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Akiba Rubinstein vs Alexander Alekhine
"Semmer Down" (game of the day May-03-2017)
Semmering (1926), Semmering AUT, rd 8, Mar-17
Queen's Indian Defense: Capablanca Variation (E16)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-16-03  Sylvester: John Nunn says that 18…Nxf2 is the ultimate killer move in a classic game.
Jan-17-03  Ashley: This is a very impressive game. 18...dxc3 seems so obvious, however it is not the best move.
Jan-17-03  drukenknight: why not 16 e3?
Jan-18-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: hmmm maybe this is half-baked but what do you think:

16.e3 Bxe3 17.fxe3 Nxe3 18.Qe2 Nxg2! 19.Qxg2 d4 (or 19.Kxg2 d4+) and Black is up material.

Jan-18-03  Sylvester: Alekhine gives 16. cxd5 Bxd5 17. Ne4 as white's best moves. He says 16. h3 is no good because of 16…Nxf2 17. Rxf2 Qg5. He does not have anything on 16. e3.
Jan-18-03  drukenknight: 16. e3 Bxe3 17. Qxg4
Jan-18-03  morphynoman2: Why not 16. e3 Nxf2!? 17. Rxf2 dxe3
Jan-18-03  drukenknight: I think he recaptures w/ the K 17 Kxf2 but Im unclear on whether it is good or bad.
Jan-20-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 20.Ke1 seems to be slightly better as 20...Qxd2+ 21.Qxd2 cxd2+ 22.Kxd2 Bxa3 leads to an ending with bishops of opposite colour which gives white some drawish chances.
Jan-20-03  judokausa1: Honza Doesn't 20. Ke1 lose? After 20... cxd2+ 21. Qxd2 Qb6 seems VERY strong. with the triple threat of Qxb2, Bf2+ & Rd8?
Jan-20-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: You are right, 20...cxd2+ 21.Qxd2 Qb6 looks much better for black. But after 22.Be4 Bxa3 23.Qf4 (23.Qc2 Bb4+ 24.Kd1 Rd8+ 25.Bd3 e5 etc. or 23.Bxh7+ Kh8 24.Qc2 f5 etc. or 23.Qa2 Qa5+ 24.Kd1 Rb8 25.Qc2 f5 26.Bd3 Rb2 etc.) I don't see clear win for black yet.
Jan-20-03  judokausa1: 22.Be4! (allows white to block the open d file.) Bxa3 23.Qf4 Bb4+ 24. Kd1 f5 and white looks like it is about to collapse. 25. Bd3 Qa5 26. Qc1 Rd8 and the c pawn wil fall.
Jan-21-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Yes, it looks quite convincing.
Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: How much did Rubinstein decline after around 1911/1912 due to his psychological problems? Anyone hazard a guess? Clearly, by the time of this game he was no longer the same player who was playing Capablanca, Alekhine and Lasker so tough.
Aug-28-04  acirce: He never had another 1912 of course but in 1922 he won the Vienna tournament by a big margin ahead of Alekhine, Tartakower, Maroczy, Tarrasch and others, for example... http://www.alekhine.net/english/tab...
Aug-28-04  WMD: In John Nunn's introduction to the Batsford edition of Alekhine's Best Games he writes:

"I was particularly struck by his game against Rubinstein from Semmering, 1926 (game 42 in this book), and the move 18...Nxf2! in particular. It seemed incredible that there might be a stronger move than the obvious recapture on c3, but after having checked the analysis several times, I had to admit that taking on f2 was a forced win. But how did this move even enter Alekhine's head? Today, finding this move doesn't seem so totally impossible as it did then, but it remains an enormously impressive game. In my opinion Alekhine's special genius lay in his ability to discover unexpected twists in positions where a lesser player would have made an automatic, conventional move."

In his own notes, Alekhine says of 18...Nxf2, "By this pseudo-sacrifice Black forces the win of at least a pawn with a crushing position. Of course, the immediate 18...dxc3 would be ineffective because of 19.Ne4."

Nunn has a footnote on this variation (18...dxc3 19.Ne4) which reads: "At first sight Black can continue 19...Nxf2 20.Nxf2 Bxf2+ 21.Kxf2 22.Qb6+, but White replies 22.c5! Qxb7 23.Qc2 Qb2 24.Rc1 Qxa3 25.Qxc3 Qxc3 26.Rxc3 with a very likely draw after the inevitable exchange of queenside pawns."

The suprise is that Fritz finds the unexpected twist 19...Ne3! in Nunn's line and gives Black a large advantage. A sample line is 20.Qxd8 Rxd8 21.fxe3 Bxe3+ 22.Nf2 c2 23.Kg2 c1=Q 24.Rxc1 Bxc1 and Black is up an exchange. Question is, is this advantage decisive?

What, if anything, is said about this line in the World's Greatest Chess Games by Messrs. Nunn, Emms and Burgess? I can't believe they missed it.

Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: Thanks, <WMD> you're always making thoughtful posts (unlike me)!
Aug-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WMD> Re <What...is said about this line in the World's Greatest Chess Games...?>. Nunn as the annotator mentionS:

<18...dxc3 19.Ne4 Ne3!> 20.Qxd8 Rxd8 21.fxe3 Bxe3+ 22.Kg2 c2 23.Nc3 Rb8 24.Be4 c1(Q) 25.Rxc1 Bxc1 as the main line (he also gives several branching sub-variations).

Aug-28-04  WMD: And Black is definitely winning?
Aug-28-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <WMD> "...with an easy win for black" - Nunn.
Sep-05-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <drukenknight: why not 16 e3?>

I think the answer is 16. e3 ♘xe3 17. fe ♗xe3+ 18. ♔h1 d4 . Note the discovered attack by Black's rook along the b-file cutting off the retreat of White's bishop. So the game might continue 19. ♗xb7 ♖xb7 20. ♕f3 dc 21. ♕xb7 cd , and the result looks good for Black (two pawns for the exchange, strong d-pawn, active play, etc.)

Aug-28-05  A.Alekhine: Alekhine shows a very clear way to use the Queen Indian
Jan-04-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <"I was particularly struck by his game against Rubinstein from Semmering, 1926 (game 42 in this book), and the move 18...Nxf2! in particular. It seemed incredible that there might be a stronger move than the obvious recapture on c3, but after having checked the analysis several times, I had to admit that taking on f2 was a forced win. But how did this move even enter Alekhine's head?..."> Well, I have to say that 18...Nxf2 is not so unobvious. White Queen is under attack. It is clear at first glance that after 19.Rxf2 dxc3 not only Rf2 but also Nd2 due to unprotected Queen are pinned and that white loses a lot of material. The grim consequences of 19.Kxf2 are obvious as well - dxc3 with discovered check. Everything else leaves white without Pawn and with very bad position. The only thing necessary to do is to watch carefully whether white has no hidden zwischenzug but it is not difficult to see that there is nothing too much good. The only candidate 19.Ba5 trades the Queens with clear edge for black: 19...Nxe1 20.Bxd8 d3+! 21.e3 (21.Kh1 dxe2 22.Re1 Rxd8 ) 21...Nxe3 22.Bg5 Nxf1+ 23.Kxf1 Rb8 etc. This line seems to be the only more difficult part of black's calculation here and it definitely was not difficult for Alekhine.
Apr-14-09  WhiteRook48: 18...Nxf2!!
Jun-12-09  Bridgeburner:

<16...d4> sets a trap that Rubinstein walked right into with <17.Rxb7??> apparently failing to see the snake's nest of complications into which he was stumbling. After <17.Bb4>, White is perfectly OK.

<<beatgiant> Note the discovered attack by Black's rook along the b-file cutting off the retreat of White's bishop.>

The bishop can play <19.Bb4>, and White is fine.

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