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Alexander Alekhine vs Lajos Asztalos
Kecskemet (1927), Kecskemet HUN, rd 9, Jul-05
Queen's Gambit Declined: Hastings Variation (D30)  ·  1-0



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Nov-02-07  zb2cr: I, too, recalled seeing this game in Vlaidmir Vukovic's "The Art of Attack in Chess", just like <An Englishman>.

Even funnier, if I recall correctly--I don't have the book in front of me--Alekhine was awarded the brilliancy prize for the game based on the final sacrifice and his analysis of the line after 42. Nxf7.

Nov-02-07  NakoSonorense: This has got to be one of the easiest Friday puzzles ever. After 40.Rxg7+ Kxg7 41.Rg1+, Black has only 4 choices, two of which lose immediately, one loses the queen, and one that prolongs the game a little. After 41. Kh7, the White Bishop can attack the king, but Black can defend it with his pawn. Solution? Get rid of the pawn with the knight.

I solved this in less than 30 seconds. It took me that long because I had to check my calendar to see that today is in fact Friday, get a cup of coffee, some cookies, brush my teeth, and yawn for ten seconds...

Nov-02-07  Rama: The Ne5 consumed seven moves getting there. This long-winded Knight maneuver is the center-piece of the game -- the predator circling his prey. The move 42. Nf3 ..., is in keeping with this theme and we can be sure Alekhine saw it. It must have appealed to his artistic side.

Yet he chose 42. Nxf7 ..., and look! His opponent resigned on the spot!

There is some chess lesson here but what? Is it that the game is more important than the players? The Laws of Chess have a firm grip on Alekhine, who is at the top of his form.

Nov-02-07  Chicago Chess Man: Not sure why this was supposed to be difficult. Rxg7 took about five seconds. Of course, the followup, Nxf7 is tougher, but I wouldn't call it 3 stars difficult.
Nov-02-07  Calli: Had to dig out the book:

According to Vukovic, Alekhine in the tournament book gives 42.Nxf7 Qxf7 43.Bd3+ Qg6 44.Bxg6+ Bxg6 45.Rxg6?

"So far this is Alekhine's analysis. However, 45.Qf6! Rg8 46.Qxe6 is stronger and does indeed win, though White still has a hard task ahead."-Vukovic

[John Nunn in the Everyman edition of the book disputes this evaluation]

45...Kxg6 46.Qe4+ Kg7 47.Qe5+ "after a few further checks, Black would inevitably lose one of his rooks" - Alekhine

"Here Kg6 48.Qxe6+ Kg7 49.Qxc6 Rb1+ 50.Kg2 Rxd4 51.Qc7+ Kg6 The checks cease whereupon black rooks begin to deploy themselves for play against the king or the c-pawn. One cannot see how White can win; the position is very likely drawn. Alekhine unintentionally bluffed the unfortunate Asztalos and the jury, who on basis of his analysis awarded him the Brilliancy prize." - Vukovic. He goes on to recommend 42.Qg3.

Summary: Neither Alekhine or Vukovic saw the sweet 42.Nf3. Alekhine also missed 45.Qf6. Vukovic makes an inexplicably bad evaluation of 45.Qf6!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: An unusual puzzle in that the LAST move was the real solution,not the first. After all,the first moves rate one star-two at most. The Nxf7 move is the one that gives the problem a "lieutenant general" status.
Nov-02-07  MostlyAverageJoe: WHY are so many people gushing over 42.Nxf7, if it is unquestionably NOT the best move???


And not even aesthetically pleasing (42.Nf3 is way, way, prettier to me).

<znprdx: Where else than here on CG would we find patzers second-guessing Alekhine> You talking to me? Are you talking to me?? You must be talking to me ... (pulling out some software out of the sleeve of an old military jacket. Oh, well, back to driving my taxi. Cheers).

MAJ, who also missed THE REAL winning move 42.Nf3.

PS: Hey, <whiteshark>! Did you just get full membership recently, or am I confused?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Yesterday’s puzzle was way tougher.

Geller vs Furman, 1959

The forcing moves were much more difficult to find. You also had to analyze a strong alternative response that black could have played 35… Qe7.

I loved the Friday puzzle three weeks ago, however.

Alekhine vs Tartakower, 1927

That one gave me fits.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: It's seems to me that Black's King is in jeopardy as all the White's pieces are ready to pounce. Hence, the most crushing move is 40.Rxg7+! Kxg7 41.Rg1+ & Black has no adequate defense. For instance, 41...Kf8? then 42.Qh6# again 41...Kh8? then 42.Qh6# so the only move left is 41...Kh7 but this also loses either to 42.Nxf7 or 42.Nf3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, one good demolition of pawn structure beginning with 40. Rxg7!! leads to another with the follow-up 42. Nxf7!

After this, the winning lines pointed out here by <Honza Cervenka> and <fm avari viraf> win easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: I find an anomaly in the analysis of <ConstantImprovemnet: & Alphastar: both seems to have mentioned 42...Qxf7 43.Bd3+ Kh8 44.Qh6+ Qh7 45.Qxh7#> After, 45.Qxh7+ Rxh7 & there is no mate. But White can mate after 44.Qh6+ Qh7 45.Qf8+ Qg8 & 46.Qxg8#
Nov-02-07  whitebeach: Like YouRang and MAJ, the first thing I looked at was the 42. Qg3 line. It was also the last thing I looked at, since it calculates out to a totally won position in a bare handful of forcing moves. I figured that was the solution. Never saw Nxf7 (the third-best move so far) or the pretty Nf3.

But I guess everybody loves a sacrifice. Somewhere in his book “My 60 Memorable Games,” Fischer in analyzing one of his wins says that after the fact, he realized that such-and-such a move was stronger for him and would have led to a quick and routine crush. But, he says philosophically, if he’d found this move instead of the one he actually made, then he wouldn’t have won the tournament brilliancy prize for his later play in the game.

This is encouraging, since I’ve missed a lot of objectively best moves in my time. Still waiting, however, for a brilliancy prize. Not sure what’s causing the delay.

Nov-02-07  xrt999: < eblunt: <Calli> 42Nxf7 does work, eventually, but you're right 42 Nf3 is the real killer >

I think 42.Nxf7 is more of a psychological move. It may not be the best move, but it wins the game. Alekhine just sacrificed a rook, and now a Knight? Put yourself in black's shoes.

<Both are better than 42 Bd3+ though , IMO>

I actually played this move, and was met with 42...f5. Ouch.

Nov-03-07  sanyas: Alekhine gave 42.♘xf7 a !!. Exclams also went to 15.♕c3 (Δ ♘h5 and d5), 19.c5, 22.♘e2, 27.h4, 32.♗a2, 32...b4, 33.♗c4, 37.h5 and 40.♖xg7+. If 32...♕e7 then 33.♘xgg wins. Also 27...g6 28.h5 g5 29.f4. Alekhine dislikes 4...h6 because "Black's pair of Bishops will not quite compensate for White's advantage in space. If 13...♘f8 then 14.♕c3 Δ ♘e5. If 35.♘xg6 ♖xd4, or 35.h5 gxh5 36.♕xh5 ♖xd4
Nov-03-07  whiteshark: <MAJ> Yes, since three days!!! I've no credit card and bankers fees are as high as the premium itself, so I just ask them about a possible payment via paypal. 5 mins later I became full member. Still wondering why not asking earlier ?@@?

<== Look what could happen to cute babies, when they try to be serious some years later... :D

Apr-02-11  sevenseaman: For a fleeting instant the import, subtlety and the necessity of 42. Nxf7 escapes one. But when it does hit home you say 'Aah, Alekhine!'
Jun-15-11  ForeverYoung: The sacrifice is grabbing all the attention, but has anyone else noticed 5 Bxf6? While thumbing through Alekhine's best games 1908-1937 I saw this game and checked it against his victory vs. Von Freymann in which the man played 5 Bh4? Looks like black has to transpose into the main line of the QGD by 4 ... Be7 or ... Nbd7.
Jun-10-15  jerseybob: 12..e5!?
Sep-11-15  Tempo Gambit: Im confused with all the kibitzing before me, the way I see it the knight move is unnecessary all together. Nothing more than Bd3 is needed as I see it I challenge anyone to refute that. F5 is just met with Bxf5 and then no matter what variation black tries he loses or at least loses his queen for close to no compensation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Tempo Gambit>
Could you post your line? 42. Bd3+ f5 43. Bxf5+ exf5 and now what? I do not see how Black loses the queen, besides already having an extra rook and bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  steinitzfan: I would love to know - is 42Nf3 a computer move? I would love to know the history of this amazing move. It was evidently not seen by Alekhine or Vukovic (or anyone else for quite some time).
Jan-14-19  Saniyat24: Alekhine is like a puppet-master in this game...he can fold the chess-board like a book and can control the Queen side when he wants, when he wants he can control the King side...the synergy in between the chess pieces is something to admire..was there ever a stronger player in the Openings?
Jan-16-19  Saniyat24: 42.Bd3+ Kh8 43.Qh6#
Mar-21-21  I like ya cut g: <Shadout Mapes> I don't think 45. Ng4 is checkmate. Isn't there just hxg4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The game quickly transposed into the Moscow variation of the Semi-Slav. Nowadays 10..e5 is the most popular move and seems to give Black a decent game. 12..b6 had been played in Berger-Thomas Hastings 1926-7 (White won); 12..Rd8 was new. 17 Nh5..Qa5 would have forced the exchange of queens. If 32..Qe7 (to prepare ..f5) then 33 Nxg6 would have been winning. On the other hand 35..Nxg6?..Rxd4! would have been strong for Black. In addition to the excellent analysis by Vukovic there was also a suggestion by the Canadian master Robert Zuk: 42 Nf3 and if 42..f6 then 43 Bd3+..f5 44 Ng5+..Kg8 45 Nxe6+..Kf7 46 Qxf5+..Qf6 47 Rg7#.
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