Chess brilliancies


(Click on the players to see the game)

Steinitz vs Rock 1863 New York Giuoco Piano 18 This is one of the most brilliant fast attacks on f7 ever. Steinitz sacrifices a queen for a forced checkmate in 7 moves! The final checkmate is done by a pawn.


Lasker vs George

1912 London Trash Gambit 18 A queen sacrifice leads to a relentless king hunt that ends with a King Move checkmate! A forced 7 move checkmate in this game, during which the king is dragged all the way from his back rank to his enemy's back rank!


Steinitz vs Bardeleben 1895 Hastings Giuoco Piano 35 This game is not only brilliant, but has a crazy ending. Realizing the brilliant checkmate about to fall on him, Bardeleben stormed out of the room. Steinitz had to sit there for an hour and wait for his opponent's chess clock tick down so that he could declare a win on time!


Bird Vs Steinitz 1866 New Orleans Ruy Lopez 23 Bird relentlessly pushes his f pawn down his opponent's world champion's throat.


Reti Vs Capablanca

1950 Berlin Ruy Lopez 18 Capablanca, known for his elegant and brilliant style, transforms a lead in development into a brutal attack on a castled king. Capablanca manages to crush Reti, one of the strongest grandmasters of the day, in just 18 moves.


Capablanca vs Mattison 1929 Carlsbad Spain Queen's Pawn 20 In this game Capablanca takes advantage of his opponents poor development to brew a subtle but amazing attack.


Capablanca vs Fonaroff 1918 Manhattan Ruy Lopez 22 Capablanca's most brilliant short games. An attack comes out of nowhere on the black castled king...truly amazing.


Adams, E.Z. vs Torre  1852 New Orleans Philidor 23 This is one of the best illustrations of back rank mate threats there is. Torre waves his queen in Adam's face but he can't take it..


Tarrasch vs Kurshner



French Defense 21 Pillsbury uses pawn battering rams to force open the e-file to begin a brutal attack on the f7 square and the uncastled king.


Anderssen vs Dufresne

1852 Berlin Giuoco Piano 24 Anderssen sacks a queen, opens up the efile, and then checkmates the black king with just two bishops and a pawn.


Anderssen vs Kieseritzky 1851 London King's Gambit 23 Known as the "Immortal Game." This is one of the five most famous games in chess.


Botvinnik vs Tartakower 1936 Nottingham King's Indian 36 Heavyweight Champion Botvinnnik shows how to rip apart a castled king.


Mieses vs Janowski 1900 Paris Vienna Game 40 "The Immortal Queen Game" Mieses is known for his incredible brilliancies. In this, his most famous game, he leaves his queen hanging for 6 moves, and in each situation, black cannot take the queen!


Boden vs Bird 1873 Casual Game Ruy Lopez 20 Bird shows just how deadly two bishops and an open file pointing towards the king can be.


Glucksberg vs Najdorf 1949 Warsaw Dutch Defense 22 Black sacrifices 4 pieces before finally checkmating the castled king! One of the most beautiful mating combinations ever played.


Duras vs Cohn 1911 Karlsbad Ruy Lopez 49 "The Immortal Duel Game". Bird said he loved chess because it was a "free fight." Bird would have loved this game because it is one of the best fights ever in chess.


Saemisch Vs Nimzovitch 1923 Copehnagen Nimzo Indian 25 This game is an excellent illustration of the diffult concept Zugwang.


Steinitz vs Lasker 1899 London Vienna Game 30 Reinfield wrote of this game, "Lasker's style had the appearance of simplicity - even of naive'. Actually this style concealed the sensibilities of a very great artist and also the inner tension between the fighter and the lover of beauty. Sometimes this tension was in this game."


Botvinnik vs Chekhover 1935 Moscow Irregular 40 Botvinnik would later comment on this game, "Such games are rare in my tournament play, since, following Capablanca's advice, I always aimed to choose simpler alternatives."

More Annotated Brilliancies

The Most Famous Brilliancies

Brilliancies by Fischer, Spassky, Alekhine and Morphy

Brilliancies involving fast attacks on f7 and f2