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Lajos Steiner vs Alexander Alekhine
Olympiad (1933), Folkestone ENG, rd 11, Jun-20
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C75)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-21-03  morphynoman2: 9... Qe8. I think this is the Timbuktu Variation. Has anyone the original Alekhine's quotation to this move? I think it's in the second volume of his best games. I dont remember well.
Sep-21-03  Sylvester: Sorry morphynoman2, this game did not make it into the one volume algebraic Alekhine that I have.
Sep-21-03  sleepkid: Sylvester: Exactly what book of Alekhine's do you have? I suggested the one which Alekhine authored, which does include this game.

Morphynoman: Here are Alekhine's comments to the game, placed in order. I have not changed them except to correct the move numbering problem that occurs in the last variation.

After move 8:
Threatening now 9.....KtxQP

After move 9:
Right or wrong, this move is my invention, one of the ideas of which is to exert a frontal pressure on the K's file after ....B-Q1. Before it gets called by the name of a particularly hospitable city or a particularly generous patron of chess (as happened, with the "Kecskemet" move ....B-K1) I suggest calling it the "Timbuktu" variation. At least this will be the author's choice.

After move 10:
Black does not play yet 10. ....B-Q1, as there is still a hope of utilising this piece in a more active way. With the move in the text he prepares eventually ....Kt-K Kt 1, followed by ....B-KB3 or ....P-KB3, etc.

After White's move 11:
Not 11. Kt-B4, because of 11. ...PxP;12. PxP, P-Q4, etc. But comparatively better is the simplifying variation 11. R-K1, aiming at Kt-B1-Kt3, etc.

After White's 13th move:
Interesting enough, this normal-looking move creates - as will be shown in the course of the game - a slight weakness at QKt 3. Preferable was 13.B-B2 (threatening to gain space by means of 14. P-Qkt4, etc.) P-QR4; 14. B-K3, etc., with about even prospects.

After Black's 13th move:
Prophlactic. White's B-B2 must not be accompanied by the expansion threat P-QKt4!

After White's 14th move:
A rather superficial developing move. Instead, 14. B-K3 was still preferable.

After Black's 14th move:
With this energetic reply (instead of the tame 14. ....Kt-KKt1, probably expected by White), Black obtains a solid initiative. White's comparetively best reply was now 15. KKtxP, after which an endgame would be reached with better prospects for Black:-15.....KtxKt; 16. QxKt (not 16. KtxKt because of 16. ....QxKt followed by 17. ....P-KB3, with the win of a piece), KtxKt; 17. BxKt-and now not 17. ....QxKP (as suggested by the annotators) but 17. ....P-KB3! 17. QxQ, KRxQ; 19. B-K3, BxB; 20. PxB, RxP-with unpleasantness for White; if, for instance 21. B-Q5, then RxKP; 22.BxKt P, R-QKt1; 23. KR-Q1, B-K1 etc., with a clear advantage. In view of these sad prospects it is not altogether surprising that Steiner chose a risky counter-demonstration, the consequences of which were by no means easy to calculate.

After White's 16th move:
If 16. BxKt, PxB; 17. Q-R5, Black would have had the good reply 17. ...P-KB4!

After Black's 16th move:
This is the move which probably was underestimated by White; after the following forced exchange, the Knight at R4 will be exposed to attacks and the domination by Black of his K4 will soon prove decisive.

After Move 18:
Wins an important tempo in comparison with the immediate 18. ...P-KKt4

After White's 20th move:
Black threatened 20 ....Q-Kt3; 21. Kt-Kt4, P-R4 and also-as it happens in the game- 20...B-K3, etc.

After Black's 20th move:
Planning 21. ...BxKt; 22. BxB, Kt-K4; 23. Q-K2,P-B6.

After White's 23rd move:
If this Bishop could have been protected by the QR's Pawn (compare the note to the 13th move of White), White would still have temporary defence in 23. QR-Q1. But now this move would simply be answered by 23. ....RxKt, etc.

After White's 24th move:
If 24. QR-Q1, then 24. ....R-Q6, followed by 25. ....KR-Q1 would win a piece.

After White's 25th move:
It is almost unbelievable that a position like this could occur in a modern master-game after 25 moves of a Ruy Lopez!

After Black's 25th move:
If now 26. K-R1, then 26. ...QxKP; 27. Kt-B7 ch, RxKt; 28. QxR, Kt-R5 disc. ch; 29. P-KB3, QxP ch. followed by mate in two.

Sep-21-03  sleepkid: ..and just for fun, here is the conclusion that Alekhine saw to the game, which I'll convert into algebraic.

26. Kh1 Qxe4. 27. Nf7+ Rxf7 28. Qxf7 Nh4+ 29. f3 Qxf3+ 30. Rxf3 Rd1+ 31. Rf1 Rxf1#

Alekhine was quite put out that his other innovation was dubbed the "Kecskemet" variation by Hans Kmoch. His facetious dubbing of this variation as the "Timbuktu" variation is quite hilarious.

Oct-12-03  morphynoman2: Thanks, sleepkid, good job.
Apr-10-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <With this energetic reply (instead of the tame 14. ....Kt-KKt1, probably expected by White), Black obtains a solid initiative. White's comparetively best reply was now 15. KKtxP, after which an endgame would be reached with better prospects for Black:-15.....KtxKt; 16. QxKt (not 16. KtxKt because of 16. ....QxKt followed by 17. ....P-KB3, with the win of a piece), KtxKt; 17. BxKt-and now not 17. ....QxKP (as suggested by the annotators) but 17. ....P-KB3! 17. QxQ, KRxQ; 19. B-K3, BxB; 20. PxB, RxP-with unpleasantness for White; if, for instance 21. B-Q5, then RxKP; 22.BxKt P, R-QKt1; 23. KR-Q1, B-K1 etc., with a clear advantage.>

As it sometimes happened Alekhine unterestimated White' s defensive resources at the end of his line:


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Apr-10-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <17...P-KB3! 17. QxQ, KRxQ; 19. B-K3>

B-K3 seems a little too convenient.
19.Bd2 Rxe4 20.b3 Rae8 21.Rfe1 looks drawn.

Apr-10-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Calli: <19.Bd2 Rxe4 20.b3 Rae8 21.Rfe1 looks drawn.>> Indeed.


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