Famous chess games for human chess game?

A friend of mine is putting on a human chess match as a performance. He’s recruiting stage combat types (we live in a good location for that) to choreograph the fights ahead of time, and so he has to have a particular chess game selected in advance, so that each fight can be individually choreographed. He’d like to select a famous chess game, so as to bring out the chess nerds in addition to the theatre nerds, but he doesn’t know the game well enough to know the right historical chess game off the top of his head. Any advice, Dopers?


–High body count. They’ve got to get people together to rehearse and to show up, and it’s nice if everyone can have at least one fight (kings excepted, they’re organizing the event and will be happy to show regardless. I realize that there may not be a famous match in which every single piece captures another or is captured itself, but it would be nice to get close to it to maximize the people who get fights.

–In a related note: each side has at least one individual piece with several captures. It doesn’t matter which piece, but it allows them to tell a story with it and build characters and characterization. It also doesn’t matter whether that piece survives to the end of the game or not.

–Fast pace. A capture every couple moves or so, with few long stretches between captures. The event is at least as much about stage combat as it is chess, so a fast tempo is important.

–Dramatic comebacks, unusual moves, and other exciting moments. Surprise checkmates are probably bad because they don’t have a good climatic build-up.

–A famous or otherwise important chess game. Famous players, ideally at least one who’s a recognizable name. Kasparov, Karpov, or Fisher would be great. Otherwise, it would be great if it features a dramatic comeback or other exciting move. I thought about Bobby Fisher’s 1956 brilliancy against Bryne but it’d be nice to have a game with a little higher body count for Black.
That Fisher game is still my best suggestion, but I’m not married to it and I certainly don’t know enough individual games to give a good recommendation. Any thoughts? Are there better games to use for this situation?

How about Paul Morphy’s Opera Game?

Relatively simple, lots of action and finishes with a queen sacrifice and mate.

And it was played during an actual opera performance which could perhaps be worked into the enactment. Apparently the game created quite a stir.

Both good suggestions; high body count, exciting finish, and short, much shorter than Fisher v. Bryne. Thanks! Anyone have others?

I like Anderssen’s other famous game, the Evergreen.

By the way, Fischer had exciting games with both Byrne brothers. Which one were you thinking of?

His 1956 game, his brilliancy at age 13. Queen sacrifice to win. It’s a long game, though, and I like the suggestions here better. I had no idea he had another famous game with a Bryne!

Donald: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008361

Robert: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008419

Wow! Both great games.

Glad those appealed to you. You might enjoy playing through some of the games at http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1001601

It would take a chess-savvy crowd to appreciate the Immortal Zugzwang game by Nimzovich, but it is a truly amazing game. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortal_Zugzwang_Game

I have to say, the game replays with commentary on that site are fantastic. Great feature.

This was my immediate thought as well. I think you are unlikely to find a famous, short game with many more captures in it.

Indeed. All White has at the finish is a Rook, Bishop and some pawns - but it’s enough! :smiley:

More captures or not, you’re also unlikely to find a better-known short game ending in mate. Tartakower versus Reti, in this game, ran into an eleven-move mate with a Queen sac, but that was more a case of a strong player treading on a banana skin than an exhibition of attacking play.