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Semion Alapin vs Akiba Rubinstein
Vienna (1908), Vienna AUH, rd 3, Mar-25
King Pawn Game: Alapin Opening (C20)  ·  0-1



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Given 13 times; par: 169 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-06-06  Whitehat1963: Great puzzle after 75. Kh1!! Give it a try.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I expected 75...g2+ 76 Kxh2 Kxf2, which I guess also works, but Rubinstein's method is much prettier (and quicker too!).
Apr-21-06  Whitehat1963: <keypusher>, I think you meant

75. Kh1 g2+
76. Kxh2 Kf2 (but that's not a legal move because of the check from white's bishop on b6)

Notice, also, the stale mate after:

75. Kh1 Nf2+
76. Bxf2 Kxf2 (draw)

And, of course, if the f-pawn promotes to a queen, it's another stale mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: No, what I meant was 75...Nf2+ 76 Bxf2 g2+ 77 Kxh2 Kxf2. I got the move numbers wrong above.
Nov-24-07  Karpova: An absolutely fantastic endgame by Rubinstein!

Georg Marco: <According to the opinion of all authorities, White can save the game by playing 55.Bc7!>

Georg Marco: <The point of this excellent move is so paradoxical - here Black's rook is protected, a necessity for the successful advance of ...g5-g4.>

56.Bc7 g4 57.hxg4
Georg Marco: <If 57.g3 Black wins by 57...hxg3+ 58.Bxg3 Nxg3!! 59.Rxd2 Nf1+ 60.Kg1 Nxd2, etc.>

Now it becomes clear why 55.Bb8 was bad and the white rook safe on d2 - he can't be harassed by the bishop and Rubinstein can play 56...g4 - what an excellent resource and foresight by Rubinstein!

(Marco's notes come from Donaldson/Minev "Volume 1: Uncrowned King)

Sep-11-08  SuperPatzer77: Note that Black's winning move is 68...Nf1!! (White cannot capture the Black Knight at f1 because of the queening Black h-pawn). White is forced to give up his last g-pawn.

68...Nf1!!, 69. Bb8 Nxg3, 70. Bc7 (70. Kh2 Ne2!) Ne2+, 71. Kh2 Nf4, 72. Bb6 g3+, 73. Kh1 Nd3, 74. Kg1 h2+, 75. Kh1 Nf2+, 76. Bxf2 gxf2, 77. Kxh2 f1=R! (77...f1=Q??? = (Stalemate)), 78. Kh3 Rh1# 0-1.

I'm telling you that 75. Kh1 is a good try but no cigar. Black is winning clearly.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I'm not surprised by the finish. After all, Rubinstein specialized in rook endings.
May-14-14  SuperPatzer77: Correction to my previous analysis --- see diagram below:

click for larger view

68...Nf1!!, 69. Bb8 Nxg3 below:

a) 70. Kh2 Nf1+! (Stronger than 70... Ne2?), 71. Kg1 g3!

b) 70. Bd8!? (Worth a nice try, but that leaves the b8-h2 diagonal unoccupied, so White cannot prevent the Black h-pawn from queening) -- see diagram below.

click for larger view

Then Black's strong reply to 70. Bd8!? is 70... Nf1! (Blockading the White King from getting to h2), 71. Bc7 (71. Kxf1 h2! ) g3!

Therefore, White is unable to capture the Black Knight on f1 because of the Black h-pawn advancing to h2.

That's one of my favorite endgames by Rubinstein because Akiba Rubinstein was a great endgame player.


May-14-14  JimNorCal: Not only the rook, but also Black's Knight showed some excellent technique in this one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Quite funny... After 64...Nxc2 it is a straight ♗ v ♘ ending. But Rubinstein <still> manages to reach a rook ending.
May-14-14  perfessor: I remember this ending from Kmoch's ancient book on Rubinstein. At some point, Kmoch made a humorous comment which I paraphrase from memory: "Apparently Rubinstein desired to win without an extra queen; and Alapin was curious to see if this was possible." I really enjoyed that book, I wonder if I still have it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <perfessor> Kmoch's note is about this game.

Vidmar vs Rubinstein, 1909

Nov-02-15  Olsonist: The problem at move 75 reminds me of Susan Polgar's first composition.

Oct-05-21  Saniyat24: Akiba doesn't horse around...!

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