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Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky vs Alexander Alekhine
All-Russian Masters (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 15, Jan-27
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo (C50)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-26-05  Raskolnikov: It was Botvinnik who found out that Znosko Borovski could probably safe the game with 49.b3! His main line is 49...♔f6 50.a4 ba 51.ba ♔f5 52.♔f3 h4 53.c4 h3 54.a5 h2 55.♔g2 ♔e4 56.d5 cd 57.c5 d4 58.a6 ba 59.c6 d3 60.c7 d2 61. c8♕ h1♕ 62.♔:h1 d1♕ with slight advantage for Black.
Aug-26-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Raskolnikov>
I would be very surprised if White can save it. In Botvinnik's line, the first thing that comes to mind is that Black can just keep heading for the queenside: 49. b3 Kf6 50. a4 ba 51. ba <Ke6!>, for example if 52. c4 Kd6 53. Kf4 Kc7 54. a5 Kb8 55. Kg5 Ka7 56. Kxh5 Ka6 57. d5 cxd5 58. cxd5 Kb5! etc. taking care of the d-pawn, looks like an easy win for Black.

What am I missing? Can you cite Botvinnik's answer to this idea?

Aug-27-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Raskolnikov> "It was Botvinnik"

Really? Alekhine gives 49.b3! and a long analysis for a draw in his notes from 1915. Where does Botvinnik claim original analysis?

Aug-27-05  Boomie: 41. ♗xf5 is a losing move. White should play either ♗g2 or ♘g2 to maintain equality. After this blunder there is no drawing chance for white.

<beatgiant's> line with 51...♔d6 doesn't work, perhaps because 53. ♔f4 is an illegal move. The white king is on g2. However black can play the line opening 51...c5.

49. b3 ♔f6 50. a4 bxa4 51. bxa4 c5 52. dxc5 ♔e6 53. ♔g3 ♔d5 54. c6 ♔xc6 55. ♔h4 b6 56. ♔xh5 ♔c5 57. ♔g4 ♔c4 58. ♔f4 ♔xc3 59. ♔e4 ♔b4 60. ♔d3 ♔xa4

Aug-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <<beatgiant's> line with 51...d6 doesn't work, perhaps because 53. f4 is an illegal move. The white king is on g2.>

Good point, but actually it only transposes, because White instead of Kf4-Kg5-Kxh5 plays Kg3-Kh4-Kxh5. However, what I missed is that White can play a6! in the end and demote Black's b-pawn to an a-pawn when White's king is still close enough to stop it. Maybe that was the point of Alekhine's note in 1915?

For example, 49. b3 Kf6 50. a4 bxa4 51. bxa4 Ke6 52. c4 Kd6 53. Kg3 Kc7 54. a5 Kb8 55. Kh4 Ka7 56. Kxh5 (we have now transposed to the line I posted) Ka6 57. d5 cxd5 58. cxd5 Kb5 59. Kg4 Kc5 <60. a6!> bxa6 61. Kf3, etc. with a drawn position.

<However black can play the line opening 51...c5.>

White can improve your line too: 49. b3 Kf6 50. a4 bxa4 51. bxa4 c5 52. dxc5 Ke6 <53. c6!> bxc6 54. Kg3 Kd6 55. Kh4 Kc5 56. Kxh5 etc. and now Black has to spend a few moves going after the a-pawn, giving White's king enough time to return to the queenside and draw.

Aug-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Alekhine's passionate notes to this game deserve a wider audience. Many of his earlier annotations are devoid of the later self-promotion. Here are his comments to 49.Kf3.

49.Kf3? an instructive mistake, after which White cannot save himself [49.b3! leads to a draw, as will be shown by the following lines:

49...Kf6 50.a4! (if 50.c4 bxc4 51.bxc4 b5 wins) 50...b4 51.c4 (51.cxb4 loses) 51...Kf5 (51...Ke6 52.Kg3! Kf5 53.Kf3 etc) 52.Kf3 h4 53.a5 h3 54.Kg3 Ke4 55.d5 cxd5 56.c5 d4 57.a6! (57.c6? bxc6 58.a6 d3 59.a7 d2 60.a8Q d1Q 61.Qxc6+ Qd5 62.Qg6+ Qf5 63.Qc6+ Ke3 64.Qb6+ Ke2 65.Qxb4 Qf3+ 66.Kh4 h2 67.Qb5+ Kd1 68.Qd7+ Ke1! 69.Qe6+ Kf2 70.Qb6+ Qe3 71.Qf6+ Kg2! 72.Qc6+ Kg1 73.Qg6+ Kf1 74.Qc6 Qd4+! followed by Qg1 or h8+ and wins - very interesting lines!) 57...bxa6 58.c6 d3 59.c7 d2 60.c8Q d1Q 61.Qc6+ Kd3 62.Qc4+ Ke3 63.Qf4+ Ke2 64.Qe4+ Kf1 65.Qh1+ Ke2 66.Qe4+ etc;

49.b3! Kf6 50.a4 bxa4 (50...Ke6 51.axb5 cxb5 52.b4 draw) 51.bxa4 Kf5 52.Kf3 h4 53.c4 h3 54.a5 h2 55.Kg2 Ke4 56.d5 cxd5 57.c5 d4 58.a6 bxa6 59.c6 d3 60.c7 d2 61.c8Q h1Q+ 62.Kxh1 d1Q+ and the game is drawn, because - as is well known-a rook's pawn cannot win in a queen ending.;

49.b3! Kf6 50.a4 bxa4 51.bxa4 c5!? 52.dxc5 (52.d5 c4 etc) 52...Ke5 53.c6! bxc6 54.Kg3 Kd5 55.Kh4 Kc5 56.Kxh5 Kb6 57.Kg4 Ka5 58.Kf4 Kxa4 59.Ke4 Kb3 60.Kd4 c5+ 61.Kd3 Kb2 62.Kc4 Kc2 with equality]

A. Alekhine - Shakhmatny Vestnik 1915

I modified a few things for readability, but the above is pretty much verbatim.

Aug-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Going over all this again. It appears that in that last line

49.b3! Kf6 50.a4 bxa4 51.bxa4 c5!? 52.dxc5 and now 52...Ke6 53.c6 b6! looks like a win.

What do you think amigos?

Aug-28-05  Boomie: <calli> Que bueno, compadre. Carrying it out to the bitter end:

49. b3 ♔f6 50. a4 bxa4 51. bxa4 c5 52. dxc5 ♔e6 53. 53. c6 b6 54. c7 ♔d7 55. c8=♕+ ♔xc8 56. ♔g3 ♔b7 57. ♔h4 ♔a6 58. ♔xh5 ♔a5 59. ♔g4 ♔xa4 60. ♔f3 ♔b3 61. c4 ♔xc4 62. ♔e2 b5 63. ♔d2 ♔b3 64. ♔c1 b4 65. ♔b1 ♔a3 66. ♔a1 b3 67. ♔b1 b2

Aug-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Muchas gracias. At the end, Alekhine says

"In spite of mistakes both sides permitted themselves, and partly just thanks to them, a quite lively and entertaining game."

A bit of a stiff translation from the Russian, I guess, but the sentiment is clear. Entered all that endgame analysis into the computer in order to post here. Perhaps, I can get the rest in and submit to CG. Its really quite interesting.

Aug-29-05  Raskolnikov: <Calli>: I´ve taken the main line of analysis out of encyclopaedia of chess endings. The ananysis is Botvinnik´s but he used the variations given by Alekhine and Minev. He did mention them but I oversaw it as I posted my kibitz from 26.08. Therefore I assumed it was Botvinnik who found it out - my fault. As to your suggestion 51..c5 and 52..♔e6, it looks like a win for me too. Looking forward for your future post, thanks in advance.
Aug-31-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: This ending is actually quite tricky!

After 49. b3 Kf6, White can hold the a4 push in reserve and instead try <50. Kg3!> which keeps the options of c4 and b4 as well.

In that case, if 49. b3 Kf6 50. Kg3 c5 is now impossible because of 51. dxc5 Ke6 52. b4.

Or if 49. b3 Kf6 50. Kg3 Kf6 51. c4! so now 51...bxc4 52. bxc4 c5 is impossible because 53. d5+ followed by 54. c4 with a protected passed pawn.

Without the ...c5 idea for Black, it would apparently transpose to one of the draws we saw earlier. Comments?

Aug-31-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: A correction to my previous post:

I just noticed that on 49. b3 Kf6 50. Kg3 c5 51. dxc5 Ke6 52. b4? still looks winning for Black with 52...Kd5 53. Kh4 Kc4 54. Kxh5 Kxc3 etc.

But instead 49. b3 Kf6 50. Kg3 c5 51. dxc5 Ke6 <52. Kh4> Kd5 53. Kxh5 Kxc5 54. Kg4 Kd5 55. Kf3, etc. is fine for White.

Or if Black tries 49. b3 Kf6 50. Kg3 c5 51. dxc5 <Ke5>, then 52. Kh4 Ke4 53. Kxh5 Kd3 54. a4, so now the timing is right after 54...Kxc3 55. c6! or 54...Kc4 55. c6 bxc6 56. Kg5 etc.

So I still conclude Black cannot play 50...c5 in this line. It's instructive that White should keep options open about the pawn structure for as long as possible.

And I'm still not sure whether Black has a win against 49. b3 Kf6 50. Kg3.

Sep-01-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <beatgiant> Can't analyse at the moment, but thought the lines like 49.b3 Kf6 50.Kg3 Kf5 51.Kf3 h4 are won for black and the reason for a4 is to produce a more favorable pawn structure. No? Maybe I don't quite understand something here. Later....
Sep-03-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
I had visions of something like 49.b3 Kf6 50.Kg3 Kf5 51.Kf3 h4 52. c4 h3 53. a4 and we reach lines similar to the ones by Alekhine you cited after 53...b4 54. a5 h2 55. Kg2 Ke4 56. d5 cxd5 57. c5 d4 58. a6, etc., but I too don't have time to analyze at the moment.
Sep-16-05  Raskolnikov: I´ve spent some time and I think now that line 49.b3 Kf6 50.a4 bxa4 51.bxa4 c5! 52.dxc5 and now 52...Ke6 53.c6 b6! given by <Calli> wins for black. The point is that 51...c5 destroys the white pawn structure and the black king picks all white pawns up since the white king has to take care of black h-♙. <beatgiant>: have you noticed that in Alekhine´s line the white a-♙ stands already at a5 as white can play 56.d5? In your line black can play (49.b3 Kf6 50.Kg3 Kf5 51.Kf3 h4 52. c4 h3 53. a4 ) ba (instead of 53...b4)54.ba h2 55.Kg2 Ke4 56.d5, and pawn stands at a4. Thus White have lost one tempi and Black wins.

It will be exciting if <Calli> spot an error in the analysis of Alekhine which Botvinnik hadn´t seen. I´ve asked myself if this game will be posted in (not yet written) endgame books with remark: "A chess kibitz who became a grandmaster in 20.. known by name <Calli> had found an error in Alekhine´s analysis".

Sep-17-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Raskolnikov>
<Thus White have lost one tempi and Black wins.> Good point. Have you also analyzed the following attempt: 49. b3 Kf6 <50. c4> hoping to get the tempo back?

White hopes to transpose back into one of the drawing lines with 49. b3 Kf6 50. c4 bxc4 51. bxc4 Kf5 52. Kf3 h4 53. a4, etc. Similarly 49. b3 Kf6 50. c4 Kf5 51. Kf3 h4 52. a4.

Sep-17-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <beatgiant> Alekhine covers it in the first variation "49...Kf6 50.a4! (if 50.c4 bxc4 51.bxc4 b5 wins)

<Raskolnikov> thanks! I could not figure out <beatgiant>'s variation that day in my head. There had to be away to use that tempo but it eluded me. Very good analysis.

Aug-01-08  CharlesSullivan: If 35...♖g5 is right, then it is a horrible blunder: 36.♕xe7 wins a piece and Alekhine has no compensation.
Aug-01-08  Boomie: <CharlesSullivan: If 35...g5 is right, then it is a horrible blunder: 36.xe7 wins a piece and Alekhine has no compensation.>

That's funny. Everybody was so locked into the endgame they missed this.

<Chessgames.com> There's got to be a problem here as I don't think AA would have hung a piece only to have ZB miss it. 35...Rg5 can't be right.

Aug-01-08  CharlesSullivan: <Boomie> The game score must be wrong, I agree. I've emailed Edward Winter about this game -- he often can access the original source documents and clear up the problem.
Aug-02-08  Boomie: <CharlesSullivan: <Boomie> The game score must be wrong, I agree. I've emailed Edward Winter about this game -- he often can access the original source documents and clear up the problem.>

Excellent. I searched the Web but failed to find another reference to this game. It's not in the Fritz 11 database either.

Aug-02-08  CharlesSullivan: <Boomie> Edward Winter has already posted an item on his website http://www.chesshistory.com/winter
for August 2, 2008 regarding this game. Perhaps there is no primary source document available, so all we have is the (incorrect) game score published under Alekhine's byline in a Russian chess magazine in 1915.
Aug-02-08  GeauxCool: Winter suggests that an inaccuracy was caused by transposition during Alekhine's submission, an intoxicating suggestion. Because if 35...c6, then 36.Be4 allows 36...Rg5.

Any other transitions possible?

Aug-02-08  Boomie: <CharlesSullivan: <Boomie> Edward Winter has already posted an item on his website http://www.chesshistory.com/winter for August 2, 2008 regarding this game. Perhaps there is no primary source document available, so all we have is the (incorrect) game score published under Alekhine's byline in a Russian chess magazine in 1915.>

Wow. You have to love the service in Winter land! It appears the most we will ever know is the game score is wrong. Thanks for your effort.

Aug-03-08  GeauxCool: <CharlesSullivan-profile> With more GM blunders at your website! Fantastc!

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