The Hamppe - Meitner Motif

By Michael Goeller

The literature devoted to Hamppe - Meitner, Vienna 1872, is quite vast but I have never seen anyone try to draw out the lessons from its opening: 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Bc5 3.Na4?! Bxf2+?! The theme of an early Bishop sacrifice in response to a premature Knight attack recurs in a number of lines. We first offer what may well be a definitive analysis of "The Immortal Draw," then consider some similar examples.

Game One

Carl Hamppe - Philipp Meitner [C26]

Vienna 1872


The following game is referred to as "The Immortal Draw." I first encountered it in "The Golden Treasury of Chess" where it is described as "Perhaps the most extraordinary game ever played."

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3

As Andy Soltis points out (Chess Life, September 2002), it was Carl Hamppe (1814-1876) who first popularized this move, now commonly called the Vienna after the city where he played (as in the present game).

 

2... Bc5 3. Na4?!










In many lines of the Vienna, White tries to gain the two Bishops in this way. But moving the Knight twice before developing other pieces must be judged premature, especially since the Bishop can still escape to e7, when the Knight looks grim on the rim. If White wants to go after the Bishop, then 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 d6 and only now 5. Na4 is more accurate.

 

3... Bxf2+?!

"In true Romantic style!" as they say. But the sacrifice is unnecessarily risky given that the lines that follow might lead only to a draw -- and White should win with best play. Black has had more success with the simple Bishop retreat:

3... Be7! 4. Nf3 d6

(4... Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. d4! exd4 7. Nxd4 O-O (7... Bb4 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Bd3 d5 is the standard Scotch Four Knights -- two moves behind!) 8. Nxc6 dxc6! 9. Bd3 Re8 10. O-O Bb4 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6?! (12. Bh4 g5 13. Bg3 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Nxe4 15. Qh5 Qf6 16. Rfe1 Bf5) 12... Qxf6 13. Qd2 Be6 Roth-Braun, German correspondence 1993, 1/2-1/2 in 50 moves.)

5. Bc4 (5. d4 exd4 6. Qxd4 Nf6=) 5... Nf6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. d3 Nc6 8. a3 Be6 9. Bg5?! Nxe4! 10. Nxe4 (10. Bxe6 Nxg5) 10... d5 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Bb5 dxe4 13. dxe4 Rad8 14. Qe2 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Rxd4 16. c3 Rd6 17. O-O Rfd8 18. Rfd1 Bb3 19. Rxd6 Qxd6 20. Bc4 Bxc4 21. Qxc4 Qd3 22. Qa4 (22. Qxd3 Rxd3 23. Kf1 Rd2) 22... Qe2 23. Rf1 a6 24. h3 Qxb2 25. Rd1 Rxd1+ 26. Qxd1 Qxa3 27. Qd8+ Qf8 28. Qxc7 Qa8 29. Qa5 b5 30. f3 g6 31. Kh2 Qc6 32. Kh1 Kg7 33. Kh2 Qd6 34. Kh1 h5 35. Kh2 h4 36. Kh1 Kf6 37. Kg1 Kg5 38. Kh1 f5 39. exf5 gxf5 40. Qa2 e4 41. fxe4 fxe4 42. Qg8+ Kf4 43. Qg4+ Ke3 44. Qxh4 Kd3 45. Qe1 Qf4 46. Qb1+ Ke2 47. Qa2+ Qd2 48. Qxa6 Qd5 49. Qa3 e3 50. Kg1 Qd2 51. Qb4 Qd1+ 52. Kh2 Qa4 53. Qb1 Kd2 54. Qb2+ Qc2 55. Qxb5 e2 0-1 Citak,S-Atalik,S/Antalya TUR 2006 (55).

 

4. Kxf2

Not 4. Ke2? Bxg1 5. Rxg1 d5.

 

4... Qh4+ 5. Ke3

There is no viable alternative:

a) 5. g3? Qxe4 6. Nc3!? Qxh1 7. Nf3 "stalemates the queen...but there is no way to trap her and Black should win after" 7... Nf6 (Soltis). This motif is worth remembering, as we shall see in the notes to the next game.

b) 5. Ke2? Qxe4+ 6. Kf2 Qxa4 wins back the piece with a huge advantage.

c) 5. Kf3? Qf4+ (5... d5 is also winning) 6. Ke2 Qxe4+ etc.

 

5... Qf4+

An interesting alternative, for anyone who is looking to play for a win from this position as Black, is 5... Nf6!? 6. Qf3! (6. Nc3?! Ng4+ 7. Ke2 Qf2+ 8. Kd3 b6!) 6... d5 (6... Ng4+?! 7. Ke2) 7. g3 Qg5+ 8. Kf2 Nxe4+ (8... dxe4!? 9. Qa3 h5) 9. Kg2 Bg4 10. Qe3 (10. Qb3 Nc6!) 10... Qxe3 11. dxe3 Bd7 12. Nc3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 but Black's two pawns and structural advantage don't seem quite enough compensation for White's extra piece.

 

6. Kd3 d5










Inadequate is 6... Nf6 7. Qf3! (Soltis).

 

7. Kc3

a) 7. Qe1 is widely given as the refutation to Black's play. But things are far from clear after 7... Nf6! as suggested by Schiller

(Previous analysts only considered 7... dxe4+? losing according to Estrin & Glazkov, Tseitlin & Glazkov, and others who gave 8. Kc3 (8. Qxe4?? Bf5) 8... e3?! 9. Kb3! Be6+ 10. Ka3 and White holds onto the piece in relative safety -- and 7... f5?! 8. c4!? (or 8. Kc3 with the idea of b3 and Kb2 or 8... d4+ 9. Kb3 Be6+ 10. c4!) 8... fxe4+ (8... Qxe4+!) 9. Kc2 c6 10. d3 exd3+ 11. Bxd3 Wassilieff- -Teumer, Correspondence 1988, but 0-1 in 22 moves after a careless blunder by White.)

 

8. g3!

(Better than 8. Nc5 Schiller 8... b6! (8... Nbd7!? 9. Nxd7 Bxd7 10. c4 Nxe4! 11. Kc2 Nf2 12. d3 Qf6 13. Bg5 Qf5 14. g4 Nxg4) 9. g3 Qg5 10. Na4 Nxe4 11. Bg2 Ba6+ 12. c4 Bxc4+ 13. Kc2 Nc6)

 

8... dxe4+ (8... Qg4 9. Bh3 dxe4+ transposes) 9. Kc3 Qg4 10. Bh3 (10. Kb3 Qe6+ 11. c4 Nc6) 10... Nd5+ 11. Kb3 Nc6!! (11... Qg6!?) 12. Bxg4! (12. c3?! Qg6 13. Bxc8 Rxc8 14. Nc5 b6) when 12... Na5+ 13. Ka3 Nc4+ 14. Kb3 Na5+= is one way things might conclude.

 

b) 7. Nc3? dxe4+ 8. Kc4 Qf6! (8... Nc6!? 9. Nce2! b5+!) .

 

c) 7. Nc5? b6!? 8. g3 Qf6!? 9. exd5 bxc5 was seen in Escher-Ungnad, Oberursel 1972.

 

d) 7. Qf3?? dxe4+! 8. Qxe4 Bf5 0-1, Plath-Reichel, EU-ch corr 1987.

 

7... Qxe4

Black has two pawns and the initiative for a piece. But now White gets a chance to defend.










Not 7... d4+? 8. Kb3 Be6+ 9. Ka3 Qh4 10. b3 Qe7+ 11. Kb2 Bd7 12. Kb1! and White survives with material advantage.

 

8. Kb3

This seems the first critical juncture, where White can likely gain the edge in a complex position by 8. d4!? exd4+ (8... Nc6 9. Nf3 Bg4 10. Bb5 exd4+ 11. Kb3) 9. Qxd4!! (Richard Guerrero gives 9. Kb3 which we examine, with colors reversed, in the next game!) 9... Qe1+ 10. Bd2! Qxa1 11. Nf3 Qxa2 (Black might try the valiant 11... Nc6!? 12. Qxg7 Be6 and White must find 13. Nc5! (13. Qxh8?! O-O-O 14. Bg5 (14. Nd4 Nge7) 14... Nge7 15. Qxh7 Qd1!) 13... O-O-O 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15. Qxh8 Qxa2 16. Bg5) 12. Qxg7 Qxa4 13. Qxh8 d4+ 14. Nxd4 Qa5+ 15. Kb3 Qxd2 16. Qxg8+ Ke7 17. Qxc8 Qxd4 18. Bc4! and despite being down a pawn White appears to have a winning advantage! But try finding White's moves without the help of a computer!

 

8... Na6

 










Black threatens Qb4#. No better are the following:

a) 8... Be6? was played the following year in Hamppe-Adolf Schwarz, Vienna 1873, which continued 9. d3?! ( 9. Nc5!) (or 9. d4!? prevent the Bishop check and beat back the attack) 9... Qg6? (9... d4+!) 10. Nc5 Bg4 11. Nf3?! Nc6?! 12. Qe1 Bxf3 13. gxf3 Nd4+ 14. Kc3 Nxf3?! 15. Qg3 d4+ 16. Kb3? (16. Kc4!=) 16... Qb6+ 17. Kc4 c6 18. a4 a5 19. c3 Qxb2!! 20. Ne4 Qxa1 21. Qxf3 Qa2+ 22. Kc5 Qd5+ 23. Kb6 Qd8+ 24. Kxb7 Rb8+ 25. Kxc6 Ne7+ 26. Kc5 Qd5# If Hamppe had an improvement to try out, Schwarz never gave him the chance to play it!

b) 8... Nc6?! 9. c3! b5 (9... d4 10. d3 Qg6 11. Kc2 Soltis) 10. Nc5 Na5+ 11. Ka3 Nc4+ 12. Bxc4! Qxc4 13. d4 a5 14. Qe2 Qxe2 15. Nxe2 was seen in Steinitz-Steinkuehler & Baddele, Manchester simul 1874, where the great master of the defense appears to have deliberately entered the Hamppe-Meitner line to secure a victory, so perhaps he had analyzed the critical alternative 9.c3! discussed below.

c) 8... Bg4?! 9. Nf3 Nc6 10. c3! b5 11. Nc5 Na5+ 12. Ka3 Nc4+ and now White should have played 13. Bxc4! following Steinitz, rather than 13. Kb4? of Knorr-Teumer, correspondence 1993.

 

9. a3?!

This appears to be the last (and perhaps most) critical juncture, where White has two clearly winning alternatives:

a) 9. d4! exd4 10. Bxa6 bxa6 11. Nc5

b) 9. c3! Bd7 (9... Rb8! 10. Bxa6!? bxa6+ 11. Ka3 Qxg2 12. Qf3 Qg6) 10. Ka3 b5 11. d4 (11. b4!? c5! 12. Nxc5 Nxc5 13. bxc5 a5 14. d4 b4+ 15. cxb4 axb4+ 16. Kb2) 11... bxa4 12. Bxa6 Qxg2 (unclear says Soltis, but pushing a little further shows otherwise) 13. Qf3! Qg6 14. Qxd5 Bc6 15. Bb5

c) 9. c4? b5!!

 

9... Qxa4+!!

This move practically forces the draw that follows, as confirmed by extensive analysis. As Soltis writes: "Before this move, the game looked like master-versus-D-player. After this move, you can appreciate why Fred Reinfeld wrote, 'There is no other game like it.'" Black may have one other practical try:

a) 9... d4!? is probably the best try if Black can't settle for the draw, when after 10. Ka2! Bd7 11. c4! Qc6 12. b3 Nf6 13. Nb2 O-O Black has some compensation for the piece and continued attacking chances, but White is for choice.

b) 9... Be6? 10. d4! Bg4 11. Nf3 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Qxd4 13. Qxd4 exd4 14. Bf4 Hucula-Wundt, correspondence 1980.

 

10. Kxa4 Nc5+










11. Kb4

Tim Krabbe suggested 11. Kb5! but Black still draws by 11... Ne7!! (Soltis)

(Krabbe considers 11... b6? 12. d4! exd4!? 13. Qxd4 Ne7 14. Qxc5! Bd7+ 15. Kb4 a5+ 16. Qxa5! Rxa5 17. Kc3 and 11... a5? 12. b4!! (alternatives are inadequate: 12. c4? Nf6!!; 12. Kxc5 Ne7= transposes back to the game continuation; and 12. Qe2?! is mentioned by Soltis who notes it was analyzed in Chess Life & Review by Herbert Seidman as yielding a different repetition after 12... Ne6! 13. Ka4 Nc5+ 14. Kb5 Ne6=) 12... Ne7 13. bxa5! Nc6 14. Kxc5 Rxa5+ 15. Bb5 Be6 16. c4 d4 17. Nf3 f6 18. Nxd4! 1-0, Wind-Winckelmann, correspondence 1993 or 1983.)

 

12. Qh5!

(Inadequate are 12. c4? d4 13. Kxc5 a5 14. Qb3 b6+ 15. Qxb6 cxb6+ 16. Kxb6 Be6 17. Nf3 Kd7!; 12. d4? a5! forces mate; 12. Kb4? a5+ 13. Kc3 d4+ 14. Kc4 b6 15. b4 Ba6+ 16. b5 Bc8! forces mate; or 12. Kxc5 a5 13. Bb5+ Kd8 14. Bc6 transposing back to the game by a surprising route)

 

12... a5 13. Qxe5 Na6 14. Kxa5 Nb8+ 15. Kb4 Nbc6+ with a "roughly equal ending" (Soltis).

 

11... a5+!

 










12. Kxc5

One last attempt to avoid the draw has been suggested: 12. Kc3 d4+ 13. Kc4 b6 14. Qf3! (14. Kd5?! f6! 15. Qh5+ Kd8! 16. Qxe5 fxe5 17. Kxe5 d3! 18. Bxd3 Nxd3+ 19. cxd3 Nf6) 14... Be6+ 15. Qd5! but after 15... Bxd5+ 16. Kxd5 Nf6+ 17. Kc6 (17. Kc4?! Nfe4 18. Nf3 f6 with the threat of Nd6+ or c6 and b5#) (17. Kxe5?! Ng4+ 18. Kf4 Nf2) 17... d3! the position is still difficult to assess.

 

12... Ne7

Black is threatening b6+ and Bd7#.

 

13. Bb5+ Kd8 14. Bc6

The only move to avoid checkmate!

 

14... b6+ 15. Kb5 Nxc6 16. Kxc6

Not 16. c3?? Nd4+ 17. cxd4 Bd7#.

 

16... Bb7+ 17. Kb5

Not 17. Kxb7?? Kd7 18. Qg4+ Kd6 and White will not be able to avoid Rhb8#.

 

17... Ba6+ 18. Kc6

Not 18. Ka4?? Bc4 and White cannot stop 19....b5#.

 

18... Bb7+

With a draw by repetition. This identical position has appeared on the board in a number of tournament encounters, most recently Banikas -Nikolaidis, 58th Greek Championship, Rhodes 2008. Typically these are arranged draws in the last round, and the moves are meant to be a little joke for those who know the game. After all, if the moves were not pre-arranged, then White would play one of the winning lines that even Steinitz apparently knew.... But occasionally players will enter into the Hamppe - Meitner motif to engage in a real fight, as in our next game.

1/2-1/2

[Michael Goeller]


Game Two

Eric Schiller - Walter Shipman [C28]

New York 1981


1. e4 Nc6 2. Bc4 e5 3. d3

Some other interesting examples of "the Hamppe-Meitner Motif" include the following:

 

a) 3. Nc3 Na5!?










(3... Nf6 4. d3 Na5!? (4... Bb4! 5. Nge2 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6=) 5. Nge2 (5. Qf3!? Nxc4 6. dxc4 Bb4! 7. Nge2 d6=) 5... Nxc4 6. dxc4 Bc5 7. O-O d6 8. Bg5 Be6=) 4. Bxf7+?! ( 4. Be2--as usual, the most rational choice--4... Nf6 5. f4!? (5. Nf3) 5... d5 6. fxe5 Nxe4 7. Nf3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 c5 11. Qe1 Westerinen-Dickl, Schaan 1999 11... f6!=) 4... Kxf7 5. Qh5+ g6! 6. Qxe5 Nc6! 7. Qxh8 h6!










Note that it is precisely the slight difference from Hamppe-Meitner that White's Knight is at c3 that prevents the Queen from escaping!

8. Qh7+ Bg7 9. d3 (The only way to save the Queen: 9. Nd5?! Nb4 10. Nf3 (10. Nxb4 Nf6 11. Qxg7+ Kxg7) 10... d6 11. Nxb4 Nf6 12. Qxg7+ Kxg7 13. d3 c5! or 9. e5? Nxe5 10. d4 Ng4! (10... Nf6) 11. Bxh6 N8xh6 12. Nf3 d6 and Black eventually snags the Queen) 9... Nf6 (9... Nd4!? 10. Bxh6!? (10. Nf3 Nxf3+ 11. gxf3 Nf6 12. Bg5 hxg5 13. Qh3 d5) 10... Nxh6 11. Nf3! (11. O-O-O Ne6) 11... Nxc2+ (11... Ne6 12. Ne5+) 12. Kd2 Nxa1 13. Ne5+ Kf8 14. Nxg6+ Kf7 15. Ne5+=) 10. Bg5 hxg5 (10... Nxh7!? 11. Bxd8 Nxd8 12. Nge2) 11. Qh3 d5 12. Qf3 Kg8 , e.g.: 13. exd5?! Nd4 14. Qd1 Nxd5.

 

b) 3. f4 (a position that might arise by 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Bc4) 3... Na5!?










4. Bxf7+?

(This sac may be the worst of the lot, especially considering that White does well after 4. Be2! exf4 (4... d5!? 5. exd5 Bc5? 6. d4! exd4 7. Bd2) 5. Nf3 d5! 6. exd5 (6. e5?! d4! 7. d3 g5 8. c3 Nc6!) 6... Nf6! 7. O-O (7. c4 c6 8. dxc6 Nxc6 9. d4 Bb4+ 10. Nc3 Ne4) 7... Bd6 8. d4 c6 9. dxc6 Nxc6 10. c4)

 

4... Kxf7 5. Qh5+ g6 6. Qxe5 Qh4+! 7. Kf1 (7. g3 Qe7 8. Nf3 (8. Qxh8 Qxe4+) 8... Qxe5 9. Nxe5+ Kg7) 7... Qh5!










8. Qxh5 (8. Qxh8 Bg7) 8... gxh5.

 

3... Na5!?

Black goes after the Bishop, which cannot retreat to e2.










4. Bxf7+!

If White does not have this move it's hard to see how he might even try to gain the advantage:

a) 4. Nd2!? Nxc4 5. Nxc4 d5! 6. Nxe5 (6. exd5 Qxd5 7. Nf3 f6=) 6... Qe7 7. Bf4 g5!? 8. Bg3 Bg7 9. d4 h5!?

4. Nf3 Nxc4 5. dxc4 d6 (5... Nf6 6. O-O (not 6. Nxe5 Qe7) 6... d6 7. Qd3 Be7=) 6. Nc3 f5!? (6... Nf6 7. O-O Be7=) 7. exf5 Bxf5 8. Qe2 Nf6

b) 4. Nc3 likely transposes to known lines of the Vienna considered about equal.

 

4... Kxf7 5. Qh5+ Ke6










Interesting, but ultimately unsatisfactory, is 5... g6!? 6. Qxe5 Nc6 7. Qxh8 h6 8. Bxh6! (8. Qc3?? Bb4! points up how much difference d3 for White can make!) 8... Bxh6 (8... Nxh6 9. Nc3) 9. Nf3 and White's Queen will not be trapped, meaning White retains a slight material edge and the safer King.

 

6. Qf5+!?

True to the Hamppe-Meitner model, but White has a much simpler alternative here:

6. Nf3! Qf6 (6... Nc6? 7. Ng5+ Ke7 8. Qf7+) 7. Ng5+ Ke7 8. Nc3 c6 and White wins back his material with advantage by 9. b4 or 9. Nxh7!?.

 

6... Kd6

 










7. d4?

It appears that Schiller wished (mistakenly) to transpose directly to Hamppe-Meitner, but he thus missed his chance to turn White's extra tempo to advantage:

7. f4! Qe7!

(7... Nc6 8. fxe5+ Nxe5 9. Bf4 (or 9. d4!?); 7... Qh4+!? 8. g3 Qe7 9. fxe5+ (also of interest are 9. b4!? and 9. Nf3) 9... Kc6 10. Ne2! b6 11. O-O Ba6 12. b4! Qxb4 13. Ba3 Bc5+ 14. Kh1 Rf8 15. Bxb4 Rxf5 16. exf5 Bxb4 17. Nbc3!?; 7... c5?! 8. Qxe5+ Kc6 9. b4!; 7... Kc6?! 8. Qxe5 d5! (8... Kb6 9. Nc3!) 9. Qc3+ Kb6 10. Bd2 Nc6 11. Qb3+)

 

8. fxe5+ (also good are 8. Nf3!? or 8. b4!?) 8... Kc6 9. Ne2! (9. e6? Qc5! Quere-Oakhur, FRA-chT U18, 2000, 0-1 in 46 moves) 9... Nh6!

(9... b6 10. O-O Ba6 11. b4 Qxb4 12. Ba3 Bc5+ 13. Kh1 Rf8 14. Bxb4 Rxf5 15. exf5 Bxb4 16. Nbc3)

 

10. Bxh6! Qh4+ 11. g3 Qxh6 12. e6 is clearly strong for White.

 

7... Kc6

a) 7... Qf6?? 8. dxe5+ Qxe5 9. Bf4 Boros-Saller 1995

b) 7... Qe8!? 8. Nf3!

 

8. Qxe5 d5!










This is probably what Hamppe should have done also! Running with the King would make a perfect mirror image of Hamppe-Meitner, Vienna 1872, but Shipman refuses to cooperate. Of course, 8... Kb6 9. Na3 d5! or 9... c6! are the critical improvements, as we saw in the analysis above.

 

9. exd5+ Kb6!?

As we saw above, Black can play for the win with 9... Qxd5! 10. Qe8+ Bd7!! 11. Qxa8 Nf6 12. Qxa7 (12. Nc3 Qxg2 13. Be3 Nc4 14. O-O-O Nxe3 15. fxe3 Qxh1) 12... Qxg2 13. Qxa5 Qxh1 14. d5+ Nxd5 15. Qa4+ Kb6 16. Qxd7 Qxg1+ 17. Ke2 Qxc1 18. Qxd5 Bc5. The text move should also favor Black, but it is much less clear.

 

10. Nc3 Qe7!

Better than 10... Bb4!? 11. d6! (not 11. Qxg7 Qe7+)

 

11. Na4+ Kb5 12. Nc3+

12. b3!=

 

12... Kb6

Naturally 12... Ka6! was the way to play for win, but perhaps Shipman wanted to gain time on the clock?

 

13. Bf4

Black gets a second chance after 13. Na4+ Kb5 (13... Ka6 14. Nc5+ Kb5 15. Ne6!?) 14. Nc3+ Ka6! 15. Bf4 Nc4! 16. Qxe7 Bxe7.

 

13... Bf5

The contestants agreed a draw, which seems appropriate since White will have plenty of pawns for his piece.

 

If Black had wanted to play for a win, he might have tried 13... Nc4!. It remains unclear to me whether this was a pre-arranged draw gone wrong or a real contest. In any case, it adds to our knowledge of the Hamppe - Meitner motif!

1/2-1/2

[Michael Goeller]

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