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Alexander Alekhine vs Arvid Kubbel
USSR Championship (1920), Moscow RUS, rd 10, Oct-17
Spanish Game: Open Variations. Classical Defense (C83)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-04-06  janvion: y did black resign
Apr-04-06  zev22407: If 20)..R:d1 21)R:d1 Q-e8 22)R-e1 wining a piece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Going into this 10th round game, Alekhine held a half-point lead over Romanovsky and A. Rabinovitch with Kubbell and three others tied for fourth a further point back. With Alekhine and Romanovsky winning their games in this round, and with A. Rabinovitch drawing, the tournament with five rounds looked like a three-way race (Levenfish ultimately crashed the party and took third).

In the instant game, Kubbel repeated a questionable 11th move that had been tried by Tarrasch and by Alekhine himself. Kubbel then made a mess of the position, and was quickly wiped out.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 Nxe4
6. d4 b5
7. Bb3 d5
8. dxe5 Be6

A very normal position in the Open Ruy Lopez

9. c3

This or an immediate 9. Nbd2 are normal and the best way for White to play for an edge.

9... Be7

The debate about the respective merits of this as opposed to the more aggressive 9...Bc5 will perhaps never be resolved.

10. Be3

The less committal 10. Nbd2 is perhaps more accurate. Both that move and text are frequently played.

10... 0-0
11. Nbd2

click for larger view

11... f5?!

This wild bid for action was played by Tarrasch (in his loss to Breyer at Mannheim 1914) and by Alekhine himself (in his draw with A. Rabinovitch at Moscow 1918). Its soundness is questionable, and 11...Qd7 or 11...NxN are both better and sufficient for near equality for Black. The text creates problems for Black on the a2...g8 diagonal, likely requiring loss of time with Kh8 and otherwise weakening the Black arrangement.

12. exf6 e.p. Nxf6

click for larger view

13. Ng5!

This strong move was played by Breyer and by A. Rabinovitch in the two above-cited game. It poses an immediate problem for Black which Kubbel failed to solve, the position now being:

click for larger view

Tarrasch here played the weak 13...Bf7 and was unable to hold the game. Alekhine played the much better 13...Qd7 and achieved a draw in his 1918 game against A. Rabinovitch.

Kubel came up with a new--and thoroughly bad--innovation:

13... Bf5?

This left a vulnerability on the a2...g8 diagonal that led to quick defeat for Kubbell:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

14. Nde4!

Very logical, very strong, and just the sort of move we would expect from Alekhine.

14... BxN

This only made matters worse. He had to play 14...Kh8 to get his King off the lethal diagonal. 14...Ne5 was also better than the text.

15. NxB Kh8

Better late than never, but now Kubbel loses a pawn:

16. NxN RxN
17. Qxd5

click for larger view

17... Rd6?

A futile gesture. Kubbel had nothing better than to trade Queens and struggle on a pawn down. The position would still be theoretically lost, but with Alekhine playing White, the text was like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

18. Qe4

click for larger view

Alekhine now dominated the board and the end was very much in sight.

18... Qd7

Another weak move by Kubbel. He had nothing better than 18...Qe8.

19. Rad1

Good, but 19. Rfe1 was perhaps even stronger. After the text, the position was:

click for larger view

19... Rf8?

Kubell had obviously lost the thread of the game. If he wanted to struggle on, he had to try 19...Re8.

20. Bc5

More than good enough to win, but most brutal was 20. Bc2.

After the text, the position was;

click for larger view


Although Alekhine's last move was not the most accurate, resignation was not premature.

<zev22407>gives a possible line from the final position: 20...RxR(best) 21. RxR Qe8? This leads to immediate catastrophe (if that makes sense to say, since Black is finished anyway) since, as noted by <zev22407> 22. Re1 wins a piece (as does 22. BxB NxB 23. Re1). Somewhat better than 21...Re8? in this line would be 21...Bd6, but after 22. Bc2 Black would have little to play on for.

In sum, this was a fine win for Alekhine as he pressed to win the 1st USSR Championship.

Jun-27-22  Alekchess: Most of the commentary here is erroneous. After 20)---Bd6 and with the best play by both sides, Alekhine should win the endgame with a passed pawn. No major chess fireworks, just a solid win in an overplayed Spanish opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Most of the commentary?? The rookie <Alekchess> makes just one suggestion -- unclear at that. 20.Bd6 and 20...Bd6 are both illegal moves.

Sounds like another sock puppet fool who knows not.

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