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Alexander Alekhine vs Bernhard Gregory
All Russian Amateur (1909), St Petersburg RUE, rd 7, Feb-23
Bishop's Opening: Vienna Hybrid (C28)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Gregory is lost after 18...Kc8 19.Qg1! Even though he puts up a good fight. How about 18...Ke8, allowing for Qd8 if white plays Qg1-Qa7-Qb8+ ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <How about 18...Ke8, allowing for Qd8 if white plays Qg1-Qa7-Qb8+ ?>

It's clear that Black would still suffer from crushing lack of space and activity. Although I don't have the skill to find an elegant finish in the style of Alekhine, crude moves look good enough for White.

I will only give an example to illustrate the power of White's position. I'm sure you can find many improvements for both sides, but the point is essentially positional and not the specific moves given.

18...♔e8 19. f5 h5 20. ♕g1 ♗c6 21. ♕f2 d5 22. ♗b5 ♗xb5 23. ♖xb5 c6 24. ♖b3 b6 25. c4 g6 26. ♗b4 c5 27. ♗xc5 ♕xc5 28. ♕xc5 bc 29. f6 and White wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  bandito: Alekhine himself gives, after 18...Ke8, 19. Qg1 d5 20. Bb5+ Kd8 21. Bd7 winning.

In the 19. f5 line, the critical position is probably 19...Bc6 20. Ba6 b6 21. Qc4 Bg2 22. Bb5+ Kd8 and can Black hold ?

Regardless, 12...hxg5 13. hxg5 Nh7 might have given Black more flexibility...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Bandito> I was thinking that 18...Ke8 19. Qg1 Bc6 20.Qxa7 b6 was defendable, but the computer spots a weak e-pawn and after 22.fxe5 dxe5 23.Bb5! Bxb5(forced) 24.Rxb5 is a bad position for Black. Okay, that leads me to 18...Ke8 19. Qg1 Bc6 20.Qxa7 Rf5, defending the e pawn. Looks reasonable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <bandito>
<In the 19. f5 line, the critical position is probably 19...Bc6 20. Ba6 b6 21. Qc4 Bg2 22. Bb5+ Kd8> Good point. This defense shows 19. f5 is not as straightforward as I thought.

<18...Ke8 19. Qg1 Bc6 20.Qxa7 Rf5> After this, White can try going crazy with 21. Bb5 Bxb5 22. Rxb5 b6 23. Qe8+ Qd8 24. Qe4 Ne7 25. fxe5 c6 26. exd6!? sacrificing another exchange for strong-looking compensation, but I haven't had time to study the consequences.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <bg> 25...c6 is probably too weakening in that line. 25...d5! and all is sweetness and light ;->
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
In that case, maybe White should play 18...Ke8 19. fxe5 first, preventing 19...d5? 20. Rxb7.

On 18...Ke8 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. Qg1 Bc6 21. Qxa7 and Black has the weak e-pawn.

A sample continuation is 21...Qd6 22. Be3 Ne7 (not 22...b6? as 23. Bxb6! breaks through) 23. Bc5 Qd8 24. Bb5 Bxb5 25. Rxb5 and Black looks in trouble (still not 25...b6 26. Rxb6!)

Jun-30-05  Knight13: <8. P-KR4> "A strong move." -- Alekhine.
Oct-31-10  Knight13: Black would do better to strike in the center with 9...P-QB6 followed by 10...P-Q4.

5...Kt-Q5?! Nimzovich would definitely hate that move, especially as it accomplishes nothing useful.

Jan-16-11  Sourav: Alekhine wrote the following in his annotations -

Clearly not 8...Ng5 9.hg5 Ng8 10. g6!

But, how is 10.g6 a winning move?

May-04-11  ForeverYoung: after 10 g6 threatens 11 gxf7+ or Rxh7. 10 ... fxg6 allows 11 Bxg8 Rxg8 12 Rxh7 which is not comfortable for Black. He has a weakling on g6 begging to be attacked.
May-04-11  ForeverYoung: This is quite a brilliant combination by the great man beginning with 17 exf5. In his book he admits it was not easy for him to see it all the way through. He had to forsee the advance of the "d" pawn to block Black's light squared bishop to permit the decisive attack upon the pawn on b7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <ForeverYoung: This is quite a brilliant combination by the great man beginning with 17 exf5.>

Astonishing. The 16 year old Alekhine sacs a rook based on two themes.

Shifting his Queen in a sudden twist via the back rank to directly attack his opponent's King on the other side of the board 19. Qg1 c6 20. Qa7.

And shutting off the capturing bishop after two pawn pushes several moves later after the initial sac 21. d4 Qc7 22. d5.

From there he had to have the positional judgement that the activity of his pieces around the Black King would be enough to win the game.

It takes a fantastic imagination to even dream up these moves in one's chess mind (apart from all the mind boggling calculations of side variations) before they actually happen OTB.

Who plays like this today anyway? Among the present batch of 16 year olds, IMO only Wei could.

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