22 December 2016

Alekhine 1921

Let's take a short break from Spectating the 87th FIDE Congress, and go back to one of the last posts before the Carlsen - Karjakin match started. For some reason, Alekhine 1914-1920 (November 2016), received about ten times the number of views that my posts usually get.

After writing that post, I remembered that I had already touched on the subject more then seven years ago, in Alekhine's Record in Russia (July 2009) and Alekhine Leaves Russia (ditto). In that last post, I wrote,

Kasparov, in My Great Predecessors I, noted that Alekhine received permission to leave Russia at the same time that Capablanca was playing Lasker in their 1921 World Championship match. In his book Alexander Alekhine, Kotov noted that Capablanca's victory over Lasker, combined with Alekhine's first place finishes, also in 1921, at Triberg, Budapest, and The Hague marked the Russian as Capablanca's main challenger.

The following photo is from the tournament book isssued for the 1921 Hague event (Kagan, Berlin 1921?).

Chessgames.com's page on the event, 1921 The Hague, includes a crosstable (1st Alekhine, 2nd Tartakower, 3rd Rubinstein) and says,

In October of 1921, ten chess players of strength ranging from master to amateur met at The Hague (Netherlands) to particpate in a round robin tournament. Among the participants were veterans like Jacques Mieses and Georg Marco, and established masters like Alexander Alekhine, Akiba Rubinstein, and Savielly Tartakower. Max Euwe, an amateur, participated by virtue of having become the new Dutch champion earlier in the year.

October 1921 dates the photo to about six months after Alekhine left Russia. What struck me most was how gaunt he looked. Instead of a young man aged 28-29 years, we see a middle-aged man aged 50-55 years. The war years and the aftermath of the Russian revolution had evidently taken a toll on his health.

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