23 June 2006

Alekhine - Selezniev, Pistyan 1922

Unlike the other games in this series of posts on Alekhine's annotated brilliancies , the fourth World Champion did not mention in the notes to the game that it had won a prize. He mentioned this in the notes to another game -- Alekhine - Bogoljubov, Triberg 1921 -- when commenting on certain characteristics of several of his brilliancies.

While I can only take Alekhine at his word on this, it means that he won three brilliancies in the Pistyan 1922 event: one for this game and one each for the games against Tarrasch and Wolf. What is the record for brilliancy prizes won in the same event by the same player?

As with many Russian names, there is some difference of opinion on the transliteration of his opponent's name into the Roman alphabet. Alekhine used Selesnieff; Chessgames.com (see below) uses Selezniev, which is confirmed by Gaige's 'Chess Personalia'; the PGN source we obtained from Chesslab.com uses Selesniev. My personal preference is Selesniev, but I usually bow to Gaige on the spelling of names and will use his choice.

The brilliancy begins with the following position.

Pistyan 1922
Selezniev, Alexey

Alekhine, Alexander
(After 16...b7-b5)
[FEN "r1b2rk1/p3bppp/3qp3/1pp1N3/3P1P2/1BP5/P2Q1PPP/2R2RK1 w - b6 0 17"]

The game continued 17.Bc2!, and Alekhine noted,

An important move with the double threat 18.Qd3 followed by 19.Qxb5; and 18.Be4 Rb8 19.Nc6 and on this account preventing Black from completing his development by 17...Bb7.

Now after 17...Ba6 18.Rfe1 Rad8 19.Rcd1 cxd4, Alekhine wrote,

By playing 19...g6 immediately, Black would have maintained an excellent position, with good chances on the Queen's side. On the contrary, the text move, which frees the position in the center, is distinctly advantageous to White, and the latter succeeds in taking advantage of it by undertaking an attack as lively as it is interesting.

20.cxd4 g6 ('Inevitable.') 21.Bb3! Alekhine:

This move first threatens 22.Nxf7, and secondly prevents the maneuver 21...Bb7 and 22...Bd5 on account of 22.Qd3 a6 23.Nxg6 hxg6 24.Rxe6 fxe6 25.Qxg6+ Kh8 26.Bc2 and mates in a few moves.

In fact, Black should win with 26...Rf5. Better is 26.Qh6+ (not 26.Rd3? Qxf4) 26...Kg8 27.Bxe6+ Qxe6 28.Qxe6+.

The game continued 21...Bc8 ('Preventing the threatened sacrifice.') 22.Qe2! a6 23.d5 Qb6 24.Nc6 Rde8 25.Nxe7+ Rxe7 26.f5! Rb7. Alekhine:

In this way Black loses a Pawn without weakening White's attack. Black's game rapidly becomes hopeless.

Black again has a better defense than the sequence given by Alekhine : 26...gxf5 27.d6 Rd7 28.Qd2 Qd8, instead of Alekhine's 28...Rfd8 29.Qg5+ Kf8 30.Qh6+. After 28...Qd8, the win is not yet certain.

To play through the complete game see...

Alexander Alekhine vs Alexey Sergeevich Selezniev, Bad Pistyan it, CZE 1922

...on Chessgames.com.


Ignacio Andrés Raviolo said...

HI; im ignacio of argentina a chess player, and i was looking for alekhine information. (You have a very nice site of chess, congratulations!).
About the game alekhine-selezniev i just wonder did you get the source of this game having a brillanzy prize.
It would be very usefull for me to get this information. Thanks you.

If you want to write to my e-mail to send the information the adress is nacho.raviolo@gmail.com
thanks again! good work.

Mark Weeks said...

The source was Alekhine's comment ('My Best Games 1908-1923') to White's 16th move in Alekhine - Bogoljubov, Triberg 1921. He wrote, 'The reader will clearly perceive a similarity with other games (which also gained brilliancy prizes) namely: v. Sterk at Budapest, Rubinstein at Carlsbad, and Selesniev at Pistyan', all of which were annotated in the same book. - Mark