Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Alexander Alekhine vs Clarence Seaman Howell
Casual game (1923), Madrid ESP, Jan-01
Semi-Slav Defense: Chigorin Defense (D46)  ·  1-0



explore this opening
find similar games 2,194 more games of Alekhine
sac: 21.Rxb7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: If you do not want to read posts by a certain member, put them on your ignore list.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-10-05  sneaky pete: From the British Chess Magazine, 1930:

Some remarks in the <American Chess Bulletin> by our friend Clarence S. Howell, concerning the World Chess Champion, appear to us worthy of reproduction.

For several years (writes Mr. Howell) we have felt that there was something unconvincing about the play of Alekhine. There have been four acknowledged world's champions - Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine. Before them, Morphy had a clear right to such a title had it existed. Morphy's play, judged by modern standards, was very unsatisfactory, but his success showed superiority in his time. Steinitz had eccentricities, but a power that was dominant and convincing. Lasker was the great contestant. Capablanca was the great invulnerable. Alekhine was and is different. Brilliant and great player that he is, his play does not convince. Judging by his games as a whole, one feels that Morphy and any of the three previous champions at their best would have defeated him in a match. Judging by his games only, this annotator would also believe that Pillsbury and Marshall and possibly Schlechter at their best might have defeated him.

And yet we have doubts on two slightly vague notions: (1) we doubt whether Alekhine has often shown all of himself in a game; (2) we are certain that Alekhine has not yet decided for himself just how chess should be played. There was something of the "lone wolf" about Lasker. Reti indicated that he established no school. Lasker, however, was a superb contestant, and has no doubt about himself or how he should play. A certain deep student of chess has lately given us a possible "key" regarding Alekhine. He writes that the present world's champion is always experimenting, and we believe that his games show it. He is not yet convinced. Modern in style, he is not hyper-modern nor ultra-modern in conviction. He probably believes that to play strictly "not to lose" will stunt a player's imagination, but he also almost certainly knows that to play "always to win" is risky. Hence his play is a mixture, and we frankly believe that at times he changes his position as to how he should play in the middle of a game. If he had a mediocre mind, his hesitation would spell complete failure. Actually his mind is brilliant, and he succeeds. We suspect that it is often the case that his struggle within himself is greater than his struggle against his opponent.

Jul-11-05  Calli: Interesting! Thanks for typing all that in.

S&V report that Howell was a player of master strength. He was a former Brooklyn Chess Club and New York State champion. He was on business in Madrid when this game was played, 1 Jan 1923.

Dec-20-14  TheFocus: An off-hand game played in Madrid, Spain on January 1, 1923.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I read Howell's piece many years ago and have been looking out for it ever since. Serendipity.
Jul-06-16  zanzibar: Serendipty... here's a video I just watched:

Contrast the opinions offered by the various personalities in the video, vs. the opinion offered in Howell's piece.

Perhaps this is due to a post-1930 change in Alekhine's playing?

Nah, probably not.

Jul-06-16  AlicesKnight: Perhaps Howell could have looked more at the nature of this game.

Hugh Alexander (editing the final volume of Alekhine's games) says "... imagination is the key word; ... to conjure up diabolical complications in the most harmless looking position..." Now this game is by no means "harmless" by move 20, but Black, having played 15...c5 to try to blunt the steamroller, plays ...g5 presumably looking for the win of a piece. Instead Rxb7 blows the Q-side and in 4 more moves the game is over. Gelfand (in <zanzibar>'s video) comments in similar vein to Alexander.

"...his play does not convince..."-???

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

<This page contains Editor Notes. Click here to read them.>

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Another example of Alekhine attacking artistry
from The games of Alekhine by timu222
Exchange sacs - 4
by obrit
February, p. 40 [Game 52 / 4283)
from American Chess Bulletin 1923 by Phony Benoni
Another example of Alekhine attacking artistry
from The games of Alekhine by Southernrun

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC