Understanding before Moving 148: Chess history in a nutshell (30)

by ChessBase
10/22/2023 – 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 148th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and talks about Max Euwe, who was World Champion from 1935 to 1937 and enormously influential for chess in general and Dutch chess in particular. | 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.


Max Euwe (1)

In the previous episode we talked about Alexander Alekhine and in this episode we will talk about Max Euwe (1901 - 1981), the only Dutch chess player ever to become World Champion.

There is a lot to write about Euwe, Alexander Münninghoff's excellent book (written in collaboration with Jules Welling) "Max Euwe: The Biography" contains extensive information. Euwe was probably the only amateur ever to become world champion. When Euwe played Alekhine for the title in 1935, he was a maths teacher by profession and had to take time off to prepare for the World Championship match.

The match was financially lucrative for Alekhine, but it seems that he did not seriously believe that he could lose his title. But to everyone's surprise, Euwe won the match 15½ - 14½ and was hailed as a hero in Amsterdam.

The title had a huge impact on chess in the Netherlands. A year later, when he won a four-player tournament involving Alekhine, Bogoljubov and Sämisch, Euwe showed that he had every right to be called the world's strongest player.

But when Euwe gave Alekhine a revenge match in 1937, Alekhine was much better prepared than two years earlier and Euwe lost his title with 11 defeats to 6 wins.

In 1924 Euwe had helped to found the World Chess Federation, FIDE, and was its President from 1970 to 1978.

Euwe was also a prolific author and achieved great fame through the many excellent books he published.

The diagram below shows a position from a game known as the "Pearl of Zandvoort", as it was considered to be particularly beautiful. At one point, after a sacrifice, Euwe was a whole rook down, but had three strong, connected past pawns. The game was so complicated that even strong players had difficulty analysing it correctly.

Using modern engines (including Stockfish 16) I have to say that even Garry Kasparov (or perhaps his ghostwriter?), who analysed this game in his famous "My Great Predecessors" series, may have made some mistakes. I think that the most memorable moment occurred in the position shown in the diagram, and I think that everyone who has tried to analyse this game has missed the correct continuation in this position. Well, of course it is easy to talk when you have a powerful engine to help you. Nevertheless, I think it is very interesting to see what today's computer power can do.

In the position below, White has to decide how to proceed. Which move would you play? Choose from A) 37.h4, B) 37.d6 and C) 37.e7.

Master Class Vol.3: Alexander Alekhine

On this DVD GMs Rogozenco, Marin, Müller, and IM Reeh present outstanding games, stunning combinations and exemplary endgames by Alekhine. And they invite you to improve your knowledge with the help of video lectures, annotated games and interactive tests

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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