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Reuben Fine vs Alexander Alekhine
Margate (1937), Margate ENG, rd 5, Apr-05
Dutch Defense: Nimzo-Dutch. Alekhine Variation (A90)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-29-05  paladin at large: Alekhine loses a tempo in the opening with 4....Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Nc3

Fine keeps the initiative throughout. With his bishop and knight posted strongly, I like the way the white king rushes the length of the board to decide the issue. The black knights look awkward and confused.

Apr-29-05  Kangaroo: To <paladin at large>: This maneuvre from Black (Bf8 - b4 - e7) is not a loss of a tempo: Black prevents the White bishop from moving to b2, and by the way, the white bishop on d2 is just a piece of jewelry, until it moves anywhere else.

Well known trick, common for Dutch, Bogo-Indian and Queen Indian defenses

Apr-30-05  paladin at large: <Kangaroo>Thanks, I see your point but, nevertheless the two-move maneuver by black gets two white minor pieces off the back rank. Given the pace of development and subsequent play, I don't see 4. Bb4+ qualifying as a "trick".
Apr-30-05  aw1988: It's not a trick, it's a maneuvre. Take this instructive comment from Euwe, who could not have expressed it better:

'White's queen's bishop takes away the d2-square from his king's knight, (I think Euwe means queen's knight) and thus Black's chances of occupying the e4-square are increased. In addition, some difficulties may arise for White because his d-pawn is not protected by the queen.'

Apr-30-05  aw1988: Of course, Euwe's comment is from Euwe-Alekhine in their WC match of 1935, game 26, where Bg2 had not yet been played, but is this really a great difference?
Apr-30-05  paladin at large: Thanks <aw1988>, that is helpful.

In any case, the maneuver does not meet those aims in this game - White eliminates his d pawn, black never gets a grip on e4 and the white queen bishop stays camped on d2 all the way to move 23 to no ill effect.

Apr-30-05  aw1988: Shrug. Just the way they played it. In chess absolutely everything is decided on a practical level.
Apr-30-05  Minor Piece Activity: Bb4+ is actually a good move (or "trick"), but Alekhine's followup is faulty. Instead, Nc6 here is the real error IMO, allowing Fine to gain a spatial advantage and liquidate the pawn later. Note that 1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Nc3 d5! 7. Nf3 c6 would have transposed to an improved version of the Dutch Stonewall setup since white's bishop is misplaced (it typically best belongs on a3, or on f4, where white would have to move it, losing the tempo he had supposedly gained.) The Dutch is a bit of a tricky opening for both sides. Most GMs claim it's not quite sound, but I think it's not so bad, maybe its main weakness is that it's easy to get lost in the opening.
Apr-30-05  aw1988: I disagree that "it's not sound".
Apr-30-05  Minor Piece Activity: Don't you get tired of misquoting and misinterpreting posts?
Apr-30-05  aw1988: I didn't misinterpret it, I'm agreeing with you in saying that <but I think it's not so bad>.
Apr-30-05  Minor Piece Activity: Ok, when you misquoted me, I thought you got it the other way around.
Apr-30-05  aw1988: Heh, OK, sorry for any misunderstandings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <'White's queen's bishop takes away the d2-square from his king's knight, (I think Euwe means queen's knight)...> I think that Euwe had meant the king's knight as he wrote. He had in mind something like Ng1-f3-d2 + Nb1-c3 with full control of e4, which is necessary preparation for e2-e4. Alekhine's move was clearly aimed against this plan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mjmorri: Fine annotated this game in Chess Life when he was interviewed on the occasion of his 70th birthday. He did not have a high opinion of the 4....Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 maneuvre.
Sep-23-13  ColdSong: Really good game,in the best Petrosian style,I'd say,from Fine.Alekhine seems to wait the end of that painful squeeze all along.
Mar-01-16  peterh99: 4....Bb4+ does prevent the fianchetto as advertised. Keres has won some nice QGs after posting is QB on b2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <peterh99: 4....Bb4+ does prevent the fianchetto as advertised. Keres has won some nice QGs after posting is QB on b2.>

The point of White's play against a potential Stonewall setup is not Bb2, but Ba3, to exchange Black's dark-squared bishop whilst so many pawns are on light squares.

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