Understanding before Moving 145: Chess history in a nutshell (27)

by ChessBase
10/2/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 145th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and continues to take a look at the ideas and games of Alexander Alekhine. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Alexander Alekhine (2)

One of the most amazing attacking players in history was Alexander Alekhine. Although he was a jack-of-all-trades, at the most unexpected moments in a game he knew how to use his exceptional combinatorial insight to knock his opponent out of the saddle.

Of course, combinations do not come out of the blue. There are always circumstances that lead to a combination. But to discover them during a game is a sign of the great talent that Alekhine possessed. There are countless examples.

In the diagram position below we see one of the most famous combinations that Alekhine ever played. The victim here is the Austrian Ernst Grünfeld, after whom the "Grünfeld Indian Defense" is named. White has just played 30.f2-f3? weakening the g1-a7 diagonal.

For a tactician like Alekhine such a move is like a red rag on a bull: he senses that Black has something, but that he has to be precise. Many players will no doubt have the idea to play 30...Rxd4! to win after 31.exd4 Bxd4 32.Kf1 (Forced because 32.Kh1 loses after 32...Nf2+ 33. Kg1 Nxd1.) 32...Nf4! 33.Qxe4 (33.Qd2 Qc4+ 34.Ke1 e3! 35.Qxd4 Nxg2# leads to a nice mate.) 33...Qc4+ 34.Ke1 Nxg2+ 35.Ke1 Be3+!.

But there is another important possibility which Alekhine had to include in his calculations. In the game Grünfeld played 31.fxe4, and now Black's knight and rook are hanging. Black can now gain the advantage with 31...Rxe4, but he can also win in a more beautiful way.

What did the fourth World Champion have in mind?

Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, and how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure.

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