13 July 2006

Rubinstein - Alekhine, Dresden 1926

Continuing with Alekhine's annotated brilliancies, this is the third brilliancy against Rubinstein, and the second played in 1926. Alekhine took advantage of an unusual move in the opening. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.h3, he noted,

It was certainly not necessary to prevent 4...Nh5 at this moment. The weakening of the square g3 gave me the idea of a quite unusual but, as the following proves, very effective system of development.

The game continued 4...Bb7 5.Nbd2 Bd6. Alekhine:

After this, White has the unpleasant choice between (1) the exchange, which strengthens Black's position in the middle; (2) 6.e3 which would spoil, after 6...Bxf4 his Pawn position; and; (3) 6.Bg5 after which Black would secure the advantage of the pair of Bishops by 6...h6.

Rubinstein chose the 6.Bxd6 exchange. Alekhine continued to outplay Rubinstein at critical points. In the following position, Black's advantage is obvious.

Dresden 1926
Alekhine, Alexander

Rubinstein, Akiba
(After 28.Rf1-f4)
[FEN "6rk/p5rp/1p2p3/3pPp2/P2QpR2/1PP1P1qP/4R1P1/7K b - - 0 28"]

Now Alekhine continued 28...Rg6!. His remarks are instructive:

After this move a highly original position is obtained, the outstanding particulars of which are the following: Black's immediate threat of 29...Rh6 30.Qd1 Qg7, winning the e-Pawn, as 31.Qd4 would be answered by 31...Rxh3+. If White tries to parry this by playing 29.Qd1, Black still answers with 29...Rh6, thus putting the opponent in a position of complete Zugzwang. As a matter of fact
(1) Rook at f4 could not move because of 30...Qxe5

(2) Rook at e2 is tied by the defence of the squares e3 and g2.

(3) The King could not move because of 30...Rxh3 or 30...Qxh3

(4) The Queen could not move either on the first rank because of 30...Qg7, nor on the d-file because of 30...Rxh3+ etc.

(5) Finally in the event of 30.c4, Black would win by 30...d4 etc., and in the event of 30.b4 by 30...Qg7 31.Qd4 Rc8 followed by 32...Rc4. [In this last line, Alekhine has forgotten that 31...Rxh3+ wins faster.]
Therefore White offers a Pawn in the hope of exchanging a pair of Rooks and thus weakening the enemy's attack.

The game continued 29.Qb4 Rh6 30.h4 Qg7 31.c4 Rg6 32.Qd2 Rg3 33.Qe1 Rxg2 and Rubinstein resigned. To play through the complete game see...

Akiba Rubinstein vs Alexander Alekhine, Dresden 1926

...on Chessgames.com. The comments there are also interesting. It appears that Alekhine removed a sequence of repeated moves from his brilliancy and ignored a better defense for White on the last move played.

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