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Alexander Alekhine vs Georges Koltanowski
London (1932), London ENG, rd 9, Feb-10
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C73)  ·  1-0



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Given 13 times; par: 38 [what's this?]

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sac: 22.Nxc7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-15-04  WMD: Alekhine calls the combination beginning with 22.Nxc7 'One of my most difficult and complicated variations.' Commenting on Black's 23...Bc4 Alekhine demonstrates 7 other replies that would also have failed to save the game.
Apr-15-04  Kenkaku: 31...Rxc6 32. Rd8+ Rxd8 33. Qxd8+ Kg7 34. Qg8# or 31...Qxc6 32. Rxc6 Rxc6 with white up three pawns.
Jul-26-04  Calli: "Commenting on Black's 23...Bc4 Alekhine demonstrates 7 other replies that would also have failed to save the game."

On 23...Re8, he gives 23...Re8 24.Nxc5 Nd8 25.b4 Nf7 26.Rxe6 (Alekhine in My Best Games)

First, 25...Rc6 is better than AA's 25.Nf7? but it too eventually loses 25...Rc6 26.e5! Rxd6 27.exd6 Bd5 28.d7! Rxe3 29.Qxe3 Bf7 30.Qe7 Qb8 31.Ne4 Qb6 32.Nd6 Kg8 33.c4 etc a winning endgame

However, the crucial line for the combo is 24...Nd4! which attacks c5 and threatens Ne2+. Interesting is

23...Re8 24.Nxc5 Nd4! 25.Qxd4 Rxc5 26.Rf3 Re5 27.Rxf6! Kxf6 28.f4 Kf7! 29.fxe5 Qe2 Difficult to evaluate. About equal?

Appreciate any comments.

Jul-26-04  Equine Rooster: Guess this is why Fischer called Alekhine the deepest player ever.
Jul-26-04  SBC: .

"Alekhine is a player I've never really understood; yet, strangely, if you've seen one Alekhine game you've seen them all. He always wanted a superior center; he maneuvered his pieces towards the King's-side, and around the twenty-fifth move began to mate his opponent"

"Never a hero of mine. His style worked for him, but it could scarcely work for anybody else. His conceptions were gigantic, full of outrageous and unprecedented ideas. It's hard to find mistakes in his games, but in a sense his whole method was a mistake."

-Bobby Fischer

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Calli: <However, the crucial line for the combo is 24...Nd4! which attacks c5 and threatens Ne2+.>

That is a very good find. At the end of your line, it looks to me like White's still ahead with four pawns for a bishop and an active position. White's obvious plan is to advance the queenside pawns, but it's a long struggle, and not a clear win by any means.

I wonder how Alekhine missed 24...Nd4! in his annotations.

Jul-27-04  Calli: <beatgiant> Thanks. If you are an AA hater, then you say that he covered a possible drawing line, but he could have just missed it. You can see that 25.Nf7? is awfully sloppy in the line he actually gives, so the quality of his annotations to this game are in question. One would think that after calling it 'One of my most difficult and complicated variations.' , he would have attempted to make his analysis airtight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I have never understood Alekhine's play either, so I tried to put myself in his shoes. I was looking for a line after 24...Nd4 that would keep pieces on the board for White to continue his attack and possibly advance the queenside pawns until they could be dangerous. The best that I could do with the help of Fritz 7 was 23...Re8 24 Nxc5 Nd4 25 Qxd4 Rxc5 26 Rf3 Re5 27 b4 (trying to advance the pawns first) g5?! (stopping f4) 28 Rc3 Qe2 29 Rc7+ Kg6 30 Qa7 Qxe4 31 Rxh7 Qxc2 32 Rxa6 Rd8 and the situation is still too complex for me! I don't think White is winning though. Fritz estimates the final position as -.37, but the surviving presence of connected passed pawns may have been Alekhine's trump in all these variations.
Jul-28-04  Calli: <tamar> thanks for examining this difficult position. I suppose the best we can say is that after Nd4!, the result is "unclear", as unsatisfying as that is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: From the Masters Tournament of the <London Congress 1932>, featuring an interesting mix of players including Sultan Khan, Vera Menchik, Salo Flohr, and of course Koltanowski, who was bumped up to the Masters event from the Premier Reserves event after <Edgar Colle> withdrew at the last minute, due to an illness that would kill him less than two months later.

<Alekhine> won 50 pounds for 1st place, and an extra 10 pounds for this game, judged to be the most brilliant of the tournament.

Mar-24-12  computer chess guy: Houdini 1.5a scores 23. .. Rc8 24. Nxc5 Nd4 as =. So it appears the Nxc7 sac is playable and interesting, but not winning.
Dec-05-14  visayanbraindoctor: Two of the greatest blindfold players in chess history duke it out, or rather Alekhine nukes his rival. In 1932, was Koltanowski already known as a blindfold expert?

They should have sponsored a blindfold chess match between these two. (Although I would still go for AAA winning.)

Sep-23-21  Gaito:

click for larger view

Where should the attacked knight retreat to? In his book (My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937) Alekhine wrote that 13.Nde2 "deserved serious attention". We know that such an expression is an euphemism for "it would have been better". I believe that some Russian annotators were the first ones to make use of that euphemism: instead of saying plainly: "that move is not good, but such and such was better", they were prone to saying: "such and such deserved attention" or "such and such was worthy of consideration". Modern engines (like Stockfish 14) agree that 13.Nde2 was better. But we all know that when an annotator writes that a certain move "deserved attention" or "was worthy of (serious) consideration" what they mean to say is that it was a better move. If they say "serious consideration", then that means that it was much better. Just euphemism used by many annotators.

Sep-23-21  Gaito:

click for larger view


Kolty played here 16...f6. The engine believes that 16...a5 "deserved attention".

Sep-23-21  Gaito:

click for larger view

In this position Alekhine analyzed seven possible continuations for Black. Continuation number six was 23...Re8, which is the move that the engine SF14 considers most "worthy of consideration". For example. 23...Re8 24.a4! (Alekhine only considered 24.Nxc5) Qc4 25.Nxc5 Kf7 with equality.

Instead of finishing a proposed variation with an evaluation (like "equal" or "slightly better" for White or Black, or evaluations like that), Alekhine used to finish each variation with the word "etcetera", but did not venture to say which of the two players was better or worse from his point of view.

I knew a chess master (Emilio Garduño) who once said that "the hardest parts to understand in Alekhine's books are the etceteras".

I suspect that Alekhine used the word "etcetera" as an euphemism for "Alekhine's position is better".

Sep-23-21  Gaito: 23...Bc4?? was a losing blunder, but as usual Alekhine did not append any question mark to that move, nor did he mention that it was a bad move.

Everybody knows that Alekhine was somewhat megalomaniac in his writings, and he wanted to prove above all that his victories were predestined as a result of his genius and not as a result of his opponents' possible mistakes.

In his annotations of ths game, as in most of his games, Alekhine was very generous with exclamation marks appended to his own moves, but there was not even a single question mark appended to any of his opponent's moves.

Sep-24-21  Gaito: On 23...Re8 24.Nxc5 the following position would have been reached (variation number VI in Alekhine's annotations):

click for larger view

While this postion never happened in the game, Alekhine gives 24...Nd8, but apparently he overlooked 24...Nd4!, after which Black is OK, for example: 25.Qxd4 Rxc5 26.Rf3 Re5

click for larger view

27.Qa7+ Kh6 with equality.

<Jul-26-04. Calli. 27.Rxf6! Kxf6 28.f4 Kf7! 29.fxe5 Qe2 Difficult to evaluate. About equal?>

27.Rxf6? is not good, on account of Kxf6 28.f4 Qc5! 29.fxe5+ Qxe5 and Black is better, see diagram below:

click for larger view

Further there might follow 30.c3 Qxd4+ 31.cxd4 Kg5, and the evaluation of the engine (SF14) is -1.76, which means that ""Black is clearly better", though the ending looks unclear to me.

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