Our two recent posts on King Hunts reminded me of a remarkable game I had stored away in my memory as The Immortal Draw - a romantic effort on a par with The Immortal Game and The Evergreen Game, I supposed.
Here it is to play over now:
Without a doubt, the game contains many memorable moments: the surprise of the black bishop, queen and knight sacrifices; the way the white king gets caught up in enemy territory, a minefield demarcated by pawns, revealed by variations featuring such unusual mating variations as 17.Kxb7? Kd7! threatening ..Rhb8 mate, and 18.Ka4? Bc4! threatening ...b5 mate; the massive white army sat immobile on the first rank, watching uselessly on. Equally curiously, the line has a certain amount of theory associated with it - similar games and analysis can be found at here at Chess Games. And in fact chess databases will tell you that the entire game has been since replicated identically more than once, presumably as part of prearranged draw pacts.
So is Carl Hamppe versus Philipp Meitner, Vienna 1872, universally agreed amongst chess players to be The Immortal Draw, to be anthologized as such, on a par with all the well-known greats? Unfortunately, it seems not. It turns out Chess Games named the game as such when they featured it as their game of the day in January last year, and whilst Google suggests not much competition for this crown, with only six hits for the phrase support is thin on the ground too.
Still, I think the game deserves to be better known, and I hope you have enjoyed getting to know it a bit. Comments about the immortality or otherwise of this effort are welcome, as are suggestions for alternative claims to the title of Immortal Draw.