20 May 2006

Alekhine - Alexander, Nottingham 1936

Continuing with the list of Alekhine's annotated brilliancies, I looked at another game from the great Nottingham 1936 tournament, Alekhine - Alexander played in the 11th round.

In his book 'My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937', Alekhine wrote that it had been awarded a Brilliancy Prize. In fact, the tournament book tells us that the brilliancy prize ('for the most brilliant game in the tournament') went to Mikhail Botvinnik for his game against Savielly Tartakower. Alekhine's game against Alexander won a prize for 'the most brilliant King-side attack'.

The interesting play starts from the following diagram, where Black has just threatened White's d-Pawn. Alekhine wrote, 'White can easily protect it by counter-attacks.' The moves are not obvious and make a pretty continuation.

Nottingham 1936
Alexander, C.H.O'D.

Alekhine, Alexander
(After 14.Nd7-f6)
[FEN "1r1q1rk1/pbp3pp/1p1p1n2/3P1p2/4n3/1P2QNP1/PB2PPBP/3R1RK1 w - - 0 15"]

The first move 15.Nh4, is obvious enough if you see 15...Nxd5? 16.Rxd5 Bxd5 17.Qd4. Better is Alexander's 15...Qd7 16.Bh3 g6 (16...Nxd5 17.Qxe4) 17.f3 Nc5 18.Qg5 Qg7 (18...Nxd5 19.Nxg6) 19.b4 Ncd7 (19...Na4 20.Ba1) 20.e4! Nxe4 21.Qc1!. Here Alekhine pointed out two inferior continuations.

21.Bxg7 Nxg5 22.Bxf8 Nxh3+ 23.Kg2 Rxf8 24.Kxh3 Nf6 and 25...Nxd5; and

21.fxe4 Qxb2 22.exf5 Qf6 'yielding White a possible win after a laborious endgame'

21...Nef6 22.Bxf5! Kh8 (if 22...gxf5 23.Nxf5 and the Queen has no retreat) 23.Be6. Alekhine: 'At last the d-Pawn is definitely safe'. A few moves later White sacrificed an exchange and Black resigned. To play through the complete game see...

Alexander Alekhine vs Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, Nottingham 1936

...on Chessgames.com. To play through the Botvinnik game that won the overall brilliancy prize see Botvinnik vs Tartakower, Nottingham 1936, also on Chessgames.com.

No comments: