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Akiba Rubinstein vs Alexander Alekhine
"Semmer Down" (game of the day May-03-2017)
Semmering (1926), Semmering AUT, rd 8, Mar-17
Queen's Indian Defense: Capablanca Variation (E16)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-21-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Yes, it looks quite convincing.
Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: How much did Rubinstein decline after around 1911/1912 due to his psychological problems? Anyone hazard a guess? Clearly, by the time of this game he was no longer the same player who was playing Capablanca, Alekhine and Lasker so tough.
Aug-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: He never had another 1912 of course but in 1922 he won the Vienna tournament by a big margin ahead of Alekhine, Tartakower, Maroczy, Tarrasch and others, for example... http://www.alekhine.net/english/tab...
Aug-28-04  WMD: In John Nunn's introduction to the Batsford edition of Alekhine's Best Games he writes:

"I was particularly struck by his game against Rubinstein from Semmering, 1926 (game 42 in this book), and the move 18...Nxf2! in particular. It seemed incredible that there might be a stronger move than the obvious recapture on c3, but after having checked the analysis several times, I had to admit that taking on f2 was a forced win. But how did this move even enter Alekhine's head? Today, finding this move doesn't seem so totally impossible as it did then, but it remains an enormously impressive game. In my opinion Alekhine's special genius lay in his ability to discover unexpected twists in positions where a lesser player would have made an automatic, conventional move."

In his own notes, Alekhine says of 18...Nxf2, "By this pseudo-sacrifice Black forces the win of at least a pawn with a crushing position. Of course, the immediate 18...dxc3 would be ineffective because of 19.Ne4."

Nunn has a footnote on this variation (18...dxc3 19.Ne4) which reads: "At first sight Black can continue 19...Nxf2 20.Nxf2 Bxf2+ 21.Kxf2 22.Qb6+, but White replies 22.c5! Qxb7 23.Qc2 Qb2 24.Rc1 Qxa3 25.Qxc3 Qxc3 26.Rxc3 with a very likely draw after the inevitable exchange of queenside pawns."

The suprise is that Fritz finds the unexpected twist 19...Ne3! in Nunn's line and gives Black a large advantage. A sample line is 20.Qxd8 Rxd8 21.fxe3 Bxe3+ 22.Nf2 c2 23.Kg2 c1=Q 24.Rxc1 Bxc1 and Black is up an exchange. Question is, is this advantage decisive?

What, if anything, is said about this line in the World's Greatest Chess Games by Messrs. Nunn, Emms and Burgess? I can't believe they missed it.

Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: Thanks, <WMD> you're always making thoughtful posts (unlike me)!
Aug-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WMD> Re <What...is said about this line in the World's Greatest Chess Games...?>. Nunn as the annotator mentionS:

<18...dxc3 19.Ne4 Ne3!> 20.Qxd8 Rxd8 21.fxe3 Bxe3+ 22.Kg2 c2 23.Nc3 Rb8 24.Be4 c1(Q) 25.Rxc1 Bxc1 as the main line (he also gives several branching sub-variations).

Aug-28-04  WMD: And Black is definitely winning?
Aug-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WMD> "...with an easy win for black" - Nunn.
Sep-05-04  beatgiant: <drukenknight: why not 16 e3?>

I think the answer is 16. e3 ♘xe3 17. fe ♗xe3+ 18. ♔h1 d4 . Note the discovered attack by Black's rook along the b-file cutting off the retreat of White's bishop. So the game might continue 19. ♗xb7 ♖xb7 20. ♕f3 dc 21. ♕xb7 cd , and the result looks good for Black (two pawns for the exchange, strong d-pawn, active play, etc.)

Aug-28-05  A.Alekhine: Alekhine shows a very clear way to use the Queen Indian
Jan-04-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <"I was particularly struck by his game against Rubinstein from Semmering, 1926 (game 42 in this book), and the move 18...Nxf2! in particular. It seemed incredible that there might be a stronger move than the obvious recapture on c3, but after having checked the analysis several times, I had to admit that taking on f2 was a forced win. But how did this move even enter Alekhine's head?..."> Well, I have to say that 18...Nxf2 is not so unobvious. White Queen is under attack. It is clear at first glance that after 19.Rxf2 dxc3 not only Rf2 but also Nd2 due to unprotected Queen are pinned and that white loses a lot of material. The grim consequences of 19.Kxf2 are obvious as well - dxc3 with discovered check. Everything else leaves white without Pawn and with very bad position. The only thing necessary to do is to watch carefully whether white has no hidden zwischenzug but it is not difficult to see that there is nothing too much good. The only candidate 19.Ba5 trades the Queens with clear edge for black: 19...Nxe1 20.Bxd8 d3+! 21.e3 (21.Kh1 dxe2 22.Re1 Rxd8 ) 21...Nxe3 22.Bg5 Nxf1+ 23.Kxf1 Rb8 etc. This line seems to be the only more difficult part of black's calculation here and it definitely was not difficult for Alekhine.
Apr-14-09  WhiteRook48: 18...Nxf2!!
Jun-12-09  Bridgeburner:

<16...d4> sets a trap that Rubinstein walked right into with <17.Rxb7??> apparently failing to see the snake's nest of complications into which he was stumbling. After <17.Bb4>, White is perfectly OK.

<<beatgiant> Note the discovered attack by Black's rook along the b-file cutting off the retreat of White's bishop.>

The bishop can play <19.Bb4>, and White is fine.

Jun-12-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: It seems to me that Rubinstein had difficulties in handling Alekhine-induced complications. However, so did almost every one else (with the obvious notable exceptions of Lasker and Capablanca).

Rubinstein vs Alekhine, 1922

Here is another classic case wherein Rubinstein finally loses his way after a magnificently complicated middlegame struggle, blundering right at the very end. IMO Rubinstein should have avoided such complex games with Alekhine in the first place, as he probably had better chances of winning in 'simpler' positions.

In the 1930s, the great Paul Keres was the emerging young chessplayer whose style resembled that of Alekhine's. Assuming he wasn't 'throwing away games' to AAA as some kibitzers allege, I think the main reason why Keres kept on losing to Alekhine was that AAA was simply a better version of Keres at playing the same kind of positions they both loved. Had Alekhine died for example in 1938 and a World Championship tournament been immediately held, Keres IMO probably would have ended as World Champion.

Jun-13-09  Bridgeburner: <visayanbraindoctor>

<It seems to me that Rubinstein had difficulties in handling Alekhine-induced complications.>

True, but it was in the simpler positions that Rubinstein often blundered against Alekhine. For example, in the game you cited where Rubinstein threw it all away with <50.f4??> in a single piece + 4 pawns each endgame.

I recall reading somewhere that Keres had been under Soviet orders to throw some games (although when I don't know), and Bronstein had been ordered to throw his last game against Botvinnik in the WC match that he drew. It seems Bronstein was a second cousin of Leon Trotsky, and such suspect relations were under strict orders at the time.

Apr-07-12  Karpova: Though White is lost, Akiva actually lost on time.

Source: Page 184 of J. Donaldson and N. Minev 'The Life and Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 2: The Later Years', 2nd edition, Milforld, USA, 2011.

Aug-06-14  cdowis: Bronznik
9...c5 offsets the Qside pawn storm with support of bishop.
May-12-15  A.T PhoneHome: Alekhine's 18...Nf2! idea is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in top-flight chess.

Most likely many of you can give a big list of even more amazing conceptions, but it's always a matter of taste!

Besides, the beauty of chess can be expressed in countless of ways. Everyone who likes chess will take a liking to something.

Jan-23-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Apparently, Rubinstein lost on time. I assume time control was at 30 moves.
May-05-16  Kettalchess: 23... Qe5! stronger than the text move
24 Qb3 Qd6 win c3 pawn quickly
Jul-27-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: White's plan of queenside expansion with 9 b4 seems harmless and is no longer used by White. 13 Ne5?! lost time; 13 Rb1 is an alternative. Rubinstein's 16 Rb1 did not prevent 16..d4 but, all the same, after 17 Bb4..Bxg2 18 Kxg2..Qc7 White would only have been slightly worse; instead after 17 Rxb7? Black was allowed a winning combination.

<WMD:.......In his own notes, Alekhine says of 18...Nxf2, "By this pseudo-sacrifice Black forces the win of at least a pawn with a crushing position. Of course, the immediate 18...dxc3 would be ineffective because of 19.Ne4.".......

The surprise is that Fritz finds the unexpected twist 19...Ne3! in Nunn's line and gives Black a large advantage. A sample line is 20.Qxd8 Rxd8 21.fxe3 Bxe3+ 22.Nf2 c2 23.Kg2 c1=Q 24.Rxc1 Bxc1 and Black is up an exchange. Question is, is this advantage decisive?>

Giddens confirms that 18..dxc would have also have been winning giving the variation 19 Ne4..Ne3! 20 fxe..Bxf3+ 21 Kg2..Qxd1 22 Rxd1..c2 when White is lost.

May-03-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Unusual for Rubinstein to falter positionally much less blunder tactically. Perhaps he was intimidated by Alekhine. Some players just didn't or don't match up well with certain player(s), whether its style-related or mental in nature.

*****

May-04-17  Strelets: This is one of my favorite games by Alekhine. It's a perfect demonstration of how he used tactics to achieve positional goals.
May-04-17  User not found: This a little gem and easier to spot the mistakes than a Fischer game I peeped earlier. Even after Rxb7 RxR here you can avoid black playing the devastating dxc3 leaving all your pieces tied into defending c2 and your terrible queenside weaknesses... and the wide open d file!


click for larger view


click for larger view

18. Ba5 and you still get the b7 rook, still lose the Bishop but that pawn is still on d4.. 17.Rxb7? was the blunder but a player like Rubinstein could have recovered, recapturing with 18. Bxb7?? allows the pawn to play dxc3... And that is my contribution to this game, lol. Great, but two mistakes cost white the point :) and

May-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Black's d-pawn became the proverbial "bone in the throat"

I'd much prefer to have a throne in my boat than a bone in my throat

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