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Max Euwe vs Alexander Alekhine
Alekhine - Euwe World Championship Match (1935), Various Locations NED, rd 16, Nov-07
Slav Defense: Exchange. Schallopp Variation (D12)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-22-06  aragorn69: Great endgame technique by Alekhine! He gives up his kingside majority (42.-g5!; 46.-f4!) in order to secure his King's entry on the queenside, but does it with maximum patience and precision (51.-Kd3!).
Jan-26-07  Gouki: theortically, ♖ and ♙ vs ♖ is a drawn position but at the time it seems that endings like these werent known and maybe thats why Euwe lost. since he did not know this ending.

good game by Alekhine btw.

Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Gouki>
Not all R and P vs. R are drawn. I checked Nalimov tablebase and it says White is lost as of move 57.
Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <beat> Thats true, but Euwe's 54.Rb7? is hard to explain. Keeping the rook on the 2nd rank, 54.Re2, should draw.
Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
It would be instructive (for me at least) if you would post White's drawing idea after 54. Re2 a3, with the idea of ...Rb1, ...Rb2, ...Rxa2. I quickly checked a few naive lines and they all ended in Nalimov tablebase wins for Black too.
Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Was thinking that the position after
54.Re2 a3 55.Kg4 Rb8 56.Kf3 Rb2 57.Ke3 is drawn , but I must be missing something if the tables show a win.
Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
No, you are right. I had been blindly assuming White has to avoid any rook trade, but after your comment I now see he can allow it. With an a-pawn and White's king close enough to the action, Black's king will get stuck in the corner so the pawn ending is drawn.

This means Euwe could even have played 53. Rf2. Similarly Black can't drive White's king further away because after the manuever ...Kd3, ...Ke3, ...Rg1+ White has Rg2.

Thanks for showing this idea (which Euwe apparently missed during the game).

Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <beatgiant & Calli> The tablebase I checked shows a draw for White as late as move 58. The only move that draws at that point is 58.Ra8.
Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Pawn and Two>
That's because 57...Rh2? threw away the win. Again according to tablebase, either 57...a3 or 57...Kc2 would be winning.
Jan-28-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: I looked up Purdy's analysis in Extreme Chess. This is always interesting because it is actually contemporary with the match. It was originally from "How Euwe Won" in 1936. I put two of my own comments in square brackets.

51.Kf3?
here Euwe allows his King to be driven a file further off, which he could avoid simply by 51.Rd2+ Kc3 52.Rh2 If 53...Kd3 53.Rg2 and the King has e5 if checked. And if 52...a3 then 53.Rg2 Rb8 54.Ke3 Rb2 55.Re2! drawing easily (Flohr)

51...Kd3 52.Rb2 Rf8+ 53.Kg3?
Here 53.Kg2 makes things easier. And it was just a matter of elementary logic. The text gives Black two ways of winning the pawn-Kg2 gives only one. See next note.

53...Kc3 54.Rb7 54.Rf1!
If the White's King were at g2, Black could only win the pawn by ...Rd8-d2, which would enable the said King to get two file nearer before the pawn fell, instead of only one. In such endings, the number of file between the defending King is the chief factor.[Purdy ignores 54.♖b7?]

55.Rb8 Ra1 56.Kf3 Rxa2 57.Ke3!
A usually reliable annotator calls this also a blunder and gives 57.Ra8? Actually, Ra8 gives black a comfortable win by 57...a3 and if then 58.Ke3 Ra1! 59.Rc8+ Kb4 Euwe's move must be the best because it brings the King nearer, and it should have drawn still.

57...Rh2

If now 57...a3 White draws by 58.Rc8+ and 58.Kd3 as Black's King will be driven in front of the pawn.[Wrong! Grigoriev gives a win here: 57...a3 58.♖c8+ ♔b2 59.♔d2 ♔b1+ 60.♔d1 ♖h2 61.♖b8+ ♖b2 62.♖c8 ♖b7 ]

58.Rc8+??
This seems to us the most incomprehensible mistake of all, yet we have seen no comment on it. It is so obvious that 58.Ra8! is better than the text since it gives black less choice. If then 58...Rh4. White simply checks until he drives the Black King in front of the pawn (the black Rook cannot afford to interpose) and then approaches with his King for a book draw. Likewise, if 58...Kb3, the 59.Kd3; and now 59...a3 allows Rb8+ and the same book draw results. 58...Kb2 59.Rb8+ The point is that 59.Kd3 is now useless because after 59...Rh3+ 60.Kd2 a3 Black can interpose his Rook to aheck in the file and thus avoid putting his King in front of the pawn.

59...Kc1! 60.Rc8+
White could resign now if 60.Ra8 a3!

60...Kb1 61.Rb8+ Rb2 62.Ra8 Rb3+ 63.Kd4 a3 64.Kc4 Kb2 65.Rh8 Rc3+ 0-1

-Cecil Purdy

Feb-03-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
Very interesting. Given Purdy's comments on moves 51 and 53, it seems he also missed the idea of the rook trade with 53. Rf2. Since your defense with 54. Re2 also is based on the rook trade idea, that's probably why both Purdy and Euwe overlooked it.

Given the tablebase, the annotation should go as follows:

53. Kg3?! (53. Rf2 - the rook trade leads to a draw)

54. Rb7? (missing <Calli's> Re2 holding the second rank, with a draw)

57...Rh2? (missing ...a3 or ...Kc2 with a win)

58. Rc8?? (missing Ra8 with a draw, as explained in Purdy's annotation)

The win after 57...a3 is instructive.

White won't be able to drive black's king in front of the pawn after 57...a3 58. Rc8+ Kb2 59. Kd2 Kb1+ 60. Kc1 Rh2. Now if 61. Rb8+ Rb2 62. Rc8 Rb4, etc., or if 61. Rc1+ Kb2 62. Rc8 Rh3 Black's rook can shelter Black's king.

I did't check every move against tablebase, so there might be faster lines.

Feb-03-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Since the game line should have been drawn, another interesting question is whether Alekhine had anything better than liquidating the kingside. At first glance, Black seems to have good winning chances before move 42 since White's king is in a box and his rook is tied to the second rank.

What if 42...Kd4 instead? Then it might go 43. Re2 Kc3 44. Re3+ Kb2 45. Re2+ Kb1 46. Re6 (White's idea is to maraud the kingside while Black's occupied on the queenside) ...Rxa2 47. Rxf6 a3 48. Rxg6 Rb2 49. Ra6 a2 50. Kxf5, etc. which looks drawish.

Feb-10-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <beatgiant>
"he also missed the idea of the rook trade with 53. Rf2"

In the first note to 51.Kf3 (see my post on Jan 28), Purdy quotes Flohr who reaches the same drawn position. (55.Re2!) So he knew about it.

"What if 42...Kd4 instead?"

As to the earlier tries, Purdy makes the point that the game was adjourned overnight at move 40. Alekhine must have thoroughly investigated Kd4 and similar lines but found nothing. My theory is that he figured that Euwe looked at all the same lines so he decided on 42...g5+ in order to put his opponent on his own resources. It didn't seem to work at first because Euwe finds the key move 45.Rg2!, after which it is a draw as we have discussed. Euwe, however, seems not to be familiar with the ending and makes a lot of mistakes as Purdy says.

Feb-10-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
Purdy comments <51.Kf3?
here Euwe allows his King to be driven a file further off>
and suggests 53. Kg2 instead of 53. Rf2, so in that slightly different situation, he misses the rook trade idea. I can only report I myself had a big blind spot there....
Mar-16-08  Knight13: 58. Rc8+ is useless. Black's already trying to bring his king to support his pawn anyway, and that move only helps Black. I agree with <Pawn and Two>.
Nov-29-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Calli> [from Jan-28-07]: <I looked up Purdy's analysis in Extreme Chess. This is always interesting because it is actually contemporary with the match. It was originally from "How Euwe Won" in 1936. ***

***

58.Rc8+??

This seems to us the most incomprehensible mistake of all, <yet we have seen no comment on it>. It is so obvious that 58.Ra8! is better than the text since it gives black less choice. If then 58...Rh4. White simply checks until he drives the Black King in front of the pawn (the black Rook cannot afford to interpose) and then approaches with his King for a book draw. Likewise, if 58...Kb3, the 59.Kd3; and now 59...a3 allows Rb8+ and the same book draw results. 58...Kb2 59.Rb8+ The point is that 59.Kd3 is now useless because after 59...Rh3+ 60.Kd2 a3 Black can interpose his Rook to aheck in the file and thus avoid putting his King in front of the pawn. ***>

The complete post from which the above is excerpted is very interesting. On another occasion when I have more time available than at present, I intend to work through it carefully. For the present, and FWIW with respect to Purdy’s comment that there had been no comment on White’s blunder with <58. Rc8+?>, the recently published <Tragicomedy in the Endgame: Instructive Mistakes of the Masters>, by Dvoretsky, Mark, Russell Enterprises, Inc., ©2011, at page 28 says of the position after <57. … Ra2-h2?>: “<As Max Euwe noted>, he could have saved the game with <58. Ra8!>.”

It should be noted that Dvoretsky gives no source citation for the observation he attributes to Euwe. Accordingly, it is possible that Euwe's comment was made after the publication of Purdy’s analysis (and even possibly after Euwe had seen that analysis).

Nov-29-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Peligroso Patzer> The 1936 book of the match, <"Euwe vs. Alekhine Match 1935">, provided notes, either by Euwe or Alekhine, for all the games of this match.

Alekhine provided the notes for game 16, and he indicated the following after 58.Rc8+?: <"Only this, (and not the earlier move, as has been written) lets Black get a winning tempo. Best was 58.Ra8!: ; if now 58...Kb3, then 59.Kd3 and Black cannot prevent Kc3 (or Kc2) with a drawing position; if instead 58...Rh4, then 59.Rc8+ and Kd3-c3 (or c2). The check loses the game.">

Apr-15-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It is a fascinating ending. They both made errors but that is not a bad thing. Tablebases find such extraordinary moves sometimes.

Also, wasn't Purdy a great annotator?

Apr-15-17  JimNorCal: Yes, Purdue is amazing.
Apr-16-17  JimNorCal: Purdy.
Dang auto correct
Apr-16-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <JimNorCal: Purdy.
Dang auto correct>

It should be called auto incorrect!

Jun-30-18  mifralu: Photo

http://proxy.handle.net/10648/6b892...

Sep-13-18  DVRazor: I'm so surprised no one mentioned the very first blunder by white. 56. Kf3?

Tablebase clearly shows that the only way to draw from that position is to use the vancura position like 56. Rf8!

Sep-13-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <DVRazor>
Tablebase says there are two drawing moves there, your 56. Rf8 and also 56. Rc8+. But otherwise, you are right.

So to summarize, there were three consequential mistakes according to tablebase.

56. Kf3? loses (56. Rf8 or 56. Rc8+ draw).

57...Rh2? draws (57...a3 or 57...Kc2 win).

58. Rc8+? loses (58. Ra8 draws).

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