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Siegbert Tarrasch vs Semion Alapin
6th DSB Congress, Breslau (1889), Breslau GER, rd 14, Jul-24
Russian Game: French Attack (C42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-02-05  halcyonteam: Special today-Joke of The Day!
Feb-08-06  McCool: That was just wierd. He must of been thinking too far ahead, then forgot that his knight was being attacked.
Apr-01-06  Topzilla: This game remembers me of Anand vs Kramnik, 2005
Apr-02-06  twinlark: Topzilla, and again:
Kramnik bad. Kramnik bad. Kramnik bad.
Does that just about sum it up? You forgot:
Topalov good. Topalov good. Topalov good.

Do you think we've gotten your message yet?

Apr-02-06  who: Incidentally, the word is reminds not remembers.
Apr-02-06  Topzilla: Thanks, i will keep it in mind.
May-06-06  DeepBlade: Why does everybody think this is a blunder? Its a sacrifice!
May-06-06  CapablancaFan: <DeepBlade> Lol! Yeah and he resigned right after. Where do you think Alapin went wrong with his sacraficial analysis? LOL!
May-15-06  FiveMinutesToWapner: Uh oh...

Five minutes to Wapner. Lol. I can't leave a serious comment here. Honestly!

May-30-06  ArturoRivera: I think Tarrasch refuted over the board the prepared variation 5.-...Be7 with 6.-dxe4! obviously Alapin was expecting the normal 6.-Ne5 and after 6.-...dxe5 7.-dxe4 Qxd1! 8.-Kxd1 0-0 and black its better as in Kasparov-Lasker 2340 or as in Fischer-Karpov world championship match.
May-30-06  zev22407: "ARTURORIVERA" how about Filidor against Magnus C.?
Jan-24-07  Tactic101: That is just pathetic. Maybe he forgot that white can also move. Pretty embrassing.

Feb-21-07  ianD: Embarrassing or what!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Topzilla: This game remembers me of Anand vs Kramnik, 2005> I would say that A Zapata vs Anand, 1988 seems to be more similar game to this one.
Sep-19-07  Amarande: According to one book I read (Fireside Book of Chess) this was a case of the touch-move rule resulting in an immediate debacle. Because Alapin had expected 5 d4 and not 5 d3, he immediately reached for the B, as he was going to play 5 ... Be7 in reply to d4; however, upon seeing that Tarrasch had indeed played 5 d3 and his knight was attacked, he was unable to do anything about it, as he was obligated to play 5 ... Be7 (the only legal move of the B) having touched the piece ...

Naturally, against a Tarrasch, there was no real choice but to resign immediately after this ...

Aug-25-08  pyresword: hey, that's my usual response at that point for black

...what's so funny?

Mar-24-09  LimSJ: <Amarande> did that book mention if this game was a blitz? it was too bad Alapin "expected 5. d4" and committed to that Bishop move. and it would have been worse if that early in the game his opponent would miss 5.d3, noh?
Apr-25-09  WhiteRook48: 5...Be7??
Jun-02-09  WhiteRook48: "notable blunder"
Sep-01-09  Amarande: <LimSJ> As far as I'm aware, it was a normal tournament game.

Apparently, the story intimates that 5 d4 was so ubiquitous in the Petroff of the day that Alapin did not even think of the possibility of Tarrasch playing anything different, and so reached for the Bishop.

He also apparently did realize before actually moving the Bishop that Tarrasch had indeed only moved the Pawn one square, but as I noted previously because of the touch-move rule, there was nothing he could do for it, because legally he was required to play 5 ... Be7 for better or for worse.

As for the alleged ubiquity of 5 d4 at the time, even a master could be forgiven not knowing about fairly obscure games like Von Der Lasa vs Jaenisch, 1842 (for which we still don't even know enough details to fill in some ? marks in the database!); however, a look on CG shows that the single step was essayed at at least one relatively high profile event, the tournament in London in 1862 (F Young vs Hannah, 1862 for instance). Even in the pre-internet days, I would expect that a master would peruse the tournament records of at least the better-known events of the time ...

The most likely explanation, however, is logistical. I'm not sure what rules were in effect in different locations in the 1880s, but in those days, the rules of chess were still evolving (outside of the very basic rules of the movement of the pieces etc. that define the game of Western Chess as such) and much more subject to change than they are in today's chess world. For instance, the use of clocks wasn't standard until some time during the second half of the 19th century, and even such a basic rule as the threefold repetition draw claim hadn't solidified until at least the late 1800s either. Moreover, as there was no central chess authority in the pre-FIDE days (outside of what major organizers like the London Chess Club ruled for their tournaments) the more "administrative" rules (which touch move certainly qualifies as) could be expected to vary slightly from year to year or even locale to locale.

It's thus quite possible that Alapin was not only not seriously expecting 5 d4, but also was unused to the touch-move law, which would be a reasonable explanation for his acting, and coming to grief, as he did.

Mar-05-11  bengalcat47: In one of the games from the Hastings 1895 tournament (and I don't recall the players, offhand) Black inadvertently touched one of his own Pawns while his Queen was being attacked by a White Pawn. Of course he resigned at once, since he would've had to move his touched Pawn and lose the Queen.
Oct-11-13  whiteshark: More touch-move examples:
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Here an Alapin drop>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: what a terrible way to lose a game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: "A Touching Case"
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