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Max Euwe vs Alexander Alekhine
Zurich (1934), Zurich SUI, rd 5, Jul-18
Queen's Gambit Declined: Janowski Variation (D31)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-29-03  AgentRgent: A excellent game by Euwe!

31. Nf7! was a great shot. If 31...Kxf7? 32. Qh6+ wins the exchange.

52. a6! was another one. If 52...Rxd5 and White will queen. 53. axb7 Rd8 54. Nd6+! Ke6 55. Nc8

Aug-05-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: If 31...Kxf7 32.Qh5+ Ke7, then 33.Rxe6+ Kxe6 34.Re1+ Kd7 (34...Kd6 35.Qc5+ etc.) 35.Qf5+ Kd6 36.Qe6#.

This game shows clearly that Max Euwe was a superb player and that he did not become the World Champion by accident.

Aug-05-05  OJC: I agree that Euwe was very strong player and a worthy world champion. Anyone who beats Alekhine in a match (A.A. intoxicated or otherwise) is deserving in my opinion. Euwe's games and results in the 1930s speak for themselves.

I think his reputation sank in the 1940s when his level of play was not of the same quality (e.g. his disastrous record in the 1948 WC match-tournament).

Anyone here have any theories/explanations why his results after world war 2 were not nearly as good as before? I'm guessing it is not only due to age.

Aug-05-05  aw1988: Did White miss 12. e4?
Aug-05-05  sneaky pete: <aw1988> He did, Euwe ?s his 12th move with the comment "based on purely positional considerations (...) and thereby overlooking the tactical shot 12.e4! .. after which black would have to choose between 12... dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Nd5 15.Bxh7+ Kh8 16.Be4 .. and 12... Ne8 13.0-0 Bb7 14.e5 Qh6 15.Ng3 .., winning a pawn in the first line and getting a strong attack in the other".

Methodical man Euwe played 10.a3 .. in preparation of b4 .. in order to later achieve maximum pressure against black's c-pawn and naturally wasn't expecting any tactical lapsus like 11... b6? from the world champion.

Aug-05-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <A.A. intoxicated> I think that stories about Alekhine's drinking during the match are a little bit exxagerated. He did not play sottish. He was undoubtedly intoxicated only once and probably not too heavily (at least, he lost the game after fight). And of course, this game was played in Zurich tournament (one of strongest in 1930s) which Alekhine won in great style.

<I think his reputation sank in the 1940s when his level of play was not of the same quality (e.g. his disastrous record in the 1948 WC match-tournament).> Well, 1948 match-tournament was bad for Euwe, on the other hand Groningen 1946 was probably his best performance.

Aug-06-05  OJC: Of course, Botvinnik won Groningen 1946 (Euwe 2nd, and newcomer Smyslov 3rd).

I just find it hard to explain his dismal performance in 1948. In games like these Euwe is like a shadow of his former self.

Euwe vs Keres, 1948

Smyslov vs Euwe, 1948

Euwe vs Smyslov, 1948
(here User Profile: pim suggests Euwe was on medication during the tournament)

Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948

In the 1950s, his play seemed to pick up again although he was no longer a serious contender for the championship. For example Zurich 1953 he finished 2nd to last but at least his point total was near the rest of the field. He started fairly well in Zurich at least (+5 -5 =5; tied for 5th-7th at the halfway point) but then had a weak second half (+0 -7 =8).

Aug-06-05  Hesam7: <OJC> Thanks for the post and mentioning the comment by <pim>. It is a real mystry why Euwe performed so badly after Groningen. There is no question that the 1948 WC match - tournament was much stronger than Groningen but I guess nobody expected such a bad result from ex-Champion.
Aug-06-05  ughaibu: Was his 1948 result much worse than AVRO 1938?
Aug-06-05  Hesam7: <ughaibu: Was his 1948 result much worse than AVRO 1938?> Well it was 4/20 I think it was much worse.

Full table: http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/48$...

Aug-06-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <I just find it hard to explain his dismal performance in 1948.> He could be simply in bad form. It can happen to anybody. Only comps are playing all the time on a stable level. Euwe also was not chess professional and did not play regularly. I think that this fact influenced his result at AVRO tournament.
Aug-06-05  iron maiden: In lengthy, drawn-out events Euwe sometimes seemed to run out of stamina early on. It happened in the rematch with Alekhine, and at Zurich 1953. In individual games he was as dangerous as ever, but down the stretch he was incapable of coping with the physical and mental exhaustion of the long tournaments.
Aug-08-05  iron maiden: Those who knew Euwe also claimed that he played much better in a low-pressure situation. This may explain his victory against Alekhine in 1935, when everyone was expecting him to lose.
Aug-08-05  Hesam7: <iron maiden> That might be true for Zurich 1953 or the rematch with Alekhine. In the 1948 WC tournament he had a bad start and a bad finish: 0/4, 1.5/4, 1.5/4 and 1/4 seem to be his results in rounds 1 to 4. It is noteworthy that the Groningen field was not small if I am not mistaken it consisted from 20 players.
Aug-08-05  Hesam7: <iron maiden: Those who knew Euwe also claimed that he played much better in a low-pressure situation. This may explain his victory against Alekhine in 1935, when everyone was expecting him to lose.> That may be right in general. But did anyone expect the 47 year old Euwe to win the 1948 WC? I do not know who the favorites were before the tournament started.
Aug-08-05  iron maiden: Botvinnik, Keres and Reshevsky were considered the main contenders. Few expected much out of the newcomer Smyslov or the declining Euwe.
Aug-08-05  Hesam7: <iron maiden> Yes, you are right. Keres won the AVRO 1938 and Botvinnik was a major star in 30s (Joint first at Nottingham 1936 and Moscow 1935 and second behind Capablanca in Moscow 1936) He also won the first big tournament after WWII: Groningen 1946.

So IMO pressure was not the cause for Euwe's bad result.

Aug-08-05  RookFile: Anybody who could put 20 wins up
on the board against Alekhine, like Euwe did,
was a very strong player!
Aug-08-05  Hesam7: <RookFile: Anybody who could put 20 wins up on the board against Alekhine, like Euwe did, was a very strong player!> I do not deny that.
Aug-08-05  ughaibu: Somebody has to lose in a tournament and the stronger the tournament is the stronger the losers will be. 1948 was unremitingly strong so Euwe's performance isn't necessarily bad, it doesn't show him to be less than the world's 5th strongest player.
Aug-08-05  Hesam7: <ughaibu: 1948 was unremitingly strong so Euwe's performance isn't necessarily bad, it doesn't show him to be less than the world's 5th strongest player.> I shall disagree. IMO Najdorf or Fine for example would have had better results than Euwe's 20%. To finish 5th in that field is not that bad, but the way he did 6.5 pts behind the 4th player was no good.
Aug-08-05  RookFile: Euwe probably didn't slip too much,
but at the highest levels, one mistake pergame is all you need to lose.
Aug-08-05  ughaibu: Hesam7: it sounds to me as if you're saying that Euwe's 1948 performance wasn't particularly worse than you'd expect, if that's the case I agree.
Aug-08-05  Hesam7: @ ughaibu:

<Hesam7: To finish 5th in that field is not that bad, but the way he did 6.5 pts behind the 4th player was no good.>

Aug-08-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < IMO Najdorf or Fine for example would have had better results than Euwe's 20%.> Also Bronstein, Boleslavski, possibly Eliskases... But the FIDE agreements to use Groningen and Prague as candidate qualifying tournaments was sabotaged at the end. Najdorf won the Treybal memorial in Prague, but that was to no avail. Bronstein was invited to Prague, but the entire 5-player deep soviet delegation first accepted but then rescinded their invitation. Also withdrawing were Reshewski, Fine and Euwe who did not need to qualify, but whose presence would have validated Najdorf's claim to a place in the 1948 WC tournament.
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