxd5!, '?!'  This might be too risky to be 
        any good.    (12.0-0-0!?)    12...Nxd513.Qxd5,  According to Soltis, this continuation 
        is risky.   (13.b5!? Nxe3!; "=/+" )    13...Be6; ('!?')  Is this the best move here?  
        (This is the line that Chernev gave.)  

           a).  Black could try: 13...a5!?; with an interesting game. (Counterplay for Black.) 
           b).  Soltis gives the move: 13...Rd8!;  {GM Soltis stops here and states that Black 
                  has tremendous compensation.}  14.Qb3,   ( 14.Qh5? Bxb4+!; "/+" 14...Be6;
                  {Compensation.}  Black has tremendous play, in this position.  
                  (Initiative, an attack, ... AND a lead in development!) 

        14.Qd3,    (14.Qg5? Bxb4+!; "/+"  Or Chernev gives: 14.Qd1?! Nxb4!; "/+" or "-/+.")  
        14...Rac815.Be2 Rfd816.Qb1 Bd517.0-0 Be418.Qa2 Bd5; "="  The position 
         is close to equal.  White should probably play Qb1, in this position. (Black has the 
         slightly better development.)   ( 19.Qxd5? Bxh2+; "-/+" ); 

       Much better [from Black's point of view!] is: 
       11.c5!? Bc7; 12.Be2 Rd8; 13.0-0 e5; "=/+"  {Diagram?}  
        with the slightly better game here for Black. ].  


11...dxc4;  (Very nearly - '!')  {Diagram?}
Black forces White's Bishop to move so that the advance, ...b5; will gain a tempo. 

'!'  - GM Ruben Fine. 


12. Bxc4 b5;   
Black gains space and prepares to fianchetto his QB. This is nice, as he gains a move, as White is forced to retreat the cleric at c4. 


13. Bd3,   
Pointing at the Black King, and trying to block the d-file. 

     [ 13.Bb3!? ].  


13...Rd814. Qe2, '!?'  {Diagram?} 
The embarrassed Queen slinks off the file. 

(White is trying to avoid a tactic.) 

GM A. Soltis writes:  "White has the worst of a mirror-like pawn structure." 


     [  If 14.0-0?! Bxh2+!;   ( 14...Ne5; 15.Nxe5 Bxe5; 16.Rfd1 Bb7; "=/+"  is very  
         similar to the way the game went and also favors Black.   15.Nxh2,  Forced. 
         (15.Kxh2? Qd6+
;  regains the pawn with the better game.   
          I.e., 16.Kg1 Qxd3; "=/+"   15...Ne516.Bxh7+ Nxh7; 17.Qc2 Nc4; "/+" ]


14...Bb715. 0-0 Ne5!;    
Favorably breaking the symmetry. 

Notice also that Black is 1 or 2 tempi ahead in development. (GM Hans Kmoch also points this out as well.)  



GM A. Soltis writes: "In symmetrical positions, the player on the move is fighting with an extra arm."  '!' - GM Andy Soltis.

GM Savielly Tartakower calls this move, "A fine maneuver, initiating a decisive attack." 


16. Nxe5 Bxe517. f4!?{Diagram?} 
White tries to block the key b8-h2 diagonal. (He also gains some space.) 

GM Razuvaev calls this an attempt to try and complicate the game.

Many players have questioned this move. Several authors have assigned this move one or two question marks. However, I have found nearly all of the variations given by them as a suitable variant to be (very) faulty. 


     [     A.) 17.Rfd1?! Qc7!; hits c3 and h2. 18.f4 Bxc3; 19.Rac1,  - GM Hans Kmoch
                   ( 19.Bxc3?? Qxc3
; 20.Rac1 Qxa3; 21.Ra1 Qxb4; "-/+" {A.J.G.}
      19...Nd5!;  "-/+"  Black is winning easily.  - GM Yuri Razuvaev
       or B.) 17.Rac1? Bxh2+; 18.Kxh2 Qd6+; ("/+" or "-/+")  winning a pawn.  ].  


17...Bc718. e4, (Maybe - '!?')  {Diagram?}
This opens up the game, when BLACK is the only one who will profit from this! 

     [ 18.Rfd1! - GM H. Kmoch ]


To the casual observer, the position seems approximately equal. But this is deceiving as both of White's rooks have yet to move. 

"Rubinstein brings up the reserves. This sort of move always reminds me of Blackburne's advice, 'Never commence your final attack until your QR is in play.' 
Good advice indeed."  - Irving Chernev

19. e5!?, (Maybe - '?!')   '?' -  GM J. Nunn  (& Soltis.)   {Diagram?} 
White thinks he is closing attacking avenues, but he is actually opening lines. (Chiefly ... most notably ... the long diagonal.) 

GM Andy Soltis writes: "This makes the game a textbook case of what happens when a player pushes his pawns too far and opens diagonals leading to his King. Better was 19. Rac1." 

In Rotlewi's defense, a book published in Europe, (never in English) said Black:  "was more concerned about the open h2-to-b8 diagonal and wanted to close it." 


     19.Rac1 e5; 20.f5 Bb6+; 21.Kh1 Bd4; "=/+"  ]



   It seems no matter what White did, Black would enjoy a large positional advantage. I don't agree with Nunn's question mark, it's too much like locking   
   the barn door after the horse has already escaped or been stolen. {A.J.G.}  Note:  I wrote these words on my PC.......    
   long before GM Soltis came out with his book!! 


Getting on a new diagonal with a gain of time. 

20. Kh1,   
White appears to be safe enough in this particular position.  




Now comes a historic number of beautiful, spectacular and really wonderful shots ... ... ... 


20...Ng4!;  (Maybe - '!!')  WOW!!!  {Diagram?} 
At first glance, this appears to be a blunder. (Black will soon have practically ALL of his pieces under attack, or hanging.)  

<< This looks like a mistake, but it is not. (White may have expected the move ...Nd5; when he can probably draw.) >>  
      (From one of my web pages.) 

This move is the grand beginning of one of the most beautiful and titanic combinations ever played in an over-the-board chess game. 

I used to use this position as a test of the computers for MANY years. (I used it on every computer one year at the U.S. {Computer} Open in Mobile, AL.) Most computers would NOT play this move, at least before computers got really good. (The late 90's.) 

 '!' - GM Hans Kmoch;  '!' - GM Andy Soltis.  


     [ 20...Nd5!?;  Or  20...Nd7!? ].  


21. Be4, {Diagram?} 
White tries blocking the long diagonal. A reasonable move, considering the situation that Black finds himself in. 

Seems to be the best, under the circumstances. 


     [  Some other moves were: 
  21.Qxg4? Rxd3; 22.Ne2,  
(22.Rac1!? Rd2; "/+" 
                22...Rc2; "/+" 23.Bc1 h5!; 24.Qxh5 Bxg2+!; 25.Kxg2 Qb7+; "-/+" 
       #2.)  21.Ne4 Rxd3!; 22.Qxd3 Bxe4; 23.Qxe4 Qh4!; "and mates," says Soltis. 
                24.h3 Qg3!;  A nice move.  25.hxg4 Qh4#  - I. Chernev. 
       #3.)  21.Bxh7+ Kxh7; 22.Qxg4 Rd2!;  "-/+"  
       #4.)  21.h3 Qh4; ("=/+")  And now:  22.Qxg4 Qxg4; 23.hxg4 Rxd3; 24.Rac1, (?) 
                Black is winning in any case.  
(24.Rf3 Bxf3; 25.gxf3 Rdxc3; 26.Bxc3 Rxc3;  
,  And now the simplest win is:
27...g6!;  "-/+"  when Black is a piece  
                  ahead and wins easily.
)    24...Rh3#.   ].


21...Qh4!;  (Maybe - '!!')   
Nunn gives 31...Nxh2! But this line takes MUCH longer to win than in the game, and therefore can logically be seen as inferior. 

Chernev writes: "Rubinstein begins the display of fireworks." 

GM A. Soltis writes: "MUCH less brilliant - and effective - is the other winning line, 21...Nxh2." (My emphasis.) 


     [  The main line that Nunn gives is: 21...Nxh2!?; '!'  {According to Nunn, this move 
         deserves an exclam! Nunn believes it to be better than the game continuation!! 
         But this does NOT appear justified.}   22.Rfc1 Qh423.g3 Qxg324.Qxh2,  
            (24.Bxb7? Ng4!;
"-/+")   24...Bxe4+25.Nxe4 Qf3+26.Qg2 Rxc1+
         27.Rxc1 Qh5+28.Qh2 Rd1+29.Rxd1 Qxd1+30.Kg2 Qc2+; 
         31.Kh3 Qxe4"- / +"   Black is obviously much better, even winning.  
        This is good, nearly brilliant. But it is hardly spectacular! But I am  quite sure  
        if Rubinstein has chosen to win in this fashion, we would hardly refer to the 
        game as the ... "Polish Immortal Game."  

        Logic dictates that a mate in 25 is  1000 times  better than a material or technique 
        win in 30 - something  (Or more!)  moves. (I first wrote the words that are immediately 
        above  BEFORE  GM A. Soltis came out with his book, "The 100 Best."  I was only 
        responding to the criticisms {of this game} and the analysis by Nunn in his book, 
        [The Mammoth Book Of]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games." 
        By GM's J. Nunn & J. Emms; and FM G. Burgess.)  ].  


22. g3,   
Now it seems Black has run out of moves, further h4 and b7 hang. 

The refutation (of White's position) is one of the most beautiful in all of chess. 

 << Again, this looks forced. >> 


     [   White could have also played: 22.h3 Rxc3!; 23.Bxc3,  What else? 
   (Or 23.Bxb7 Rxh3+;  24. gxh3, Qxh3+;  25. Qh2, Qxh2#.  
              24.Qxh3 Qxh3+
; 25.gxh3 Bxe4+; 26.Kh2 Rd2+; 27.Kg3 Rg2+;  
              '!' - LM A.J.Goldsby I  28.Kh4 Bd8+; ('!') 29.Kh5 Bg6# )      
23...Bxe4; 24.Qxg4,  Not much choice here.  
              (Or 24.Qxe4?? Qg3;  25. hxg4 Qh4#. ) 
24...Qxg4; 25.hxg4 Rd3; 26.Kh2, '[]' - A.J. Goldsby I  (Forced.) 
              (Not 26.Rac1?? Rh3#)     26...Rxc3; "/+"  or "-/+." ].  


22...Rxc3!!,  (Maybe - '!!!')  EXTRA-Ordinary!   
Several other annotators, such as Fine and Reinfeld, have given this move 3 exclams. I will not be outdone! 

(I would be erring if I did not point out that Fritz [v 5.32] found the entire combo, but only after ... nearly 15 - 20 minutes!!) 

GM Andy Soltis gives this move (22...Rxc3!!)  two exclams. 

(This shows that Soltis is not quite the pagan that Nunn is!  ---> Nunn only gives this move one exclam.) 

  '!!!' - GM Hans Kmoch;  '!!!' - GM Salo Flohr;  '!!!' - Irving Chernev;   '!!' - GM A. Soltis;  '!!' - IM John Donaldson;  '!!' - FM Graham Burgess. 

One of the prettiest moves of all time! (And a truly wonderful Queen sacrifice.) 

(I hasten to add that I have given this position to dozens of friends and many students over the years, and almost NONE have ever suggested this move!!!) 


     [ 22...Bxe4+; 23.Nxe4 Qxh2+!;   (23...Qh3?!; gives White time to regroup.) 
       24.Qxh2 Nxh2; 25.Kxh2 Rc2+; "/+" or "-/+." 

       Not 22...Qh3?; 23.Bxb7, "+/-"  

       Or 22...Qe7!?; (Maybe - '!')  This was also good. Now 23.Rf3 Rc4; "/+" ].   


23. gxh4,  (greedy?)  {Diagram?} 
White takes the Queen. But there is little choice ... at this point. 

<< "In for a penny, in for a pound." (White may as well take.) >> 


     [  Some of the other alternatives for White were not all that attractive: 
        23.Bxc3?? Bxe4+; 24.Rf3,  
( 24.Qxe4 Qxh2# )   24...Bxf3+; 25.Qg2 Qxh2#

        Or  23.Bxb7 Rxg3!24.Rf3,  {Diagram?}  Is this forced, here?   
           ( Both 24.Bf3 Nxh2; 25.Qxh2 Rh3; "-/+" and 24.Rad1 Rxd1; 25.Rxd1 Rh3; "-/+"  
             are dead lost for White. )    24...Rxf325.Bxf3 Nf2+26.Kg1,  Forced?  
            ( Or 26.Kg2?! Qh3+; 27.Kg1 Ne4+;  28.Kh1 Ng3# )  Soltis also quotes this mate.   
        26...Ne4+27.Kf1 ( 27.Kg2 Rd2; "-/+"  27...Nd2+28.Kg2 Nxf329.Qxf3,  
        What else?  ( 29.Kxf3 Qh5+; "-/+" )   29...Rd2+; "-/+" winning for Black.  ].  


  23...Rd2!!  (Maybe - '!!!' or even '!!!!')    
Nunn is a pagan, who cannot appreciate artistry. He only awards a single exclam to this move. This move may actually deserve four exclamation marks. 
 {Fine, Chernev, and several others award it 3 exclamation points.}  

It is one of the single most beautiful and surprising moves in all of chess literature. The idea is to deflect the Queen away from the defense of the Bishop on e4. ("Deflecting the defender.") 

Note that FOUR of the five Black pieces are hanging, or 'en prise.'  


Soltis also awards Black's 23rd move two exclams. 

   '!!!' - GM Hans Kmoch;  '!!!' - GM M. Botvinnik;  '!!!' - GM Ruben Fine;  '!!!' - Irving Chernev; '!!' - GM Andrew Soltis;   '!!' - IM John Donaldson;  
(Also GM's Botvinnik and Flohr both praised this move most highly.) 

<< One of the grandest chess moves ever played.  (Theme = Decoy the defender.) >> 

"Black - already a Queen down - throws in a whole Rook, for good measure. A truly unique concept."
 - GM R. Fine. (Writing for the magazine, 'Chess Review.'

Most outsiders do not know that in the (old) Soviet Union, several GM's did a series of articles on older, famous chess games. ('Classic' games.) Most notable of these were a series of articles that ran in magazines like 'Shakmatny  Bulletin.' Probably the best in the whole collection were those articles that were co-authored by GM M. Botvinnik and GM S. Flohr in the 1930's and the 1940's. Botvinnik and Flohr heaped praises on this game and said it might have been the "first to be played in the modern style." 


     [ 23...Re3!?; 24.Qxe3; "~" ].   


24. Qxd2, {Box?}   
This looks ... more-or-less ... forced. 


     [  Three other alternatives were: 
         a.) 24.Qxg4 Bxe4+25.Rf3 Rxf3!;  "-/+"  26.Qg2 Rf1+!;  27.Rxf1 Bxg2#; 
- Irving Chernev. 

         b.) 24.Bxc3? Bxe4+;  Probably the best.   (Chernev gives: 24...Rxe2; "-/+" 
                 "and White cannot parry the threats of mate in one by the Rook and mate 
                 in 2 by the Bishop." - Chernev in, "The Golden Dozen."  We follow this line 
                 to its end.  25.Bd4, The best?  
( 25.Rf2 Bxe4+; 26. Kg1 Bxf2+; 27. Kf1 Bf3;  
                  28.Rd1 Nxh2#. )   25...Bxe4+;  26.Kg1 Rg2+;  The simplest and best.  
(Black can also win with: 26...Bxd4+; 27.Rf2 Rxf2;   ( If 27...Bxf2+;  28.Kf1 Rd2; 
                  29.a4 Nxh2# )
   28.Rd1, {Diagram?}  The Best? Forced?     (28.a4?!, 
                  28... Rxf4#)
    28...Rc2+!;  29.Rxd4,  This appears to be forced. 
(29.Kf1 Nxh2+; "-/+")    29...Rc1+; 30.Rd1 Rxd1# )  A nice, little mate. 
And now we finish with our little analysis line, {24...Rxe2}  (here): 
                 27.Kh1 Rxh2+; 28.Kg1 Rh1#
(Returning to our main analysis line here, Var. b.) 
               25.Qxe4,  This looks forced.  
( 25.Rf3 Bxf3+;  (Or 25...Bxf3+; 26.Qxf3,  
(Or 26.Qg2 Bxg2#)   26...Rxh2#)  26.Qxf3 Rxh2# )     25...Rxh2#

         c.)  24.Bxb7 Rxe225.Bg2 ( 25.Bxc3?? Rxh2# )   25...Rh3!; "-/+"  and mates shortly. 
               (Chernev.) i.e. 26.Bxh3,  
( 26.Rac1 Rxh2#  )    26...Rxh2#.  ]



  >   I cannot help but point out that Black appears to be playing 'give-away,' or some other variant of chess. The preceding variations demonstrate not only brilliance, but absolute artistry.  Whenever I show this game to a student, they never fail to be greatly impressed by the sheer brilliance of Black's play in this incredible game.  < 


24...Bxe4+25. Qg2{Diagram?} 
The only legal move. 

< Now Black end the game with an unexpected and elegant shot. > 


25...Rh3!(Maybe '!!')   Black RESIGNS0 - 1  (The final position is just below.) 



rot-rub1907_final-position.jpg, 97 KB



Chernev writes: "An exquisite finishing touch." 

  '!!!!'  -  GM Ruben Fine.     '!!'  -  GM Hans Kmoch;  '!'  - GM Andy Soltis. 

How many players would play the simple 25...Bxg2+; and 26...Rc2+ winning? 

     [  After the seemingly winning; but incorrect move, ...Bxg2+:
        25...Bxg2+?!, (Really '?' or even '??')  This move blows the win.  26.Kxg2 Rc2+; 
          (26...Ne3+;  27.Kh1, "+/"  );    27.Kg3,  Forced.    ( 27.Kh1?? Rxh2#;  
           Or  27.Kh3? Nf2+ ; ("=/+")  Definitely not 27.Kf3?? Nxh2+; 28.Ke4 Nxf1; "-/+" ) 
        27...h5; {Diagram?}  This is close to being forced.
           (Not: 27...Rxb2?; 28.Kxg4 Rb3!; 29.Rfc1?!,   (29.Rfd1!);  29...g6; 30.Rc8+?;  
( 30.Rc6! Bd4 30...Kg7; 31.Rc6??;  (31.h5; is forced and much better for  
White! [Maybe - '+/'])  31...h5+; 32.Kg5 Bd8#.  This is a very  pretty mate  
            someone showed me when I was 10 or 11 at chess club.  
            It is also blatantly unsound!
        28.Rab1 Bf2+; 29.Kh3 Be3; 30.Kg3 Bf2+; 31.Kh3 Be3; 32.Kg3, "="  ]


The finish might be ... 
26. Rf3

Looks forced.    << Sadly ... forced. >> 

     [ Or 26.Rf2 Bxf2!; and mate next move.  (Nunn gives: 26...Rxh2+; 27.Kg1 Bxf2+!; 
          28.Kf1 Bd3#) 
  27.Qxe4 Rxh2#. ]  


26...Bxf327. Qxf3,  
Again, there ain't much else. 


     [ 27.Rc1 Rxh2# ].  



0 - 1 

   (All HTML code initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8 .0  

One of the best and the most beautiful games ever played. 

GM Andy Soltis  writes: 
"Every great player has a game which became his visiting card to chess history." (Quoting Razuvaev and Murakhveri,  ... 2 Russian, Rubinstein' biographers.) "This was Rubinstein's." 

GM Hans Kmoch said this was one of the finest brilliancies of the last 50 years, and labeled it: "The Rubinstein Immortal Game." 

Karl Schlecter called this perhaps the most magnificent combination of all time!! 

GM Savielly Tartakower calls this one of the great games of chess and says that Rubinstein's play ... "is of incredible depth and transcending brilliancy."  ("A superb and memorable game.")  

Botvinnik and Flohr said this was a fantastic game, "and perhaps the first game to be played in the scientific method, developed by the Russian chess-players." 

I consider this game to be firmly in the top ten of the best chess games ever played!! 


This game has been annotated in dozens of books and magazines over the years. (I cannot list them all, as many times I did not record the source when I jotted a note in the margins of one of my books!) 

I used primarily 4 books to do my annotations. {A.J.G.}  (I first annotated this game on my friend's {Jerry} computer, well over 15 years ago. I later went back and re-did the game for my friend, he had just gotten a new chess program called "ChessBase." {This was like only the first or second version of this program!!} 

He wanted to try to understand this game, and he {mistakenly} thought he had found a refutation to Rubinstein's idea. {He had made the common mistake of analyzing an incorrect position.} 

My experience with this game goes back to the first time I saw this game, that was probably in the late 60's - one night at chess club. So my dealings with this game pre-dates all but maybe one of the books listed here!!) 


#1.)  "The Golden Dozen,"  < The 12 Greatest Chess Players of All Time. > by Irving Chernev.  1976,  Oxford University Press. 

#2.)  "The World's Great Chess Games,"  by  GM Ruben Fine
          (This book came out the first time in the early 50's, I think. It was later (redone &) re-published after Fischer won the World 
            Championship in '72.)  1951, Ruben Fine. Revised and expanded edition, () published in 1976. (Dover/D. McKay Books.) 
            {I have the second -revised- edition/paperback version of this book.}  

#3.)  < The Mammoth Book of >  "The World's Greatest Chess Games," by  GM John Nunn, GM J. Emms  and  FM Graham Burgess
           1998 by the authors and Carrol & Graf Books/Publishing Company. 

# 4.)  "The 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, Ranked," by  GM Andy Soltis.  2000, Andrew Soltis & McFarland Books. 

# 5.)  "500 Master Games of Chess,by  Dr. (GM) S. Tartakower, and J. Du Mont. 1952.  (Constable & Company, Ltd.)  
            (I have the Dover re-print of this book.)  

# 6.)  "Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces,"  < 100 Selected Games; >  by  GM Hans Kmoch.  1941 by I. Horowitz and K. Harkness. 
           Published, 1941 by  'Chess Review.'  (Published in 1960 by Dover books.)  

# 7.)  "Akiba Rubinstein:  Uncrowned King,"  by  IM John Donaldson, & Nikolay Minev.  1994, International Chess Enterprises. (Hard-Back) 

This game is also covered in Graham Burgess's book, ("Chess Highlights of The 20th Century"); but he adds absolutely nothing new to this ultra-grand & beautiful game. (I also consulted several biographies of Rubinstein as well.)  

 This game was  (first)  posted on my web-site on June 22nd, 2002. 
  (Last up-dated on:  Friday;  May 18th, 2013.)  Last edit on: Sunday, November 08, 2015 01:00 AM .  


  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1985-2015.  
  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2016.  All rights reserved.  

I first saw this game many, many years ago.  (I think it was the late sixties, one of the members of the club had an original copy of GM R. Fine's book.) 

I first annotated this game in the early 1980's. (Annotating it on my friend's computer.) I worked on it several times, and then laid it aside. (I actually repeated this process several times, as I have done with MANY chess games. I also annotated this game {very briefly} for a friend and I think this was published in another state, {South Carolina, I think}; over 20 years ago.) I also annotated this game several times - for many different students. 

I started on it again, when I began this project of finding the best chess games of all time. (97-98) I finally finished the annotating process ... probably in the spring of 2002.It then took nearly another 4-7 weeks (or more) of work to get this web page ready ... for publication on my web-site. SO ... Enjoy!

This game, in  ChessBase  format; is probably one of the best annotation jobs anyone has ever done on this particular game. It also contains a fairly decent survey of the opening. If you would like a copy of this game to study on your computer, I hope you would  contact me. 

 Click  HERE  to return to the page you left. (The "Best All - Time Games" page.) 
 Click  HERE  to go to (return) to my home page. (Main Page.)


 If you enjoyed this page, you might enjoy my page dedicated to ...
 "The Best Short Games Of Chess."  (Click  HERE.)

 If you enjoyed this game, you would also greatly enjoy the game:
Akiba Rubinstein - Karel Hromadka;  Mahrisch-Ostrau, 1923.
Click  HERE  to go there now. 

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2016. All rights reserved.  

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