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Reuben Fine vs Alexander Alekhine
"Fine and Dandy" (game of the day Jul-27-2008)
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 13, Nov-25
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C72)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Similar to another famous Alekhine loss from this tournament: Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: This game looks like one of those patented Wilhelm Steinitz King strolls. Alekhine didn't come to grief as fast as I would have, or as fast as Steinitz sometimes did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: This game gives no evidence about about Fine's good qualities. It just shows an Alekhine playing completely subpar. He must have been exhausted. Capablanca also mentions the playing conditions of the tournament were not the best. Young people recover faster from fatigue.
Jul-28-08  RookFile: I think it does show Fine's usual strength and efficiency in the endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Well, perhaps... The thing is, his position is so superior that, as they say, "the game plays itself".
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Another bad loss for the champ. I wonder why he hung around so long in a hopeless position.

Three passed pawns ahead-even a caveman can win this position. (although Fred Flintstone once blew a win with two passed pawns).

Jul-28-08  RookFile: There was one remote chance: the queen's rook pawn becoming passed. A rook pawn is the hardest for the knight to stop: often it has tremendous power. Of course, Fine was well aware of this possibility, and Alekhine had to resign.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Yes, the straightforward way of winning is the one Fine took, to take the King to the probable enemy passed pawn. Then White plays for a rupture on the Queen side to clarify. If all Pawns there are exchanged he is then three Pawns up. Otherwise, if each side keeps a Pawn, then he advances it and it is over.

Fred Flinstone was a chess player? He must have used one of those marble sets.

Mar-29-09  Sem: This defeat must have rattled Alekhine, especially because after his victory at Bern 1932 he had felt it necessary to remark: 'Ich habe es den Juden wieder mal gezeigt' ('I've shown it to the Jews again'). The source of this quote is Max Euwe, man beyond reproach, in his anecdotal book 'Mr Caissa'.
Mar-29-09  whiteshark: <Sem> That's quite a stretch. And not that it matters, but he used the singular and it was after his only win vs Lasker in Zurich Alekhine vs Lasker, 1934 See the postings there. :D
Apr-05-09  Sem: Whiteshark, had he used the singular, he would have said: 'Ich habe es DEM Juden wieder mal gezeigt.' (How priggish of me). But thanks for drawing my attention to the postings; I was unfamiliar with Alekhine's comment at the concluding banquet.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <I wonder why he hung around so long in a hopeless position> Agreed. As of 32. Rxh7 Black has zero swindling chances and no real play or plan. The final position reflects badly on Black, tired or not.

Did Fine ever comment about AAA playing on too long in this game?

<Calli> Great synopsis. =)

Jul-24-12  Gambit All: 22...Ra8 is horrible. Concedes the F file and loses the game. It seems to me that 22...♘ g7 and trying for a general exchange of pieces on the F file would have been better. Fine takes control of the file, grabs some pawns, simplifies without resistance, and waits for Alekhine's resignation. A solid game from Fine - completely unphased by playing the World Champion; but, quite a lifeless game by Alekhine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Gambit All>
After 22...Ng7 23. axb6, won't Black's queenside collapse?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Black's position at his 22nd move is such that he will have to give way on one wing or the other, with the weakness of the queenside pawns plus f7. His only semi-active piece is the king, which can't hold everything.
Jul-24-12  Cibator: Regarding some earlier comments: Capablanca is said to have actually suffered a minor stroke during this event, which would certainly explain his poor showing.
Jul-24-12  aliejin: As explained Resevski, The AVRO tournament of 1938
had the particularity to be played in different cities in the Netherlands (All the time traveling between each round) What physically affected players, older players hurting, and so benefited, the younger
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Cibator> Despite <Calli>'s admonition of some years ago, I'm going to speculate and agree that it would. Having hypertension is a nasty business.
Nov-23-13  Bob Loblaw: Jul-27-08
<maxi: This game gives no evidence about about Fine's good qualities. It just shows an Alekhine playing completely subpar. He must have been exhausted. Capablanca also mentions the playing conditions of the tournament were not the best. Young people recover faster from fatigue.> Kasparov, who annotates this game in Volume 4 of "On My Great Predecessors," does not agree, calling the game "an impressive rout." He has high praise for Fine's play throughout. According to Kasparov 20 ... Nh5? is the decisive mistake.
Nov-23-13  Bob Loblaw: Jul-27-08 < whiteshark: It's really astonishing how quickly Black could have fully equalized after <11...b5> (pointed out by <Calli>) as in Geller vs Smyslov, 1986>

Another example from Smyslov's games where he actually gets a small advantage as black in this variation by move 17 can be found in Georgiev-Smyslov, Biel 1993.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: After an incredible 5.5-0.5 start Fine lost to Keres in the 7th round followed shortly by two more losses; this win in the 13th (next to last) round enabled Fine to tie for 1st with Keres.

Quote from Fine:
"...Alekhine did not shine...; against the top three he scored 1.5 out of 6. The reason was that a certain rigidity had crept into his play with the passage of time. Perhaps he unconsciously thought of himself as the Russian nobleman who could order the peasants to do his bidding. For personal reasons, as I have shown elsewhere (in a monograph on the psychology of chess), he overestimated the aggression of the younger men, and feared it too much. This made him a poor defensive player, a fact which I was able to turn to good advantage in the following (this) game."

8 dxe is considered to be relatively harmless; 8 Re1 and 8 d5 avoiding simplification are more ambitious alternatives. 9..Bxa4? 10 Qxa4+..b5 11 Nxf7! would have been bad for Black. 10 f4 was an improvement on the previously played 10 Be3. Fine claimed to be already winning at this point but that conclusion is clearly premature. With 11..Qd7? Alekhine misjudged how awkwardly placed his king would be in the center; Short gives 11..b5 12 Qb3..exf 13 Bxf4..Nf6 14 Nd2..0-0 15 Rae1..Qe7 with chances for both sides. 18..Ke5?! worked out poorly; at Stara Pazova 1988 Kovacevic played 18..Nf6 against Tringov and drew. 19..g5 20 Rf5+..Kxe4 21 g4 would have puy Black in a pretty mating net. Perhaps Alekhine underestimated 20 Nd2! expecting 20 a5..Nxe4 21 axb..cxb 22 Rxa6..f5 23 Rxb6..Rb8! with equality. both 20..Nd7 and 20..Ke6 would have been preferable to Alekhine's decentralizing 20..Nh5?. Fine's play on both sides of the board with 22 a5! and 23 Raf1! was quite masterful. Short showed the path to victory after the alternative 26..f6: 27 Nxh7..Rd6 28 e5!..fxe 29 Rf7+..Ke6 30 Ng5+..Kd5 31 Rc7..Rc6 32 Rd1+..Kc5 33 Ne4+..Kb5 34 c4+ and wins.

Feb-03-15  Eduardo Bermudez: Sounds easy but only if you're very good from the opening to the end !
Aug-08-15  Bruce Graham: Alekhine Fined.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Morten: Alekhine, like Steinitz, did sometimes play on in dead lost positions. Will to fight, unwillingness to admit defeat and belief in himself. It did pay off from time to time:

Alekhine vs E Andersen, 1935

Oct-11-19  Jambow: Fine game of cat and mouse...
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