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Reuben Fine vs Salomon Flohr
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 5, Nov-13
French Defense: Winawer. Bogoljubow Variation (C17)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-13-04  kostich in time: A remorselessly accurate attack by Fine. Flohrs game was essentially lost after Nf5?, a bizarre opening experiment which no-one has repeated(to my knowledge) Two lessons from this game. 1.Fine was brilliant to switch from d4 to e4, just from this tournament..preparing M.C.O( I think it was the ninth edition), really helped. 2.Flohrs whole style, and his lack of tactical sharpness, handicapped him in playing in a super-grandmaster tournament. One also has to rememember that Czechoslavakia has just been annexed by the Nazis, and Flohr was playing throughout the tournament, in a state of profound depression.
Nov-13-04  WMD: Part of Czechoslovakia, to be precise.
Aug-15-05  Palma Vest:
Aug-15-05  RookFile: Flohr is another one of those guys
who is occasionally mentioned as a possible 'best never to have been champ'. It is worth mentioning that
Fine put up a plus score against him
as well, to go along with the plus
score Fine put up against the world
champions he faced.
Aug-15-05  Hesam7: <RookFile: Flohr is another one of those guys who is occasionally mentioned as a possible 'best never to have been champ'.> IMO he does not deserve that. What was his great achievements?
Jan-17-07  GeauxCool: So what happened to Flohr, that <Rookfile> and <Hesam7> would have such different views of him?

In the years from 1929 to 1933, when Alekhine was at his peak, Flohr was universally recognized as his most serious challenger. Although he did poorly in individual games with Alekhine, his results were outstanding against the others. In 1929 he won 2nd behind Rubenstein at Rogaska Slatina. Then he began a long string of tournament successes which placed him second only to Alekhine. This period lasted until about 1935, when his style changed dramatically.

He became increasingly cautious, avoided complications and steered for the endgame as soon as possible. Although he did win the Leningrad-Moscow in 1939, he became more of a drawing master and content to win a high prize (4th) rather than to go for top honors. He was like an artist, that, after some magnificent painting, had lost his zest for art (as in Theodore Dreiser's book, "The Genius").

But in his early days, Flohr established a reputation as a master of the attack. See two beautiful victories from that golden epoch:

Flohr vs S Landau, 1930

Flohr vs Rellstab, 1931

-From Fine "The world's greatest chessgames".

1938 - Fine considered this game against a declining Flohr to be the best game he's ever played, in terms of overall strategic planning and tactical execution!

Compare this game's opening to Fine vs Botvinnik, 1938 which preceded this one in the same tournament.

Jan-17-07  Shams: Geaux Cool, I can't help but hear echoes of the story you tell in a discussion we are having about another player, right now in fact on another page. :)
Jan-17-07  GeauxCool: Sorry! Flohr's golden games I mentioned above should have been linked:

Flohr vs S Landau, 1930

Flohr vs Rellstab, 1931

<Shams> I see it! Kramnik/Karpov. Quiet moves and fortresses with black.

I think Fine attributes Flohr's drawish attitude as a psychological tendency to seek safety, but he was pretty much talking out of his button that one!

Dec-05-09  Rogon: Though a good game to study, there are certainly errors. 11. Nb5! would be much more aggressive. 14. ... dxc4 is a huge mistake, ... Nb4 almost equalizes the game. 17. Nc5! is crushing. 20. Nb5 was not necessary, the sacrifice 20. Rxd7! is even more effective immediately. Flohr also missed the pretty 22. Ba5!!
Dec-23-09  Whitehat1963: Weekend puzzle after 20...Qb6.
Dec-23-09  Whitehat1963: Why not 28. Bxb5+ (double check) instead? I don't see why 28. Be4+ is a better move.
Dec-23-09  zanshin: Good question. I tried both moves in Rybka:

click for larger view

Sample line after <28.Bxb5+> Kc7 29.Qxh8 Nf3+ 30.Kg2 Nd4 31.Qf8 Nc6 (+6.14)

After <28.Be4+>, typical line is: 28... Kc7 29.Qxh8 Rd7 30.Rc1+ (diagram) and Black has to give up his Queen with 30...Qc6. (+12.54)

click for larger view

So that's the reason. Be4+ controls the long diagonal, prevents Knight checks and forces Black to sac his Queen.

Dec-24-09  Whitehat1963: Thanks <zanshin>. So, I'm curious, then. Is 21. Rxd7 the winning move? Or does Rybka come up with an adequate defense even after that?
Dec-24-09  zanshin: <Whitehat1963> There are a lot of interesting points in this game where Rybka suggests a move different than the one that was played.

However, <21.Rxd7> is not one of them. This looks pretty solid. White to play, move 21 (top Rybka line):

click for larger view

[+4.67] d=17 21.Rxd7 Kxd7 22.Ba5 Qc6 23.Qd1 Ke7 24.Qd2 b6 25.Bb4 Kd8 26.Be4 Qd7 27.Bxa8 Bc5 28.Nd6 Ke7 29.Rd1 Kf8 30.Nxf5 Qxd2 31.Rxd2 gxf5 32.Bxc5 bxc5 33.Rd7 Kg7 34.Rxa7 Rb8 35.Bb7 (0:15.48) 48114kN

Dec-24-09  zanshin: To continue: An example of a move that may have been missed is <22.Ba5> instead of <22.g4> - as others have mentioned. Head to head of those two moves:

click for larger view

[+4.24] d=14 22.Ba5 Qc6 23.Qd1 Ke7 24.Qd2 b6 25.Bb4 Kd8 26.Bxf8 Qd5 27.Bb4 a5 (0:10.10) 34532kN

[+1.50] d=13 22.g4 Qc6 23.Re4 Bc5 24.b4 Bb6 25.Nc3 Ke7 26.Bb5 Qc7 (0:03.00) 6531kN

Note, after <22.Ba5>, Black cannot play 22...Qxa5, because of 23.Qxb7+ winning the Rook.

Dec-24-09  Whitehat1963: 22. Ba5 is very interesting, but I suspect not to Capablanca's liking, he being the great simplifier and all. Clarity seems to be what Capa was all about. Now, Tal and Alekhine would have played 22. Ba5 in a heartbeat.
Dec-24-09  mysql: <but I suspect not to <Capablanca's> liking, he being the great simplifier and all. Clarity seems to be what Capa was all about>

Are you referring to Fine?

Dec-24-09  Whitehat1963: Ha, ha! I was thinking about a different game!
Jul-30-14  GumboGambit: " Fine Polished Flohr"
Sep-05-16  whiteshark: You'll have to pay dearly for any mistakes.
Mar-21-20  kaimann: Fine considered this game against Salo Flohr to be the best game he's ever played, in terms of overall strategic planning and tactical execution!

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