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Alexander Alekhine vs Emanuel Lasker
St. Petersburg (1914), St. Petersburg RUE, rd 6, May-17
Spanish Game: Exchange. Keres Variation (C68)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  penarol: Please, can someone tell me why Alekhine resigned in this position?


Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <penarol> White is unable to avoid the exchange of his Rook. Black will play either 90...♖d5 or ♖e5 and after the exchange according to Tarrasch the win is easy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  penarol: Thank you, Benzol!
I did not know that a rook against a knight (with one pawn each) was so easy, but in any case I wanted to make sure I was not missing something "big"...
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <penarol> Perhaps easy in the sense that the stronger side can return the exchange to reach a winning K&P endgame. For example, 90. Kd3 Rd5+ 91. Kc3 Rxd2 92. Kxd2 and now the pin gives Black 2 free moves = 92 ... Kb5 93. Kd3 Rxe2! 94. Kxe2 Kb4 with a book win. (Play it out to prove it.) So White would probably try 90. Nd4, then Black would play 90 ... c5 hitting the Nd4, then maybe 91. Ne6 Rxd2+ 91. Kxd2 Re5 92. Nf4 Kb5 again aiming for a chance to trade R for N favorably. This is all quite tricky given the Knight's forking ability, yet legends of the game like Lasker and Alekhine would know how to convert the win here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  penarol: Thanks again, now to tpstar!!
Jan-04-05  Pawsome: Another defensive try for white might be 90. Nc4 Rc4+ 91. Kd1 Rg1+ 92. Ke2 Rg4 93. Rg2 Rh1 94. Nd3 Rh2+ 95. Nf2 Rf5 96. Ke3 Kb5! ( Black needs a tempo as 96...Rf2 97. Rf2 Rf2 98. Kf2 Kb5 99. Ke3 draws) 97.Nd3 Rb2 98. Nb2 Kb4 99. Nc4 Kb3 100. Nb6 c5 101. Ke4 Rf8 102. Nd7 Re8+ 103. Kf5 c4 wins. If white plays 102. Kd5 then Kb4 103. Ke6 Rd8 104. Ke7 Kb5 and wins. As tpstar says, all of this stuff must have been crystal clear to two of the greatest endgame players of all time, but most of us have to hurt our heads (and shuffle a lot of wood) to come up with the win.
Aug-13-05  iron maiden: Does 39. Rb2 do any good?
Premium Chessgames Member
  penarol: These 2 players were really magicians of chess: they played the Keres variation even before Keres was born!

(Or perhaps Keres was so great that he created this variation before coming to life...)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <40...Nd5! 41.Rd7? Rd3!> The sudden and surprising appearance of the tactical motive from Lasker here is the kind of stuff that later made Alekhine famous -- a stunning deux-ex-machina type of a tactical motive suddenly materializing in an apparently fairly sterile position.
Nov-02-08  Fanacas: Lasker obvious was a better player then alekhine
Jul-21-11  okaspi: can anyone please explain me why did W sacrificed his rook for N on 42.?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <okaspi> the threat is Nc3+ winning the Rook at d7, but if the Rook moves then 42...Rd1+ 43.Kc2 Ne3+ wins the other Rook at g2.
Jul-22-11  okaspi: that's a nice combination! thank you calli for unraveling it for me
Nov-16-12  SaVVy66: doesnt this game should be 50 moves draw... if alekhine can sucessfully play 7 more moves he could draw.. or this rule wasnt there at that time... confusion..!
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Move 78 b3ch was a pawn advance restarting 50 move count, so 50 move rule possibility was a long way off when Alekhine resigned.
Feb-23-13  RookFile: It sure looked like white was close to some sort of defensive fortress at the end.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Alyekhin's own notes about Alekhine vs Vidmar, 1931 shed some light about this game.

"According to the general opinion, I succeeded, against Vidmar, in finding the shortest and most instructive winning method, and I owe, in a great part, this achievement to a practical lesson that I received in the beginning of my career ( in St Petersberg, 1914 ) from the great end-game artist, Dr Lasker. That lesson cost me a full point, for I happened to be the man with the Knight! Dr Lasker, to the general suprise, demonstrated that even with one Pawn on each side ( and not a passed pawn ) the stronger party is able to force the decisive exchange of Rooks".

Dec-14-13  Rama: Lasker plays like Carlsen here. He gets a slight advantage on move 42 and nurses it to victory on move 89.
Aug-10-14  shallowred: <Rama>
Don't you mean to say "Carlsen plays like Lasker"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: An alternative was 17..g5 18 Bxe5..fxe 19 Nd2..Bg4 20 f3..Be6 21 g3..Ng6 22 Rdf1..Rf8 with Black already a bit better. In order to remain in contention for first place Lasker needed to win this game so rather than playing positionally against Whites backwards e-pawn which he judged would only be good enough for a draw he initiated an attack on the White king. After 32..Reb8 White already had to be careful; ie. 33 Re4?..Nc3+ mates or wins the exchange. 39 Re7 did not work out well; 39 Rc2 or 39 R5e3 would have been sufficient for equality. With 41 Rd7? Alekhine apparently missed Laskers powerful 41..Rd3! winning material. 87 Rd2? shortened the game allowing the exchange of rooks; better was 87 Re1 or 87 Rf1.
Dec-27-15  RonW: In the technical phase, Lasker was superb, but he overplayed his hand with 30...Nax4 de-centralizing his knight....Also - 27...a4!? 28.Nf2 axb3 29.Rxb3 Ne5 was a more prudent path than the one chosen by the good doctor :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Another word that I can't stand seeing in a chess sense: nurse. It actually makes me want to puke.

<White is nursing a slight positional advantage>. Bleuuurgh!

Dec-28-15  epistle: Starting to creep now into the chess lexicon is the grandmaster of ghastly words: <forever>.

<Amulet shall love and follow GM So forever, tsup, sup, mwaah!>

Dec-28-15  RookFile: What an excellent game this was. The back and forth was very interesting all the way throughout.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: And to think--in the next round, Lasker as White played the same Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez against Casablanca and scored one of his greatest wins. Which mean he could take his and beat yours, and then take yours and beat his. No wonder Lasker's opponents called him lucky; he was the only player who didn't have to play Lasker.
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