Chess is one of the most popular games that is played all across the world in homes, parks, clubs, tournaments and even online! It is believed to have been originated in India during the reign of the Gupta dynasty in the 6th century AD, and has evolved over time. Over the centuries, it has evolved into its present form and in the last two decades, computers have played a vital role in the development of the game.
In this article, we bring to you one of the most amazing sacrifices in the history of the game, which will leave you stunned! A sacrifice is a move giving up a piece in the hopes of gaining tactical or positional advantage in other forms. As players usually try to hold on to their own pieces, offering a sacrifice can come as an unpleasant surprise to one’s opponent, putting him off balance and causing much precious time to be wasted trying to calculate whether the sacrifice is sound or not and whether to accept it. Sacrificing one’s queen, or a string of pieces, adds to the surprise, and such games can go down in history as one of the best of all time. Perhaps the best sacrifice is when you sacrifice multiple pieces in succession and force your opponent in to a checkmate.
This match is called the Peruvian Immortal game played by the Peruvian GM Esteban Canal against an unknown amateur in a simultaneous exhibition he gave at Budapest in 1934. In just 14 moves, Canal sacrificed both his rooks and his queen, and finished with check-mate. Yes, you read that right! He gave up two rooks and his queen, and won the game in the very next move! Here’s how.
Here’s how the opening went: 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Bf4 e6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Bb4
Now, any reasonable chess player would develop their light-squared bishop and castle. Especially considering that the black bishop and queen are eyeing down the white knight on c3.
And that’s what Esteban did. He played: 9. Be2 Nd7.
Again, it’s tempting to castle. But here, Esteban wanted to set up a trap. And hoped that NN would fall for it and that’s exactly what happened! (NN is chess notation for No Name when the name of the player is unknown). On the 10th move, Esteban surprised everybody with 10. a3 0-0-0 (0-0-0 means queenside castling).
What follows now is simply spectacular! White played: 11. axb4, which allowed black to gobble up his two rooks.
And now, the combination of sacrificing the two rooks is completed with the sacrifice of the queen!
Black has to respond by taking the queen with the b-pawn or it’ll be a checkmate.
Can you spot the mate now? Look for it.
White plays his light-squared bishop to a6, which means checkmate.
The king is trapped by the two bishops, which results in a beautiful mate, after the white sacrificed its rooks and the queen! Truly, one of the most amazing sacrifices in the history of the game!
Here is the PGN for the game, where you can view the game yourself.
[pgn height=500 initialHalfmove=16 autoplayMode=none]
[White “Esteban Canal”]
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Bf4 e6 7.h3
Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Bb4 9.Be2 Nd7 10.a3 O-O-O 11.axb4 Qxa1+ 12.Kd2
Qxh1 13.Qxc6+ bxc6 14.Ba6# 1-0
Edited by Shivang Aggarwal