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Max Euwe vs Alexander Alekhine
Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937), Eindhoven NED, rd 19, Nov-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Three Knights Variation (E21)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: A critical game. At this stage, the score was exactly the same as the first match. Could Euwe close like he did two years earlier?

Euwe gives the win as 28.e6! Nxe6 29.Ng6+ Kg8 30.Ne7+!

Euwe was given opportunities by Alekhine during the middle stretch of games, but said that he could not think with same clarity as before. Some speculated that his heavy schedule had taken its toll. His play collapsed during the last portion of the match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In Munninghoff's biography "Max Euwe", this game is described as: <a mysterious game, the strangest and tensest one of the entire match. As early as move 17, Alekhine is forced to seek his salvation in a piece sacrifice in exchange for attacking chances. Euwe, who knows the opening has left him with all the trumps, makes a few intermediate moves and accepts the sacrifice, simply because it cannot possibly be good. Unless Alekhine can really perform magic, there is nothing in the position that could justify Black's sacrifice except one thing, which cannot only be read from the configuration of the pieces but more particularly in Alekhine's face: sheer desperation.>

A different viewpoint of the game was taken by William Winter. At the time of the match, Winter wrote in "The Manchester Guardian", <the mystery game of the contest, as Alekhine's defiance of the accepted rules of the development actually led to his getting such a position after 17 moves that Euwe had to find the right reply every time to avert disaster.>

We now know that it was Alekhine who was trying to avert disaster in this game. Euwe missed at least 2 good winning chances.

At move 24, Euwe should have played 24.Nxc5! Qxc5 25.Bd3. Fritz 9 gives the following analysis: if 25...Ne6 26.Be3 Qb4 27.Nf5 Qxb2 28.Bxe4 dxe4 29.Ng3 Qxe5 30.Qc4 or 25...Rh5 26.Rac1 Qb6 27.Bxe4 Rxg5 28.Bxd5 Rh5 29.g3 g5 30.Nf5 Nxf5 31.Qc4. White is winning in both of these lines.

At move 28, as Calli points out, White can win with 28.e6! Nxe6 29.Ng6+ Kg8 30.Ne7+ or 28.e6! fxe6 29.Ba6 Kf7 30.Bxc8 Qxc8 31.b4! or 28.e6! Nxb5 29.Qxb5 Kg8 30.e7 Kh7 31.Qe2 Qe5 32.Qxg4.

I believe this game, because of the missed wins in such a dominant position, was a significant factor in Euwe's subsequent collapse.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This time,it was Euwe who was forced to save the draw-but only after he had blown an early advantage.

This was NOT 1935!! Euwe's failure to win the last two will soon take its toll as the once and soon-to-be champion,Alekhine,will completely take over.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Objectively, Euwe should have won this game. As we are seeing in the Mexico Championships though, the prospect of defeat spurs the losing side to delve more deeply than the winning one.

Alekhine played very riskily early with Black, and contrary to William Winter's assessment <after 17 moves that Euwe had to find the right reply every time to avert disaster> it was Alekhine who had to find only moves to keep his position going.

With 19...Be4 Alekhine plunges into a piece sacrifice, but what were his options?

After 19...Bd3 20 Bxd3 Nxd3 21 Qxd3 Bxf2+ 22 Kf1 Bxe1 23 Kxe1 Nxe5 24 Qxd5 Re8 25 Kf1 Kg8 26 Rc1 Kh7 27 Rc5 and White has reasserted his initiative.

Seeing all this means each side was expending enormous energy on each individual move, so it is no surprise Euwe finally missed the critical 28 e6 nine moves later.

Apr-08-08  Knight13: Most exciting game of the entire match. So tactically oriented in d4 game!

<Unless Alekhine can really perform magic, there is nothing in the position that could justify Black's sacrifice except one thing, which cannot only be read from the configuration of the pieces but more particularly in Alekhine's face: sheer desperation.> Alehine did perform "magic", and drew the game, with or without "sheer desperation". What's Munninghoff's point?

Nov-09-10  soothsayer8: What an interesting position around moves 18-19, with that pivotal 5th rank almost completely full with pieces!
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