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Alexander Alekhine vs Karel Opocensky
Prague (1943), Prague CSR, rd 7, Apr-16
French Defense: Exchange. Svenonius Variation (C01)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-17-12  awfulhangover: I thought 48.h6 was so obvious that I was looking for why it was wrong :-)
May-17-12  TimothyLucasJaeger: <48 h6>

An easy puzzle for a Thursday.

White simply has to avoid getting suckered in by <48 ... Kf7 49 Kxe5 Kg6 50 Kf4 Kf7 51 Kf5 Kg8 52 Kf6 Kf8 53 g6> (hoping for <53 ... hxg6 54 h7>),

<53 ... Kg8> with a draw.

Instead white's king should head for the queenside (e.g. 53 Ke6).

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 48.h6! (zugzwang) Kf7▢ (48...Kd6?? or Ke7?? 49.g6 ) 49.Kxe5 Kg6 50.Kf4 Kf7 51.Kf5 Kg8 (51...Kf8 52.Kf6 Kg8 transposes) 52.Ke6 Kf8 53.Kf6 Kg8 54.Ke7! (54.g6? hxg6 55.Kxg6 Kh8 56.Kf6 Kh7 57.Ke5 Kxh6 58.Kd5 Kg6 59.Kc5 Kf7 60.Kb5 Ke7 61.Kxa5 Kd7 62.Kb6 Kc8 and Black is just in time to draw.) Kh8 (I believe that White can force this position.) 55.Kd6 (Having forced Black's king to the corner, White heads for the a-pawn.) Kg8 56.Kc7 Kf7 57.Kb6 Kg6 58.Kxa5 Kxg5 59.Kb6 Kxh6 60.a5 Kg5 61.a6 h5 62.a7 h4 63.a8(Q) 1-0
May-17-12  et 9: Another branch at move 53.
After 52.Kf6 Kf8 Then 53.g6 hxg6 54.Kxg6 Kg8 The thought is to simply get rid of black's h-pawn freeing the white king to move to the other side and capture the black a-pawn. Black has to waste tempo capturing white's h-pawn. (as in all the lines) White still winds up with opposition so no problem. However, this distant and resultant opposition may be harder to see in an actual game.
May-17-12  zb2cr: After wasting time figuring out that 48. g6 draws, I arrived at 48. h6 by a process of elimination!
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: g6 didnt look as if it would work and after a few mins I conformed it didnt. Anyway, 48 h6 looked right somehow and is right.

What I didnt expect was 1-0. I guess at this level they could see ahead enough not to play it out.

I suppose not difficult but anytime I get an endgame I consider it an achievement

May-17-12  mikmik777: White to play: 48.?
Alekhine vs Opocensky


48.g6 or 48.h6

<48.g6 hxg6>
<49.hxg6 Kf6>
<50.g7 Kxg7>

Looks like a book draw. Let's see 48.h6...


(48. ...Kd6 49.g6 hxg6 50.h7 )

<48. ...Kf7>
<49.Kxe5 Kg6>
<50.Kf4 Kf7>
<51.Kf5 Kg8>
<52.Ke5 Kf7>
<53.Kd5 Kg6>
<54.Kc5 Kxg5>
<55.Kb5 Kxh6>
<56.Kxa5 Kg5>
<57.Kb5 h5>

White queens first and is covering Black's queening square.

This must be it...

Got it I guess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: My instinct was that g6 was probably a draw and therefore that h6 with the threat of g6 had to be correct, thus creating Zugzwang and win of e pawn, and appropriate followup, but that followup requires very precise play, as some of the posted analysis demonstrates. Very instructive.
May-17-12  TimothyLucasJaeger: Wanted to watch Anand-Gelfand so didn't have time to finish my post earlier.

If after <48 ... Kf7 49 Kxe5 Kg6 50 Kf4 Kf7 51 Kf5 Kg8 52 Kf6 Kf8> white blunders with <53 g6>, black draws by

<53 ... Kg8 54 gxh7+ Kxh7 55 Ke5 Kxh6 56 Kd5 Kg7 57 Kc5 Kf7 58 Kb5 Ke7 59 Kxa5 Kd7 60 Kb6 Kc8 61 Ka7 Kc7> White has to give up the b8 square to get his king out of the way and then black draws by moving his king back and forth between b8 and a8.

May-17-12  mistreaver: Alekhine vs Opocensky. Material even. Medium.
First let as say that White is playing for win
because his wing pawns look strong and black king
has to be in vicinity.
There are virtually only 2 candidates: h6 and g6.
My first thought was g6:
48. g6 hxg6 (Black can't allow defended passer)
now h6 is no good, but hxg6 looks strong.
49. hxg6 Ke7
50. Kxe5 and this is won endgame because white has
the oposition.
Time to check, it looks rather conventional, but i
suppose it works.

Nope,i fell for the trick, i thought that after h6 black would be able to draw and i analyzed it in head and imagined a draw. Can't believe i missed that black's king has F5 availible. Zero for today.

May-17-12  TheoNov: After eliminating 48.g6 as drawn, the solution is almost "linear" with 48.h6. <FSR> lays it out nicely, except one could add the side line (50...Kh5 51.Kf5 Kh4 52.g6 ).

<FSR: 54...Kh8 (I believe that White can force this position.)> Yes, either that or allow h8Q. Forcing Kh8 is the key to this puzzle.

May-17-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this K&P ending, it's a case of the outside passed pawn winning, but with a careful calculation required. White has a choice of 2 pawn moves (of course 40.Kmoves?? allows 41... Kf5 winning for black), but 40.g6?? doesn't cut it,, in view of 40... hg 41.hg Kf6 42.g7 Kxg7 43.Kxe5 Kf7 and the black king will get to b7 after the WK captures on a5, denying promotion to white's a-pawn. The remainnig option is the one that wins, but only with a correct choice of winning plans.


A) 40... Kd6/d7 41.g6 and white promotes an h-pawn.

B) 40... Kf7 (Ke7 is no better - white's pawn advantage trumps opposition) 41.Kxe5 Kg6 (Ke7 42.g6 forces promotion) 42.Kf4 Kf7 (Kh5? 43.Kf5 promotes on the k-side) 43.Kf5 Kf8 (or g8 - otherwise 44.g6 forces promotion on the k-side) 44.Ke6! (The key! Not 44.g6?? hg 45.Kxg6 Kg8 46.Kf6 Kh7 47.Ke6 Kxh6 and the BK gets to c8 before the WK gets to b7 after capturing the a-pawn) Kg8 45.Kd6 Kf7 46.Kc5 Kg6 47.Kb5 Kxg5 48.Kxa5 Kxa6 49.Kb6 and white's a-pawn wins the promotion race.

Time for review... I almost missed this one.

May-17-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: Move numbering should have started at 48.
May-17-12  kevin86: A matter of zugzwang (if black goes west (to the queenside),white moves his king to g7 and ushers home the pawns.

If black stays east,white will capture the a-pawn and bring his pawn home on a8. Black cannot follow as the g pawn will be sacrificed and the h pawn will queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Clinched in cockle ph6 and muscle the flames in king barge! Off re e6

gaining access to a4 very it is kin g6 ar in golly it down bind i

spot the doughnut in f4 oil yes cap enough in sight find it fare in

exact rook in 35...ra2? marr in effected. Einkorns it jump in forget id elopes in devious again can it con in low too h6 in clink again bob and weave netting the point in 49.kxe5 kg6 50.kf4 kf7 51.kf3 look it rooks cage in c5 clapper a4 in dame it her in going to the show a key it refers in cop at edict open shut e5 in cake it holes in clever crop shoulder it off in minds i dig in bend it a5 or taint ease in black it read h6 clod booted in principle it hopper in dearth,

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: A good corollary exercise is to determine a how many tempi advantage white can create with the puzzle position. The answer is three, I believe.

This is the puzzle position, with black to move.

click for larger view

This is the puzzle position after white generates a position with two spare tempi, with white to move.

click for larger view

Because white has these two extra tempi, the puzzle might appear less difficult to solve, as less precision is necessary.

This is an alternative puzzle position, with the a pawns an additional rank down from the game position.

click for larger view

In contrast to the puzzle position, here white has exactly one extra tempo in this winning position for white, with black to move.

May-17-12  dzechiel: White to move (48?). Material even. "Medium."

This is an instructive endgame for the newer player. The idea here is to force the enemy king to yield. The easiest way to do this is

48 h6

Black now has a decision to make:

- abandon the e-pawn and cross his fingers, or
- protect the e-pawn and allow white to promote on h8

Here's how it works out...


This is the "abandon" try.

49 Kxe5 Kg6 50 Kf4 Kf7

On 50...Kh5 51 Kf5 Kh4 52 g6 and white will promote on h8.

51 Kf5 Kg8 52 Kf6 Kh8

On 52...Kf8 then 53 g6 wins quickly (53...hxg6 54 h7; or 53...Kf8 54 g7+ and white can pick up the a-pawn at his leisure).

53 Ke6

and white has plenty of time to scoop up the a-pawn and promote. The other try


just loses to

59 g6

and white will safely promote one of the two pawns on h8.

Time to check.

May-17-12  benjamincito: very easy
that play to made for principiant
May-17-12  srag: Too easy for a Thursday! I solved it in a glance. This should be a Monday POTD.
May-17-12  Patriot: I believe I see it.

48.h6! Kf7 49.Kf5!

This move is necessary to gain time.

49...e4 50.Kxe4 Kg6 51.Kf4 Kf7 52.Kf5 Ke7

White should promote first in 10 moves if black goes back toward the kingside, while black would be 1 tempo down. And since the pawn promotions take place on the A/H-files, the first to promote wins.

If after 53.Ke5 black plays 53...Kd7, then the simple 54.g6 wins.

May-17-12  Patriot: Ok, 49.Kf5 is not necessary. The simple 49.Kxe5 wins. For some reason I only calculated 49...Kg6 50.Kd5??, going for a pawn race. 50.Kf4 wins. If 50...Kf7, 51.Kf5 Ke7 52.g6 is the easiest way.
May-17-12  jackpawn: Like a lot of people I found this easy for a Thursday. 48. h6 was my very first thought and I'm hardly an endgame expert.
May-17-12  Calli: 30...Rxc4 probably draws for Black.

click for larger view

Alekhine's 30. Kf3? is not good. He probably had to try 30.c5 first.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Calli> Good point. Al was pretty over the hill by 1943.
May-18-12  King Death: <Calli> Alekhine could've tried 30. a4 even though it allows the same trick with 30...Rc4 31.Re6+ Re6 32. Rc4. Black's f pawn is a weakness so it looks like he's a little worse but he should draw this too.
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