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A game of rare imagination from the time of the Great War.

Whenever I tire of the well-trained perfection of Anatoly Karpov or the ostentatious brilliance of Garry Kasparov, I refer to the games of the old masters for inspiration. And none more inspiring than the Hungarian, Gyula Breyer (1894-1921). This is one of his most acclaimed victories.

White: Breyer

Black: Esser

Budapest 1917

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.f4!

Any modern player would proceed routinely with 6.Nf3. Breyer's choice shows a deep understanding of concept of weak and strong squares. The move notionally weakens e4, but it is the grip it provides on e5 more important.

6...0-0 7.Nf3 dxc4 8.Bb1!!

Show me a man who would not automatically have recaptured with 8.Bxc4 and you will show me a fool or a genius.

8...b5 9.e4 Be7 10.Ng5 h6 11.h4!

Of course it was the previous move that deserved the mark of approval. 10.Ng5 makes little sense without this continuation of the attack.

11...g6 12.e5! hxg5 13.hxg5!!

Black must have felt he had his defences under control after 13.exf6 Bxf6 14.hxg5 Bg7 but this is far stronger.

13...Nd5 (see diagram)

Savour the position for a moment, for White's next move is, without any exaggeration, the most sublime attacking manoeuvre in the long history of the game.


A move of which the point is only revealed nine moves later.

14...Nxc3 15.bxc3 Bb7

Black has no useful move. 15...Kg7 would have invited 16.Rh7+ Kxh7 17.Qh5+ with a similar continuation as in the game.

16 Qg4 Kg7 17.Rh7+! Kxh7 18.Qh4+ Kg7 19.Qh6+ Kg8 20.Bxg6!

More fuel on the fire!

20...fxg6 21.Qxg6+ Kh8 22.Qh6+ Kg8 23.g6!

Now if White's king were still on e1, Black could defend with 23...Bh4+ and 24...Qe7. But now he has only one move to prolong the game.

23...Rf7 24.gxf7+ Kxf7 25.Qh5+ Kg7 26.f5! exf5 27.Bh6+ resigns.

He is mated after 27...Kh7 28.Bf4+ Kg7 29.Qh6+ Kg8 30.Qg6+ Kh8 31.e6 Bf6 32.Ke2 with Rh1 to come.