18 October 2016

'Alekhine's Early Chess Career'

Last month, in Buschke in Chess Life, I mentioned a 'series of Albrecht Buschke history columns titled "Alekhine's Early Chess Career"'. Buschke started writing for CL a few months earlier, where the first column was a historical calendar:-

  • 1949-08-20: Memorable Chess Dates (2 issues of CL)

This was followed by a series that took over a column previously written by 'Guilherme Groesser', a pseudonym used by CL's editor, Montgomery Major.

  • 1949-09-05: Chess Life Abroad : Moscow - Budapest match (more++; 8 issues of CL)

The last of those columns coincided with the first for 'Alekhine's Early Chess Career', subtitled 'Additional Data':-

  • 1949-12-20: I. Mannheim 1914

That first column is reproduced below (split into three pieces to keep the image compact).

Chess Life 1949-12-20

The objective of that column was to introduce two previously unknown Alekhine games. The objective of Buschke's next two columns was to show examples of 'a remarkable "lack of sportsmanship" on the part of Alekhine':-

  • 1950-01-05: 'The Unknown Alekhine' by Reinfeld : Nenarokov match & Tenner game
  • 1950-01-20: (cont.) Alekhine - Nimzovich 1914

After this early meandering, Buschke found his stride, writing over 50 columns on the early Alekhine. These covered various themes that often continued over multiple issues of CL (which was usually only four pages at the time, published twice a month).

  • 1950-02-05: II. The Quadrangular Tournament, St. Petersburg 1913?
  • 1950-02-20: III. The Match with Levitsky, 1913 (9 issues of CL)
  • 1950-07-05: IV. The Moscow Championship Tournament 1916 (15 issues)
  • 1951-03-05: V. Alekhine in Soviet Land (30 issues)
  • 1952-07-20: VI. Stockholm 1912 ('slightly out of sequence')

Part IV ('The Moscow Championship', which wasn't!) uncovered another of Alekhine's indiscretions: the 'Five Queens' game. Some years later, Chess Review called it the 'Chess Hoax of the Century'; see February 1965 'On the Cover' (February 2015). An extensive discussion of Buschke's discovery is in Tim Krabbé's Alekhine's 5 Queen game (timkr.home.xs4all.nl). For the game itself, see Alexander Alekhine vs NN (1915) "The Harem" (chessgames.com). Buschke's final column was about the 'Chess Olympics of 1920':-

  • 1952-11-20: V. Alekhine in Soviet Land

Although the column mentioned 'following installments', there were none.

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