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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Alexander Alekhine
Vilnius All-Russian Masters (1912), Vilna (Vilnius) RUE, rd 12, Sep-03
Queen Pawn Game: Krause Variation (D02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: White's play was pretty reckless. I think the problem was 17.Bd3. After this, the Bishop gets chased all over the board and lost. 17.Bxc6 was probably better, intending 18.Qb5; however, Black can recapture with the pawn, and then play ...Kc8-c7 and ...Rh8-b8. Even after the other recaptures, Black would have the option of exchanging Queens and playing against the weak light square at e4, f3 and g4.

Maybe White simply picked a bad day to have a bad day.

May-30-05  iron maiden: This could go in <Catfriend>'s trapped queen collection.
Jun-09-05  Catfriend: It's there already:) Sorry, I didn't notice your message until it was too late!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: This game is probably most famous for the two queen sacrifices that only occurred in the notes:

click for larger view

Here, if Black had played 15...cxd4 16.exd4 Nxd4, then White had planned 17.Rxd4! Qxd4 18.Qxe6+ Nd7 19.Qc6+! bxc6 20.Ba6#.

click for larger view

Now, if 21.Rg5, Black had 21...Nxg6 22.Rxg6 Qxb2 23.Rb1 Qxc3+! 24.Kxc3 Ne4#!

Oct-08-06  RookFile: Just a typical example of Alekhine toying with Nimzovich. Alekine and Capablanca were clearly head and shoulders above Nimzovich.
Jun-20-09  pom nasayao: how dr. alekhine slowly tightens the mesh around the white queen is somewhat frightening
Feb-14-10  Dravus: At the end, Nimzovich, though a piece down, seems to have some offense left by Rxg6, with the threat of rook checks and preventing Black's plan to trap the Queen by Ra8. This game is indeed noted for its combinations in the notes (e.g., 21 f3 is a good spoiler).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: < Few players use the Queen's Pawn Game as white anymore because it gives black the chance to try a Queen's Gambit reversed. >

This comment is nearly ten years old, but it's still worth correcting.

It's a question of opening nomenclature. Before the 1920s, anything with 1.d4 that didn't then become something familiar (a Queen's Gambit, a Dutch) was referred to as a "Queen's Pawn Game". Even the Indian defences were routinely referred to that way - even by their inventors, such as Nimzowitsch himself.

As the 20th century went on, all these 'Queen Pawn Games' acquired names of their own: the King's and Quenn's Indian, the Nimzo and Bogo, the Catalan. Now we have the Trompowsky (with Bg5), the Richter-Veresov (with Nc3), the Colle (c3 and e3) and the London System (with Bf4).

Many of these *are* used by leading GMs. It's just that they don't call them 'Queen Pawn Games' anymore.

And, of course, a Reversed Queen's Gambit (with an extra tempo) is nothing for White to worry about - it will usually transpose into something more familiar. The Reversed Gruenfeld and the Reversed Benoni are also very good.

Mar-23-12  King Death: < Domdaniel: ...And, of course, a Reversed Queen's Gambit (with an extra tempo) is nothing for White to worry about - it will usually transpose into something more familiar. The Reversed Gruenfeld and the Reversed Benoni are also very good.>

Which is why in the case of the reverse Grunfeld and Benoni that at master level they're never seen anymore. Modern players understand that these dynamic openings are even better with an extra tempo.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <King Death> I don't think the Reversed Grunfeld and Benoni are that rare - they usually arise from a Reti, these days, depending on whether White hits the Black pawn centre with d4 or c4.

The Exchange-style Grunfeld, if reversed, *does* give White a definite advantage. But the slower Neo-Grunfeld (Reversed), with g3 fianchetto, is quite common. Something like 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 e6 4.d4 Nf6 5.c4 etc. Of course, this often transposes into a Catalan or a QGD Tarrasch Def.

One of my favorite lines as White, actually, though lately I've been playing the Reversed Benoni instead. That extra tempo can be lethal.

Mar-23-12  King Death: <Domdaniel> The form of reverse Grunfeld I meant was 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.d4. This is something I'd be happy to play for White. The line you mention in the second paragraph is indeed common and as you note usually winds up in some kind of QGD Tarrasch. In my playing days I mostly opened 1.d4 or c4 so I never had to worry too much about all of the transpositions above. With 1.c4 there were enough to worry about!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <King Death> -- < With 1.c4 there were enough to worry about!> Very true. I gave up 1.c4 in favour of 1.Nf3, trying to cut out the Reversed Sicilian lines -- but leading to a whole different set of problems. There's no escaping them.

But yesterday I started a tournament game with 1.d4 for the first time since the 1970s. It's never too late to try something 'new'.

Nov-25-15  Robert Samuels: Alekhine describes 24.Nb5 as "desperate". My silicon friend suggests 24.e4!! after which I cannot see how Black wins that bishop and comes out ahead.
Jul-24-18  superstoned: <Phony Benoni>, a Roland for an Oliver!
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Robert Samuels> Yes, 24. e4 is interesting. If Black's knight moves off f5, it stops defending g7 and White can rescue the bishop with Rxg7.

But, Black can try 24. e4 dxe4 25. fxe4 <Ng4>. Now White will be able to rescue the bishop, but the rest of his position is falling apart. Besides attacking the queen, Black's knights are also hitting h4, d4 and e3.

I tried the "engine" link here, and it spat out the line 24.e4 dxe4 25.fxe4 Ng4 26.Rxg4 hxg4 27.exf5 Qxf7 28.Nb5 exf5 29.Qf4 Rxh4 30.Re1 Rxb5 31.axb5, where White sacs the exchange and Black sacs it back, and the line goes on for another 9 moves, ending in -0.83 (6 second analysis by Stockfish 9 v010218).

I'm not sure I believe every detail of all that, but at least I would conclude that 24. e4 is a better try, and that Black would still <come out ahead>.

Sep-29-18  offramp: Another example of Aron Nimzowitsch being done up like a kipper.
Sep-29-18  JimNorCal: <offramp>: "Another example of Aron Nimzowitsch being done up like a kipper."

Nimzo had some famously bad days, to be sure. It's interesting to note that he finished ahead of Alekhine in this tournament.

Two years later, I believe, these two met in the 1914 All Russian and tied for first place. There was a playoff to decide which would get a place in the upcoming St Petersburg 1914 tournament featuring Lasker, Capablanca, Tarrasch and others.

The playoff was a tie, both were admitted, and Nimzo was eliminated in the first set of games. Alekhine earned a spot in the Final Five group, coincidentally being awarded the Tsar's "GrandMaster" title along with Lasker, Capa, Marshall and Tarrasch-- the other finalists.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <JimNorCal>
<the Tsar's "GrandMaster" title> That's a commonly repeated bit of lore, but whether or not that actually happened is debated on the tournament page here (St. Petersburg (1914)).
Sep-29-18  RookFile: Kind of strange, it appears that 13. g5 gives white a winning advantage right on the spot. It's actually the sort of move you'd expect from Nimzo, who was good with closed positions. It seems really odd that he didn't play this strong move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <RookFile>
It looks like you are right.

13. g5 Ng8? 14. Bd3 Ne7 15. Nb5 looks like an immediate win for White.

Probably Black has to jettison the g6-pawn with 13. g5 Nd7 14. Qd3 0-0-0, but White will come out a pawn up with the better position.

Why didn't Nimzowitsch play it? Maybe because he was all wrapped up in calculating the queen sac line as <Phony Benoni> posted above.

Sep-29-18  Boomie: Curiously, 7...Bh4 is a blunder. Most of us would play it without much thought. That diagonal from g6 looks tasty. But black can't allow Ne5 so easily. Black has two good options, 7...Bxf3 and 7...cxd4.

7...Bxf3 8. Qxf3 cxd4 9. exd4 = (-0.34/39 Stockfish 9 64)

7...cxd4 and white can enter the first line with 8. exd4 Bxf3 or try 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. exd4 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 c5, a nice thematic pawn push and black is for choice and worth a picture.

click for larger view

Notice that the white knight is woefully misplaced. It belongs on f3 or e5. Plus it blocks the c-pawn which would probably support with c3 here if it could.

Sep-29-18  JimNorCal: Thanks beatgiant, I'll check it out.
I think I've only read the account given in Marshall's book.
Oct-11-18  Boomie: <Boomie: Curiously, 7...Bh4 is a blunder.>

Oops. It should read 7...Bh5 obviously.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: On his 13th move, Nimzo failed to chase the Knight, allowed Black to undouble Pawns and gave the somewhat landlocked Rook a developing square on h6. In particular, the fact Nimzo failed to blockade doubled Pawns with 13. g5 is rather shocking. Didn't he read his books?
May-23-20  seneca16: Bd3 is the losing move. Bxc6 was necessary.
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