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Paul F Johner vs Alexander Alekhine
Bad Pistyan (1922), Piestany CSR, rd 5, Apr-12
Indian Game: Anti-Nimzo-Indian (E10)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-20-06  pyryk: In <Alexander Alekhine's Best Games>, Alekhine gives White's 9th move an exclamation mark and goes on to say that if 9.♘xc3 then 9...♗c5 would give Black a positional edge. Could anyone explain this comment as it baffles me to no end. The pawn structures are similar and White has more space in the center so I just don't see what kind of an advantage Black could expect to have.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <pyryk> Development; or eqivalenty, time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Gypsy>
<Development; or eqivalenty, time.>

Do you see anything concrete? I'm no Alekhine, of course, but I failed to discover any really convincing advantage for Black in lines like 9. Nxc3 Bc5 10. Be2 Qh4 11. 0-0 0-0 12. Qd3, or even 9. Nxc3 Bc5 10. Bf4 Qf6 11. Qd2 0-0 12. Be2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <beatgiant> I looked the game up in Kotov (Alekhine's Legacy, Vol. 1), but no useful explanation of this is there. Here is what I think:

After the potential 9.Nxc3(?) Bc5, White is half a tempo behind in development and also has some still-inconspicuous structural problems. Since Black has the pressure along the a7-g1 diagonal, it is difficult and time consuming for White to prepare f2-f3. This makes the e4 pawn into a de-facto separate pawn-island. Pawn f2 is also rathes soft and, to lesser degree, so are the pawns b2,a2,and g2 (probably in that order).

Alekhine probably overstated his case a bit, I'd estimate Black advantage at ~0.25 pawn. But I do think Black would develop serious initiative.

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  Calli: Alekhine's original German in the tournament book (Kagan, 1923) reads "Damit behält Wiess die initiative; nach 9.Sb5xc3 Lf7-c5 steht Schwarz besser."

Or "With this move White keeps the initiative; After 9.Nxc3 Bc5 Black stands better."

I think the translation in "My Best.." missed the point of AA's comment which is that on Nxc3 Black goes from being on the defensive to the more comfortable position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Calli> To paraphrase, Alekhine probably wanted to say: <...After 9.Nxc3 Bc5, Black position is quite improved.> I buy that.
Jan-20-10  psmith: Alekhine gives 10. Rb1 an exclamation point. Fritz 5.32 initially gives the suggestion of 10. Qh5 (threatening Nd6+) after which Black has to play carefully: 10. Qh5 Nc6 11. Bf4 Rc8 12. Rd1 g6! Now Black has to be willing to play some "ugly" computer moves but if he finds them he seems to be able to exploit the loose position of White's King. For example 13. Qh4 a6 14. Qf6 Rg8 15. Nd6+ Bxd6 16. Bxd6 e5 or 13. Qg5 h6 14. Qf6 Rh7! 15. Be2 Be7 16. Nd6+ Kf8 17. Bxh6+ Kg8 18. Qf4 g5!? 19. Bxg5 (19. Qd2 Rxh6 20. Nxb7 Qe5 21. Qxd7 Rc7 22. Qe8+ Kg7 23. Nd8 Qxc3+ 24. Kf1 Bxd8 ) 19...Bxg5 20. Qg3 Rg7 21. Nxc8 Bd2+ . (Analysis aided by Fritz 5.32; improvements welcome.)
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