Adolf Anderssen Biography

Adolf Anderssen was a world class German chess master. Read on to know more about Adolf Anderssen ’s profile, childhood, life and timeline in this biography.

Adolf Anderssen

Quick Facts

Gender: Male
Birthday: 06 July 1818
Died: 13 March 1879
Nationality: German
Sun Sign: Cancer
Education: University of Wrocław

Adolf Anderssen was a world class German chess master. He is considered to have been the greatest chess player from 1851 to 1858 and from 1861 to 1866. He was the most influential chess players of all time and won prestigious titles all over Europe such as the ‘Baden-Baden 1870 chess tournament’. He is best remembered for his ‘sacrificial attacking’ style and was a very important figure in the development of chess problems. Towards the end of his life, he was considered the ‘elder statesman’ of chess, to whom others turned for guidance.

Early Life & Career

Adolf Anderssen was born on July 6, 1818 in Breslau. He lived here with his widowed mother and unmarried sister whom he had to support. Anderssen graduated from gymnasium in Breslau and started attending University, where he specialized in mathematics. After graduating in 1847, he began teaching mathematics at the institute. Aside teaching, Anderssen developed a passion for chess. It is believed that he learnt the strategy of the game through a book called ‘Fifty Games between Labourdonnais and McDonnell’.
Adolf Anderssen first came to the view of the world of chess when he published ’a collection of 60 chess problems’. He continued to publish problems for chess players in magazines till these publications brought him to the attention of the ‘Berlin Pleiades’ group, which consisted of some of the strongest players of the time. He eventually started playing matches with this group and even defeated the world champion at the time—Tassilo Lasa. A few matches old, Anderssen was already gaining the respect and the admiration of international chess players. He was finally called to represent Germany at his first international chess tournament in 1851 in London. He won over 100 matches and beat some of the big guns of chess such as Max Lange, Carl Mayet and Lionel Kieseritzky. Anderssen was labeled as the ‘world’s leading chess player’ at the time. He played for various tournaments such as the London International Tournament and London 1862 Chess Tournament. Due to his successes with chess, Anderssen even came up with his own school of play called the ‘sacrificial attacking’ move and developed further chess problem compositions.
Adolf Anderssen never married. He died on March 13, 1879 in his hometown. His death was noted the very next day with a nineteen page obituary.

Major Works

He published ‘Aufgabe fur Schachspieler’, a collection of 60 chess problems in 1842.

Awards And Achievements

Breslau University awarded him an honorary doctorate.
He was conferred the informal title of the World’s leading Chessmaster in the 1850’s.
Andersson won the International chess tournament in 1851, beating Lionel Kieseritsky, Marmaduke Wyvill and Jozsef Szen.
He won the London 1862 chess tournament.
He won first place at the prestigious, Baden-Baden 1870 chess tournament.
He won third place at the Vienna 1873 tournament.
He won second place at the Leipzig 1877 chess tournament.
Chessmatrix ranked Anderssen as one of the top five players shortly before his death.

Legacy And Contributions

One of Adolf Anderssen’s moves became legendary. In modern times, this opening move is called Anderssen’s opening.
He is also remembered today for the ‘sacrificial attacking play’ style, particular in the ‘Immortal Game’ and the ‘Evergreen Game’.
Adolf Anderssen was initially a mathematician and is remembered as the one who developed complex chess problems and modern chess compositions.
Following his death, Adolf Anderssen was arranged a nineteen-page obituary for his contributions to the world of chess.

Media Representations

‘The Chess Games of Adolf Anderssen’ is a popular chess biography of this famous personality, complete with mathematical problems and complex chess diagrams, published by Pickard and Sons. ‘The World’s Great Chess Games’ is another publication based on the strategies of Adolf Anderssen.

Famous Associations

Throughout his career, Adolf Anderssen built ties with famous personalities and other chess players like Howard Staunton, Max Lange, Carl Mayet, Wilhelm Steinitz and Louise Paulsen.

Personal Life

It is said that Adolf Anderssen was honest and honorable. He was also co-editor with Gustav Neumann with ‘Neue Berliner Schachzeitung’ during his spare time.


1818: Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen was born on July 6th.
1842: He published a collection of 60 chess problems this year.
1847: He taught at the Friedrichs-Gymnasium as an instructor and later, as the professor of Mathematics.
1851: He participated in the London International Tournament and won.
1858: He was temporarily ‘dethroned’ by Paul Morphy during the Morphy Match.
1862: He won the London chess tournament.
1866: He lost a match with Wilhelm Steinitz.
1879: Adolf Anderssen passed away on March 13th.

Citation Information

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Adolf Anderssen Biography

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Last Updated

May 28, 2019

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