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Antonio Angel Medina Garcia vs Alexander Alekhine
Gijon (1944), Gijon ESP, rd 6, Jul-20
Italian Game: Classical. Center Holding Variation (C53)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-23-06  Dr. Siggy: In this classical opening, 4...Bb6 followed by 5...Qe7 is a good old defense, reintroduced to tournament practice by Alekhine in 1923. Its objective is to maintain the pawn at e5 and thus to prove that 4.c3 is a non developing move.

By the continuation 6.d5 Nb8/d8 7.d6!?, White offers an important pawn to hinder for some time the development of Black's queen's bishop. It is clear that, after the usual reply 7...Qxd6 8.Qxd6 cxd6, Black's game is seriously cramped. The question is whether this compensates White for the loss of such an important pawn.

I'm inclined to believe it does not, specially if Black proceeds as Alekhine did in this particular game: 6...Nd8! 7.d6!? cxd6(!) - which seems much, much better than 7...Qxd6, since the queen is one of Black's best placed figures on the board and the queen's knight is able to go not only to c6 but also to e6.

According to P. Moran, Alekhine played this game like he did when he was at his apex. Check out 13...Ne6! (threatening 14...Nf4! and obtaining the initiative), 17...b4! and 18...b3! (crippling White's queen's wing completely), 20...Bb7 (getting the queen's bishop out of the prison), 23...Bd8!, 24...f5! and 25...Bg5! (activating the king's bishop powerfully), 31...hxg5 (unabling White to react with f4), and finally 34...Rc5! (sacrificing a pawn to put it an end): simply brilliant!...

This Alekhine's gem repays a very lengthy study, at the very least because it's the only game I know where 7...cxd6!? is used (and quite successfully...).

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Caparros and Lahde give 37.a4 Ra8 38.Nc7 Rxa4 39.Ne8 Ra6 0-1 as the ending in <The Games of Alekhine>.
Feb-09-17  zanzibar: <Dr. Siggy> I'm not sure about your statement that 7...cxd6 is better than 7...Qxd6.

<MillBase> gives this tree:


Move ECO Frequency Score AvElo Perf AvYear %Draws
1: Qxd6 5: 71.4% 40.0% 2382 1964 0%
2: cxd6 2: 28.5% 50.0% 1969 0%
TOTAL: 7:100.0% 42.8% 1965 0%


Which suggests Black is better after 7...Qxd6. Running SF8 out to 28-ply gives -0.14 vs +0.16, also giving the Queen recapture the edge (though not much of one, admittedly).

In any case, White is better to play 7.a4, and then push the d-pawn.


Feb-10-17  JimNorCal: Looking at the position around move 10 or so, you might think Alekhine is conducting the White pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Why not 27...Bxe3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Oh, got it: 27...Bxe7 28. Ne7+ Kh7 29. Nxf5 is not too bad for White.

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