Adolf Anderssen (Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen), 1818–79, German chess player, b. Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). He graduated (1847) from Breslau Univ. and later was a mathematics professor there. Anderssen learned chess at the age of nine, and the game became a lifelong avocation. He wrote numerous articles on the game and from 1846 edited one of Germany's first chess magazines. In 1851 he won the first international chess tournament, held in London, and became the first official world chess champion. Considered the prime example of chess's Romantic style, he was known for fierce attacks and the sacrifice of many pieces. His most famous game (1851), won against Lionel Kieseritzky was marked by a series of sacrifices (a bishop, both rooks, and his queen) and is known as "The Immortal Game." Anderssen lost the championship (1858) to Paul Morphy, held it again from 1862–66, and remained a force in competitive chess into the 1870s.
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