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Alexander Alekhine vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Nottingham (1936), Nottingham ENG, rd 5, Aug-14
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation (B72)  ·  1/2-1/2


Annotations by Alexander Alekhine.      [77 more games annotated by Alekhine]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-31-10  AVRO38: <chancho:As it turns out, <keypusher> explained after the 1940 Nazi invasion that Euwe's chess activity went down>

"Went down" is not the same as stopped! Alekhine, Bogo, and Keres' activity also "went down"!!

<I see no mention of his playing in Czechoslovakia>

Earth to chancho...Karlsbad is in Czechoslovakia!!! which was occupied by the Nazis at the time.

<keypusher:Hungary was not Nazi-occupied>

<whiteshark:Hungary was an ally>

I know it's hard for people of your limited intelligence to read but what part of "Hungary was an Axis power" didn't you understand???

Facts...Euwe played multiple tournaments and matches in Axis countries or Axis occupied countries such as Holland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. He also had no problem playing a match against a citizen of Nazi Germany Efim Bogoljubov during the war. Any criticism of Alekhine, Bogo, or Keres must also be directed equally to Euwe! But alas, there is no shortage of hypocrisy among chess fans.

May-31-10  BobCrisp: <Karlsbad is in Czechoslovakia>

Well, technically speaking, it was in the Protectorate of Bohemia & Moravia. Americans aren't very good on European geography.

May-31-10  BobCrisp: < I have to think that refusing to play in a tournament during the Nazi occupation would have been a death sentence to yourself and your family...>

Sorry, I don't believe it. Next you'll be suggesting that one had to apply to <Seyss-Inquart> for permission to break wind.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Earth to chancho...Karlsbad is in Czechoslovakia!!! which was occupied by the Nazis at the time.>

Ok... we all make mistakes.

Karlsbad is an administrative area in the district of Karlsruhe, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Karlovy Vary generally known in English as Carlsbad

<I know it's hard for people of your limited intelligence to read but what part of "Hungary was an Axis power" didn't you understand???>

Have you been residing in Ed Trice's arse and then evicted by any chance?

May-31-10  BobCrisp: Carlsbad 1929 was Nimzowitsch's greatest tournament victory: <;
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli>

<Wasn't Groningen 1946 his only international tournament of the period? He won the tournament, but lost 3 games and seems like he had several other shaky ones. I think <keypusher> recently pointed out his faulty strategy against Christoffel. It might be interesting to examine his games in the tournament and see if the his quality of play measures up to his boast.>

They don't count as international tournaments, but I would think the 1941 "Absolute Championship," Smolensk 1943, the 1944 and 1945 Soviet championships, and maybe the Chigorin Memorial would all be stronger top to bottom than Groningen. Then there is the 1948 championship itself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <keypusher> Mainly just want to know if the games of this period display his supposed dominance. A quick look through his Groningen parties didn't indicate such, but it was admittedly a cursory look.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli> To me if a guy wins every event he plays in over a multi-year period against very strong opposition, he's dominating even if he gets lucky occasionally. But I suspect we would find Groningen was an outlier for Botvinnik in the 40s. If so, I don't know if it was the inconsistency that plagues all mortals or nerves at the first big postwar international tournament. He always struck me as psychologically fragile, though he seems to have convinced the chess world and even himself that he was an iron man.

This whole topic reminds me of Lasker in the 1890s. If you look at the Nuremberg tournament book, you realize that Tarrasch had a point with his silly <Einfluess des Glucksfactors> -- Lasker really did win five games he should have lost. His other wins at Nuremberg were a mixed bag -- some crushes against the bottom of the field, fine wins over Steinitz and Blackburne, a dodgy game against Marco, and a walkover against Tarrasch himself.

Lasker's other tournaments from the era weren't like that, though. He would generally have about one swindle per tournament, but in a 15 or 30 round event that is not a surprise. Mostly he just beat people up.

I suspect that is what we would find if we really examined Botvinnik's games from the 40s. But it would be interesting to check. In particular, he ran huge risks to win with Black (the Christoffel game is a good example).

Jun-01-10  Olavi: I don't have the Nürnberg book at hand, but I'm pretty sure that it was Schröder, the club chairman, who wrote the prose bit including <Einfluess des Glucksfactors>
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: In my view, your metric-basis is flawed if you think it was so terrible to play in chess tournament(s) in Nazi-territory. A chess-player has to make a living, and afte-rall, its just chess no matter where you play it. What IS serious are allegations that a person authored anti-semetic articles or voiced same. That's a whole different metric. Playing chess in Nazi territory? what...Writing articles? now that concerns me (a-lot more than any proximity basis)...In any case, Alekhine never wrote those articles (as they finally appeared). He did comment within a Nazi document...a document which was conveniently altered, by who else, the Nazi's. Alekhine was a tragic case, but he was no anti-semite...just look at his serious relationships from friends to spouse. And leave poor Euwe alone, he was just another broke chess-player caught up in the war.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <morfishine> They found the manuscripts of the six anti semitic articles written in Alekhine's handwriting among his wife's effects in 1956.
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  keypusher: <Olavi: I don't have the Nürnberg book at hand, but I'm pretty sure that it was Schröder, the club chairman, who wrote the prose bit including <Einfluess des Glucksfactors>>

Well, that's a bummer. Wish I could get my hands on an original (my copy of the tournament book is a translation that doesn't include the chart or, presumably, anything else Schroeder did).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <keypusher> I have a copy of the 1974 BCM reprint of the original 1896 Nuremberg tournament book. If there is some specific information that you need, perhaps I can provide it.
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  keypusher: <Pawn and Two> Thanks, very kind. What I really want to do is read it! I suppose I could get the translation, but I'd like to get the original. I keep expecting it to show up on Google Books, but it hasn't.
Jun-02-10  Olavi: Keypusher, I have a reprint of the original. I'll check the matter.
Jun-02-10  sarah wayne: A number of observers would question
many of Botvinnik's so called successes.Claiming that soviet controlled players were ordered to lose to him because he was the ultimate good commie.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <olavi> Looks like sneaky pete posted the relevant Schroeder excerpt on the Lasker vs Chigorin, 1896 page, which is certainly a good place for it.
Jun-03-10  Olavi: keypusher, that's it, and also a little critical text analysis could have shown that Tarrasch couldn't have been the writer - he never referred to himself in the third person singular.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Botvinnik played 4 mini-matches (5 games each) in 1948, the results being -

defeated Euwe (2W, 0L, 3D)

defeated Reshevsky (3W, 1L, 1D)

defeated Smyslov (1W, 0L, 4D)

defeated Keres (4W, 1L, 0D)

(Notice that Botvinnik's results against the 2 Soviet players are the same as against the 2 western players - 5W, 1L, 4D)

This suggests he would probably have defeated Alekhine after 1940, considering the latter's poor health (died in 1946).

Up until 1936 though, Alekhine was possibly too strong and Botvinnik lacking top level experience.

In the late 30s it would have been a tough match to call. Probably I would bet on the younger player in a long tough match. In the games they did play Botvinnik had a small plus.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <This suggests he would probably have defeated Alekhine after 1940, considering the latter's poor health (died in 1946).>

I don't know how Botvinnik's results in 1948 can tell us at what point he passed Alekhine, or how you arrived at the date of 1940.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: By 1940 Botvinnik had beaten Alekhine in individual play, and also finished ahead of him in tournaments. Alekhine turned 48 in 1940, which is not the best age for improved results. See for instance Psychology in Chess, The Link Between Age and Success by N. Krogius. Or, in Alekhine's Best Games 1938-45, Ch. Alexander admits that Alekhine was no longer as strong as in his peak years(1922-1937) but that his best games are still creatively excellent. It's only that those masterpieces are less frequent and the lapses between them more common with age.
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  morfishine: <chancho> I place little weight on any manuscripts. He states he was forced to write certain articles that were subsequently "enhanced" by the Nazi's. I believe him in his interview. In his position, he was doing anything to keep his hope's alive of leaving Europe and re-uniting with his wife (who happened to be Jewish). Those papers must've been dear to her as it shows what lengths AA would go (to be with her). I don't believe he was an anti-semite; and I'm not a huge Alekhine fan, I just try to sift out the truth. But, to each his own. I like Morphy
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <chancho> <morfishine> What clinches it for me is that he boasted of the anti-semitic articles in the spanish press in 1941, presumably when he didn't expect he'd ever have cause to regret writing them.

His wife wasn't Jewish, and I find it implausible that the Nazis would have messed with the articles anyway. Why would they care?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: "On the whole, a grossly overrated game," -Wolfgang Heidenfeld.
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