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Alexander Alekhine vs Poindle
Simul, 34b (1936), Moedling AUT, Mar-24
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation (C67)  ·  1-0


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Given 13 times; par: 39 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-29-05  notyetagm: Alekhine is just <too tactically strong>.
Sep-26-05  Averageguy: Alekhine missed 21.Qg8! which would win the rook. Good game though.
Sep-26-05  jackpawn: I find it unbelievable that Alekhine could miss 21.Qg8. Was this a simul. or something?
Sep-26-05  ConfusedPatzer: I'm pretty sure Alekhine wasn't even looking at the board by then.
Sep-26-05  vraja: Yes, it was a simul acc to Chernev's book. Chernev's very high regard on Alekhine could be seen by his comments when he says, "The depth of Alekhine's combination was hidden behind these innocous moves".......

Alekhine's games are just fabulous !!!

Sep-26-05  vraja: just one more comment -

that book is one of the best chess books I have ever read.... it is really an asset.

Sep-26-05  Averageguy: <jackpawn> What I find more unbelievable is his play earlier. Attention should go to all the brilliant moves he did play, not the one decent move he missed. As <ConfusedPatzer>said, Alekhine probably wasn't looking at the board then, concentrating more on the tougher games.
Jan-26-06  Kriegspiel: I'm not sure which tougher games Alekhine might have been concentrating on in lieu of this one. Chernev points out some early errors made by Poindle, including an alternative line 7...Nbd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 d5 that would have avoided many of his subsequent problems, but reading Chernev's other notes, one sees that after Alekhine seized the initiative, Poindle avoided many tactical traps which would have left him worse off or mated, and that in fact his defense was nothing short of heroic.

After 20...Kxe7, despite the loss of his queen (in exchange for a rook and a bishop) Poindle isn't doing too badly on material: add it up and each side has 23 points; and Poindle has both bishops in an open game, as well as two rooks. If he had concentrated on protecting his king and developing his remaining queenside pieces (Alekhine also has two undeveloped pieces there) he might conceivably have drawn or even won after 21.Qxc7. Instead he follows Alekhine's example and goes pawn hunting, helping Alekhine develop his rook with tempo.


Jan-26-06  Kriegspiel: P.S. I should point out that my conclusions are my own, not Chernev's. He does not laud Poindle.


Jan-26-06  Kriegspiel: <vraja> I have the book in front of me, and the quote here is: "18.Rxe7! The hallmark of an Alekhine combination is the kick at the end of a series of apparently innocuous moves."

Alekhine's tactical skills are well and truly formidable, but there is nothing "innocuous" about the series of moves leading up to 18.Rxe7 since poor Poindle had been parrying Alekhine's mating attack for nine moves.


Jan-30-06  Chess Classics: 21. Qg8 Kf7 wins, and probably better than what was played, but the queen is put in the corner for a while, and I don't think Alekhine relished that idea. Only plausible explanation I can think of, and Chernev agrees.


Jan-31-06  Kriegspiel: <Chess Classics> Actually, Chernev says after 21.Qxc7: "White could win more simply by 21.Qg8 Kf6 22.Qxh7 Kf7 23.Nc3 d6 24.Re1, followed by 25.Re7+, but the text move is good enough. The queen remains active while Black's queenside is immobilized."

I don't know about immobilized, had Black taken immediate steps to secure his king's safety and chase off White's queen. On the other hand, the fact that Alekhine missed a better move (and in a simultaneous exhibition) needn't overly trouble fans of Alekhine, given his record. I simply point out that poor Poindle, after an inauspicious start, did a remarkable job of avoiding a large variety of baneful tactical traps, and might have gone on to draw or win had he not taken Alekhine's pawn hunting in move 21 as an exemplar to be imitated in his own move 21. One might conjecture that, having seen Alehkine make such a move, the immediate threat was over and he could do no worse than keep material even. This, of course, was erroneous.


Feb-03-06  Tommy Jensen: White wouldn't seem to have much if any compensation for the sacrificed pawn after the naive looking 9.-,h6 or does anyone see a reasonable attacking idea?
Feb-08-06  Kriegspiel: <Tommy Jensen> Good question. Chernev's book isn't conveniently accessible right now, so I don't know what he said (if anything) about the possibilities after 9...h6. I think the idea is to interfere with Black's development to give White time to organize an attack, though one is not immediately available.

I note two things: (a) that after 9.Ng5 h6 Black's bishop remains blocking the d7 pawn; (b) the pawn on h6 presents a nice target.

I would imagine 10.Ne4. Now, if 10...o-o 11.Qg4 threatens Bxh6 followed by Qxg7#. 11...Qf6 is out, due to the knight on e4. That leaves either more weakening pawn moves or else 11...Ne5. (But see postscript.) Assuming the latter, 12.Qf5 threatens to win the Black knight after White's knight takes the bishop, so perhaps 12...Re8. 13.Bxh6 gxh6 (else the bishop gets g7 and opens the position anyway) 14.Nf6+ forking king and rook and threatening Qh7, 14...Kf8 15.Qh7 Re6 16.Qh8+ Ke7 17.Ng8+ Kf8 (or Ke8) 18.Nxh6+ Ke7 19.Nf5#

This is just an offhand idea, and I do not insist that it is sound, but no doubt an Alekhine would have plenty of resources. Seizing the initiative with a single knight is all very well if you are an Alekhine, but distinctly risky for the rest of us.


P.S. I think that 11...Kh8 presents similar possibilities after a bishop sacrifice, given the proximity of White's knight and queen and Black's cramped condition. But perhaps other analysis will challenge this assessment, which is very casually made.

Jul-22-06  Tommy Jensen: <Kriegspiel> I would challenge the analysis, in all respect. After 9.Ng5 h6 10. Ne4 O-O 11.Qg4 it is not exactly a "weakening pawn move" to play 11.-,f5, it actually wins a piece and leaves white with a materially lost position.

Anyway, 10.-,O-O is not a good move, as it allows 11.Nxd6 with a very clear positional advantage for white.

However, 10.-,Be5 followed by O-O and d6, and at some pont Bf5, seems to solve black's remaining problems.

And, by the way, I am not worried about what would happen if I had been Aljechin playing this game, having the resources he might hypothetically have had. But I might be worried about what would happen if I had to be me playing this position with white, and with the resources available to me. Just to make myself clear, okay.

Feb-15-07  Octavia: <Tommy Jensen> Chernev spent 1/2 of his book LOGICAL CHESS on explaining that a move like h6 is bad and often induced by the master. About this & the next game he said: "... do not belong in the category of kingside attack. I include them to show the consequences of failure to provide for the safety of the king."

He ought to have shown them before the other games to show that castling is important. Btw he also gave an example where h6 is a good move!

<I am not worried about what would happen if I had been Aljechin playing this game> you're quite right! It doesn't really matter who plays! <

Feb-08-10  rapidcitychess: Does this mean the Berlin is dead?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <rapidcitychess: Does this mean the Berlin is dead?>

Afraid not. 7...Nd6 is a bad move. 7...d6 was in fashion at the turn of the last century, whereupon 8.e6 is an exciting gambit -- see Halprin vs Pillsbury, 1900. But 7...Nbd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 d5 seems to suck all the life out of the game.

Opening Explorer

Feb-08-10  brucejavier: Heya i strongly feel that white queen is stuck after 21.Qg8 plays 21...d6, 22.Q*R and 22....Kf7 i believe that whites queen is stuck and has no escapes after black plays Be6 and Rh8, im no GM, but can someone give further details. I feel like alekhine didnt miss this move, maybe he knew he lost the queen. Because i strongly feel that he didnt miss Qg8
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From a simultaneous exhibition in Modling, Austria at the Cafe Schneider on March 24, 1936.

Alekhine scored +24=4-6.

See <Schweizerische Schachzeitung 1936>, pg. 106-107.

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