09 July 2006

Rubinstein - Alekhine, Semmering 1926

Continuing with Alekhine's annotated brilliancies, this is the second such game against the great Akiba Rubinstein. He was the leading challenger for Lasker's World Champion title before Capablanca appeared.

In the following position, Alekhine played 14...Ng4!, and wrote,

This diversion is by no means as harmless as it looks. White loses the game chiefly because he underestimates its importance.

Semmering 1926
Alekhine, Alexander

Rubinstein, Akiba
(After 14.Bb2-e5(xN))
[FEN "r2q1rk1/pb3ppp/4pn2/2bpB3/2P5/P5P1/3NPPBP/R2Q1RK1 b - - 0 14"]

The game continued 15.Bc3, (and not 15.Bb2 Qb6). 15...Rb8 Alekhine

At this moment 15...Qb6 would have been answered by 16.e3. The text move prepares the eventual advance of the d-Pawn.

16.Rb1 Alekhine

Although this move cannot be considered a decisive mistake, it certainly facilitates the opponent's plans. Unsatisfactory would be also 16.h3 Nxf2 17.Rxf2 Qg5 18.Nf1 Bxf2+ 19.Kxf2 dxc4 etc. to Black's advantage. But by continuing 16.cxd5 Bxd5 17.Ne4 (and not 17.e4 17...Nxf2 18.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 19.Kxf2 Qb6+ 20.Kf1 Bb7) with the subsequent dislodging of the threatening Black Knight, White could still obtain an even game.

16...d4! 17.Rxb7? Alekhine:

Rubinstein does not foresee the surprising 18th move of Black and consequently will find himself at a material disadvantage. The only possibility here was 17.Bb4 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Qc7, reaching a position which would be in Black's favor, too, but hardly in a decisive way.

17...Rxb7 18.Bxb7 Nxf2! Alekhine:

By this pseudo sacrifice Black forces the win of at least a Pawn with an overwhelming position.

After 19.Kxf2 dxc3+ 20.e3 cxd2, White resigned in a few moves. To play through the complete game see...

Akiba Rubinstein vs Alexander Alekhine, Semmering 1926

...on Chessgames.com.

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