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Alexander Alekhine vs Efim Bogoljubov
"Grunfailed" (game of the day Aug-15-2013)
Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Match (1929), Berlin GER, rd 17, Oct-21
Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Goglidze Attack (D70)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-06-06  Chicago Chess Man: I'm no chess expert, but why does black castle long? It seems like it allows white to use his advanced pawn on the A-file to a great advantage. Plus the pawns in front of black's king are already weakened...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Chicago Chess Man> 17...O-O-O is certainly more risky than 17.O-O. Bogoljubov may have expected 17.O-O-O would give him more counter chances.

In their book, "World's Championship Match", F.D. Yates and W. Winter stated in regard to 17...O-O-O: <"Too venturesome, 17...O-O, left a good and playable game".>

Alekhine in his notes for this game, stated in regard to 17...O-O-O: <"In making this risky move Bogoljubov already planned the sacrifice at e5 which, doubtless, gave him some fighting chances. He can hardly be blamed for that decision, inasmuch as the alternative 17...O-O 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Qxd5 Rfd8 20.O-O-O Nf8 21. Qb7, etc., would have left him but very few chances of salvation.">

As there is some difference of opinion regarding the merits of 17.O-O or 17...O-O-O, it is helpful to get Fritz 9's evaluation.

Fritz 9 prefers 17...O-O and gives the following evaluation and line of play:

Evaluation after 17...O-O: (.63) (18 ply).

17...O-O 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Qxd5 Rad8 20.O-O Nb8 21.Qb3 Qxe4 22.Nc3 Qa8 23.f5.

After 17...O-O-O, Fritz 9's evaluation and line of play is:

Evaluation after 17...O-O-O: (1.18) (16 ply).

17...O-O-O 18.Nd5 Qd6 19.Qa4 Bxd5 20.Rd1.

Based on Fritz's evaluation and suggested lines, it does appear that 17.O-O may be a better move, but White would still have an advantage.

However, Bogojubov and Alekhine may be correct that 17...O-O-O may provide more counter chances.

Look what happened next! At move 18, Alekhine, instead of playing the strongest line indicated by Fritz 9, 18.Nd5, played 18.Qa4.

After 18.Qa4, Fritz 9 provides an evaluation of (.62) (16 ply). Fritz indicates the following line: 18...f5 19.O-O Kb8 20.Bc6 fxe4 21.Nxe4 Bxb2.

At move 19, Alekhine again played differently from Fritz with 19.e5.

Bogoljubov was now getting the fighting chances that he was hoping for after playing 17...O-O-O. Next followed some real fireworks with both Bogoljubov and Alekhine sacrificing material. Bogoljubov sacrificed a Knight at move 20 and Alekhine sacrificed a Pawn at move 24.

At move 28, the game was decided when Bogoljubov blundered with 28...Kb8??. Alekhine's reply 29.Ned4! was immediately decisive.

Alekhine stated: <"A longer resistance was possible after 28...Nxf2 29.Kxf2 Kb8; but by continuing 30 Ng3 Rhf8 31.Ra3 (followed by 32,Re3 or Rd3, etc.)-White would still increase his pressure in a decisive manner".>

In Yates's and Winter's book of the match, they make no mention of Bogoljubov's mistake, 28.Kb8??.

In 1954, in "Kings of Chess", Winter stated that after 28...Nxf2 29.Kxf2 Kb8, White would still have the advantage, but the disappearance of the Bishop makes the win much more difficult.

Fritz 9 clearly showed that after 28...Nxf2, Alekhine's suggested line would lead to a certain draw.

28...Nxf2! 29.Kxf2 Kb8 30.Ng3 Rhe8 31.Kg1 Rd5 32.Rc4 Qe3+ 33.Kh1 f4 34.Re4 Re8xe4 35.Nxe4 f3 36.gxf3 Qxf3+ 37.Kg1 Qe3+ (.00).

A small advantage for White, per Fritz 9, is still possible after 28...Nxf2: 29.Kxf2 Kb8 (.30) (18 ply) 30.Ra3 Qd7 31.Rab3 Qd2.

Or 28... 29.Kxf2 Kb8 30.Rd1 (.32) (18 ply) Qc6 31.Rxd8+ Rxd8.

Any win for White after 28...Nxf2 would be very difficult to prove. The line Alekhine gave appears to be a draw.

In summary, I think Bogoljubov was right in chosing 17.O-O-O. It may not have been the best move according to computer programs, but based on his style and abilities, it was probably his best chance to obtain counter chances.

Unfortunately, Bogoljubov missed a very good chance for the draw, had he not overlooked the more obvious 28...Nxf2 and Alekhine's winning move 29.Ned4.

Apr-10-06  Chicago Chess Man: Now that's a detailed response. Thanks for the insight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Capablanca wrote ( to a friend ), "Can you imagine me or Dr Lasker losing like this?">

Capa was quite supercilious despite the fact that his performance in 1927 match against Alekhine without draws, i.e. +3-6, was not much better than Bogo's +5-11 in 1929. I am not sure that the outcome of eventual rematch (for whose implementation actually Capa did very little or nothing serious) would have been much different from the first match, if not worse for Capa. He was probably the greatest natural chess talent of all times but his character, especially his lack of self-critical objectivity and habitual indolence, would have been always his great handicap in comparison to AA. I don't believe that he would have been prepared much better for the clash with Alekhine than he had been prepared for the match in 1927. In fact, nothing suggests that he even grasped why AA had beaten him in Buenos Aires. Of course, there would have been probably more draws in eventual rematch than in 1929 AA vs Bogo match and the style of play would have been probably quite different (almost certainly similar to the first match, i.e. predominantly dry technical chess with relatively simple positions reached early in the opening with systematic avoidance of wild tactical complexities and minimalization of risk from both sides) but whether that would have been more welcomed by public than fighting and complex chess produced in the first AA vs Bogo match is disputable. I think that Bogo deserves high credit for his play in the first match with Alekhine (the second match was a different story) because he produced very entertaining and bold chess (though by far not flawless) here and made whole this match quite interesting. Of course, AA outplayed him clearly in the process but Bogo scored quite significant share of points too and the match was definitely a feast for chess fans.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 28...Kb8 is really sad mistake from Bogo's part. 28...Nxf2 avoiding imminent threat 29.Ned4 could have saved the day.
Mar-05-08  Knight13: <this wonderful fighting game> I hate attacking games! That Silman guy's "Everyone loves kingside attacks, etc." is WRONG!
Aug-03-09  WhiteRook48: 3 f3?!?!
Mar-19-12  offramp: By Move 15 Alekhine has only made 3 piece moves; his queen's knight once and his queen's bishop twice.
Mar-28-12  Anderssen99: The "mating finish" given by Alekhine in his book is incorrect: 34. ...,axb6. 35.Rxb6+,Kc8. 36.Qc6+,Qc7. 37.Rb8+,Kxb8. 38.a7+ and mates. It is clear that 38. ...,Qxa7 gives CHECK thus refuting Alekhine's line. He could have chosen: 36.Rb7! which leaves Black helpless.
Jul-05-13  notyetagm: Alekhine vs Bogoljubov, 1929

29 ?

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29 ♘e2-d4! <pin: c7-sq>

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Game Collection: PINS AGAINST SQUARES 29 Ne2-d4! Black c5-pawn pinned against c7-square near b8-king

Aug-15-13  morfishine: <Honza Cervenka> Great and accurate post!

On a side note, the match lasted from 6/9 - 11/11/29 for a total of 156 days. Subtracting 1-day per game, we get 5.24 days between games. Thats seems like quite a lot.


Aug-15-13  TheTamale: With my blurry morning eyes, I initially read the game's title as "Gruenfelled," which made me think Bogo pulled off a spiffy win. Then I saw it was "Gruenfailed." Sigh. An awesome pun either way, though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <morfishine> In the book, "Bogoljubow - The Fate of a Chess Player", by Sergei Soloviov, details are noted for the preparation and the playing of the 1929 championship match. Here is some of that information:

On July 9th, 1929, there was a meeting of the players and the municipality of the city of Wiesbaden, and the program of the match was discussed and accepted there.

Bogoljubow then played in the great 1929 Karlsbad tournament - July 31st - August 26th.

September 5th - drawing of the lots in Wiesbaden.

September 6th - the first game in Wiesbaden. The first 8 games were to be played in Wiesbaden.

A period of rest was scheduled for September 24 to October 1st.

Games 9-11 were to be played in the Schwartzwald under the auspices of the German Chess Union.

Games 12-17 were to be played in the Netherlands under the auspices of the Chess Union of the Netherlands.

Games 18-23 were to be played in Berlin under the organization of the president of the local club of Mr. E. Post.

The remaining games were to be played in Wiesbaden.

In the book, "Championship Chess", by P.W. Sergeant, it is noted the final game of the match, game 25, was played in Wiesbaden on November 11-12th.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Pawn and Two>

Thanks for posting that information from
"Bogoljubow - The Fate of a Chess Player"

It made me think of a recent post I made about problems with proofreading and accuracy in what appears to be a similar chess history book- Andris Fride's "Vladimirs Petrovs: A Chessplayer’s Story from Greatness to the Gulags."

I found the book to be invaluable, because there simply is no other source about the details of <Petrovs'> life and games available in English.

Unfortunately the book suffers from horrifying textual errors, including incorrect names of cities and players and incorrect cross tables, game scores, and even game results.

I noticed <Taylor Kingsford> has reviewed both volumes here, and I was wondering if you had seen it?

Anyways here it is, for what it's worth-

<"Parallel Problems,
Different Fates"

<<<Taylor Kingston>>>

Vladimirs Petrovs: A Chessplayer’s Story from Greatness to the Gulags by Andris Fride, 2004 Caissa Editions, Yorklyn, Delaware, USA, paperback, 190 pages, English algebraic notation, $25.00.

Bogoljubow: The Fate of a Chess Player, by Sergei Soloviov, 2004 Chess Stars Ltd., Sofia, Bulgaria, paperback, 280 pages, figurine algebraic notation, $29.95.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knights seemed to dominate and then the heavy pieces came in to close it out.In short Q+R=Mariano Rivera.
Aug-15-13  morfishine: <Pawn and Two> Thanks for the information! I googled the match and it provided the first game date of 6/9, which is obviously in error

Exciting match though!


Aug-15-13  ajile: This was a good strategy by Black. Play an open tactical battle against the best tactical chess guy in history.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <WCC Editing Project> Thank you for posting the link to the Taylor Kingston reviews. This was the first time I had seen these reviews.

I have both the Bogoljubow book, and the Petrovs book. There is a lot of interesting information in both books. However, I wish they could have provided even more information about their lives and games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:


You wrote <Although as Capablanca wrote ( to a friend ), "Can you imagine me or Dr Lasker losing like this?">

I agree with your post, but I just want to clarify that Capablanca did not write this at the end of the match. He wrote it to Norman Lederer after game 6, when Bogoljubov had scored his second win to tie the match:

"...can you imagine B. winning two games from me or Dr. L. so early?"

-<"The Russell Collection" Item 1494." In Edward Winter "Capablanca" p.217>

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:


You wrote <<Pawn and Two> Thanks for the information! I googled the match and it provided the first game date of 6/9, which is obviously in error>

I'm not sure what you mean. If "6/9" means the 6th of September, why do you think that date is in error?

<Pawn and Two's> source agrees with that date for game one of the match: <September 6th - the first game in Wiesbaden.>

This date is confirmed on page 364 of Skinner and Verhoeven's "Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games, 1902-1946."

Sep-13-14  offramp: <WCC Editing Project:

You wrote <Although as Capablanca wrote ( to a friend ), "Can you imagine me or Dr Lasker losing like this?">

I agree with your post, but I just want to clarify that Capablanca did not write this at the end of the match. He wrote it to Norman Lederer after game 6, when Bogoljubov had scored his second win to tie the match:

"...can you imagine B. winning two games from me or Dr. L. so early?">

Yes, quite right.

But looking at the 1927 match, Alekhine had his second loss at game 7. Capablanca lost his second game at game 11.

And Capablanca should know that you can never tell when a chess-player is going to lose two games in a row! It has happened to Capablanca, Petrosian, Karpov, Kasparov ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

<offenbach> (great composer):

Yes, good points, which I doubt Capablanca had in mind when he wrote the letter. As you say, Capablanca "should" know that it's common to lose two in a row in a match at any level, no matter how good the players are.

I suspect that Capablanca's letter to Lederer was written out of frustration that it was not he who was playing the match. I also suspect Capablanca secretly believed that Bogoljubov couldn't win a single game from him. Up until the time of the <Capablanca-Alekhine 1927> match, Bogoljubov had lost every single game he had ever played against the Cuban:

search "capablanca-bogoljubov"

He never beat Capablanca any time after the match either.

Sep-14-14  Sally Simpson: As mentioned Bogoljubov played in the Carlsbad tournament of 1929.

In the strange/unique tournament book written by Nimzovitch, Nimzo states that Bogoljubov often spoke of his coming match v Alekhine as though he was going to win it and he would be world champion.

It was the 1934 match Bogoljubov could have won. He blew game after game. Bogoljubov's play against the risk taking Alekhine turned it into what was to be called 'an exhibition match.'

All that match seemed to do was build up Alekhine's assumption that he could get away with anything on the chessboard and still win. Euwe brought him crashing back to reality the following year.

That wake up call knocked Alekhine back into shape though his golden era 1927-33 was never fully re-captured.

A Capa - Alekhine rematch?
Again in the 1929 Carlsbad tournament book Nimzovitch claimed that Capa was changing his style and embracing his (Nimzo's) ideas. It would have been interesting. Alekine claimed he beat Capa in 1927 by imitating Capa's style. In the re-match Capa may have imitated Alekhine's style.

We will never know. Add it to the great unplayed matches debates. Lasker v Rubinstein, Karpov-Fischer.......Rybka Mk4 v Deep Blue.

Feb-25-16  Calar: Here we see first use of now popular anti-Grunfled system with 3.f3, and a successful one at that.

As for the game - Alekhine seemed to be in driver's seat during the entire game. I don't know which particular move to blame, but after first 15 moves, Bogoljubov is already in much worse position, IMO.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Anderssen99>
The "mating finish" given by Alekhine in his book is incorrect: 34. ...,axb6. 35.Rxb6+,Kc8. 36.Qc6+,Qc7. 37.Rb8+,Kxb8. 38.a7+ and mates. It is clear that 38. ...,Qxa7 gives CHECK thus refuting Alekhine's line.

34... axb6 35. Rxb6+ Kc8 36. Qc6+ Qc7 37. Rb8+ Kxb8 38. a7+ Qxa7+ 39. Rxa7 Kxa7 40. Qc7+ Ka8 41. Qxg7 still looks winning for White.

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