Alexander Aljechin vs Garry Kasparov

11/15/2003 – The man in the photo is Alexander Alekhine. In 1913 the future world champion played a legendary game agaist Jaques Mieses, sacrificing a queen for positional consideration and winning brilliantly. In his book "My Great Predecessors" Garry Kasparov thinks Mieses could have parried the attack. We invite you to debate the point with the author.

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Analysis Focus #3

GM Karsten Müller on Mieses - Alekhine, Scheveningen 1913 (p. 340)

Analysis Focus #3:
Garry Kasparov's Great Predecessors

By GM Karsten Müller

Alekhine’s dynamic style has inspired many players. Garry Kasparov is one of them: “However his fantastic combinative vision was based on sound positional foundations, and was the fruit of strong positional foundation, and was the fruit of strong, energetic strategy.

Therefore Alekhine can safely be called the pioneer of the universal style of play, based on a close interweaving of strategical and tactical motifs.” (see page 340). The following spectacular queen sacrifice was probably already analysed many times. But at least one point seems still not to be 100% clear.


A picture of Alekhine, taken in 1913 in Moscow, with Capablanca

J.Mieses - A.Alekhine [C22]
Scheveningen 1913

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Be7 5.Bd2 Nf6 6.Nc3 0–0 7.0–0–0 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Qg3 Bh4 10.Qf3 Be6 11.Be3 Nxc3 12.Rxd8 Nxa2+ 13.Kb1 Raxd8 14.Be2 Nab4 15.Nh3 Rfe8 16.Nf4 Bf5 17.Rc1 g6 18.g4 Be4 19.Qh3 Bf6 20.Bf3 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Ne5.

An interesting moment for the assessment of Black's positional queen sacrifice has arisen. Mieses did not dare to take the b7 pawn, as this opens an attacking road for Black's rook.

22.Qe2.

Kasparov sheds new light on this (see page 345): ”According to Alekhine, 22.Qxb7!? would have lost due to the combined attack of the f6 bishop and the rook on the b-file. However after 22...Rb8 23.Qg2! Nc4 24.c3 Nxb2 (24...Na6 25.Qc6! Rxb2+ 26.Ka1 Reb8 27.Qxc4 R2b5 28.Rc2; 24...Na2 25.Kxa2 Rxb2+ 26.Ka1) 25.cxb4!” White stops Black’s attack.

Dr. Robert Hübner thinks as well that White can safely take on b7 (see his ChessBase CD: World Champion Alekhine, Hamburg 1997). He gives lines such as 22.Qxb7!? Nec6 23.c3 Rb8 24.Qxc7 Be5 25.Qd7 Red8 26.Qxd8+ Rxd8 27.cxb4 Nxb4 28.Ne2=; 22.Qxb7 Rb8 23.Qg2! and now among other lines:”The move 23...g5 does not contribute to the clarification of the situation, e.g. 24.Nh5 Bh8 25.Qf1 etc.”.

I (GM Karsten Müller) could also not find more than a draw for Black, e.g. 22.Qxb7 Rb8 23.Qg2! g5 24.Nh5 (24.Bxa7 Nc4 25.Bxb8 Nd2+ 26.Ka1 Rxb8 27.Nh5 Bxb2+ 28.Kxb2 Nd5+ 29.Ka3 Ra8+) 24...Bh8 25.Qf1 (25.Rd1 Nc4 26.Qf3 Na3+ 27.bxa3 Nd3+ 28.Ka2 Rb2+) 25...Nf3 26.Qh1 Rxe3 27.fxe3 Nd2+ 28.Ka1 Kf8 29.Qg2 Nd3 30.Rd1 Bxb2+ 31.Ka2 Nc1+ 32.Rxc1 Bxc1 33.Qd5 Rb2+ 34.Ka1 Rb1+ 35.Ka2 Rb2+ and in all cases Black draws by perpetual check. But of course deep down I hope that Alekhine is right and there is a way for Black to get a strong attack.

So I ask the readers: is there a forceful way to continue Alekhine’s attack after 22.Qxb7?

The actual game ended 22...c5 23.Rg1 c4 24.h4 Nd5 25.Nxd5 Rxd5 26.f4 Nd3 27.Qf3 Rb5 28.cxd3 Rxb2+ 29.Kc1 cxd3 30.Kd1 Rc8 31.g5 Rcc2 32.Ke1 Rb1+ 33.Qd1 Bc3+ 0–1.

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The final standings in the tournament


A rare picture of Jaques Mieses, seated on the right, here during a match with Akiba Rubinstein in Berlin 1909

Feedback

If you have doubts about this or another analysis in Kasparov's work, please write. Garry welcomes all suggestions! Your remarks and analysis will be scanned by GM Karsten Müller, who will pass the most interesting contributions on to Garry Kasparov for evaluation. We will publish our conclusions on these pages.

 


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