02 August 2006

Stahlberg - Alekhine, Hamburg Olympiad 1930

I'm nearing the end of Alekhine's annotated brilliancies. The present game was played in the 3rd Olympiad, where Alekhine represented France. Stahlberg was first board for Sweden. France finished 12th out of the 18 teams, even though Alekhine had a 100% score. None of his teammates, including the famous artist Marcel Duchamp on fourth board, scored better than 50%.

I had a small decision choosing the start position. The most difficult moves in the game, where Alekhine went from equality to the decisive advantage shown in the diagram, were less interesting than the following sequence.

Hamburg Olympiad 1930
Alekhine, Alexander

Stahlberg, Gideon
(After 26...Rd7-f7)
[FEN "4qrk1/1b3rpp/1p1p4/4p3/1PPn4/4Q3/R3BPPP/3RN1K1 w - - 0 27"]

Of the next move, 27.f3, Alekhine wrote,

One would suppose that this Pawn, besides being protected by its neighbor, and easily supported by 3-4 pieces, cannot possibly form a welcome object for Black's attack. And yet White's f3 will be captured, almost inevitably. It was certainly the unusualness of Black's winning strategem which induced the judges to award to this game the brilliancy prize.

27...Rf4 28.Bd3 Qh5. Alekhine: 'Threatening 29...e4 etc.' If 30.Qxd4, then exf3. 29.Bf1 Qg5!. Alekhine: 'With the main threat 30...Rxf3 forcing the win of the Queen.' 30.Rf2 h6!. Alekhine:

A terrible move in its simplicity. Black threatens 31...Rxf3 32.Qxg5 Rxf2, and in case of 31.Qd2 (comparatively the best), he would play 31...Bxf3 32.Nxf3 Nxf3+ 33.Rxf3 Rxf3 34.Qxg5 Rxf1+ 35.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 36...hxg5 with a won Pawn end-game. White's next move practically does not change anything.

31.Kh1 Rxf3! 0-1 Alekhine: 'With the same point as mentioned above.' To play through the complete game see...

Gideon Stahlberg vs Alexander Alekhine, Hamburg ol (03) 1930

...on Chessgames.com.

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