Alekhine-Euwe match

Wed, 2014-07-23 18:53 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "World Championship 16th"]
[Site "Netherlands"]
[Date "1935.10.03"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Alekhine, Alexander"]
[Black "Euwe, Max"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D17"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "1935.10.03"]
[EventRounds "30"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{For this week's blog post I will investigate some of the critical moments
from the Alekhine-Euwe World Championship Match of 1935. Alekhine started
strongly in this match, winning three of the first four games; this was his
first win.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 {It
would be fair to call this the 'Alekhine Attack' given the frequency with
which he played it in this match. White's idea is not just to take on c4, but
to play f3 and e4 to dominate the centre. Of course, Black will try to do
something about that.} Nbd7 (6... e6 {is the main alternative, leading to very
complex play after} 7. f3 Bb4 8. e4 Bxe4 9. fxe4 Nxe4 10. Bd2 Qxd4 11. Nxe4
Qxe4+ 12. Qe2 Bxd2+ 13. Kxd2 Qd5+ 14. Kc2 Na6 15. Nxc4 {and so on.}) 7. Nxc4
Qc7 {Black prepares ...e5 to challenge White's centre.} 8. g3 (8. f3 {is now
too slow because of} e5 9. e4 exd4 10. Qxd4 Bc5 11. Qd2 Be6 {when Black has a
dangerous lead in development.}) 8... e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Bg2 Be6
{This is solid, but a little passive as the game continuation shows,} (11... g5
{is the modern main line, pioneered by Morozevich. It looks very sharp, but
actually} 12. Ne3 gxf4 13. Nxf5 O-O-O 14. Qc2 Nc5 15. O-O Ne6 {is then a more
positional course, where Black's dark-squared control compensates for White's
optically better structure.}) 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 13. O-O Be7 (13... Qa5 14. Qc2 f6 {
is a more solid way to play, though I still slightly prefer White's prospects.}
) 14. Qc2 Rd8 (14... f6 15. Nd5 Qd6 16. Nxe7 Qxe7 17. Rfd1 O-O 18. Be4 {sees
White translate his lead in development into a bishop pair advantage. He can
also work on gaining queenside space with b4-b5.}) 15. Rfd1 O-O 16. Nb5 Rxd1+ (
16... Qb6 17. Bxe5 cxb5 18. e3 {gives White a nice initiative as his bishops
are better than Black's.}) 17. Rxd1 Qa5 18. Nd4 (18. Bxe5 cxb5 19. Bxb7 bxa4
20. Qe4 {is less promising since after} a3 21. bxa3 Qxa3 {White will not have
enough to win even after grabbing Black's weak a-pawn.}) 18... Bc8 19. b4 {
This move is very strong as Black can't take on b4.} Qc7 (19... Bxb4 20. Nb3
Qc7 21. Qe4 Bc3 ({or} 21... Bd6 22. Qd4 g5 23. Bxg5 f6 24. Bf4 {and despite
avoiding material loss, Black is still in trouble because his king is very
weak.}) 22. Rc1 Bb2 23. Rb1 Bc3 24. Qe3 {and Black loses material.}) 20. b5 c5
21. Nf5 f6 22. Ne3 {The d5-square is very tender and now Black can't resist
White's initiative.} Be6 23. Bd5 {This is better than Nd5, to secure the
outpost square for the knight.} Bxd5 24. Rxd5 (24. Nxd5 Qd6 25. Qa2 Kh8 26. Ne3
Qc7 27. Bxe5 fxe5 28. Qe6 {is even stronger, but Alekhine's move is also good
enough to win.}) 24... Qa5 {This looks desperate, but after} (24... Rd8 25.
Bxe5 fxe5 26. Qe4 Rxd5 27. Qxd5+ Kf8 28. Nc4 {the White queen and knight are
so much stronger than Black's queen and bishop that winning is only a matter
of time.}) 25. Nf5 Qe1+ 26. Kg2 Bd8 27. Bxe5 fxe5 28. Rd7 Bf6 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30.
Qxc5 {Black resigned. In the shorter World Championship matches of today, a
win in the first game is a gigantic boost, but this match was played over 30
games, so there was room to bounce back from a bad start.} 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "World Championship 16th"]
[Site "Netherlands"]
[Date "1935.10.29"]
[Round "12"]
[White "Euwe, Max"]
[Black "Alekhine, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D97"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "1935.10.03"]
[EventRounds "30"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{Euwe had managed to stop the hemhorraging over the next several games, and
with this win reduced Alekhine's lead.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qb3
dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bg7 6. e4 O-O 7. Nf3 (7. Be2 {is a popular attempt to try and
gain something from White's move order, but this gives Black extra options
such as} Nfd7 {.}) 7... a6 8. Bf4 {This move is not very common and has since
been replaced by} (8. Be2 {and}) (8. e5) 8... b5 9. Qxc7 Qe8 {Euwe's surprise
works as Alekhine tries too hard to trap in White's queen, but} (9... Qxc7 10.
Bxc7 Bb7 11. Bd3 b4 12. Na4 Nxe4 {has since been played in some games, leading
to approximate equality.}) 10. Be2 (10. e5 Nh5 11. Be3 {is also pretty strong.}
) 10... Nc6 11. d5 Nb4 12. O-O Nxe4 {The best try as otherwise White was
threatening a3 winning a piece.} 13. Nxe4 Nxd5 14. Qc1 Bf5 15. Ng3 Rc8 16. Qd2
Nxf4 17. Qxf4 Bc2 18. Qb4 {White has consolidated his material advantage and
the rest is easy.} Qd8 19. Ne1 Ba4 20. Rb1 Bd4 21. Nf3 Bc5 22. Qh4 Bc2 23. Rbc1
f6 24. Bc4+ bxc4 25. Qxc4+ Kg7 26. Qxc2 Qa5 27. Qe2 e5 28. a3 Be7 29. Nd4 Rxc1
30. Rxc1 Kh8 31. Nc6 Qc7 32. Qxa6 Rc8 33. Nf1 Rb8 34. Nxe7 Qxe7 35. Rc8+ Rxc8
36. Qxc8+ 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "World Championship 16th"]
[Site "Netherlands"]
[Date "1935.12.01"]
[Round "25"]
[White "Alekhine, Alexander"]
[Black "Euwe, Max"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D52"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "1935.10.03"]
[EventRounds "30"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 Qa5 {The Cambridge
Springs is quite a solid choice - in general it seems that Alekhine took a lot
more liberties in his Black openings than Euwe, who generally strived for
solidity.} 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qd2 N7b6 (8... Bb4 9. Rc1 h6 10. Bh4 c5 {is the
modern main line, but Euwe's choice has been played by Carlsen and Mamedyarov
recently.}) 9. Bd3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Nd5 11. Rc1 (11. O-O Qxc3 12. Qe2 {is the
other, arguably more convenient, way to sacrifice a pawn.}) 11... Nxc3 12. O-O
({Of course, not} 12. Rxc3 Bb4 {.}) 12... Bb4 13. a3 {Alekhine opts for a
second pawn sacrifice to disorganise Black's forces.} (13. Qb2 {keeps the
second pawn safe, but is a bit passive for my liking.}) 13... Qxa3 14. Ra1 Qb3
15. Bc2 Qd5 16. e4 {This third pawn sacrifice is a bit much, though after} (16.
Bf4 O-O 17. Bd3 f6 {I don't see White getting full compensation for the pawns.}
) 16... Nxe4 17. Qxb4 Nxg5 18. Ne5 {At the moment Black can't get his pieces
developed, but Euwe solves the problem nicely.} a5 19. Qa3 (19. Qc3 Ne4 20. Qd3
Nd6 {would also neutralise White's initiative.}) 19... f6 20. Bg6+ hxg6 21.
Nxg6 Nf3+ 22. Qxf3 Qxf3 23. gxf3 Rh5 {Now Black is simply winning.} 24. Nf4 Rf5
25. Nd3 Rxf3 26. Nc5 b6 27. Kg2 Rf4 28. Nb3 e5 29. dxe5 Be6 30. Nc1 O-O-O 31.
exf6 Rg4+ 32. Kf3 Rf8 33. Ke3 Rxf6 34. f4 g5 35. Nd3 Bc4 36. f5 Rh4 37. Rad1
Rxh2 38. Ke4 Re2+ 39. Kf3 Re8 40. Kg4 Rd8 41. Ne5 Rxd1 42. Rxd1 Be2+ 43. Kxg5
Rxf5+ 44. Kxf5 Bxd1 45. Nxc6 a4 0-1 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "World Championship 16th"]
[Site "Netherlands"]
[Date "1935.12.03"]
[Round "26"]
[White "Euwe, Max"]
[Black "Alekhine, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A90"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "1935.10.03"]
[EventRounds "30"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{This game secured Euwe's lead in the match and ultimately proved decisive as
he didn't let Alekhine back to an even score despite losing the next game.} 1.
d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g3 Bb4+ {Alekhine was fond of this check; nowadays} (3... Nf6
4. Bg2 Bb4+ {is the usual move order, after which} 5. Bd2 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 O-O 7.
Nc3 d6 {intending a quick ...e5 is very solid for Black, and quite similar to
a Bogo-Indian.}) 4. Bd2 Be7 {Alekhine's idea is that White's bishop is less
flexible on d2 than c1 (there is no b3/Bb2 for instance).} 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. Nc3
O-O 7. Nf3 Ne4 (7... d5 {seems a better way to justify Black's move order as
White can't easily exchange Black's dark-squared bishop, and the c3-knight is
misplaced.}) 8. O-O b6 (8... Nxd2 9. Qxd2 d6 {is more circumspect, but I still
prefer White's space to the bishops after} 10. e4 fxe4 11. Nxe4 {.}) 9. Qc2 (9.
Nxe4 fxe4 10. Ne5 Bb7 11. Qc2 d5 12. Bh3 {might be even stronger, but Euwe
opts for development first.}) 9... Bb7 (9... Nxd2 10. Nxd2 Nc6 11. d5 Nb4 12.
Qa4 {is also quite promising for White.}) 10. Ne5 Nxc3 11. Bxc3 Bxg2 12. Kxg2
Qc8 (12... Nc6 13. Nxc6 dxc6 {looks funny, but it's not that easy to exploit
the pawn weaknesses and} 14. e4 f4 {makes further progress in the centre far
from easy for White.}) 13. d5 d6 14. Nd3 e5 15. Kh1 {This king move seems a
bit curious.} (15. b4 {followed by a4-a5 would be a more normal way to play
the position, though Black is very safe regardless.}) 15... c6 16. Qb3 Kh8 17.
f4 e4 18. Nb4 c5 19. Nc2 {I don't think this structure is at all bad for Black,
but it does seem easier to play White as he has the ready plan of Ne3, Rg1 and
g4.} Nd7 20. Ne3 Bf6 {This is tempting but runs into a nice sack by Euwe.} (
20... Qe8 {was probably better, intending either ...Qh5 or ...a6 and ...b5.})
21. Nxf5 {This is a rather strong piece sacrifice.} Bxc3 22. Nxd6 Qb8 23. Nxe4
Bf6 24. Nd2 {It is already quite hard to stop the pawn roller without giving
back the piece.} g5 25. e4 gxf4 26. gxf4 Bd4 27. e5 {Now White has full
control of the position.} Qe8 (27... Nxe5 28. fxe5 Qxe5 {is probably the best
practical try, but} 29. Nf3 Qe2 30. Rae1 Qxb2 31. Qxb2 Bxb2 32. Ng5 {then
gives White a clearly better endgame.}) 28. e6 Rg8 29. Nf3 (29. Qc2 {first was
more accurate, to prevent Black's counterplay with ...Qg6.}) 29... Qg6 30. Rg1
Bxg1 31. Rxg1 Qf6 (31... Qf5 32. exd7 Rxg1+ 33. Kxg1 Qxd7 {should be fine for
Black as White's king is suddenly very open.}) 32. Ng5 {This is the key
difference, though Black's still fine if he is precise.} Rg7 (32... Rg6 33.
exd7 Qxf4 34. Qc3+ Kg8 {still holds the position.}) 33. exd7 {Now White should
be winning.} Rxd7 (33... Qxf4 34. Qc3 Qd4 35. Qe1 Rxd7 36. Ne6 Qxb2 37. Rg2 Qf6
38. Rf2 {forces Black's queen off the long diagonal, allowing a deadly Qe5.})
34. Qe3 (34. Ne6 {might be even stronger.}) 34... Re7 35. Ne6 Rf8 (35... Qxb2 {
offered better chances to hold.}) 36. Qe5 (36. Qg3 {and a later Qg5 was the
correct way to transition to an ending.}) 36... Qxe5 37. fxe5 Rf5 (37... Rf2 {
was also possible.}) 38. Re1 h6 {This is too slow, and} (38... Kg8 {was called
for, after which Black can hold the position.}) 39. Nd8 Rf2 40. e6 {Now the
passed pawns are way too strong.} Rd2 41. Nc6 Re8 42. e7 b5 43. Nd8 {It's easy
once the knight reaches d6, evicting the blockading e8-rook.} Kg7 44. Nb7 Kf6
45. Re6+ Kg5 46. Nd6 Rxe7 47. Ne4+ 1-0 [/pgn]