27 June 2006

Tarrasch - Alekhine, Pistyan 1922

Continuing with Alekhine's annotated brilliancies the following position is a win for Black according to Alekhine's notes. It's hard to believe that one of the best players in the world at the time of the game could be lost with the White pieces after 11 moves, but so it seems to have been.

Alekhine's annotations for the next moves are the sort of comments I like to see from a grandmaster. They show verbal reasoning rather than calculating a tangle of variations. Alekhine was adept at explaining the logic behind a position. Note that White is a Pawn ahead.

Pistyan 1922
Alekhine, Alexander

Tarrasch, Siegbert
(After 11.Bc1-b2)
[FEN "r2q1rk1/pb1n2pp/3bpn2/1Ppp4/8/1PN1PN2/PB2BPPP/R2QK2R b KQ - 0 11"]

In this position Alekhine played 11...Qe7, and wrote,

Black has completed his development, and prepares in perfect safety the advance of his e-Pawn, which encompassing still more the adverse game, secures him a very strong attack against White's King.

12.O-O Rad8. Alekhine:

Black has no need to hasten the advance of his e-Pawn, his opponent at present being able to attempt absolutely nothing.

13.Qc2 e5 14.Rfe1. Alekhine:

In order to defend the square h2, by bringing the Nf3 via d2 to f1. From now on White defends in the most skilful way, but his game is already too far compromised by the strategic error of the opening ceding the center to his opponent in exchange for a Pawn of little value.

If instead, White tries block the advance with 14.e4, the game would probably continue with something like 14...d4 15.Bc4+ Kh8 16. Nd5 Nxd5 17. Bxd5 Bxd5 18. exd5 e4, when White is also losing.

I imagine that the game was awarded a prize for the remaining moves, where Alekhine gave himself eight '!'s. The most impressive aspect of the game for me is how he obtained so overwhelming a position after only 13 moves. To play through the complete game see...

Siegbert Tarrasch vs Alexander Alekhine, Bad Pistyan 1922

...on Chessgames.com.

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