AVRO, Round 13: Fine beats Alekhine

by Johannes Fischer
6/15/2020 – Reuben Fine started the AVRO Tournament with 5½/6, but then suffered a setback and scored only 1½ points in the next six rounds. But at the end of the tournament Fine seems to have found his form again and in round 13 he outplayed Alexander Alekhine with amazing ease. The other three games of the round ended in a draw and with one round to go Fine and Keres now share the lead with 8.0/13 each, and will decide the tournament winner in their direct duel in the last round. | Photo: Alekhine and Fine during their game in round 6

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A seemingly effortless win

As he himself admits, Reuben Fine has learned a lot from Alekhine. He once wrote:

"It was around 1932 ... that I began to study chess books. ... I was fascinated by Alekhine's books and the story of his life. I studied his games, and came to know of them by heart, perhaps better than he himself. I came to know his strong points and his weak points."

This comprehensive preparation paid off at the AVRO Tournament: in round 6 Fine had won against Alekhine with Black and in round 13 Fine defeated the World Champion again, this time with White. After 13 moves, Fine was much better in a queenless middlegame and in the further course of the game the American confidently converted his advantage with calm and strong play.

 

The three other games of the round all ended with a draw.

After the opening Mikhail Botvinnik was better against Salo Flohr, but Flohr managed to neutralize White's initiative and the game soon petered out into a draw.

 

The game between Samuel Reshevsky and Max Euwe was more exciting. In a Queen's Gamit Reshevsky attacked on the queenside while Euwe tried to create threats on the kingside. But after a short tactical intermezzo an equal rook ending appeared on the board and a couple of moves later the game ended in a draw.

 

The game between José Raúl Capablanca and Paul Keres seemed to be a fight of nerves and fatigue. After a slightly unusual by Capablanca Keres equalized quickly but then did not play cautiously enough and suddenly was in danger of losing. But then Capablanca once again seemed to lack the energy to take advantage of this and with some luck Keres managed to escape to a draw.

 

Before the last and decisive round Keres and Fine now have both 8.0/13 and share the lead and are one point ahead of Botvinnik who is sole third with 7.0/13. As chance would have it, Fine and Keres meet in the final round and decide the tournament in their direct encounter. However, Fine must win this game if he wants to win the tournament, because in the event of a tie, the direct encounter is decisive, and that is good for Keres, who won against Fine in round 7.

Results of round 13

R. Fine 1-0 A. Alekhine
J.R. Capablanca ½-½ P. Keres
S. Reshevsky ½-½ M. Euwe
M. Botvinnik ½-½ S. Flohr

Standings after round 13

 

Games

 

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".

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