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Vladas Mikenas vs Alexander Alekhine
Olympiad (1935), Warsaw POL, rd 1, Aug-16
Horwitz Defense: General (A40)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-23-05  micartouse: <chessgames> Reuben Fine says in Basic Chess Endings that the player with the Black pieces was Alekhine here ... I wonder which is right?

Anyhow, White's defense here is amazing, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was Alekhine who was White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Alekhine had the White pieces. Fine is incorrect.
Premium Chessgames Member One user sent in the following: <The names of the players are transposed. Mikenas had White; Alekhine had Black. Many source materials (including the Reinfeld tournament book on Warsaw 1935, and various Alekhine collections) perpetuate the original error that you replicate here. But the Soviet collection of Mikenas's games, and the appendix to the recent Polish book of the 1935 Warsaw Olympiad both confirm the correct colors.>

Until we learn otherwise, we'll have Alekhine as Black here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: I based my comment on Skinner and Verhoeven. They cite references for each game, listed in order of publication. There are three for this game.

1) Magyar Sakkvilag 1935 p261-2
2) Warsaw 1935 p25-27
3) Shakmaty v SSSR 1981, nl, p17-18

It appears, then, that the earliest publications of this game have Alekhine as White. If they are in error, then it could have been replicated. The question is what original sources do the new publications cite.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Maybe the resolution of the chromatic problem here could be deduced from the pairings (this was board 1, I am sure) or from which country had two white on the other three boards of the match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <gypsy> Good point! Olimpbase gives

Mikėnas ½ - ½ Alekhine (b)
Machtas ½ - ½ Betbeder Matibet (w)
Vistaneckis 0 - 1 Muffang (b)
Vaitonis 1 - 0 Raizman (w)

Unfortunately, the scores for two of the games are missing. If the above board order is correct, then AA played the Black pieces.

May-09-05  Resignation Trap: For those of us who are familiar with the games of both Mikenas and Alekhine, the opening reveals which player had White.

Mikenas was in the habit of playing 1. d4 e6 2. Nd2, referring to this move as his "patent" in the current game. Here are some other examples: V Mikenas vs A Thomas, 1937 , V Mikenas vs W Hazenfuss, 1939 , and V Mikenas vs Alekhine, 1939 .

There are many examples of Alekhine entering the Dutch Defense with 1. d4 e6 and 2...f5.

At the 1939 Olympiad the game Mikenas-Czerniak went 1. d4 e6 2.Nd2 c5 3. dxc5 Bxc5 4. Nxe4 d5 5. Nxc5 Qa5+ 6. c3 Qxc5 7. e4! and Black never equalized.

Clearly, Mikenas had White in the present game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Resignation Trap> Very impressive! Mikėnas, indeed, had White. Thank you very much.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: I just found the endgame from this game in Minev (Practical guide to rook endgames), given endeed as Mikenas - Alekhine, Warsaw (ol) 1935. (If there still is a lingering doubt.)

It seems however, that Minev takes the position and analysis from the Levenfish/Smyslov book, and that in their analysis the order of moves and position had been somewhat altered (f5 before e4, rooks on different files), probably for a pedagogical reasons.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I have a copy of the New York TImes report for this round. It doesn't state who was which color, but does say that Alekhine was a pawn up at adjournment. That would obviously mean he played Black.

The New York Times report also gives the pairing numbers of the teams. If the usual Berger tables were followed, Lithuania (Mikenas) would have had White on board 1 against France (Alekhine). Future rounds confirm that the order of play in these tables was followed.

There is another possibility. In 1935, Alekhine was not averse to taking a nip now and then. It's possible he may have done his celebrating before the game, came in, and sat down behind the White pieces by mistake. Who is going to tell the World Champion to move? That would also explain the eccentric opening.

But humor aside (which is a good place for it), and given the other points made here, I think it's 100% definite that Alekhine was Black.

Aug-15-13  BlackFront: Despite the photo caption, this must be the first round match, Lithuania-France:

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

Pgn downloaded from <Olimpbase> Download link-

First round, Alekhine has black pieces

[Event "6th olm final"]
[Site "Warsaw POL"]
[Date "1935.08.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Mikenas, Vladas LTU"]
[Black "Alekhine, Alexander FRA"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A40"]
[EventDate "1935.08.16"]
[PlyCount "117"]

1.d4 e6 2.Nd2 c5 3.dxc5 Qa5 4.c3 Qxc5 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 d5 7.Ngf3 Qc7 8.O-O Nc6 9.e4 Be7 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nc4 O-O 12.Ne3 Nf6 13.b3 a5 14.Bb2 Rd8 15.Qe2 a4 16.Nd4 a3 17.Nxc6 bxc6 18.Bc1 Nd5 19.Bd2 Bf6 20.Rac1 Ba6 21.c4 Bb2 22. Rc2 Rd7 23.Re1 Rad8 24.Nxd5 cxd5 25.Bg5 Rf8 26.Bc1 Bxc1 27.Rexc1 dxc4 28. bxc4 Rfd8 29.Qe1 Qc5 30.h4 Rd3 31.Kh2 g6 32.Bf1 R3d4 33.Qe3 Bb7 34.Bg2 Bxg2 35.Kxg2 e5 36.Rc3 Qc6+ 37.Kh2 Rd1 38.Rxd1 Rxd1 39.Qf3 Qxf3 40.Rxf3 Rd2 41.Kg2 Rxa2 42.c5 Rc2 43.Rxa3 Rxc5 44.Ra7 Kg7 45.Ra6 e4 46.Ra4 f5 47. Ra7+ Kh6 48.Re7 Rc2 49.g4 Rc3 50.Re5 fxg4 51.Rxe4 Kh5 52.Re7 h6 53.Re6 Rh3 54.Ra6 Rxh4 55.Ra5+ g5 56.Ra6 Rh3 57.Rb6 Rd3 58.Ra6 g3 59.f3 1/2-1/2

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