Positional Pawn Sac: Smyslov-Euwe Zurich 53

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Here is a game that I was looking at this morning in 300 Most Important Chess Positions which is one of my four books for 2022.

In this position Black has just played 6…h6, which allows White to open the game immediately with a pawn sac with 7.e4 which gains the initiative.

My pgn editor isn’t working currently, so here is a link to the game.

Vasily Smyslov vs Max Euwe (1953) (chessgames.com)

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

How Active Reading is Making a Difference

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Earlier I sent out this tweet:

As soon as I went downstairs to the laboratory and picked up the book I found a great example of what I was talking about.

Take this position from the game Atalik – Hickl 2003

Here White has just played 23.a5, which sacs a pawn. This move is given in the opening section to the game in which the first 28 moves are given without comment in order to get to the position the author finds relevant to the topic being covered (knights on blockading squares). So I make the move. Then I ask “Why would he play that? What’s the point?”

I don’t see the answer right away, so old habit kicks in and I immediately just start making the next few moves to get to the point of the book. Then I stop. I think.  I realize that this is exactly the bad habit I am working to overcome.

So I go back to the position above, and I really ask myself why would White make that move? After all, Suat was rated 2599 at the time of this game, so there is clearly a very clear reason for this move.

I spent a few minutes really thinking about this position. The obvious idea has to be that White can take control of the b file, but how? After all, after 23…cxb4 24.Rxb4 bxa5 White can’t just double rooks as his rook is under attack.

After White moves the rook to safety, Black just moves one of his rooks to the b file, and White has nothing. The it hit me. White can leave the rook en prise and play 25.Qb6, counterattacking the Black queen, giving him time to double on the file!

I rushed over to the computer to pull up the game and check with an engine, but to my delight I found that Suat has an annotated version of this game in the database! Enjoy!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round Seven

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In round seven Alekhine faces Hans Kmoch. While he later became famous as the author of Pawn Power in Chess, at this time Kmoch was a fierce competitor over the board.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round Six

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As we learned from George Harrison, all things must pass.

For Alekhine at San Remo, round six saw the end of his winning streak to start the event, though with the draw his undefeated streak remained intact.

Coming out of an Exchange French, the players quickly trade down most of their pieces in just a few moves, showing that neither feels like overly pressing.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round Five

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Once again, in round five we are treated to a display of Alekhine’s will to win as he gets off to a 5-0 start in the event.

After emerging from the opening in an equal position, the world champion maneuvers back and forth, increasing his advantages in the tiniest ways per the teachings of Steinitz, until eventually he is able to convert his advantage.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round Four

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Today we look at the round four game in San Remo between Vidmar and Alekhine. After winning this game, the world champion was off to a 4-0 start.

This is a game that should be required learning material for an serious student who is just starting out.

Alekhine has a nice middlegame position, which he exchanges for an endgame with an outside passed pawn, eventually trading that down into a rook and two vs knight and three ending with all the pawns on the same side of the board.

From here the good doctors technique is quite educational.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round Three

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In round three, the world champion continues with another impressive win, this time against Nimzowitsch.

This game features the “Alekhine’s Gun” by it’s namesake. The annotations are in German, but should be followable.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round Two

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In round two, Dr. Alekhine once again brings home the full point. This time he gets pawns rolling down the kingside and in the center to drive his opponent back and then wins a pawn.

Eventually he exchanges down into a rook ending where he shows impeccable technique.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Alekhine in San Remo 1930 – Round One

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Recently we took a look at Karpov’s Linares 1994 performance. Today we begin with one that is in the same realm of all time great performances.

After winning the world championship from Capablanca in 1927, Alexander Alekhine spend a couple of years touring and giving simuls.

Finally, in January of 1930 he was ready to once again play in a top level event. Over 15 rounds he surrendered only two draws.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Karpov in Linares 1994 – Round Thirteen

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And so we reach the final round. The tournament has been clinched and there is nothing left to prove. Many would simply play a quick draw here and go home to count their money and rating gains.

However, that was not be be. After his opponent, Beliavsky, made a couple of poor moves in the opening, Karpov was able to quickly and easily convert to make it 11/13 for the event.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott