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Friday, July 15, 2016

An Old Alekhine Game

     Like most players Alekhine was one of my earlier heroes, but it's been a long time since I played over any of his games. Lately I have been going through one of his old books, 107 Great Chess Battles 1939-1945, which, by the way, consists not of 107 games by Alekhine, but games played during that time period. Only about 30 of the games are his. I might also mention that his analysis, while instructive, is not particularly deep nor is it always accurate.
     The Munich 1941 tournament was, surprisingly, won by Gosta Stoltz by a margin of 1.5 points ahead of Alekhine. Another Swedish player, Erik London, also did very well by finishing tied for second with Alekhine.  Bogoljubow was something of a surprise; he finished fourth. Euwe declined his invitation, ostensibly due to obligations as manager of a groceries business. It is speculated that the real motive was the fact that Alekhine had written his now famous antisemitic articles that also contained mention of the "Jewish clique" that surrounded Euwe in their world championship match in 1935. You can read an excellent article on this tournament at Edward Winter's site HERE
     Alekhine's opponent in this game was Georg Kieninger (5 June 1902 in Munich – 25 January 1975 in Düsseldorf) who was an avid cigar smoker nicknamed "Eisernen Schorsch" (Iron Georgie) because of his fighting style. He won the German Championship in 1937, 1940, and 1947. In 1950, FIDE awarded him the IM title. 
     While playing over the following game I was impressed with the way Alekhine conjured up an attack out of nowhere. Kieninger's 9.d4 looks so logical that you wonder how it could be wrong, but Alekhine (and Stockfish) condemn it and the way Alekhine pushes white's Ns back into passivity and his subsequent attack, even it was not perfectly executed, is instructive. The final phase of the game is also instructive because it demonstrates how strong Alekhine's two Rs were against Kieninger's R and two minor pieces. 

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