What is the most famous example where player was losing heavily (down on material) in the beginning with lots of sacrifices but came back strongly to beat or "pwn" their opponent?

I am not asking for weaker player beating strongly rated players. Rather someone who was creatively toying with opponent by sacrificing each and everything or playing like a looney only to reveal a method to madness. Sort of like Laurence Fishburne saying "Your son creates like Fischer." in Searching for Bobby Fischer.


  • you are basically describing Paul Morphy with Kings Gambit Accepted, (edit here are the games, not all of them will fit but some will)
    – ajax333221
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 21:35
  • 5
    "Swindle" is the word you want.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 22:31
  • It would only be a swindle if it wasn't on purpose or the sacrifices were unsound. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 7:04
  • I was confused by the words "losing heavily" which would imply that the sacrifices were unsound, but I think that the original poster just means "far behind in material".
    – dfan
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 11:56
  • I agree with what is ment, the question could possibly be edited for clarity but I don't think I am up for it myself. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


This question might be a little too much in the discussion, no definitive answer category but I will answer anyway.

My answer would be the game known as the immortal game between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851. Anderssen gave up both rooks and a bishop, then his queen, checkmating his opponent with his three remaining minor pieces.

Wikipedia's entry on the game is here

As a side note the list of games here has many games that would fall into this category, I haven't looked at them all but there are many interesting games on this list.


When I read the phrase "sacrificing each and everything" in your question, my mind went to the game Serper-Nikolaidis, in which White does, well, that. By the time of 35.c6, each of White's original pieces has been offered up for sacrifice:

[fen ""]
[Event "St Petersburg Open"]
[Site "St Petersburg"]
[Date "1993.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Grigory Serper"]
[Black "Ioannis Nikolaidis"]
[ECO "E70"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "95"]

1.c4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nge2 Nbd7 6.Ng3 c6 7.Be2
a6 8.Be3 h5 9.f3 b5 10.c5 dxc5 11.dxc5 Qc7 12.O-O h4 13.Nh1
Nh5 14.Qd2 e5 15.Nf2 Nf8 16.a4 b4 17.Nd5 cxd5 18.exd5 f5 19.d6
Qc6 20.Bb5 axb5 21.axb5 Qxb5 22.Rxa8 Qc6 23.Rfa1 f4 24.R1a7
Nd7 25.Rxc8+ Qxc8 26.Qd5 fxe3 27.Qe6+ Kf8 28.Rxd7 exf2+ 29.Kf1
Qe8 30.Rf7+ Qxf7 31.Qc8+ Qe8 32.d7 Kf7 33.dxe8=Q+ Rxe8 34.Qb7+
Re7 35.c6 e4 36.c7 e3 37.Qd5+ Kf6 38.Qd6+ Kf7 39.Qd5+ Kf6
40.Qd6+ Kf7 41.Qxe7+ Kxe7 42.c8=Q Bh6 43.Qc5+ Ke8 44.Qb5+ Kd8
45.Qb6+ Kd7 46.Qxg6 e2+ 47.Kxf2 Be3+ 48.Ke1 1-0
  • 1
    Brilliant! +1 This is exactly what I wanted; although looked like the ultimate trolling in chess at first. Love the name: The Usurper! Commented May 2, 2013 at 6:48

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