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Alexander Alekhine vs Efim Bogoljubov
Bad Pistyan (1922), Piestany CSR, rd 15, Apr-23
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Morphy Attack (C78)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-19-04  Scardini: This is the game mentioned in the celebrated novel The Royal Game (Die Schachnovelle, 1942) by Stefan Zweig. Some consider this the finest novel about chess ever written (a passenger on a cruise ship appears to be a challenging opponent for the ruling chess world champion). In 1960 a movie, Brainwashed (Die Schachnovelle), was made based upon Zweig's novel.
Feb-13-05  zentovic: <Scardini> Like can you see on my nickname (Czentovic would be more correct, lapsus), I´ve also read this nice novel. It´s highly recommendable. And thanks for your collection S. fav. games, I´ve added some of them (From Russia with love and Knight moves) to my Movies & Novels. Recommendation: "Fields of Force" by George Steiner(probably you have read it).
May-05-05  dzanone: I just got to that part of the story, so I had to check it out and see if there was such a game. Moves 38-40 are very similar to those described in the book.
Jul-16-08  Calli: Why 34...Rf7? 34...Rd7 seems like a simple attack on the loose piece and also threatening Nxc1, but maybe I am missing something here.
Jul-16-08  Boomie: <Calli: Why 34...Rf7? 34...Rd7 seems like a simple attack...>

Indeed. Bogo missed this killer. Maybe in time trouble?

A few backsliding observations:

Curiously 33. Bg5 seems better than Bf4. Understandable that Alky missed such a Fritzy move.

32. Bd2 is also suspect. Be3 is probably better.

27. Rxf4 is better than Bxf4.

26...Nb3 is another improvement. 27. Rxc4 Rxc4 28. Qxc4 Nd2 29. Qc8+ Kh7 30. Re1 exf4

25...Qc7 is just about winning for black. Another pawn grubbing cautionary tale.

This was round 15 out of 18 and both players had a shot at winning the whole shebang. They wanted this game so badly that they created a position where both were at Bogo managed to win this tourney by half a point over Spielmann and Alky.

Jul-16-08  paul1959: <Boomie> Given 26...Nb3 , maybe White should have played 24 Be3 instead of Bh4. Now the Bishop can support f2-f4 without giving up control of the c1-h6 diagonal.
Jul-20-08  Boomie: <paul1959: <Boomie> Given 26...Nb3 , maybe White should have played 24 Be3 instead of Bh4. Now the Bishop can support f2-f4 without giving up control of the c1-h6 diagonal.>

24. Be3 is better than Bh4. He wants to get something going on the kingside because the queenside is busted. However Be3 targets h6 and is a tempo ahead of Bh4 in some f4 lines. Perhaps he felt his position was lost and needed to confuse the issue, which worked in the game. This is an example of psychology trumping objectivity. Bogo should have won but he blew it as <Calli> pointed out.

24. Be3 Qxa4 25. h4 Qb5

(25...Rf6 26. Bb6 Nb3 27. Rxc4 Rxc4 28. Qxc4 Nd2 29. Qc8+ Rf8 30. Qe6+ Kh7 31. Rc1 Nxe4=)

26. Qg4 Nb3 27. Bxh6 Rc7 28. Rce1 Qd7 29. Qxd7 Rxd7 30. Be3 c3 31. bxc3 bxc3

Also notice that 24. Bh4 Qc7 is just about winning for black. Bogo went a bit wonky after Bh4.

24. Bh4 Qc7 25. Rcd1 Nb3 26. f3 Nd4 27. Qe3 c3

Jul-02-12  King Sacrificer: Move 38, Black to play. McConnor reaches out to push the c-pawn to promotion with excitement but a magic hand touches his shoulder.

- Don't!

"Die Schahnovelle" is a great novel by Stefan Zweig and every chess fan should read it.

Jul-11-17  Roberto Cruz: ZENTOVIC I´ve looked for over the NET by this book, Fields of Force" by George Steiner, but couldn´t find it, can you send me the link if you have it please?

I´ve read for the second time -- yesterday -- this amazing Stefan´s novel. But this time [thanks to this wonderful site] I could really get into the guts of his novel by following tha mentioned game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Not long in after watching the play 'The Chess Player' based on the Stefan Zweig story starring Richard McElvain at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Good. Enjoyed it. Recommended.


Aug-17-17  ChessHigherCat: <Roberto Cruz>

<Sally Simpson> I'm trying to follow the moves in the book but I was having some trouble. The position is the same as at move 41, black to move, and the 6 guys playing a consultation game against Czenotiv are about to queen the c-pawn, when some mysterious advisor whispers over their shoulders: "If you queen right away, this will happen: 38. ...c1=Q 39. Bxc1 Nxc1 40. d7 Ne2+ 41. Kf2 Rd8 42. Kxe2 and you'll lose in 9 moves.

So they ask him what he recommends instead and the mysterious stranger says: "Don't queen immediately, first get out of harm's way, with Kh7. He will probably switch the attack to the other wing. But you will parry that with Rc4, which will cost him two tempi plus a pawn, and thus the winning position. It will be pawn against pawn, and if you defend properly, you can get a draw.

So 38...Kh7 seems clear.

He will probably switch the attack to the other wing = 39. Ra1? Rc4.

How does Rc4 cost two tempi + a pawn?
40. e5 Nxe5?
That's only 1 tempo and a pawn. One reason I suspect I didn't get the moves right here is that he insists that Kh7 is important to get out of check, which seems irrelevant here.

Help me Mr. Wizard!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: If you recall from the book it does say the position is very similar to the Alekhine - Bogoljubov game. Not the exact same position, so some of the moves suggested in the book will not fit.
Aug-17-17  ChessHigherCat: <Sally Simpson> okay, thanks, I thought that might have been poetic license and it was really the same position, plus I was reading it in German so I thought it might be clearer in translation (which, paradoxically, is often the case, when the translator takes it upon himself to clarify). In fact, Zweig was probably just trying to throw in some technical terms there (tempi, wing, remis) to support the characterization of the mysterious stranger as a possible rival traveling to Argentina for the same tournament as Czentovic.
Aug-18-17  ChessHigherCat: I've read further in the book (Schachnovelle) now and it really is the exact same Alekhine-Bogo game. I just misunderstood move 39 to be Ra1 when in fact it was 39. h4. The only thing that's unrealistic in the book is that Czentovic would never have agreed to a draw in a completely equal position with a bunch of amateurs, even if they had started playing much better since the mysterious advisor arrived.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi ChessHigherCat,

Regarding Czentovic offering the draw, there we have to grant Stefan Zweig his right to tell the story his way.

Czentovic offers a draw and challenges the group again.

The new player who has joined the group declines and leaves.

Czentovic then tells them if the stranger wants to play then tell him to be here tomorrow.

The teller of the tale finds the mysterious stranger and that kicks off the story when hear about his background.

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