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Boris Verlinsky vs Alexander Alekhine
All Russian Amateur (1909), St Petersburg RUE, rd 8, Feb-25
Spanish Game: Exchange Variation. General (C68)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka:, the result of this game (1-0) is probably incorrect. Black is clearly winning in the final position.
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May-08-06  Pawsome: Alekhine claimed 9 ... c4 "demolished white's ninth move, " writes Andrew Soltis in "Why Lasker Matters." Since the late great Alekhine was 16 when he won this game (and presumably made the comment) we can perhaps attribute the remark to youthful brashness. Verlinsky's problems flow from his 11. c3?!. Had the young Alekhine essayed Ba4 against the great Lasker he would almost certainly faced 11. Nbc3!. when Bxc2? is met with 12. Kd2! winning the bishop, while the retreat Bc6 alllows 12. Nd5 000 13. Bb2, which seems to give white the upper hand.
May-08-06  Calli: <Pawnsome> The "demolished" comment is in "My Best Games...", written in the 1920s. So no youthful break for AA! :-)
May-08-06  Kangaroo: Pawsome, you may want to think of <11. Nbc3> followed by <11 ... Bb4> - it seems that Black has the initiative, strong enough to compensate a pawn (weak and soon to fall).

As I was young, extra pawns hypnotized me as well as they are doing to you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Pawnsome> <Calli> <kangaroo> For whatever it's worth, after 10....Ba4 10. Nbc3 Bb4 11. Rb1 Ba5 12. Rxb7 Bxc2 13. Bd2 Shredder thinks that White retains a small advantage. But after 10....0-0-0 11. Nbc3 f5! it thinks the position is quite equal. So Alekhine was perhaps right to say that 9....c4 "demolished" 9. b3 as a winning try, since if White can't advantageously take the pawn on c4, it trades itself off, thus relieving Black of his positional problems in this variation.
Mar-20-08  Calli: <Alekhine was perhaps right to say that 9....c4 "demolished" >

C'mon, you've been translating too much Russian :->

Okay, point taken. We don't really know what word Alekhine used and whether it was translated properly. The original manuscript was in French, although Best Games v1 was never published in French. In the 30's, Alekhine published "Deux cents parties d’échecs" which I think is a revised and expanded version of Best Games vol 1. The curious might check this game in the French volume to see how AA described the pawn move.

Mar-20-08  euripides: The English translation of the 1924-37 volume of games is sometimes a bit odd. One repeated thing is that instead of e.g. 'with a good position' it will say 'by a good position'. I'd thought that might be a mistranslation of the German 'bei' but I take it from <Calli>'s observation that the book was translated from French.
Mar-20-08  Calli: Alekhine had great difficulty in publishing the work and waited nearly four years for the first version in 1927. Translated into English by Dumont, IIRC. The German version followed. Who translated the German version?

Brian Patrick Reilly recollected Alekhine's efforts regarding the book in the BCM and you can read it here

May-23-10  Polerio: An interesting game. The move 9.b3 was played by Lasker in the 1st game of his world championship match against Tarrasch in Dusseldorf 1908. The latter continued 9...Bc6 and after 10.Nd2 Be7 11.Bb2 Bf6 Black lost his best chance, the combined action of the bishop pair and he eventually lost the game as well. When I saw Alekhine's 9...c4! I waited for an opportunity to try this move out myself. In 2007 I got the chance in a game against an american opponent on internet. White played 11.Nbc3 and I was about to take on c2 with my Bishop when I spotted 12.Kd2 (as pointed out by Pawsone may 8. 2006). I retreated my Bishop to c6. There followed 12.Nd5 O-O-O 13.Bf4 (13.Bb2 as indicated by Pawsone is better) 13...Nf6! (13...Rd7 was rather passive) 14.Bxc7 Re8 15.Bg3 Bxd5 (giving up the lightsquared Bishop was not a happy choice, but the threat of 16.Nb6+ had to be avoided. Bad was 15...Nxd5 16.cxd5 followed by 17.e5) 16.exd5 Bb4+ 17.Kf1 (not 17.c3? Bxc3+ and Black wins) 17...Re4 18.c3 Ba5, and Black finally won in 43 moves. So I think Alekhine's 9...c4! is Black's best chance against 9.b3. However, instead of 10...Ba4 Black's best should be 10...O-O-O.
Dec-23-13  peltonen: 11. Nbc3 is the correct answer, 11. c3 was weak
Feb-18-14  Poisonpawns: Albeit 11.c3 was weak; this is not the reason white lost.The move allows equality. 19.Kf2? is really bad,as nd7 is winning. 19.Rc1 is better but we prefer black
Oct-29-17  Count von Twothree: I agree with keypusher that 10...0-0-0 would have given plenty of compensation, instead of the blunder 10...Ba4. However, I think that 10...Ba4 is an even worse idea than keypusher suggests and is in fact utterly senseless given that the Bxc2 idea is off the agenda. This is not only because of the main point that has already been pointed out, i.e. that Alekhine and many subsequent annotators simply overlooked that taking on c2 would lose a piece, but also because the suggested improvement 11...Bb4 would be "demolished" by 12.0-0 (rather than the suggested 12Rb1). It transpires therefore that 11...Bb4 would only make things even worse for Black than retreating the bishop. Therefore, after 11Nbc3 the bishop has to retreat and Black has needlessly wasted time.
Oct-29-17  Count von Twothree: Incidentally, in Polerio's internet game, his opponent's 14.Bxc7 looks like a serious error. After 14.f3 instead, White would soon be a pawn up for hardly any compensation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Instead of 9...c4 given the bishop can be trapped, a far better way for black to highlight White's downsides in terms of the favourable imbalance just handed to black (the Light squared bishop), it seems that f5 is right. Stockfish NN seems to think black is clearly better after 9...f5

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Premium Chessgames Member
  jffun1958: I like the finish.

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