Truly Epic Battle

by admin on March 30, 2012

My last post, on the Bryntse Gambit, reminded me that I have a long unpaid debt to my blog readers. As I mentioned last time, I have not gotten a chance to play the Bryntse Gambit in a tournament since my game with IM David Pruess. However, I did get a chance to play it online, and the result was a fantastic game that may well be the most complex chess game I’ve ever played.

I didn’t post the game in my blog at the time, because I wanted to record a ChessLecture about it. However, it has now been 2½ years since then, and I think the period of ChessLecture exclusivity has long since expired. Meanwhile, the game (which might be important for the theory of the Bryntse Gambit if there were any theory) has been unavailable to anyone except subscribers of ChessLecture or GameKnot.

So here it is. My opponent was Freddy van der Meij of the Netherlands, known as “easy19″ on GameKnot. He was fascinated by the Bryntse Gambit, said that he listened to my ChessLecture about it dozens of times (well, maybe this is an exaggeration), and then organized a Bryntse theme tournament on GameKnot, which he won with an undefeated and untied score. Not satisfied yet, he decided to challenge me to a game, which took place in August 2009.

We played at a time control of 3 days per move, although neither of us ever took close to that long (most of our moves were made in less than 1 day). In general, I would say that my inexperience with correspondence chess hurt me a bit. I was not prepared for the stubbornness of his defense, and eventually I allowed a draw in an endgame that should have been won.

Even though the game was a draw, there were three winners. First, the Bryntse Gambit queen sacrifice came out smelling like a rose. Before the game Freddy still said he didn’t quite believe it was sound (perhaps because he had a prepared variation). After the game, he said he now believed it. Second, Freddy was a winner because he saved a draw after hanging on the precipice of defeat for practically forever. His king escaped no less than thirteen different mate threats! I don’t know if I have ever seen a monarch survive so many assassination attempts and live to tell about it.

And even I was a winner, because in the early part of the game I got to play an orgy of beautiful sacrifices, all sound: in order, a queen sacrifice, two pawn sacrifices, a knight sacrifice, and an exchange sacrifice. I doubt that I would have found or had the courage to play all of these beautiful moves in an over-the-board game.

Because the game and the comments are so lengthy, I’m going to do this a little bit differently. In this entry I will post the PGN file so that you can play it through. In my next entry I will post some of the interesting positions from the game in puzzle format. So if you just want to see the game, you can play it through now. If you want to try to solve the puzzles, you should skip reading the rest of this post and read my next post (probably a couple days from now) instead.

Enjoy!

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