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Geniality in the Making

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(Click on the diagram to enlarge it if necessary)

W.: Bogoljubow (0)

B.: Alekhine (1)

Hastings 1922  (Black to move upwards .- 29th move) .- 

(Try to find the possible course of action. Solution at the end of the post.)

Alexander Alekhine was the most controversal genius Chess has had. In this moment many people may be also thinking of Bobby Fischer with his anti-Jew, anti-American, anti-everything rants. But there are some differences. When Bobby Fischer started to rail against his personal ghosts a long time had passed since he had abandoned the world of Chess competition. In the case of Alekhine he was still active when was accused of collaborating with the Nazi regime (because he -and many others- had played tournaments in Nazi Germany and because some obscure papers attributed to him appeared publicly He always denied the authorship. But it is the winner who decides how history took place. Be that as it may, the contribution Alekhine made to the game was immense. Here is a small homage in case you want to know his games in depth.

When I  started to study Chess seriously (1978) and began to collect Chess books, I came across a wonderful edition of the Soviet player and writer P.A. Romanowsky. It deals with the matter of Chess combinations including a lot of historical data, classification of  the different combinational motifs, examples galore (positions and games) and a superb theoretical chapter on “The Mental  Activity of the Chessplayer During the Course of the Game”. I love browsing through those old books untouched for many years and see their contents under a new light. The position included above is from that book and I had completely forgotten about it.

Some of my CC opponents  cannot understand why people use programs and only programs to play CC. The complaints are always of the same type: “What use is entering tournaments to put a machine to find and make moves for you???”. Etc.

Well, my answer is always the same: many people do not want to play CC. They want to win games, get high ELO ratings and get some sort of title so as to boast among relatives and friends. Perhaps most of them did not start to play CC with this aim especially if they began with the old method of postcards and stamps-, but they have changed their approach to Chess once the programs invaded our game. Others are not , simply, CC players. Another explanation would be that with today’s opening databases only true CC players study Chess. Most people follow the program opening lines and when the opening ends they have no idea of how to treat the position because they are not playing Chess: they are playing opening variations. Then, they have to rely upon the programs to be able to continue the game and one move made by the machine leads to another and so on. No study of the end-positions leading to by the different variations/subvariations, no study at all, the damned machine will choose for them the best option. After all, that machine has a damned high ELO, hasn’t it? Or at least so says the manufacturer…

But in any case, one of the most amazing things to be taken into account is that in spite of everybody using today’s absolutely strong programs, games keep on being won and lost. So there must be something more apart from brute force calculation. The problem is how to find that key and use it in our games. Perhaps strategy? But in this case a new approach to CC is needed. How to impose a strategical approach on  computer-aided CC? If you use a database to play your openings , how can you impose a strategical/positional approach to your games and moreover if your opponent keeps on using his/her program to play the moves?. This is today’s  wonderful -or not- challenge!

In the diagram above play continued as follows:

29. …, b4/ 30. Rxa8 , bxc3/ 31. Rxe8, c2! / 32. Rxf8, Kh7/ 33. Nf2, c1Q / 34. Nf1, Ne1/ 35. Rh2, Qxc4/ 36. Rb8, Bb5/ 37. Rxb5, Qxb5/ 38. g4, Nf3/ 39. Bxf3, exf3/ 40. gxf5, Qe2/ 41. d5, Kg8/ 42. h5, Kh7/ 43. e4, Nxe4/ 44. Nxe4, Qxe4/ 45. d6 cxd6 /46. f6, gxf6/ 47. Rd2, Qe2!!/ 48. Rxe2, fxe2/ 49. Kf2, exf1Q/ 50. Kxf1, Kg7/ 51. Kf2, Kf7/ 52. Ke3, Ke6/ 53. Ke4, d5! and White resigned. A wonderful combinative attack by a Chess genius.

The great attacking player Rudolf Spielmann wrote that he could play a combination like Alekhine , but he had never been able to get the positions the Russian managed to obtain in his games. And Boris Spassky , as a child, used to spend nights on end studying Alekhine’s games. This explains many of the characteristics in his games.



Written by QChess

January 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

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