Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Did Black move first?

While digging through some information concerning the "Immortal Game", I came across a piece of information I have never seen before. According to the July 1851 edition of "The Chess Player" by Horwitz and Kling, Anderssen actually played with the black pieces during the game. But before you think the result has been misreported for over 150 years, the game is given with Anderssen (as Black) still making the first move. It does not seem to be a typo in the magazine, as the notes attached refer to Black as the winner.
If this were the case Anderssen's play is even more impressive, as playing with white as black can be quite off putting. I've seen it done on occasion (usually after a quick loss at skittles and the players are too lazy to swap the pieces) but even then, the king and queen are often swapped, so that short castling is still to the right for 'Black'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was not at all unusual for the 19th century. A look through the Chess Player's Chronicle, for example, shows almost every other game with the first player listed as Black. So it would not have been off putting for players of the time.