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Karel Opocensky vs Alexander Alekhine
Paris (1925), Paris FRA, rd 10, Feb-22
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This one was easy-the white queen must not abandon the knight on penalty of mate from the black queen. The queen is thus put to the question by black's final move. Since both the rook at e1 and the cavalry at f3 cannot be protected,mate will come quite quickly.

Note If 26 ♕d1 ♕xf3+ (not ♖xe1+ as 27 ♘xe1 saves white's bacon) 27 ♕xf3 (or ♔g1 ♕g2#) ♖xe1#

Sep-03-08  A.G. Argent: <Once><...resist...> Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <A.G. Argent> If that means that I get to spend more time with 7 of 9, then come and get me, Borg Queen!
Sep-03-08  TheaN: <Once: <A.G. Argent> If that means that I get to spend more time with 7 of 9, then come and get me, Borg Queen!>


<zb2cr: <TheaN> points out that White can actually lose slowly and painfully by giving up a piece with 26. Ne5, fxe5. I don't think the proposed 27. Qd1 is the best, however, as 27. ... Qxf2 pretty much forces 28. Qe2. Black then swaps Queens and follows up with 29. ... Rf8 and has an easy time of it.

I think maybe 27. f4 is a little better for White.>

OTR, I didn't point it out at first: although I had seen it myself I forgot about it in my first post, and <lost in space>'s post remembered me about it.

27.f4 is obviously better, having Black to deal with the pin on the e5-pawn, as there is no longer a deadly check on f3. However, Black will try to control that square once again with the simple 27....gxf4, I presume. If White does not recapture on f4 (which just loses the g-file to Black with no pawn gain), 28.dxe5 seems best, but the trouble of White is reinitiated with fxg3 as 29.e6 is impossible due to too many defender.

White is toast. But 27.Qd1 Qxf2 is defenitely a black White toast.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Good 'ol Opocensky's brain waves: ok business first Kh1, hardness it sets in ... then whoosh Re8! leaves you going back to the drawing board.

During the french exchange that c3 system is notoriously ripe for pressing.

Sep-03-08  Woody Wood Pusher: strange Alekhine missed it for a few moves....almost ruined a beautiful mate!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Woody Wood Pusher> I don't think that the tactic worked until 25. Kh1, as this allows white to capture the knight with check. With the king on g1, white has f1 as an escape square. Fritz 11 rates the game as more or less level until 25. Kh1?.

So I don't think that Alekhine missed it until it was playable. The same cannot be said of white!

Sep-03-08  Strongest Force: I think Alekhine was the "strong willed" type much like Fischer. I can't think of any other who wanted to win more than these two.
Sep-03-08  krippp: <Woody Wood Pusher: strange Alekhine missed it for a few moves....almost ruined a beautiful mate!>

In case there's nothing essential to change the meaning of your comment in the 2 previous pages of kibitzing:

It didn't work before <25.Kh1??>. Actually, as Patzer2 said, it looks as if <22.Nd8?!> is actually trying to fish for this combination...

Sep-03-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I thought 24..Re8 was still really strong is what i meant, if 25. Kf1 white seems OK and it seemed Alekhine took a little risk the king was going the other way with 24...Kb8
Sep-03-08  bunkerputt: My thinking when I saw this puzzle was, "I wonder if 25...Re8 (26. Qxe8 Qxf3+ 27. Kg1 Qg2#) 26. Qd1 (26. Qd3 Qxf3!) Qxf3+ 27. Qxf3 Rxe1# goes anywhere".
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: 24. ... Re8 25. Qxe8 Qxf3 26. Kf1

Now black has a choice - he can either try to push the h pawn or grab some central pawns as compensation for his sacrificed exchange.

Push the h pawn:

26. ... Qh1+ 27. Ke2 Qxh2 28. Qg6 Qg2 29. Qf5+ Kb8 31. Qxf6

click for larger view

White has an overwhelming advantage. Qf3 will prevent the h pawn from queening.

Grab some central pawns:

26. ... Qxc3 27. Qh5 Qxd4 28. Qxh3+ g4 29. Qh7 Qxb4 30. Qf5+

click for larger view

White has a slight advantage - Fritz reckons +2.09.

Re8 didn't work until 25. Kh1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: I imagine that Alekhine was planning on moving his knight up to e4 (via f7 and d6) when black suddenly blundered with 25 ...Kh1? which allows black to play 26 Re8! with the idea of Qxf3+ followed by mate. The earlier black moves a6 and Kb8 were just to avoid any back-row tactics.
Sep-03-08  mpmeints: What am I missing?

Sorry, at work and do not have time to read all the discussion and work out the variations, but in one message it was said that 23 Re8 will fail.

Why, it seems that anything that gets whites queen away from the knight will lead to a mate in two, or worse case, the king escapes while blacks queen opens the H file and pushes the H pawn getting another queen or snagging the white rook for the pawn, since white's rook would not be able to help the queen for several moves since it would be behind the king (from it escape path).

Oh, and while the King could escape, as shown in another string, the queen could easily push the h pawn and force white to surrender the Rook or convert to another queen before white could mount any attach with the King in front of the Rook, where it would have to be to escape...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kasputin: Material is even. It looks like black needs to find a way to break through white's king's defence.

25 ...Re8 is an obvious candidate move because taking the black rook allows black to take the f3 knight with the queen, with mate to follow.

The white queen can move away (it appears the the rook is protected by the knight), but 26. Qd1 or 26. Qd3 do not work. Black can play 26 ...Qxf3+ to be followed by 27 ...Rxe1#. (For that matter even keeping the queen in the firing line of the rook (e.g., 26. Qe3) still invites 26 ...Qxf3+, etc...)

So for queen moves that leaves 26. Qf1 and then this:

26 ...Qxf3+
27. Kg1 Rxe1
28. Qxe1 Qg2#

So the only thing left is 26. Ne5 and then black can simply take the knight with the f-pawn: 26 ...fxe5. If white recaptures the pawn with 27. dxe5 black can simply play 27 ...Rxe5. The rook is immune from capture because 28 ...Qf3+ leads (once again) to mate. In fact, it looks again like black can force checkmate with the same threats against the e1 rook, the f3 square, and the white queen no matter what white does on move 28.

Finally if 26. Ne5 fxe5 if white does not play 27. dxe5 then black may well be able to play 27 ...exd4 (with mate looming again) or, worst case, just advance the e-pawn 27 ...e4 and white is left with a hopeless game being down a full knight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kasputin: Well okay, I think I saw quite a lot of this. My little oops was thinking that white might actually play 26. Qd3 - and of course the black queen can simply take the white queen - or still just go ahead and play 26 ...Qxf3, which wins as described by myself and others.
Sep-03-08  TheaN: <My little oops was thinking that white might actually play 26. Qd3 - and of course the black queen can simply take the white queen - or still just go ahead and play 26 ...Qxf3, which wins as described by myself and others.>

I do not really get this... you yourself said that 26.Qd3 Qxf3† 27.Qxf3 Rxe1‡... missing that d3 is actually en prise is not a mistake... that is not a mate in two, Qxf3† is.

Sep-03-08  Lucky1: Theme for the week - Easy. As in easy puzzles. I don't recall getting three in a row before now.
Sep-03-08  ravadi: Can someone please tell me what happens after 26. g4? I think white can hold onto this position for some more time with this. The game may proceed like 26.g4 Qxg4 27.Rg1 Qxg1 28. Nxg1 Rxe2 29. Nxe2
Premium Chessgames Member
  Kasputin: TheaN: <I do not really get this... you yourself said that 26.Qd3 Qxf3† 27.Qxf3 Rxe1‡... missing that d3 is actually en prise is not a mistake... that is not a mate in two, Qxf3† is.>

Well yes, in a way you are right. I would of course play 26 ...Qxf3+ even if I had noticed that the black queen was en prise. The oops is simply that I didn't notice that the d3 square is also covered by the black queen, and I should have noticed that.

Sep-03-08  The beginner: <Ravadi>
26 g4.. Qxf3
27 Rxe1 mate.
Sep-03-08  DarthStapler: Got it
Sep-03-08  jackpawn: Found immediately. Very easy for a Wednesday.
Sep-03-08  zb2cr: <mpmeints>,

You're not missing anything. The puzzle begins at Black move 25. Some of the posters have been having a lively discussion as to whether ... Re8 worked at an earlier move, such as Black's 23rd. It certainly works as of Black move 25.

Sep-03-08  Rama: Here the objective plane became permanently located otherwise than at the extremity of the strategic front, obviously, so 25. ... Re8! wins instantly.
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