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Alexander Alekhine vs Yoshio Kimura
Blindfold simul, 14b (1933) (blindfold), Tokyo JPN, Jan-20
Spanish Game: Exchange. Lutikov Variation (C68)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-15-03  sleepkid: ughaibu: Have you ever seen this? (I'm guessing you have a copy of Alekhine's "Best Games of Chess") - from a blindfold exhibition given on 15 boards in Tokyo.

My question is. . . while Alekhine was there, surely someone showed him how to play a little Shogi. It would be interesting to see how he did. When I learned Shogi, it took me one game to learn all the pieces, one game to adjust to the difference and strategy, and I won the third game I played. (Of course, there's always more to learn.)

It's too bad most of the newspaper records from that time were destroyed. It would have been interesting to read the Asahi or Yomiuri write up of his exhibition.

Sep-15-03  ughaibu: No I hadn't seen this. I assume it was THE Kimura (Yoshio?). Sometime around 1980 when Aono and Awaji were in London to teach shogi George Hodges taught Korchnoi how to play, I dont know how he got on. Later someone, probably George, taught ray Keene but I'm told he plays around six piece level, even more recently Les Blackstock taught Luke McShane, I dont know exactly if he also takes six pieces but Les was surprised that he played "like a beginner" not like a strong chess player changing to shogi, I would guess McShane was about 12 at the time. Habu apparently plays chess at master level, Moriuchi is said to have played at master level his first game, Satou Yasumitsu and Murooka go to Europe every spring to play chess, I think Satou's pretty strong.
Sep-15-03  sleepkid: I don't know if it was Kimura Yoshio (yes, that is his name) or not, but it certainly is interesting to compare the differences when chess players and shogi players play each other's games. I probably only adapted to shogi quickly as a result of being familiar with bughouse.

Some of the shogi players I know, who also played chess usually ended up with bizarre and rather undynamic pawn structures owing to the difference between the two games.

It actually doesn't surprise me that a lot of chess masters when first playing shogi play like beginners. Many chess masters today have such solid backgrounds in opening theory, that when they first play Shogi, it's difficult for them to form a plan, and they spend a lot of time floundering about.

I play fairly well in the middle game of shogi, but I still get hammered occasionally due to a lack of depth in my openings. (Probably worse now since I rarely get to play shogi anymore.)

I'm not familiar with Satou and Morioka. Where do they play in Europe?

Moriuchi's FIDE rating is 2301 and Habu's is 2347. Highest FIDE ranking for Japan is Watanabe Akira at 2358.

Sep-15-03  ughaibu: I guess that's Watanabe the 19 year old who's playing Habu for the Ooi at the moment(?). Satou was meijin a few years ago, Murooka isn't so strong, maybe 6th dan, he's the first professional I won against, at hisha kyou. The strongest Japanese chess player in Ishikawa is a Kindai maths professor named Hanzawa, he's also ama 5th dan at shogi but as he doesn't play so much these days his level is 4th dan. His chess is quite good positionally and technically but he tends to underestimate the power of the pieces so several times against him I've been able to win lost positions by devious swindles.
Sep-15-03  ughaibu: Sleepkid: Here's the link for Reijer Grimbergen's site (in case you dont know it): The first game 73rd Kisei is a nice Satou game, though he loses.
Sep-15-03  sleepkid: ...different Watanabe. Watanabe Akira (FIDE 2358) is 31 years old.

I'd definetly noticed a difference in the handling of the chess pieces by Shogi players, they don't seem to realize how dynamic they can be in play.

. . . by the way, don't you ever sleep?

Sep-15-03  ughaibu: Sorry, I forgot to say about Satou and Murooka, I think they play in an Easter congress somewhere south of London, maybe Canterbury or Crawley.

I do sleep but only when I'm tired.

Sep-15-03  sleepkid: the way, thanks for the link to the shogi site. It's excellent. A good source of some games, now I have to dig out my board and play over them. I have a few books that I got in Japan and a few magazines, but I rarely go through them.

By the way, what's the name of the Englishmen who occasionally appears on NHK some Sunday mornings and does commentary on the shogi games, I think he's around 4th or 5th dan. . . or wait, was he a Go player? Maybe he appeared on NHK's Go show and I'm getting them confused.

. . . or was it you? heh.

You must rarely sleep. By my calculation you were up until about 6:30AM last night. I used to do the same thing when I was there sometimes.

Sep-15-03  ughaibu: Sleepkid: There's a gaijin who appears on go programmes, I think his name is Michael Redman. Reijer Grimbergen has probably been on some kind of TV connected with shogi but I doubt if it was in the normal commentator style. I was interviewed for NHK satelite during a gaijin tournament in Tokyo but that was 14 years ago, more recently I was on local TV explaining the game Kyouto shogi, but that's Japan, it's difficult to avoid being on TV at some point.
Sep-15-03  sleepkid: That's it. Michael Redman.

So, what's Kyoto Shogi? Is it some radical variant played or originated in the old capital? By the way, exactly what dan are you? I think I guessed that you were 2nd or 3rd at one point. Are you a member of the Shoreikai? Perhaps I should ask you these questions in e-mail.

By the way, I'll be in Japan again in November, if I have some free time perhaps we can meet up.

Sep-16-03  ughaibu: Kyouto shogi is a small variant (5x5) invented in 1976 by Tamiya Katsuya, the full name is Kyouto ginkaku kinkei hifu shougi which is a pun about watching a kinkeichou (chrysolophus pictus) flying in the grounds of Ginkakuji in Kyouto and also giving the names of the pieces and their starting position ie on the left is the kyouto (kyou on one side tokin on the other) next to it is the ginkaku then in the centre the gyoku then the kinkei and the hifu. All pieces except the gyoku turn over at the end of a move, pieces in hand can be dropped in either state. It's good fun so for a while I undertook to get it better known, hence the TV appearance. I'm 4th dan. Please e-mail me about your visit.
Apr-11-04  WMD: Skinner and Verhoeven provide some interesting background to the game:

After a few days rest he gave his first exhibition in Japan on the 20 January at the Hotel Imperial, Tokyo. According to contemporary sources this was a blindfold display against fourteen players, although, Alekhine in My Best Games 1924-1937, p275, states that it was on fifteen boards. All the sources agree that Alekhine won on every board. This event was organised by the Japanese Shogi Association, who provided two speakers, one Japanese and the other English, who acted as intermediaries between Alekhine and his opponents. The names of all the players taking part were given in Les Cahiers de l'Echiquier Francais, 1933, p114; they were; Mrs Kon, Mosler, Gotzscheke, Kimura, Kramer, Clausnitze, Alexander, Baumfeld, Nakajima, Ishida and Mmes. Freeman, Mitamura, Knoll and Asami. More than half were European and there was a high proportion of female players. Grace Freeman, one of the woman players, later became Alekhine's third wife.

Alekhine's game against Kimura was widely published in contemporary magazines from across the world and he also selected it for inclusion in My Best Games 1924-1937. In view of the remarks given below, which casts some doubt on the authenticity of this game, it is worth noting that Kimura was definitely listed as one of the participants taking part in the exhibition.

The remarks in question were published in a letter by J Kalish in Chess Life, 1968, p273, where he recounted some incidents that had occurred during a visit to the Japan Shogi and Chess Federation by him in 1967. During the course of his visit, he asked some of the members present whether Kimura was still alive. He went on to state: "At this point, two of the older members of the club, who had met Alekhine when he gave his blindfold exhibition at the Imperial Hotel in 1933, lost their Oriental composure and vehemently claimed that the game was a pure fabrication and that Kimura never existed, at least as a chess player." In view of the earlier contemporary reports it is difficult to know what credence should be given to these remarks.

Apr-11-04  WMD: Having gone through Alekhine's notes to this game one must wonder whether he annotated it blindfold as well.
Apr-11-04  niom: i like position after 15 Rfe1 and after 20 Ne4 - his symmetrical placement of pieces gives me some visual pleasure
May-11-04  arjunkakar: why was 16.qc7 played? why not c5?
May-11-04  Blumster: arjunkakar: why was 16.qc7 played? why not c5?

I presume because it is the better move. I think c5 is easily combatted with Nc6, then a few things can happen. Lets start out with the fact that black can't attack the c6 knight with the rook for Ne7+ fork with tempo. Queen attacks on the knight are almost as futile; Qb6 results in 1. Ne7+ Kh8 2. Nxd7 dropping a Bishop for a pawn. Qc7 is perhaps the best, but white can still throw in that knight check and at the same time open up a line of escape for his queen which he can also use to batter the defenseless kingside. Also, following the check up with Ncd5, there are two fully entrenched knights deep in enemy territory, something not easily overcome.

Nov-10-04  arjunkakar: nc6 means black wins the night??? what am i missing here some please.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <arjunkakar> Alyekhin in his own notes says that if 16...c5 then 17.♘c6 ♕c7 18.♘d5! ♕b7 19.♘ce7+ ♔h8 20.♕h4 with the threat of 21.♖e4 followed by 22.♕xh7+!.

White can pick up the exchange after 18...♗xc6 19.♘xc7 ♗xa4 20.♘xa8 and of course 18.♕xc6 is fatal after 19.♘e7+ ♔h8 20.♘xc6

Mar-09-11  vonKrolock: Now an article by Yoshio <Kimura> entitled <"Thoughts on Chess">, published in Bungei Shunju magazine in 1933 emerged in english translation. Very important document regarding Alekhine's visit to Japan and his blindfold display there. Published online together with other concerning materials in Edward Winter's Chess Notes march 2011 number 6994
Mar-09-11  ughaibu: you really do need to consider the consequences of banning erudite members, such as WMD, while tolerating wankers like Goldsby.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <vonKrolock> thanks for including the Edward Winter chess note number <6994 March 2011>, because the current link to that chess note is no longer the link you gave in your post. Now it's here:

Conclusively proving, from the horse's mouth, that this game was indeed played-

"Richard Sams (Tokyo) informs us that an article by Yoshio Kimura entitled ‘Thoughts on Chess’ was published on pages 190-193 of the magazine Bungei Shunju, April 1933. Below is the complete text, in our correspondent’s translation from the Japanese...

"Although I am considered a strong chessplayer in Japan, I must seem to him a mere novice. Nevertheless, when he sat down to play me, he showed no sign of relaxing his attention, and at moments where an unexpectedly interesting position arose he studied the position afterwards and explained it with the attitude of a researcher. His kindness and obvious passion for the game made this encounter a very pleasant experience for me."

--Kimura Yoshio

Jun-16-15  SpiritedReposte: <Tapped out> or <Kimura Arm Lock>
Oct-18-15  TheFocus: From a simultaneous blindfold exhibition in Tokyo, Japan at the Hotel Imperial on January 20, 1933.

Alekhine scored +15=0-0. One of the games was against Grace Freeman, who later became Alekhine's third wife.

See <my Best Games 1924-1937>, pg. 275-277.

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