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Alexander Alekhine vs R M Folger
Simul, 43b (1929), Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco, CA USA, May-11
Philidor Defense: General (C41)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Perhaps Alekhine's response of 4. Bc4 is the best white response to black's gambit 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Bg4 in the Philidor. With only three games and all wins in the data base, the 100% winning white percentage may be a little suspect. But when someone with the ability of Alekhine plays it against a gambit, the opening sequence is certainly worth exploring as probably sound.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: With 22. Nxd5, Alekhine initiates a pretty combination, using a queen pseudo sacrifice, discovered check and a knight fork to win a pawn and simplify to a won ending.
Sep-28-03  PinkPanther: An amusing final position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Black's opening is horrible. Nf6? and Nxe4?? and he is lost. Alejchin could win very easily with 6.Qd5 Be6 7.Qxb7 Bxc4 8.Qxa8 etc, but went for the more entertaining sac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Calli> I agree 4. ..Nf6 followed by 5. ..Nxe4 are both relatively weak opening moves here. Yet it is interesting that all three games in the data base with this opening sequence have black playing this same weak fourth move.

So I put it to Fritz 8 to find an improvement, and the computer came up with the straight forward and simple 4. ..exd4 as best for black. Fritz's analysis goes 4. ..exd4 5. Qxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Qe3 Be6 8. Bxe6 fxe6 9. Nb5 a6 10. Nbd4 Ng4 11. Qf4 as giving white only a small plus in a relatively equal position (+0.31 @ 13 ply and 664 kNs). And this seems to validate Kasparov and Keene's assessment in BCO that the Philidor Defense seems to fall just shy of fully equalizing with best play.

And if this is the best black can get out of the Philidor--near but not quite equality---I can understand why most modern GMs have been reluctant to employ it with the black pieces. Yet it is perhaps of some significance that a very small but talented group of modern GMs (e.g. Michael Adams, Bacrot, Yuratev) have successfully employed it on occasion. So, I suppose the jury remains out on the soundness of the old Philidor Defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: On the surface, Alekhine's 21. Qg7+ Rf7 22. Nxd5+!? Rxg7 23. Nf4+! seems to force a fairly straight forward Knight Fork combination for a clear and easy win. However, the situation is not so simple as it first appears.

After 23...Kc6!? (instead of the expected 23...Kc8), White's winning task becomes much more difficult. Play could continue 23...Kc6!? 24. Rxd8 Bd7 25. h4 b6 26. f3 Kb7 27. h5 Nc6 28. Rxa8 Kxa8 29. h6 Rh7 30. Rh1 Ne7 31. g4 Bc6 32. Rh3 Bxf3 33. Rxf3 Rxh6 or . Although this might be a win in theory, the winning process is not easy . With only a single extra pawn for White at this point, Black could very well swindle a draw against inaccurate play.

For a more decisive win, White should play the much stronger 22. Qe5!! Play in this line could go 21. Qg7+ Re7 22. Qe5!! Qf6 23. Rxd5+ Ke8 (24...Kc8 25. Qxe6+ ; 24...Ke7 25. Qxc6+ ; 24...Bxd5 25. Qxd5+ ; 24...Kc6 25. Qxe6+ Qxe6 26. Rxe6#) 24. Qxe6+ Qxe6 25. Rxe6+ Re7 26. Rh6 and White's win is much easier (three connected passed pawns in this 22. Qe5!! line versus only one in Aleknine's 22. Nxd5+!? line).

Sep-18-05  tonsillolith: I really like this. After the smoke clears, each side has the same amount of pieces, but white has 3 more pawns. Also, the pawns for both sides are very clean-looking, which is very unusual after combinations and fighting.
Sep-18-05  Hidden Skillz: lol this game makes me think how many times alekhine was screwin around with his opposition
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <patzer2>
In the line you posted with 23...Kc6!, could you explain why White doesn't simply bring the other rook to the 8th rank and completely tie up several pieces?

For example 23...Kc6 24. Rxd8 Bd7 25. Re5 b6 26. Rh5 Kb7 27. Rh8 with what appears at first glance to be an easy win (after thus immobilizing Black, White's further plan is to push the kingside pawns).

Mar-11-07  wolfking: Black should've retired after move 25 or a bit earlier don't you think?
Feb-05-08  sambo: This should be a game of the day with the pun "The best part of waking up"
Dec-28-10  sreeskamp: A beautiful example of how Alekhine calculated combinations of 5 ore more moves ahead. He plays with mr. Folger, and shows how to deal with 3 Lg4
Dec-28-10  aliejin: The games played by Alekhine have
intrinsic value that is independent
on the circumstances in which they were played

I think the explanation of Lasker was excellent:

" They have artistic search through the struggle "

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From a simultaneous exhibition in San Francisco, California at the Mechanics Institute on May 11, 1929.

Alekhine scored +27=8-8.

See <San Francisco Chronicle>, May 19, 1929.

Dec-02-15  indomega: white has 3 pawns on kingside black has none white could get 1 2 or 3 queens if possible :)
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