< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 10 OF 19 ·
|Jul-14-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <Thanh> Yes and the renaissance in knowledge about <Alekhine's> Russian days is due largely to the investigations of Russian historians working after the fall of Communism. Many documents are now accessible that were previously unavailable, and thus unknown, to chess historians. |
Of these Russians, <Yuri Averbakh>, <Sergey Voronkov>, and <Yuri Shaburov> in particular have been especially active in digging up these primary records. The fine Czech historian <Vlatismil Fiala> has also collected a great deal of previously unpublished primary material.
Much of this research has cleared up long repeated misinformation, misidentified photos, and so on.
|Jul-14-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: The Masonic Lodge story is actually kind of sad.
One of the good things about these secret societies is that they kept a lot of records of their proceedings- so if you get ahold of any of them, you too can share the secrets.
In this case the document is <"Protocols of the Masonic Lodge" Astrea, "Paris, for the 1927-1928 years.">
In Paris 1928 it was Astrea Lodge member <Nicholas Teslenko> who was tasked with interrogating <Alekhine> about why he wanted to join. He grilled Alex about his past political affiliations and his present political opinions. At the end of the interview, <Alekhine> said he mainly wanted to join because he felt "burdened by spiritual loneliness."
|Jul-14-12|| ||perfidious: < jessicafischerqueen: ....well neither of them really went anywhere without a pocket chess set on them. <Alekhine> was an opera and theatre devotee, but he took his set to the shows>|
<jess> I'll be visiting this page, now that I know it exists-yesterday I saw it by chance and decided to have a go.
As to Alekhine and his devotion to chess, I've always thought that tale from London 1922 which included Capablanca very funny.
|Jul-14-12|| ||twinlark: Jess:
<I've been going through the sad saga from the first chapter, the Lasker-Capa negotiations.>
I'm reading it through from the beginning to get the whole context, and the saga of the pre-war negotiations between Lasker and Capa is indeed sad. It confirms my opinion that Lasker was a trifle gun shy about meeting the top opposition given the nature of the obstacles he threw in Capablanca's (and by extension - Rubinstein's) path.
The small dense font is difficult for my aging shortsighted eye to read, so it will take a little while to wade through it enough to make full sense of it.
|Jul-15-12|| ||twinlark: <Jess>:
Resigning before both the World Championship match (and then reiterating that resignation during later negotiations) and before the scheduled end of the match doesn't help Lasker's historical credibility in respect of his willingness to face top opposition. He never actually revoked his resignation so it was Capablanca who was defending his title against the recent incumbent.
I suspect that this is deliberately overlooked in the histories as it's such an untidy footnote in the history of the world championship. Easier to record that Capablanca challenged for and won the World Championship than that he won the championship on forfeit and then successfully defended it.
It does underscore the importance of having control of the the world championship cycle separate from the incumbent as Steinitz seems to have been the only champion with ownership of the title who unhesitatingly took on the strongest challengers. This has to be a huge point in his favour and IMO it elevates his greatness as a player even beyond the dominance he wielded for two decades.
I'm getting there...I'm getting there! This background really helps in understanding the milieu within which the world championship was bobbing until and including Alekhine.
|Jul-16-12|| ||Boomie: At the great 1914 St. Petersburg tournament, Alekhine said that Capa was giving everyone 5 to 1 time odds at rapids and winning. That had to be spooky for Lasker and AA. |
Add this to the fact that Capa was playing at a level so high that it must have seemed magical to them. As Bobby Jones said of Jack Nicklaus "He plays a game with which I am not familiar".
In short, Lasker and AA were psyched out by Capa and for good reasons. This must have contributed to their reluctance to play him.
|Jul-18-12|| ||Mrs. Alekhine: <Tim> you've hit the nail on the head there. I think Lasker and certainly Alekhine would have been awed by such a performance. Here are <Alekhine's> own observations on this performance:|
<"[Capablanca's] real talent that cannot be imitated was first displayed during the St. Petersburg tournament. Never before, and never later, did I see- and I cannot even <<<imagine->>> such astounding rapidity of thought as Capablanca possessed. It is enough to say that he offered an advance advantage to all St. Petersburg chess masters in the score 5-1 in blitz games and still won!">
--Complete Games of Alekhine Vol I, 1892-1921
Jan Kalendovsky and Vlatismil Fiala
Olomouc (Moravian Chess) 1992, p.123
However, I'm not sure it's accurate to say that Alekhine was "afraid" of Capa at this point- rather, he knew he couldn't beat him. Alekhine's goal even now was the world championship and this would temper his every move.
For example, three days before the <Mannheim 1914> tournament, Alekhine wired the organizer (Rommig) and asked if Capablanca was going to play. Capa had been invited, but it was clear to Rommig that he was not going to show. Rommig thought that Alekhine would only accept if Capa played, so he gave an evasive answer. Alekhine showed up anyways, but Rommig had it wrong: Alekhine planned to abort if Capa was playing.
Peter Romanovsky recalls this conversation on the matter. "I asked [Alekhine] why he had sent the wire. He answered: <If Capablanca participated, I would not play. I must train for my match against Capablanca in the coming years to become world champion and there is a trick. I must win the first prizes only. So far, I am weaker than Capablanca and this means that if he took part I should get the second place at best. And this does not fit in my plans>."
-Shakhmaty v SSSR 1956, No3, p.89
By 1923, however, <Alekhine> was not afraid of Capa- in this year he energetically sought funding for a match with the Champion from Hotel owner and Chess Philanthropist Harry Latz. He asked Latz to pledge $5000 dollars, but Latz offered only $2500. At that meeting Alekhine was accompanied by Hermann Helms and Norman Lederer- Lederer thought $2500 was not enough of a start to reach the full $10,000 needed- so he suggested an alternative: a super tournament in New York City. Alekhine agreed, and thus the seed of the <New York International Tournament of 1924> was sown, in which the places at St. Petersburg 1914 were reproduced: Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine third.
--Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games, 1902-1946
Skinner and Verhoeven
McFarland, 1998, p. 206
|Jul-18-12|| ||twinlark: <I'll just start with an opinion- given that <Alekhine> willingly signed the London Rules, I don't see much evidence that <Capa> was trying to avoid a match with him.>|
Nor do I. Capa seemed fairly indifferent to who successfully challenged as long as they conformed with the London Rules.
|Jul-18-12|| ||Captain Hindsight: Success never comes easily!|
|Jul-18-12|| ||LoveThatJoker: <Mrs. Alekhine> I am most definitely interested to join your discussion. |
This said, seeing as how you have pointed me in the direction of obtaining Edward Winter's "Capablanca", I would like to do that first before writing/opining on your forum.
I'm glad you enjoyed the link from GM Spraggett's site; and I thank you for posting here on my forum, you are most welcome to post there anytime.
A friend in Chess,
|Jul-18-12|| ||morfishine: Thanks <Mrs. Alekhine> for pointing out that book on Capablanca! Very interesting indeed, especially the correspondence. No doubt, this should shed some light about what went on between him and Alekhine. I am ordering a copy straight off and can hardly wait! |
Thanks again, Morf
|Jul-20-12|| ||twinlark: <Jess>
Well, I've finally ploughed through Chapters 9 and 10. My preliminary thoughts:
It's hard to escape the conclusion that Alekhine wasn't avoiding the rematch, when he so effortlessly negotiated matches and rematches with Bogoljubov and Euwe. Capablanca retrospectively bitterly remonstrated that he himself had not written a rematch clause into the conditions of the 1927 match.
I'm mindful that Alekhine was a lawyer, and he seems to have used a lawyer's artifices to interpret Capablanca's correspondence as being in bad faith. While his negotiation with Capablanca had to be postponed because Bogoljubov got there first in 1928, he continued to take offense at everything Capablanca wrote such that he continually interpreted Capablanca's approaches as contrary to the London Rules thereby voiding his challenges.
My reading of all the stuff Capablanca wrote, not just till then, but all the earlier stuff published in the book indicates to me at least that he was an honest broker and wasn't given to deceit or prevarication. He was hard nosed, but not overly so.
Chapter 10 is long and it's difficult to follow the minutiae of the copious reasoning and interpretation that took place between the two, but in the end, I can't see Capa did anything wrong and there does seem to have been as many interpretations of the London Rules, fortuitously or otherwise, as there were letters written on the subject. No wonder FIDE jumped at the chance to take control, it was a right teddy bear's picnic.
It's interesting that before WW1 Capablanca, Alekhine, and Alekhine's brother were good friends and used to carouse together.
|Jul-22-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <Twinlark> yes, I agree that the correspondence does suggest <Alekhine> was avoiding a rematch with <Capablanca>. But why? I doubt Alekhine was afraid to play a rematch, at least from the period 1927-1931, when he was in career-form.|
I think the clue lies in <Capa's> cavalier attitude. I think <Alekhine> was offended that <Capa> "mailed in" his resignation and then didn't bother to turn up at the victory ceremonies.
This contrasts sharply with Alekhine's behavior after <Euwe> beat him.
<Alekhine> attended all of the post- match celebrations.
In fact, he appeared in a tuxedo and tails, wife Grace at his side. He listened patiently for hours as brass bands played the Dutch national anthem, and as <Euwe> received rafts of accolades. Finally, when it was his turn to speak, Alekhine rose and said <"You are my friend. You have always been my friend. I am happy that if I cannot be the World Champion, then it is Euwe who is Champion. You are a gentleman." <<<(there was thunderous applause at this point)- as Alekhine sat down, you can hear him say one last thing amidst the tumult->>> "you have my respect.">
Second point- As <Vidmar> pointed out, rather humorously, when the best players in the world signed the <London Agreement of 1922> they essentially signed away any chance they would ever get a shot at the title. As <Vidmar> tells it, after he sobered up he realized that nobody was ever going to raise 10,000 dollars.
And nobody did. <Capablanca> did not defend his title a single time before 1927- which is ridiculous, if not disgraceful. At the least, it indicated a significant flaw in the <London Rules>.
Now, Alekhine moved heaven and earth and finally got the funding, and then won after a titanic struggle.
I think Alekhine wanted to show <Capa> just what <Capa> had done to the rest of the masters, what <Capa> had done by holding all of them strictly to the <London Rules>.
<Alekhine> easily arranged matches with <Euwe> and <Bogoljubow> by relaxing the <London Rules>.
But he wasn't going to relax them for <Capa>. You see, <Capa> could have done the same thing at any time when he was champion- in particular he could have relaxed the provisions, or lent a hand in some other way to <Rubinstein>. But this didn't even cross his mind, apparently.
Finally, the fact that <Capa> clumsily- one might say arrogantly- sent <Rueb> a letter advocating two rule changes on the <London agreement>, enraged Alekhine and I don't blame him. <Rueb> forwarded this letter to Alekhine, so he got it "second hand" and this prompted his first truly angry response to <Capa>.
Again- instead of communicating man to man, <Capa> arrogantly assumed <Alekhine> would understand he "didn't mean anything wrong"- he never meant that the two rule changes would apply to the rematch. I don't think <Capa> believed he acted rudely. But he did, and sometimes the failure to recognize one's own rudeness (out of thoughtlessness) can be magnitudes more maddening than the actual rudeness itself, which in this case I believe was indeed unintended by <Capa>.
I can understand why <Alekhine> might have developed an intense dislike for <Capa> after 1927.
It's too bad for us, of course. We never got to see the rematch.
|Jul-22-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <Twinlark> I have some additional biographical information that might be used in your Alekhine bio-- I'll leave it up to you if you want to put any of this stuff in or not.|
Concerning his education:
Alekhine graduated from <Polivanov Grammar School> (which includes High School) in 1910.
He received his official document of completion on July 26, 1910.
Next, and here's the new part- Alekhine did not enroll directly into the Law School in St. Petersburg.
This is Alekhine's admission form he sent to <Moscow Imperial University>:
<His Excellency the Rector of the Imperial <<<Moscow>>> University
Graduates of private high school named after LI Polivanov hereditary nobleman Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine,
In presenting herewith: 1) Certificate Course in Moscow private school named LI Polivanov 2) The metric on the time of birth and baptism, 3) A certificate of a postscript to the nobility of Voronezh Province, 4) Certificate of postscript to the draft offices to serve conscription, and 5) three photographs of a handwritten signature, attested, the director of a private school Polivanov - I have the honor to request Your Excellency to enroll me in the Imperial Moscow University's law faculty.
Arbat, Nicholas lane, № 12 Kuznetsova, flat Alekhine. July 26, 1910>
Notice that he mailed this ON THE SAME DAY he received his Grammar School diploma!
<Alekhine> was accepted and he attended the Law Faculty of <Moscow Imperial University> through the early winter of 1911.
In time for the February 15, 1911 start of the St. Petersburg Law School semster, <Alekhine> sent the Moscow University rector a request for documents, with the intention to transfer to the <St. Petersburg School of Jurisprudence>.
Here is that document:
Lord of the Rector
Imperial Moscow University
law student at the 2nd semester, Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine.
I beg Your Excellency to order the issuance of my <<<papers>>>, I presented when joining the University of Moscow, - because of my move to St. Petersburg School of Jurisprudence.
<Alekhine> began classes at <St. Petersburg> in February 1911.
He graduated <St. Petersburg School of Jursiprudence> on May 16, 1914, with the rank of <titular counselor>, which carried with it a kind of "shadow rank" of the equivalent of "Captain" in the military.
However, the School was not a Military School (as has been said by some), and Alekhine was not a member of the army due to this "Captain" rank. However, the Law School *did* in fact affect a kind of paramilitary flavor- the school uniforms closely resembled army uniforms.
|Jul-22-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <twinlark>
One of the reasons the German police treated <Alekhine> so harshly for a short time in <Rastatt Prison>, after World War I broke out, was that a photo of Alekhine in his Law School uniform had been published in a German Chess magazine, and the police suspected he was a ranking army officer. He wasn't.
Unlike the other information I'm posting here, I can't vouch for the provenance of that "Mistaken photo in a German chess journal" story, which may well be apocryphal.
What's not apocryphal, however, is that despite <Alekhine's> later accounts of almost "idyllic days" playing blind chess with <Bogo> in Rastatt jail, he (and other Russian internees from Mannheim) were in fact treated harshly- most notoriously, they were force marched and beaten with rifle butts. Alekhine sustained injuries to his legs from this incident. This latter information is repeated at least three times by primary sources who were actually present during the incident:
1)An account by Alekhine himself which was published in a St. Petersburg newspaper <" Evening Times ", 13 (26) October 1914>.
2)Fedir Bohatyrchuk's memoirs <"My life's path to the Vlasov and the Prague Manifesto" (San Francisco, 1978)>.
3) Boris Maliutin's <"Two years in Germany"> - the first two parts, which in part cover Alekhine's experiences at Rastatt, were first published on <October 29 and November 2, 1916>.
Getting back to <Alekhine's> education history...
<Alekhine> was then attached to the Ministry of Justice. However, "attached" did not mean he started work the next day in the office. It meant that a job was waiting for him there whilst he first took care of some extensive chess business- starting on April 8, 1914 with his participation in the great <St. Petersburg International Tournament>, where he of course finished third to Lasker and Capablanca.
|Jul-22-12|| ||twinlark: <Jessica>
I guess given the sources you're drawing on, I generally agree with your assessment.
I also thought that that letter to Rueb advocating two critical rule changes was clumsy at best...why on earth would anyone introduce that sort of element into the mix before negotiations had even started? But Capa's apparent bemusement at Alekhine's angry interpretation of that letter, is supported by Rueb, as he wasn't specifically suggesting the rules be changed for the rematch. Perhaps he felt that as a former world champion who had (unsuccessfully) defended his title under the London Rules, he felt he had a unique insight into the shortcoming of those London Rules.
But then he (and Rueb) should have had the perspicacity, as you allude, to take the extra step of suggesting that the stakes by negotiable rather than fixed at $10,000 (about $130,000 in todays dollars)...so how all those masters agreed to this clause is a bit of a mystery.
I didn't know about Capablanca mailing in his resignation and not attending the ceremonies. If that's mentioned in Winter's book, I missed it. That certainly would have offended Alekhine's dignity, and I imagine he would have been very old world and picky about such slights, real or imagined, whereas Capablanca you would have to say, failed as a diplomat in this respect. Surely he had more insight into Alekhine than that?
<I don't think <Capa> believed he acted rudely. But he did, and sometimes the failure to recognize one's own rudeness (out of thoughtlessness) can be magnitudes more maddening than the actual rudeness itself, which in this case I believe was indeed unintended by <Capa>.>
Hard to disagree with this. Capa was very insightful about chess but in none of his letters did I get the impression he was anywhere near as perspicacious about human nature, and in particular, the characters of the people he associated with. In fact, despite his breezily cheery, optimistic and perceptive outlook on chess present and future, he seemed obvlivious to the feelings of people around him, and I'm not sure he ever learned his lesson.
You don't insult someone who has the superior bargaining position for something you desperately want, and he died wanting.
Alekhine of course quite happily relaxed the London Rules to accommodate the challenges of Bogoljubov and Euwe, and I'm both surprised and pleased to hear the great respect and esteem in which he apparently held Euwe. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the whole affair, I agree that Alekhine feared no-one, including Capablanca. He had been prepared to negotiate another title defence which was interrupted by war, and of course, the final pieces had fallen into place for the challenge from Botvinnik to happen, just hours before his strange demise.
So yes, I agree with your evaluation.
|Jul-22-12|| ||twinlark: <Jess>
I've adjusted his bio to accommodate the transfer from Moscow to St Petersburgh, but this puts strain on another timeline:
<In 1911, his success at winning some events at the Moscow Chess Club earned him the right to play Board 1 for the Moscow Chess Club in a match against the St. Petersburg Chess Club>
Do you have more details of this, as he was obviously in St Petersburg probably by by February, and had probably moved there a few weeks previously to give himself time to settle in.
|Jul-22-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <twinlark>
<Capa's> resignation letter is in the book at the top of page 203:
It's a translation, since Capa wrote it in French:
<Dear Mr. Alekhine-- I resign the game. You are therefore the world champion and I congratulate you on your success. My regards to Mrs. Alekhine. Yours sincerely, J.R. Capablanca>
--"Capablanca" Edward Winter
McFarland, 1989, p.203
|Jul-22-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <twinlark> the timeline details here are easily explained- |
Throughout his academic career, <Alekhine> interpreted "class time" rather liberally.
From 1910-1914 he not only traveled widely to international events during the summer breaks, he also regularly went back and forth between St. Petersburg and Moscow to play in various events, or even just to visit family members.
Remember how rich <Alekhine> was. He didn't live in the Law School dormitory- his father set him up in a luxury suite with the company of some family friends. He took taxis to school and taxis back, and he was also a regular in St. Petersburg chess cafes and "ballrooms" where he drank, chainsmoked, and chased women. In fact, in 1913 one of his girlfriends bore his daughter <Valentina>. This didn't slow him down, however. He played the field until 1920, when he married the girl- <Baroness Ana von Swergin>, apparently for the sole purpose of legitimizing Valentina. Possibly some "family pressure" was involved here, but I have no hard information about that.
As for his professors, they didn't seem to mind his habits, since he got the top grade possible on each year end assignment, except in 1914- when, due to having to hand in his work a few days before facing <Nimzowitsch> in a playoff match to qualify for the <St. Petersburg International Tournament>, he produced a shoddy paper. His professor was so embarrassed that he didn't even put his signature on the assignment- nor did <Alekhine>!
Remember that after 1909 <Alekhine> was a chess star. A rich star with family and friends in very high places.
|Jul-22-12|| ||twinlark: <Jess>
OK thanks, rich kids can do such things.
I recall reading the resignation page now, and must have skimmed over it as I thought at the time that the letter was a formality. I didn't twig to Capa's absence from post match events.
So the bio should now be OK as I don't think the events at Rastatt need be characterised or described as other than <"[a]fter some drama">. I'm sure you'll let me know if it needs further amendments.
|Jul-22-12|| ||jessicafischerqueen: <twinlark> Here's the exact chronology of when <Alekhine> was playing chess in Moscow whilst simultaneously "attending" his first term at <St. Petersburg Law School>:|
Feb. 24th- Simul
March 9th- Consultation game
March ?- Simul
May 6- Moscow-St.Petersburg team match
May 21- Consultation game
Then, <Alekhine> apparently took a few months off to complete his first term's work, because his next chess appearance was in
July - Consultation game in Cologne.
-Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games, 1902-1946
Skinner and Verhoeven
McFarland, 1998, p.52-53
|Jul-23-12|| ||perfidious: < FICSwoodpusher: I believe the so called Blumenfeld counter gambit was played by Alekhine.
The position can be reached in many ways but it usually goes as follows:|
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nf3 b5 5. dxe6 fxe6 6. cxb5 d5
For a while I tried this idea out for myself as an alternative to the Nimzo Indian Defence, should white decide on 3. Nf3 instead of 3. Nc3....>
The few times I played the Blumenfeld for Black, it was always via the move-order 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5; moreover, most players using the other order of moves you give will play 4.Nc3, not Nf3.
|Jul-23-12|| ||perfidious: < jessicafischerqueen: <Switch> so there was a run of something called "Chess Listok" from 1922 to 1931?>|
Through the years, I've seen occasional references to a 'Shakhmaty Listok', but never knew when, or for how long, it ran.
|Jul-23-12|| ||perfidious: <jess> et al: Is there any concrete information on how Alexei Alekhine met his end? All I can find is that he died in 1939, though I've heard rumours and such surrounding the particulars. The Wikipedia article-if you want to call it one-is worse than useless, and its sources of what one would term questionable provenance.|
|Jul-23-12|| ||Alien Math: From search of
<Шахматный листок (журнал) 1922 - 1931> (Shakhmaty Listok 1922 - 1931)
The after http://books.navysote.com/zhurnal-s...
Some info http://ru-chess-art.livejournal.com...
Brother of editor Bio 1889 Arvid Ivanovic Kubble Арвид Иванович Куббель Half pages down http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/ka...
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