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This article is helpful to real how today's Modern and Hypermodern Systems originated. It is also helpful to note why positional style is so prevelant as opposed to tactical style when it comes to human chess. During the 1800s, the Gambits (in my opinion) were truly Gambits, because there was no way for humans to search into a gambit 20 plys deep (remember that 13 ply is roughly equal to 7 moves deep). Now, chess engines like Houdini, Stockfish, and Komodo are just beginning to evaluate that some instances of wreckless openings are not really wreckless at all but have favoritism for one player over another.


Romantic chess was the style of chess prevalent in the 19th century. It was characterized by brash sacrifices and open, tactical games. Winning was secondary to winning with style, so much, in fact, that it was considered unsporting to decline a gambit (the sacrifice of a pawn or piece to obtain an attack). It is no coincidence that the most popular openings played by the Romantics were the King's Gambit Accepted and the Evans Gambit Accepted. Some of the major players of the Romantic era were Adolf Anderssen, Paul Morphy and Henry Blackburne. A famous game of this time is the Immortal Game between Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky. The Romantic style was effectively ended on the highest level by Wilhelm Steinitz, who, with his more positional approach, crushed all of his contemporaries. This domination ushered in a new age of chess known as the "Modern", or Classical school.

The Romantic Era in the Arts (notably classical music and poetry) was roughly analogous to the chess world. Existing as time contemporaries with each other, the arts were focused on emotional expression more than technical mastery. This would come to an end towards the end of the 19th century as evolution in the arts (Impressionist music and Symbolist poetry) aligned closely time-wise with Steinitz' emergence as the new stylistic force in the chess world. Some notable chess masters have argued that chess is an art form in addition to a science.