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Alexander Alekhine vs Menzel
Simul, 40b (1923), Boston, MA USA, Dec-17
Semi-Slav Defense: Main Lines (D45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-23-13  BxChess: Dr J: in your line (C) 29 Ra8+ Ne8
I think white should continue 30 Nd7
if (i) 30...Kf7 31 Nxf6+ Kxf6 32 Bd8+ wins Q
if (ii) 30...Rf7 31 Rxe8+ Rf8 (if 31...Kf7, then transposes essentially to (i)) 32 Rxf8# if (iii) 30...Rf8 31 Nxf8 Kxf8 32 Bc5+ wins Q
if (iv) 30... Qxb3 (or similar threatening mate) 31 Rxe8+ Kf7 32 Ne5+ Kxe8 33 Qd7+ Kf8 34 Qd8#
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop and a pawn for a knight.

Black threatens 29... Qxb3.

Black's back rank looks weak. This suggests 29.Ra8+:

A) 29... Nxa8 30.Qc8+ Rf8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 (31... Rf7 32.Qxf7+ Kh8 33.Qf8#) 32.Nf7+ Rxf7 (32... Kg8 33.Nh6+ Kh8 34.Qg8+ Rxg8 35.Nf7#) 33.Qc8+ and mate in two.

B) 29... Rf8 30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Qb8+

B.1) 31... Ke7 32.Bc5+ Qxc5 (32... Kf6 33.Qd8+ Ne7 34.B(Q)xe7#) 33.dxc5 + - [Q+P vs N].

B.2) 31... Ne8 32.Bc5+ wins also the queen.

B.3) 31... Qe8 32.Bxc7 wins a piece.

C) 29... Ne8 30.Qd7 Qxd7 (30... Qxb6 31.Qxe8+ Rf8 32.Qxf8#) 31.Nxd7

C.1) 31... Nxb6 32.Rxe8+ Kf7 33.Nxf6 + - [R+P vs N].

C.2) 31... Kf7 32.Nxf6 Nxf6 (32... Nxb6 33.Rxe8 transposes to C.1) 33.Bc5 + - [R+B+P vs 2N].

Oct-23-13  dick50: Black Knight on c7 is defending a8,e8 and e6 and is clearly overworked. After 29 Ra8 Nxa8, 30 Qc8 followed by Qxe6 should finish the game
Oct-23-13  FinnPatzer: The real power of this finish comes in seeing that Black cannot avoid the Philidor mate by 32 ... Rxf7. The game is an impressive tour de force, How many players would voluntarily accept the isolani blocking in the bishop on White's 18th? Can it be that AA even saw the final combination as early as White's 21st?
Oct-23-13  diagonalley: hmmm ... a few more lines than is usual for a wednesday... i certainly missed the defence 29. ... N-K1 which seems to turn out to be the least bad option for black. nice puzzle.
Oct-23-13  morfishine: After <29.Ra8+> 29...Nxa8 30.Qc8+ Rf8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 32.Nf7+ and White has a smothered mate after 32...Kg8, or gets mated on the back rank after 32...Rxf7 33.Qc8+

PM: I dismissed 29...Ne8 due to 30.Qc8 Rf8 31.Qe6+ and White wins with a smothered mate; but when worked out with the aid of a PGN viewer, this isn't true as Black can avoid the smothered mate (but still losing) with 31...Kh8 32.Nf7+ Rxf7 33.Qxf7 Ndf6 34.Qf8+ Ng8 35.Rxe8 Qxb3 36.Qxg8+ Qxg8 37.Rxg8+ Kxg8 and White has an easy win [up a piece and pawn]

(In the above line, more accurate is the simple 32.Bc5 chasing the Black rook)

I'm relieved that 29...Ne8 loses although not for the reasons I originally thought


Oct-23-13  DWINS: <Dr. J, BxChess, agb2002, morfishine>, If Black defends with 29...Ne8, then 30.Bc5! ends the game at once as the Black queen is overloaded and can't save itself and defend the threatened mate in 2 (31.Rxe8+ Rf8 32.Rxf8 mate).

Stockfish 4 says that it's mate in 12.

Oct-23-13  zb2cr: I saw the "main line" 29. Ra8+, Nxa8; 30. Qc8+, Rf8; 31. Qxe6+, Kh8: 32. Nf7+ with mate to follow. Decided this was good enough.
Oct-23-13  Balmo: Tricky for a Wednesday I thought. I calculated up to Qxe6+ Kh8 and saw the smothered mate pattern but didn't see that after Nf7+ Rxf7 Qc8! is the move that wins for white.
Oct-23-13  asiduodiego: A nice one for today. I saw the main line. 29 Ra8+!! Nxa8 30 Qc8+ Rf8 31 Qxd6+ Kh8 32 Nf7+! because 32 ... Kf8 leads to the Philidor's mate. And 32 ... Rf7 leads to a back rank mate when the queen returns to c8.

But, I had a hard time figuring out the deal with. 29 ... Rf8. Because I saw first that after. 30 Rxf8 Kxf8 31 Bc5+ Kf8 32 Qb8+ Qe8 and there was nothing else there, but I thought "Well, I trade the Queens, get the outside passed pawn, no trouble". But then I remembered the usual tactical advice "invert the move order". 31 Qb8+! and now if 31 ... Ke7?? leads to mate after 32 Bc5+. And if 31 ... Qe8 Bxc7 wins a piece.

Oct-23-13  Refused: 29.Ra8+ ! Breaking the coordination of all the pieces should do it.

29...Nxa8 looks like it's getting mated soonish after 30.Qc8 followed by Qe6 and Nf7+

29...Rf8 30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Qb8+ took me a bit longer to work that line out. Because I tried to 31.Qc8+ again at first, but then 31...Qe8 seemed to put an end to my attack.

Oct-23-13  LoveThatJoker: This may be the possible beginnings of a world champion theme week/weeks – in lead up to the WCC match in Chennai.

<29. Ra8+ Rf8>

[29…Nxa8 30. Qc8+ Rf8 31. Qxe6+ Kh8 32. Nf7+ Rxf7 (32…Kg8 33. Nh6+ and the main idea is to deliver mate via the classic smothered mate motif) 33. Qc8+ mating]

<30. Rxf8+ Kxf8 31. Qb8+!>

The point.


[31…Ke7 32. Bc5+ Qxc5 (32…Kf6 33. Qd8+ Ne7 34. Q/Bxe7#) 33. dxc5 ; 31…Ne8 32. Bc5+ and Black also loses the Queen]

<32. Bxc7> White nets a piece. Hence, the evaluation here too is


Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I guessed that 29 Ra8+ was the winning move--it just seemed like a suitable move for a Wednesday puzzle. Pulling that knight away from its defensive position seemed important--though I did not look hard enough to notice everything the knight was being deflected from doing. In the puzzle position e6 did not look like a weakness with two black pieces covering it! Good puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: ut,oh-I see a smothered mate coming! Warning!
Oct-23-13  TheaN: Wednesday 23 October 2013


The fuel of chess offense is pieces. A thumbrule, if a piece is not helping in an offensive position, bring it in the field. Typically, this makes the initial move of this combination fairly easy to spot. White pressures the defensive structure of black with:


A. <29....Nxa8> the capture is one of the worse defenses but the point of the combo: <30.Qc8+ Rf8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 (Rf7 32.Qxf7+ Kh8 33.Qf8#)> luring the king to the corner is crucial for the backrank threats: <32.Nf7+ Kg8 (Rxf7 33.Qc8+ Qe8 34.Qxe8+ Rf8 35.Qxf8#) 33.Nh6+ Kh8 34.Qg8+ Rxg8 35.Nf7#.> A long, but completely forced mate.

B. <29....Rf8> the black rook was already in a defensive role: in contrary, white just brought his in. <30.Rxf8+ Kf8 31.Qb8+> all defenses fail: -B1: <31....Ne8 32.Bc5+ with Qxb5 > -B2: <31....Ke7 32.Bc5+ Qxc5 33.dxc5 > -B3: <31....Qe8 32.Bxc7 >

C. <29....Ne8> is definitely black's best try. However, this puts another pressure point in the black defense. Possibly the neatest of followups is <30.Bc5! > and the black fortress collapses. The black queen can't give up the defense of e8, but is lost otherwise. After <30....Qxb7 31.Rxe8+ Rf8 32.Rxf8#> we can close this book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Mind hive bad for one rooka1 good while coming line,

delve in calm effect knights at fed fluffs cad change in ear b6 bishop biff dig castle to a8+,

baffle at now in head accede chew in a frayed bid,

delving blow do cedes dense freed ink monarch eg c3,

to deems knight bishop be monarch frees eg I ment radical approach eg win b5 ratchet c8+ do rook to,

deed f8 frenzy afraid each damage off re have b6 evermore nearly done accent back er at ramble a took f6 a ghost in f8 necked b7 monarch believe aprobing bete noire the c5 cageing prodding biffed,

be er b5 sets on arriving 29.Ra8+ now ledge c7 grabs right rook er mitigate king trapped by knight smothered mate in seven beginning by hoof at edges,

cop 30...Qc8+ b5 has to drop 30...Qe8 31.Qxe8+ he,

eh goofed pining bow a 31.Rf8 32.Qxe6+ king steps to the corner by way of 32...Kh8 33.Nf7+ and er e6 etc provides philidor's mate at f7. After b7 wins via g8 ramble ar a8+ king ha g8 slide a c7 over now,

in gg chin elevate c8+ no log why in beady 25...Nec3 seems eg to be black knight loadin e4 shin stay put kind of create room h6 to provide g8 again chap in c7 looses the game b6 a1 dilemma,

becomes free eg binding 27.Bc5 clears the way for,

a1 whisk off a-file e8 weaker point decisive a rage,

said a1 wins a pawn be effectively storm in at ease,

the rook chain at barricade 29.Ra8+ transform delight for Alekhine wins by a neck at stake c7,

instead a better defence to combining 29...Rf8,

30.Rxf8+ king heffalimp in trapped f8 glorify,

30...Kxf8 31.Qa7 Kg8 32.Bxc7 piece ahead. Saved by,

the bell I phantom in mack a1 single mind ar good ha feedjangle a8+ flee f6 a good cover b7 indeed c7,

bide a noon b6 has won key knights e5 pawn dine time caged in g8 said wobble c7 knight remains right f6 down kind in fact flood pieces in eg rook bishop bain see fold after b7 8c+ came to co-incide,

e6 gets ago gobbling he good see I jostle f8 and er,

e8 revver c8 a f6 ended b6 piece in ahead vying against c3 in situ knighte5 berth in blade f7,

covered a8 have gain of a piece a1 wads of room laced finish c8+ extricated rook f6 a dilemma in exactly a good rig ailing demand a8 in satisfaction.

Oct-23-13  whiteshark: What a Gemenzel!
Oct-23-13  David2009: Alekhine vs Menzel, 1923 White 29?

White picks up a piece starting 29.Ra8+ Rf1 (if 29...Ne8 30.Qc8; if 29...Nxa8 30.Qc8+ Rf8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 32.Nf7+ forces mate) 30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Bc5+ Ne7 32.Qxc7 and White is heading for an ending a whole N ahead. Time to check:

click for larger view

Yes - others saw these lines well before me. <TheaN>'s refutation of 29...Ne8 (30.Bc5!) is pretty.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 30 Nd7, below, also nicely refutes 29...Ne8, though it's not nearly as decisive as 30 Bc5.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Today's puzzle is easier than yesterday's.
Oct-23-13  Patriot: 29.Ra8+ looks interesting:

29...Nxa8 30.Qc8+ Rf8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 32.Nf7+ Rxf7 (32...Kg8 33.Nh6++ etc.) 33.Qc8+

The problem though is 29...Rf8:

30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Qb8+ Qe8 32.Bxc7 Nxc7 33.Qxc7

30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Qb8+ Ne8 32.Bc5+ winning the queen.

30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Qb8+ Ke7 32.Bxc7 Nxc7 33.Qxc7+

"Medium/Easy" - Are you kidding? Unless I'm missing something easy here, this was tough!

Oct-23-13  morfishine: <DWINS> 29...Ne8 <30.Bc5> sure is sweet


Oct-23-13  M.Hassan: "Medium/Easy"
White to play 29.?
White is a pawn up.

A) 29..........Rf8
30.Rxf8+ Kxf8
<if...Qxb6 Nd7+ and it is a Royal Fork> 31..........Kg8
32.Bxc7 h5
And White is better

B) 29...........Nxa8
30.Qc8+ Rf8
31.Qxe6+ Kh8
32.Nf7+ Rxf7
33.Qc8+ Qe8 no other choice
34.Qxe8+ Rf8 no other choice

Oct-24-13  TheaN: <David2009: <TheaN>'s refutation of 29...Ne8 (30.Bc5!) is pretty.>

Like the credit but it seems I definitely wasn't the first to spot this. It surprises me though, it's this 'silent' move that is hard to spot for most players (myself included)... the actual full combination is clear enough.

Jun-09-15  TheFocus: From a blindfold simultaneous exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts on December 17, 1923 at the City Chess Club.

Alekhine scored +35=3-2. Two of the games were played blindfold, Alekhine winning them both.

See <American Chess Bulletin> 1924, pg. 6.

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