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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Alexander Alekhine
Baden-Baden (1925), Baden-Baden GER, rd 5, Apr-21
English Opening: King's English Variation. Reversed Closed Sicilian (A25)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: White appears to have a big positional advantage in the early middlegame, but Black turns it around with tactical counterblows.

What does Black have on 21. ♘bxc7 instead of the mysterious 21. ♗c1 ?

Sep-11-04  Leviathan: <beatgiant> after 21.Ndxc7 white is perfectly fine.

After that, black can start some kind of counter-attack with 21. ... Rh6, but white can defend himself easily.

For example: 22.h3 Nh4+ 23.Kh2 Nf5 24.Qf3 a4 25.Rd3 Bxc7 26.Nxc7 with a winning position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Another possible improvement is 22. f3 instead of the game's 22. ♘f4 . Then after running a gauntlet of tactical threats, White still may emerge with some positional advantage. For example, 22. f3 ♘h4+ 23. ♔f2 ♕h3 24. ♔g1 ♖fe8 25. ♖f1 ♘g6 26. ♖df2 ♖e1 27. ♗d2 ♖xf1+ 28. ♕xf1 ♕d7 29. ♖e2 .
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: It looks like 24 h3 ♖h6 25. ♔g2 ♖xh3 26. ♘xh3 ♘h4+ 27. ♔h2 ♘f3+ leads to a draw by perpetual check. Maybe White was still playing for a win here, although I'm not sure he has the advantage anymore.
Oct-01-04  percyblakeney: The black bishop on b8 isn't looking very active, standing there from move 19 to 35... Fritz (who agrees with Nimzowitsch on 21.Bc1) sees 22.f3 as the best move, one line is: 22.f3 Qg6 23.g4 Nh4+ 24.Kg3 Qg5 25.f4 Qd8 26.f5 Ree8 27.Rf2 g5 28.fxg6 fxg6, evaluated +3.12.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Fritz (who agrees with Nimzowitsch on 21.Bc1)>

Does this mean Fritz does see a way for Black to get compensation for the pawn after 21. ♘bxc7 ? Or it believes the positional advantage is worth more than a pawn?

Oct-01-04  percyblakeney: Fritz thinks white is clearly better after taking on c7 as well, but not as much better as the positional advantage makes it after Bc1 and f3, the latter seems to be the key move.
Dec-21-05  lopium: Well, Capablanca was maybe the best end gamer, but here Alekhine seems perfect to my eyes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Fritz 9 at (19 ply) (favoring White +1.34) recommends 21. Nb5xc7 (or Nd5xc7) Re6-h6 22. h2-h3 Bb8xc7 23. Nd5xc7 Nf5-h4+ 24. Kg2-h2 Nh4-g6 25. Qd3-f3 Qg5-e7 26. Nc7-d5.

Fritz rates Nimzovich's move 21. Bc1 at (19 ply) as favoring White by only (.61) and suggests the following line: 21. Bb2-c1 Qg5-g4 22. f2-f3 Nf5-h4+ 23. Kg2-f2 Qg4-h3 24. Kf2-g1 Rf8-e8.

Both Fritz and the tournament book agree that correct for White is 24. h3! Rh6 25.Kg2 Rxh3 26. Nxh3 Nh4+ 27. Kh2 and leads to a draw.

Jun-17-11  dull2vivid: I have the feeling (could be totally wrong) that these two masters just wanted to show off, and that meant not taking material when some was offered and offering material for illiquid compensation. I see vanity in the erroneous moves.
Jun-18-11  aliejin: "I see vanity in the erroneous moves."

Alekhine wrote "Chess is vanity !"

Feb-18-13  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 17 Rfd1, 17 f4 grabs space. It may be mistake to wait for Black to play ...Nf5 followed by ...Qg4 and ...Nf5-h4-f3
Feb-21-13  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 17 Rfd1, 17 f4 grabs space. It may be a mistake to wait for Black to play ...Nf5 followed by ...Qg4 and ...Nf5-h4-f3
Jan-02-14  Garech: 20.Re2 is given by Nimzowitsch in My System as the correct way for white to play. What do the silicon boxes say?


Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Aron Nimzowitsch - Alexander Alekhine, Baden Baden Baden Baden DEU 1925

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 3 x64:

1. (1.09): 20.Re2 Nce7 21.d5 Ng6 22.Nxg6 Qxg6 23.Bc3 Qg4 24.Nd4 Nxd4 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.h3 Qe4+ 27.Qxe4 Rxe4 28.Rxd4 Rxd4 29.Bxd4 Kf8 30.Kf3 g6 31.Bc3 a4 32.bxa4 Ba7 33.Ba5 Bb8 34.g4 Ke7 35.Bd2 Ba7 36.Be3 Bxe3 37.Kxe3 Kf6 38.f4 b6 39.Ke4 h6

2. (0.70): 20.Nd5 a4 21.b4 Nce7 22.Nxe7+ Nxe7 23.Re2 Ng6 24.Bc1 Qg4 25.f3 Rxe2+ 26.Qxe2 Qd7 27.Re1 h5 28.Nc3 h4 29.Qe4 c6 30.Nxa4 hxg3 31.hxg3 d5 32.cxd5 cxd5 33.Nc5 Qc7 34.Qg4 b6 35.Nd7 Rd8 36.Nxb8 Qc2+ 37.Kh3 Rxb8 38.Qg5 Qc4 39.Qd2 Rc8 40.Bb2

So Houdini 3x64 prefers Nimzovich's suggestion. Stockfish however rates 20 Nd5 1.57/29 as best.

Jan-02-14  Calli: Engines and other annotators disagree.
After 20.Nd5 Re6 White can safely take the pawn 21.Nbxc7 Alekhine simply annotated 21...Rh6 here as if he was fully compensated for the pawn but the attack goes nowhere after 22.h3! BxN 23 NxB Nh4+ 24.Kh2 Ng6, for instance.

click for larger view

White always has Qf1 to protect h3, Bc1 is coming etc. In short, Nimzo could have won.

Mar-17-14  Ulhumbrus: <tamar: Aron Nimzowitsch - Alexander Alekhine, Baden Baden Baden Baden DEU 1925

So Houdini 3x64 prefers Nimzovich's suggestion. ...>
This suggests that if Nimzovich considers the overprotectors - the rooks - to be placed well we have to ask in which ways Nimzovich considers them to be well placed and then whether Houdini confirms that they are placed well in these ways

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Alekhine was a demon at Baden Baden, and it appears Nimzowitsch allowed himself to be bluffed.

Probably White's position is so good that both 20 Nd5 and 20 Re2 are winning, simply because of the terrible bishop on b8.

The lines with 20 Re2 look easier for a human to control, and it is natural afterwards to think of ways to stop the particular attack Alekhine adopted.

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