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Fred Dewhirst Yates vs Alexander Alekhine
The Hague (1921), The Hague NED, rd 8, Nov-03
Sicilian Defense: Pin. Jaffe Variation (B40)  ·  0-1



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Given 14 times; par: 76 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-22-04  acirce: Alekhine comments on 23..Qc3 about the endgame situation that occurs after the queens are exchanged, and I find it quite instructive: <The ensuing endgame admits of a majority of pawns on the queenside for White, but this advantage is here somewhat illusory. On this subject I am anxious to state that one of the most notorious prejudices of modern theory lies in the fact that this majority is in itself considered an advantage, without any reference to whatever pawns or, more especially, pieces are concerned. In the present game Black has very evident compensations: 1) the greater mobility of the black king, the adverse king being hampered by his own pawns; 2) the dominating position of the black rook on the only open file. With correct play, these points should ensure a win.>

Shereshevsky in <Endgame Strategy> uses this as an illustration of the importance of concrete analysis of this kind of endgames: <Formerly it was considered more favourable to have the extra pawn on the Q-side, since it is easier to set up a passed pawn there. Modern-day practice has not confirmed this unshakeable principle of the Steinitz theory. Everything depends on the specific features of the position. In the majority of cases control of the only open d-file confers an advantage, irrespective of the numbers of pawns on the wings.>

Now, objectively this specific endgame doesn't seem won, but White makes several mistakes. Kasparov in <On My Great Predecessors>: <28.Bc4?! The simple 28.c6! bxc6 29.Rxc6 Rd1 30.Kg2 Ke5 31.Bc4 Bxc4 32.Rxc4 would have ensured a draw: 32..Rd2 33.Kf1 etc.> 28..Bc8! <this unexpected retreat was beyond the understanding of most of the masters of that time> 29.a4?! Kasparov: <Evidently White should have moved his bishop from c4 and played c5-c6 as soon as possible. It soon transpires that the white pawns are 'going nowhere', whereas Black's are weaving a mating net.> Shereshevsky: <White should have hastened with his king to e1, although even in this case he has a difficult game.>

<36.Rxc6?!> Here both Kotov and Shereshevsky give the line <36.bxc6 f3 37.Bd1 e3> "and wins", but as Kasparov points out, after 38.Rc2 Rxc2 39.Bxc2 he does not. Black would still be better after 36.bxc6 though. Now after 36..Be6 White is basically lost.

Sep-22-04  Jesuitic Calvinist: <acirce> Thanks for the comments on this ending; yes, very instructive.
Mar-20-12  King Sacrificer: <28..Bc8! <this unexpected retreat was beyond the understanding of most of the masters of that time>>

Can someone explain the motives behind not trading the bad bishop?

Mar-20-12  King Death: <King Sacrificer: Can someone explain the motives behind not trading the bad bishop?>

After the plan Alekhine tried in the game (...g7-g5 and ...f5-f4) his bishop wasn't going to be bad and never was anyway, the important thing was as he mentioned the activity of his other pieces, plus his advantage in space on the kingside. In the notes provided above by <acirce> we see that even this shouldn't have been enough to win if White had defended more strongly, in spite of Alekhine's comment that <...With correct play, these points should ensure a win".> It looks like the analysis done by Shereshevsky and Kasparov gets at the truth of the position.

Mar-20-12  King Sacrificer: Thanks King Death.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Alekhine must've played like Capablanca here.
Feb-05-13  kubiyak: Great that chess players are open to questioning the wisdom of the ancients. Unfortunately in too many other fields the wisdom of the ancients is respected and adhered to too severely.
Oct-13-15  Biroldo: To be honest, I don't think black's bishop ever to be considered "bad", since all of the kingside pawns were completely mobile and a state change would be a matter of time. The retreat 28...Bc8 was perhaps made thinking in avoiding a draw, which could possibly come in a rook-and-pawn ending, despite pawn majorities.
Oct-13-15  Calli: So none of the annotators mention that Yates has 14.Nf4! with an advantage?

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <Calli>--Alekhine himself mentions 14 Nf4 in his "My Best Games of Chess 1908-1923."
Oct-14-15  Calli: Okay, finally found my copy of the book. AA gives 14.Nf4 Qf7 15.b5 Ne7 16.b6 axb6 17.Bb5+ Nc6 18.Qd3 Be6 19.Nxe6 Qxe6 20.Qc3! Bd8! "Black can defend himself in a satisfactory way" But this is really bad anaysis since in the position after Bd8??

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Now, 21.Rxe5 clearly wins. Instead of 16.b6, it appears that 16.Bb2! wins because now if exf4 then the b6 line is hard for Black to handle.

Oct-15-15  aliejin: "Okay, finally found my copy of the book." ?

In his book "My best games
1908-1923 The great Alekhine criticism
the play of yates and gives the following line
as favoring white:
4.Nf4 QF7 15.b5 16.b6 axb6 Ne7 17.Bb5 + Nc6 18.Qd3! ... "Setting the King and finally leaving white with
great oppurtunity to attack "

Jun-06-17  Leole: My version is(My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937, Russel Enterprises): "More energetic was 14.Nf4 Qf7 15.b5! Ne7 16.b6! axb6 17.Bb5+ Nc6 18.Qd3, definitely fixing the hostile king, with excellent chances of attack."
Nov-07-20  Eric Farley: In Alekhine's "My Best Games of Chess" Alekhine gives 42....Kc5 and not Ke5. It makes much better sense.
May-03-21  SymphonicKnight: Kasparov attaches an ?! to 28.Bc4?! and to 29.a4?!, but Stockfish recommends both moves. The critical mistake that Yates makes to lose this game is 36.Rxc6? Kasparov is correct here in saying that if 36.bxc6! there is no question of black winning. It would likely be a draw. 38.Rc5+? (Kd2!) just make the descent faster for Yates.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Penguincw: Alekhine must've played like Capablanca here.>

He would, in time, have to master his great opponent's style of play in order to have any chance of overcoming him at Buenos Aires.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TOTHZAHU: 36...Be6 is not losing, leads to a draw as well after 37. c7, Be8 (Fritz)

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