24 May 2006

Alekhine - Rubinstein, Karlsbad 1923

Continuing with Alekhine's annotated brilliancies, the following position is from Karlsbad (Carlsbad) 1923. Although no longer at the peak of his game, Akiba Rubinstein was one of the top five players in the world at the time the game was played.

Kasparov selected this game for the first volume of 'My Great Predecessors'. Kotov also chose it for his biography of Alekhine.

Karlsbad 1923
Rubinstein, Akiba

Alekhine, Alexander
(After 11...Nf6-d5)
[FEN "r1bqr1k1/1p1nbppp/p1p1p3/3n2B1/P1BP4/2N1PN2/1PQ2PPP/2R1K2R w K - 0 12"]

12.Bf4! (Most players would continue 12.Bxe7 without too much thought.) 12...Nxf4 13.exf4 c5 Alekhine:

Dictated by the wish to eliminate White's troublesome Pawn on f4. The position of the Black Rook at e8 is less favorable than on f8, where it hinders a subsequent attack on the point f7.

14. dxc5 (14.O-O cxd4 15.Nxd4 Nb6. This variation and the rest are Alekhine's.) 14...Qc7! 15.O-O! (15.g3 Qc6 16.Be2 e5) 15...Qxf4 (If 15...Bxc5 16.Bd3 Nf6 17.Ne4, or 15...Nxc5 16.Ne5) 16.Ne4! (16.Ne2 Qh6 17.b4 a5)

16...Nxc5 Here Alekhine pointed out that accepting the Pawn sacrifice with 16...Bxc5 17.Neg5 g6 (17...Nf8 18.Bd3) 18.Rfe1 Nf6 19.g3 Qd6 20.Red1 Qe7 21.Ne5 gives 'an overwhelming attack for White.' 17.Nxc5 Bxc5 18.Bd3 b6 (18... Bd6 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 20.Rfd1 and 21.Rd4) 19.Bxh7+ Kh8. Alekhine:

After 19...Kf8 Black's King would be less endangered than after the text move and it would have been very difficult for White to show how he could win, despite his positional superiority.

Alekhine went on to win the game with a series of precise, decisive blows and a combination that gained the exchange. To play through the complete game see...

Alexander Alekhine vs Akiba Rubinstein, Karlsbad 1923

...on Chessgames.com.

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