Max Euwe: the Candidate's Swan Song

12/17/2008 – In 1953 the former World Chess Champion was bringing his career as an elite player to a close – at a Candidates' Tournament with two games classic games: a dashing attacking one against Najdorf and a brilliant defensive one against Geller. Both involved a fantastic speculative rook sacrifice. See it unfold in Wednesday's Playchess lecture by Dennis Monokroussos. You're good to go!

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

By 1953, the former World Chess Champion Max Euwe was bringing his career as an elite player to a close, but in the first half of the Neuhausen/Zurich Candidates' Tournament the Dutchman sang his swan song. Winning no fewer than five games, two of which have become classics, Euwe showed that even as a 52-year-old amateur (his full-time work was as a mathematics teacher at a girls' school) he was no one's "full point bye"; he remained a force to be reckoned with.

The two aforementioned classics are strikingly different. Against Najdorf, he won a dashing attacking game with a fantastic, speculative rook sacrifice, while against Geller, he won a brilliant defensive, counterattacking game with... a fantastic, speculative rook sacrifice! On the White side of a Sämisch Nimzo-Indian, Geller sacrificed a pawn for a very dangerous kingside attack, and when his queen broke through on h7 it looked precarious for the former champ. It was here that our hero for the week concocted his remarkable counterattacking idea, one that lifted the game from an exciting battle to one worthy of future generations. (Further, as we'll see in our next show - our Christmas show - it inspired a successor just a few short years later, and that helped lay the groundwork for one of my all-time favorite games.)

It's the season for giving, so it's appropriate that we celebrate it with this sacrificial gem. The opening is one of practical importance for Nimzo players, and the game itself is of special value. To join in the fun, just do this: log on to Fritz/ChessBase's Playchess.com server tonight (Wednesday night) at 9 p.m. ET, go to the Broadcast Room, find "Geller-Euwe" under the Games tab and double-click on it. You're good to go!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).



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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.



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