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Victor Berger vs Alexander Alekhine
"Berger King" (game of the day Feb-19-2019)
Margate (1937), Margate ENG, rd 2, Apr-01
Indian Game: Döry Indian (E10)  ·  1-0



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find similar games 2 more V Berger/Alekhine games
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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-08-02  pawntificator: 36... Qxf4?? 37 NxB??
Dec-08-02  ughaibu: As bad as Petrosian's famous blunders.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Winter in Chess Note 6387 quotes CHESS magazine ("probably the most incredible double oversight in the history of first-class chess") and Chernev ("the worst blunder ever seen on a chessboard").
Jan-09-14  mcgee: The worst double blunder in chess history? Hmmm. Black is a piece down with no compensation if he tries anything else on his 36th move; White should still be winning even after 37 Nxe4 for exactly the same reason. How exactly could Alekhine have improved on anything he played after 37 Nxe4? White still has an extra piece, the Black king is horribly exposed, the white bishop cuts out any potential threats and if Black tries to avoid exchanging queens he probably gets mated very quickly. It's notable because it features a relatively obscure playing missing a chance to win the queen of a world champion (albeit not the reigning one). But it's not like Petrosian vs Bronstein, 1956 where White goes from overwhelming advantage to defeat in one move or J Emma vs Stein, 1966 where Stein put his queen en prise after a 20-minute think and Emma didn't see it. It's aesthetically interesting but neither 36...Qxf4 or 37 Nxe4 should change the outcome of the game.
Feb-11-15  1 2 3 4: If you press the "pgn" button, you can see that this was on April Fools day, coincidence or not?
Oct-03-15  zanzibar: Featured on p5 of Horowitz & Reinfeld's <Chess Traps Pitfalls & Swindles> where Alekhine's position before 34...Nf4?? is identified as completely winning.

click for larger view

5r2 /1b1p2kp/1p6/p1pn1q2/P1BbN1p1/6P1/1P2RP1P/3Q1NK1 b - - 0 34

Actually moving the Black knight to any square off the f-file is winning (as is 34...b4) though c3 is best (then b4).

The multiple blunders by both players are blamed on "grueling" time trouble

<each player only had a few seconds for his remaining moves before the time control>.

I haven't looked too closely, but perhaps Black's (Alekhine's) first blunder is 32...Bd4 allowing 33.Nd6 when 32...Bxd5 wins a pawn outright.

Maybe Alekhine was partly blinded by thinking his attack on White's king was stronger than it really is?

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Well--at least I can honestly write that sometimes I played at Alekhine's level. In fact, played at this level a lot more often than he did.

Incidentally, this is not a Dory Defense, but a Nimzo-Indian by transposition. The database has 45 games with 5.Qc2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 34...Ne3 would have given black some chances:

35. fxe3 Qxe4.

35. Rxe3 Bxe3 36. fxe3 Qxe4.

35. Nxe3 Qxe4 36. Bd5 (36. f3 Bxe3+ 37. Kf1 Qxc4) Bxd5 37. Nxd5 Qxd5.

Feb-19-19  morfishine: Well done Berger
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: As <An Englishman> said, the game actually transposed to a Nimzo-Indian. Opening Explorer

34...Nf4?? was a terrible time-pressure blunder in a completely winning position. Komodo gives as best 34...Nc3! 35.bxc3 Bxe4 36.cxd4 Qf3 37.Rxe4 Qxd1 0-1. The quiet 34...Nb4 also wins easily. Alekhine obviously overlooked that in capturing the knight on f4 White vacated g3 for his knight on f1, allowing 36.Ng3!+-. After 36...Qxf4?? (Black is lost in any event), Berger overlooked the knight fork 37.Nh5+. His 37.Nxe4?? was much weaker, but also sufficient for the win. A tragicomedy.

Feb-19-19  The Kings Domain: Good win by Berger, he kept the champ and great pretty much at bay in most of the game. Neat finish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Good win by Berger> O RLY?

A lot of things must have gone wrong when you landed here:

1) -7.71 (29 ply) 34...Nc3 35.bxc3 Bxe4 36.cxd4 Qf3 37.Rxe4 Qxd1* 38.dxc5 Qc2 39.Rxg4+ Kh8 ...

1.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 9 v010218
*upto here already given by <FSR>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Berger was drunk!
Feb-19-19  Captain Hindsight: Possibly the best April fool's game ever!
Feb-19-19  Ilkka Salonen: Is this perhaps one of the games in which Alekhine was drunk?
Feb-20-19  Ilkka Salonen: I've learned that some consider speculation on the IV World Champion's alcoholism common. Naturally this was a time of great distress to A too, as about this time his brother was made to renounce him, but died still not long after. Bitterness and stress indeed often are behind impaired performance and intertwined with addiction often, and the use of last as an explanatory moddel is thus dubious. It should be remembered in these times of modern zertsetzung.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Berger King? Well done Berger? Berger with drink? Or was this Alekhine's "arch" enemy? (see Alekhine vs V Berger, 1932)
Aug-23-19  sudoplatov: Alekhine did lose several games with the combination of ...f5 and ...Bb4 and an early ...Ne4 (not always as early as here.)
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