Understanding before Moving 150: Chess history in a nutshell (32)

by ChessBase
11/5/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 150th episode of his ChessBase show "Understanding before moving" Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and explains how Max Euwe was able to beat Alexander Alekhine in their 1935 World Championship match. | 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 (3)

Max Euwe has been called "the most underrated world champion". This is partly because of his amateur status, but also because of the surprising way in which he defeated the then world champion Alexander Alekhine. Nobody had seen it coming...

It is interesting what Garry Kasparov writes about Euwe in his book "My Great Predecessors". In short, it boils down to the fact that Euwe, who had deliberately chosen to become a mathematics teacher, had almost no contact with the world's strongest chess players. How, then, could he mount a real challenge without impressive tournament victories? When Euwe finally decided to try, no one had any idea that he could beat Alekhine.

But the world champion should have been warned. After all, Euwe had a very good record against him! Shortly before Alekhine's triumph against Capablanca in 1927, he had won a training match against Euwe by a narrow margin (5.5-4.5). And in their tournament encounters Alekhine was unable to assert himself either.

Kasparov believes that this was because Euwe was the first player ever to study openings with scientific precision. His repertoire was designed to prevent Alekhine from developing his best chess skills. If you add Euwe's talent for accurate calculation, his sense of initiative and his stable nervous system, you can see where Alekhine's problems came from. I think Kasparov saw this very well. He was also the first world champion to use computers to weaponise openings!

According to Kasparov, Alekhine's mistakes in the 1935 duel were mainly due to the fact that he was not given the opportunity to take the initiative and because he then became impatient, he made strange mistakes. In the following position from the 1935 World Championship match we can see that Alekhine, who was leading 10.5-8.5 in the match here loses his patience.

Euwe, who desperately needed a win to stay in the match, here found a brilliant shot. Do you have any idea what his next move might be?

Master Class Vol.7: Garry Kasparov

On this DVD a team of experts gets to the bottom of Kasparov's play. In over 8 hours of video running time the authors Rogozenko, Marin, Reeh and Müller cast light on four important aspects of Kasparov's play: opening, strategy, tactics and endgame.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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