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Alexander Alekhine vs Kurt Richter
"Richter Constrictor" (game of the day Oct-27-2007)
Munich (1942), Munich GER, rd 6, Sep-20
Caro-Kann Defense: Panov Attack. Modern Defense Carlsbad Line (B13)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: an interesting sequence of thrust and parry following 20.Ne4
Jul-21-04  chocobonbon: Little Fauss & Big Halsey: Richter was a feared attacker in lesser circles but here he is taking on the big time's prime practioner (or executioner). You sense that Alekhine enjoyed the heck out of this game.
Oct-27-07  sanyas: Wonderful - how come I never knew about this before!!
Oct-27-07  nimzo knight: Why 18. Qf1, does it serve any purpose, can't white play Qb5 straight away straight away.
Oct-27-07  Calli: 19...Rd6? loses. Richter missed that 19...Qd8 20.Bxc6 a6! regains the piece.
Oct-27-07  Calli: <chessgames> This game is from Munich 1942, not Prague. See crosstables at and note that Richter played in Munich, not Prague.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Nimzo,

I think if Alekhine plays 18 Qb5, then black can play Nxd4. By 'luring' Richter to play 18 R x d4, he has 19 Qb5. Note that after 18 Qf1, black can't play N x d4 because of 19 B x b7.

Calli, on 19 .... Qd8 is probably better than Rd6, but it looks to me that simply 20 R x e6 wins.

Best wishes,


Oct-27-07  Calli: "20 R x e6 wins."
How? Material is even, now Black *can* play 20...Rd6.
Oct-27-07  whiteshark: <Calli: "20 R x e6 wins." <How? Material is even, now Black *can* play 20...Rd6.>>

I think white get's a more comfortable game after 20.Rxe6 Rd6 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.Rd1 Qe6 23.Bd5 Qe8 23.h3, and 'maybe' you could transform it, but there is indeed no tactical strike in it, and I wouldn't say <"20 R x e6 wins."> (without further explanation :D).

Oct-27-07  Manic: What happens if 19...Qd8 20.Rxe6 Rd6 21.Bxc6?
Oct-27-07  whiteshark: <Manic: What happens if 19...Qd8 20.Rxe6 Rd6 21.Bxc6?> Conceivable is 21...Bxc6 22.Qe5 Rxe6 23.Qxe6 Qe8 24.Qd6 f4 with an equal game, although I would prefer black .
Oct-27-07  Calli: After <20.Rxe6 Rd6 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.Rd1 Qe6 23.Bd5 Qe8 23.h3>, why not 23...Na5 24.Qd3 Bxf3 25.Qxf3 Nc4=

Also looked at 20.Rxe6 Rd6 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.Rd1 Qf6 with idea that if 23.Rd7 Nd4 or 23.Nd5 Qe5 looks okay.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The only beef I have with this game is calling it a queen sacrifice;after all,white gains a rook,knight,and bishop for the queen-a favorable trade at the very least.

Once again,Alekhine's vicious attacking strategy and tactics rule the day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: If this is not the coolest game you've posted in a long time, I don't know what is! Alekhine thrusts with 20. Ne4, forking Richter's Queen and Rook; and Richter parries forcefully with 21... Nd4, forking Alekhine's Queen and Bishop. I thought it was finished when Alekhine forked Richter's Rook and Queen with 42. Nd5--but Richter found a dazzling way to escape.

It's games like this that make the whole damn thing worthwhile.

Oct-27-07  xrt999: Interesting: this is the Panov variation of the Caro-Kann with a freakish transposition. I play this line with white against the Caro-Kann frequently, in fact its my favorite response to the Caro-Kann.

1. e4 c6
2. d4 d5
3. exd5 cxd5
4. c4 Nf6
5. Nc3 Nc6
6. Bg5

Oct-27-07  popski: Indeed, beautiful game, like most of Alekhine's...
Oct-27-07  CapablancaFan: <The only beef I have with this game is calling it a queen sacrifice;after all,white gains a rook,knight,and bishop for the queen-a favorable trade at the very least.> Agree. It was more of an even trade as Alekhine got plenty compensation for it.
Oct-27-07  xrt999: Alekhine plays the obscure 8.Bd3 with white against Richter and not the main line 8.c5.

Alekhine's game above against Richter was in 9/42. Alekhine played this opening on one other occasion 3 months later against someone named Zita in 12/1942 which ended in a draw. In the game above Richter played the standard developing 10...b6 while Zita played and identical game until 10...Nd5

Other interesting tidbits: Panov was +0 -0 =3 with this opening (4.c4) and in each game he played different 6th moves: Be3, Bf4, and Bg5 and drew each one. This is how you get an opening named after you. LOL

Using the Panov-Botvinnik attack (6.Bg5), Botvinnik was only +3 -2 =1.

Kasparov used 6.Bg5 on 2 occasions, both in 1996. In March 1996 he played 8.c5 against Anand and won, a month later he played 9.c5 against Dreev and lost. Go figure. In the main line after 6.Bg5 the most common response is 6...e6 7.Nf3 Be7 8.c5 which Kasparov played with White against Anand. The main line after 8.c5 is 8...0-0; Anand played the obscure 8...h6. Dreev turned the tables 3 months later on Kasparov playing the obscure line 6...Be6, perhaps knowing Kasparov would be partial to c5 at some point. Dreev was right and in this line c5 does not work for white.

Other practitioners of this opening were Sveshnikov, who had an impressive +5 -1 =3 using the Panov-Botvinnik attack (6.Bg5) but was only +5 -2 =16 with other variations of the Panov after 4.c4

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Alekhine uses the Knight Fork and the Pin to set up a winning combination with 20. Ne4!

Alekhine sees that after 20. Ne4! and the followup 22. Bxb7! that he gives up his Queen for a Rook and two minor pieces, giving him a clear advantage.

On his final 46. Ne3! , Alekhine uses the pin and the Knight Fork to secure decisive material, since after 46. Ne3! Qb1 47. Rf1 the Queen must vacate the b1 to f5 White square diagonal and allow the winning fork 48. Nxf5+ .

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Sorry everyone,

When I said literally 'it looks to me that simply 20 R x e6 wins' I just meant, well, that's what it looked like to me, I didn't mean I saw a win or I would have shown it; that's why I said 'it looks to me.'

I should have said, 'It looks to me that white stands better.'

Sorry for confusion,


Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Calli> I agree, 19...Rd6? was the losing move. The position was approximately equal after 19.Qb5.

A review by Fritz shows White gaining some advantage after: (.42) (19 ply) 19...Qd8 20.Rxe6 Rd6 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.Rd1 Qf6 23.Qa4, and now, (.66) (16 ply) 23...a6 24.h3 Re8 25.Qf4.

Black's best move was 19...Nd8, this move was noted by C.H.O'D. Alexander in his book, "Alekhine's Best Games of Chess 1938-1945".

However, Alexander stated that after 19...Nd8 20.Bxb7 Nxb7 21.Qe5 Rg4 22.g3 Nc5 23.Rad1, White will regain the Pawn, and with control of the center files will still have good winning chances.

Alexander's move 21...Rg4, seems questionable, but perhaps playable if Black continues with 22...Nd8, instead of 22...Nc5. Fritz gives the following evaluation: (.19) (19 ply) 21...Rg4 22.g3 Nd8 23.Rad1 Qf6.

Fritz shows that Black can retain at least equality after 19...Nd8 20.Bxb7 Nxb7 21.Qe5, by playing (-.10) (19 ply) 21...Rfd8 22.Nb5 Rd2 23.Qxe6 h6 24.b4 Nd6 25.Nxd6 R8xd6 26.Qf7 Kh7.

In this line Black has several other choices at move 21 that offer equal chances: (-.07) (19 ply) 21...Qd8 22.b4 Re8 23.Rad1 Rxd1 24.Rxd1 Qc8, or (-.03) (19 ply) 21...Rd7 22.b4 Nd8 23.Rad1 Qe7 24.Nd5 Qh4, or (-.01) (19 ply) 21...Rd3 22.Qxe6 Nc5 23.Qe7 Qxe7 24.Rxe7 a5, or (.00) (19 ply) 21...Qh4 (or 19...Qf6) 22.Qxe6 Nc5 23.Qe7 Qxe7 24.Rxe7 a5.

Instead of 21.Qe5, White may play 21.Rxe6. After (.04) (19 ply) 19...Nd8 20.Bxb7 Nxb7 21.Rxe6 Nc5 22.Re8 Rd8 23.Rxf8+ Rxf8 24.Rd1, (.20) (18 ply) 24...h6 25.Qc4 Rd8 26.Rxd8+ Qxd8, (.06) (16 ply) 27.Nd5, or (.06) (16 ply) 27.b4, and the position is almost totally equal.

Jul-21-08  Zickzack: Thank you, <Pawn and Two>, for your insightful comments. The annotation of Alexander's seems to use an annotation of Alekhine's I found in a book about Kurt Richter. I do not know where Alekhine published it originally.

According to Alekhine, he could have played other lines (including the one with c5), but he preferred this one. With 11. ... b6, a weakness on c6 appears, and White's play is focussed on exploiting it. After the 17th move, Black seems to have got the upper hand with the threats of 18. ... e5 or 18. ... Rd4:. However, Qf1 renders Pawn e5 pointless, and Qb5 is much more effective with a rook on d4 (Richter calls that a World Champion's Idea). Following that, Black blunders away the exchange with 19. ... Rd6.

Alekhine analyzes the better defence 19. ... Nd8. He claims an advantage after both 20. Bb7: Nb7 21. Re6 or 21. Qe5. Your analysis improves on this.

Further, Alekhine says he should not have given the Queen for Rook, Knight, and Bishop after 21. ... Nd4. Instead, he should have gone for a quick win with 22. Bh5. However, his intuition during the game was right, as the post-mortem analysis missed the answer 22. ... Rd5, after which Black might get away, i.e.: 23. Qd5: ed:, 24. Bg6: fe:.

Nov-24-11  iamdeafzed: In the final position, it looks as though black is ultimately forced to move his queen off the b1-h7 diagonal, as 46...Qb1+ is met by 47.Rf1.

After that comes Nxf5+ (thanks to the pinned g-pawn), winning a pawn and rook for a knight. Even clearer advantage to white after that.

May-11-15  visayanbraindoctor: Never has there been quite a tactical player like Alekhine (until Kasparov arrived). How in the world was he able to even think of moving 18. Qf1 with the view to moving back up the board with 19. Qb5 next move if Black takes the proferred d-pawn? Moreover, he must have prepared Qf1 the on moving 17. Rfe1, because Black's 17.. Rd8 is quite logical (attacking the weak white d-pawn) and AAA must have been expecting it.

Such tactics require a lot of imagination to even concoct up in one's chess mind. (Personally I know I would never have been able to think like that; and probably none of the chess players that I have ever played with.) AAA must have already seen the potential position after 20. Ne4.

This position (20. Ne4) is incredibly hard to imagine in one's chess mind three moves before it takes place. At first sight more than 99% of chess players probably would not even consider it because they would see that the Black rook on d4 precludes it. AAA was already counting on Black to make a 'reasonable' oversight and move back his rook to d6. In case that fails, he still has foreseen other options as posted by <Pawn and Two> above.

Other thoughts. Some of AAA's most vigorous and imaginative games were played in the 1941 to 1943 period. The notion that his play in WW2 was unrecognizable is totally false. IMO AAA was playing the best and most imaginative chess in the world in this time period. Had he never left Russia, I believe that Botvinnik, Keres, Smyslov, Lilienthal, Bondarevsky, Boleslavsy, would have had to play second fiddles to him in the wartime Soviet tournaments, and chess history would not be quite as we know it.

The posts above also reveal that the masters of the 1940s updated themselves in opening theory. Novelties then occurred approximately three moves before present-day times, but the systematic study of openings was already a characteristic of top master preparation.

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