Moscow 1925
Notes on a lecture by NM Scott Massey at the Kenilworth Chess Club

NM Scott Massey delivered his lecture on the famous Moscow 1925 tournament and the beginnings of Soviet Chess on October 6, 2005 at the Kenilworth Chess Club (see photo here). As always, his lecture was very well researched and demonstrated several fascinating games. Most of our attention was focused on the games of Ilyin Zhenevsky (or Genevsky) who figured very prominently in the history of Soviet Chess as one of the chief organizers of government funds for chess education, GM support, and tournaments. His games in the event, especially against Lasker and Capablanca, were also very interesting and quite suggestive of the ways in which Western players of the time may have influenced the developing Soviet School.

Scott's implicit thesis was that the Soviet School of Chess that developed before and after WWII got its most important principles from the best Western players of the time via the series of Moscow tournaments, beginning with Moscow 1925. Basically, the Soviet School of Chess was not fully a native creation but derived from the West. It's actually a rather convincing idea once you look closely at the games themselves. After all, it was Lasker, Capablanca, Torre, and Reti who most played like members of the Soviet School of Chess at the tournament! It took the Soviets themselves over a decade to catch up, and part of how they did so was by inviting the Western players to their tournaments.

As always, Scott used the opportunity to reflect on the history and society. Some of his discussion of the emergent Soviet chess system was inspired by Daniel Johnson's "Cold War Chess" (originally in Prospect). He also read a large number of other books, including the following:

Here are the chief games he either showed or referenced during the lecture:

Ilyin A Zhenevsky - Emanuel Lasker [B80]

Moscow International Tournament/Moscow (8) 1925


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3

A rather modern and cagey way of playing against the Sicilian. You can begin to see some Soviet School thinking here. Black can now meet the normal Closed Sicilian in French fashion by 3. g3 d5=

 

3... d6

Now however 3... d5?! allows White to gain open lines and a lead in development after 4. exd5 (4. d4!?) 4... exd5 5. Bb5+ Nc6[] 6. O-O with a much better game for White. But in playing ...d6, Black allows White to continue to delay his own central advance because Black is less likely now himself to play an early...d5 which would mean a wasted tempo.

 

4. g3

White can return to normal lines by 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6

 

4... Nf6 5. Bg2 Be7

At the cost of a tempo, Black can keep the position closed by 5... e5

 

6. O-O O-O 7. b3!?

Bogoljubow points out that this move guards the c4 square which often causes inconveniences for White in other variations, where Black sometimes posts his Knight at that square. The move also supports a later advance with Pc4 to help control the d5 square. 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4

 

7... Nc6 8. Bb2 Bd7 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qa5 11. Qd2 Rac8

11... >= Rfd8!=

 

12. Rad1 Kh8

White threatened to use tactical means to achieve positional ends by Nxc6 and Nd5, because of the double attack on the Queen and the Bishop at e7 with check. For example, 12... h6? 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. Nd5 Qd8 (14... Qxd2? 15. Nxe7++-) 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Rfe1 Rfd8 17. c4 and White has the two Bishops, a powerful bind on the position, and chances to attack the weakened pawn at d6.

 

13. Nce2!

Clearing the way for the c4 advance and offering a trade of Queens that can only benefit White, especially since it would aid him in doubling Rooks on the d-file. White has also accurately calculated that Black cannot safely grab the pawn at a2... Perhaps instead 13. Ncb5 or 13. a3

 

13... Qxa2?!

...or can he? Bogoljubow writes: "A stange combination by Lasker. But Black gets a very solid position after the resulting Queen sacrifice." Based on the result of the game, it does not seem right for Bogoljubow to give this move a dubious "?!" mark, especially since alternatives are no more clear. Lasker's willingness to accept an imbalance of material in this game is very much like the type of materially imbalances explored by the Soviet School of chess--in particular, the so-called "Soviet Exchange Sacrifice."

 

a) 13... Qh5?! 14. Nf4 Qh6 15. Nb5 e5 16. Ne2 Qh5 (16... Qxd2 17. Rxd2 Nb4 18. c4 Bxb5 19. cxb5 Nxa2 20. Ra1 Nb4 21. Rxa7) 17. c4 a6 18. Nbc3 Ng4 (18... Bh3!? 19. f3) 19. h3 Nf6 20. g4 Bxg4!? 21. Ng3! Bxd1 22. Nxh5 Bxh5 23. Nd5 Nxd5 24. exd5 Nb8 25. f4! Stoyko 25... Nd7 26. fxe5 Nxe5 (26... dxe5 27. d6) 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. d6!! Rfd8 29. c5 Rxc5 30. dxe7

 

b) 13... e5?! 14. Nxc6 Qxd2 15. Rxd2 Bxc6 16. Nc3 b5 17. a3 a5 18. b4

 

c) According to Steve Stoyko, modern thought suggests that Black can survive a hedgehog formationwith 13... Qxd2! 14. Rxd2 a6 (14... d5?! now or never 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. c4 Nb6 17. Rfd1 ) 15. c4 Rfd8 etc.

 

14. Ra1

White gains little for the pawn from 14. c4!? Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Qa6

 

14... Qxb2 15. Rfb1 Qxb1+ 16. Rxb1 Rfd8 17. c4 Ne8?!

"I don't like this" says Stoyko.

 

18. f4

Boboljubow writes that "White proceeds too much by force and disregards his own King's safety. Correct was 18. Nxc6 " perhaps with the idea of building a Queenside initiative by 18... Bxc6 (18... bxc6 19. Ra1 ) (18... Rxc6 19. Ra1 a6 20. Qb4 ) 19. Nd4 Bd7 20. Qa5

 

18... a6 19. Kh1

19. Nxc6!

 

19... Nc7 20. Qe3 Rb8

Stoyko suggests 20... Nxd4 21. Nxd4 b5! as the natural break for Black. Black's approach to the position is more static than dynamic--not at all as post-Soviet players would approach things!

 

21. Rd1 Nb4

21... Bf6 22. e5!?

 

22. Qc3

22. e5!? d5= 22. Nc3 Be8 23. e5 d5 24. f5!?

 

22... a5 23. Ra1 b6

Stoyko suggests that this is an old fashioned and overly static way of playing the position, especially considering that Black had opportunities for ...b5 or ... d5 breaks.

 

24. Qe3?

"An unfortunate error in an interesting and instructive position." 24. g4!? h6 25. Qg3 is unclear.

 

24... e5!

Bogoljubow writes, "Lasker now won the Exchange and conducted the endgame simply and energetically to victory." When the Knight retreats, Black will fork Queen and Rook by Nc2.

 

25. Nf5 Bxf5 26. exf5 Nc2 27. Qc3 Nxa1 28. Qxa1 Bf6 29. Qg1 d5 30. cxd5 Nxd5! 31. fxe5 Bxe5 32. g4 f6 33. h4 b5 34. Nd4 Ne3 35. Qxe3 Rxd4 36. Bf3

to protect the g-pawn and the back rank, but it's all over:

 

36... a4 37. h5 a3 38. Qe2 Rbd8

Bogoljubow concludes that this is a game that shows Lasker the tactician in the best light. The Queen sacrifice in this gam was very creative. Lasker's fighting spirit, his desire to create unbalanced positions, and his desire to create difficult and unusual problems for his opponent would become hallmarks of the Soviet style.

 

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Jose Raoul Capablanca - Ilyin A Zhenevsky [B25]

Moscow International Tournament/Moscow (7) 1925


This game is fascinating and has attracted many commentaries over the years, especially by the Soviets. You wold hardly know that it is Capablanca conducting the White pieces, since we more typically see him playing in classical and technical style, exchanging into positionally advantageous endgames rather than developing sacriicial attacks on the King. This game was very influential on the Soviet School of chess precisely because it showed a different side of Capablanca. And Zhenesky's counter-punching play in this game was also widely celebrated. The game became a model for the "defense by counter-attack" play typical of the Soviet School.

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6!

"Black wants to control the d4 square for as long as possible" writes Bogoljubow.

 

4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nge2 d6 6. d3 Nf6 7. O-O O-O 8. h3 a6?!

Another sign of the weak opening preparation by the early Soviet players. This pawn advance wastes time. "More energetic is 8... Rb8 " writes Bogoljubow, since the Rook thus is removed from the long diagonal and is prepared to suppot the pawn's further advance up the field.

 

9. Be3 Bd7

More typical today is to prevent the exchange of Bishops at h6 by 9... h6 10. Qd2 Kh7

 

10. Qd2 Re8

"In order to avoid the exchange of Bishops by Bh6."

 

11. Nd1

11. f4 Qa5 12. Rf2 Khalifman

 

11... Rc8

the Rook is misplaced here.

 

12. c3 Qa5 13. g4 Red8 14. f4 Be8 15. g5 Nd7 16. f5

"White plays all out to attack on the Kingside, while Black plays equally to attack the Queenside." Who will break through first?

 

16... b5

"White is slightly ahead in his attack, and his target is more important" said Massey pointing to Black's King.

 

17. Nf4 b4 18. f6

Better according to Khalifman was 18. Nd5 e6 19. fxe6 fxe6 20. Nf6+ Bxf6 21. gxf6 Bf7 22. Bg5 with the idea of N-e3 (or f2) followed by g4-h6 (or 22. Bf2) .

 

18... Bf8

18... exf6 19. Nd5 fxg5 20. Bxg5 f6! 21. Nxf6+ Bxf6 22. Bxf6 Nxf6 23. Rxf6 with an attack for White.

 

19. Nf2?!

As the notes suggest, this move is not as bad as most claim. Bogoljubow writes that "this loses at least two tempi in developing the attack, but it is difficult to suggest how the front line is to be supplied." If 19. h4 with the idea Bh3 then 19... Nde5! Fritz suggests 19. Qf2! e5 (19... e6!? 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. f7+ Kh8 22. fxe8=Q Rxe8~~) (19... exf6?! 20. Nd5->) 20. Nd5 Nb6 21. Bd2 bxc3 22. bxc3 Rb8 23. N1e3 and suddenly White's pieces are working well together. Another improvement might be 19. fxe7 Nxe7 20. Nf2 (or 20. h4)

 

19... bxc3 20. bxc3 e6

20... Nde5

 

21. h4 Rb8 22. h5 Rb6 23. hxg6 hxg6

"White must begin to move the Rook!" writes Bogoljubow. But the Rook plays an impotant defensive role, holding the line against Black's counter-attack.

 

24. Nd1 Nde5 25. Qf2?!

Though this is still not bad, there were three other moves to consider, two likely winning:

 

a) Bogoljubow writes: "Capablanca indicates that better was 25. Bh3?! but if Black answers simply 25... Rdb8! it is difficult to see how White develops his attack or averts catastrophe on the Queenside."

 

b) White appears to have a winning resource here, which I found with the aid of Fritz: 25. Qe1! Ng4! (25... Rdb8? 26. Qh4! Rb1 27. Rxb1 Rxb1 28. Kf2!!+-) 26. Rf3! (also possible is 26. Qh4!? Nce5 27. Re1 followed by Nf2 as described below) 26... Rdb8 27. Rc1!! The critical move--creating a line of defense at c1 that prevents Black's Queenside attack from penetrating to the Kingside.(27. Rh3 Rb1 28. Rxb1 (28. Qh4 Nh6 29. Rxb1 Rxb1 30. gxh6 Rxd1+ 31. Kh2 Kh7 ) 28... Rxb1 29. Bf1!? Qxa2 30. Be2 Nce5 31. Qh4 Nh6 32. gxh6 Ba4! ) 27... Rb1 (27... Qa4 28. Rh3 Rb1 29. Qh4 Nh6 30. Nf2) 28. Rh3 Qa3 29. Qh4 Nh6 30. Ne2!!+- Qxa2 31. gxh6! White has eno ugh time to let the defensive line collapse, though he could instead hold fast with(31. Bf1!? Rxc1 32. Bxc1 Rb1 33. Nf2!+-) 31... Qxe2 32. h7+ Kh8 33. Bh6+- and the deadly threat of Bg7+ forces Black to suffer large material losses. White might try here

 

c) 25. Bf3!? which is similar to 27.Bf3 below: 25... Rdb8 26. Qh2 Rb1 27. Kg2

 

d) Not 25. c4?! Qxd2 26. Bxd2

 

25... Ng4 26. Qh4 Nce5

26... Nxe3? 27. Nxe3 Qxc3 28. Rac1 Qb2 29. Nc4+-

 

27. d4?

Likely time pressure, since the control was 30 moves in 2 hours. "Out of despair, White tries to get a Tower to the h-file before he is finished" writes Bogoljubow.

 

a) 27. Re1! with the idea of Nf2 still holds out hope for the attack. 27... Rdb8 28. Nf2 Nxe3? (28... Nxf2 29. Kxf2+-) (28... Nxf6 29. gxf6 Qxc3 30. N4h3! (30. Rac1) ) 29. Rxe3+- Rb1+ (29... Qxc3) 30. Rxb1 Rxb1+ 31. Kh2+-

 

b) Best may be 27. Bf3!! first discovered by Baskov and reported in an article in 64 (1930). 27... Nxe3 (27... Rdb8 28. Bxg4 Rb1 29. Rxb1 Rxb1 30. Be2 Qxa2) 28. Nxe3 Rb2 29. Ne2 Nxd3!! (29... Bb5 30. Kg2 Nxf3 31. Kxf3 Bxd3 32. Ng3 Qb5 33. c4 Bxc4 34. Nxc4 Qxc4 35. Rh1 Qd3+ 36. Kg4+-) 30. Rf2 (30. Kg2 Nf4+ 31. Kg3) 30... Nxf2 31. Kxf2+-

 

c) 27. Bd2! Stoyko 27... Rdb8 28. Bh3 (28. Bf3 Rb1) 28... Rb2 29. Nxb2 Rxb2 30. Nxe6!! (Khalifman gives 30. Bc1 Nh2 31. Bg2 Rxg2+ 32. Kxg2 Nxf1 33. Kxf1 Qxc3 34. Rb1 Nxd3) 30... fxe6 31. Rad1 Qxa2 32. Bxg4 Rxd2 (32... Nxg4 33. Qxg4) (32... Bf7 33. Rf2 Nxg4 34. Qxg4 Rb1 35. Rh2 Qa1 36. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 37. Kf2 Qxd3 38. Be1) 33. Bxe6+

 

27... Nxe3-+ 28. Nxe3 Qxc3 29. dxe5

"Eliminates the last hinderance to the afformentioned plan."

 

29... Qxe3+ 30. Kh1?

Made at the time control. There was once a debate over whether 30. Kh2 might still win, but it likely does not: 30... Rb2! (30... dxe5? 31. Nxg6 (31. Rf3 Qxe4 32. Rh3) 31... fxg6 32. Rf3 Qxf3 33. Bxf3 Rd7 34. Kg3) 31. Rae1 Qc3 32. Kh1 (32. Rc1 Qxe5 33. Rf3 Rxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Qb2+) (32. Rf3 Qxf3) 32... dxe5

 

30... dxe5!!

Prepared to surrender the Queen, a la Lasker!

 

31. Rf3 exf4!

"The Queen sacrifice destroys the last mate hope; now Capablanca must believe in the overwhelming power of the Black position!"

 

32. Rxe3 fxe3 33. Qe1

33. Re1 Rb2 34. Rxe3 Rd1+ 35. Kh2 Rdd2 36. Rh3 Bd6+-+

 

33... Rb2 34. Qxe3 Rdd2 35. Bf3 c4

35... Bb5 36. a4

 

36. a3?!

"Black's doubled Rooks are an awesome power which cannot be fought off." Better 36. e5 Bb4!! Why exchange one of your Rooks? (36... Rd3 37. Qe4 Rf2 (37... Bc5? 38. Qxc4) 38. Qa8) (36... Rh2+ 37. Kg1 Rxa2 38. Rxa2 Rxa2) (36... Rxa2 "because you win the a-pawn and it has a clear field with the support of the Bishops" 37. Rxa2 Rxa2 38. Qd4 Bb5 39. Be4) 37. Qb6 Bc3 and Black gets a mating attack.

 

36... Bd6 37. Qa7 c3

"A sensational game of the first rank! Zhenevsky excellently conducted the defense as well as the counter-attack. He fully earned the point over Gandmaster Capablanca." There is no question that Capablanca missed a win, but Zhenevsky's counter-attack was very nicely played and typical of the Soviet School.

 

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Jose Raoul Capablanca - Mikhail Botvinnik [D51]

Simultaneous Exhibition/Leningrad 1925


This game was played on the rest day at the half-way point of the Moscow 1925. Capablanca had taken the train to Leningrad the night before to play a simultaneous exhibition against the next generation of Soviet players. He lost 4 and won few with a number of draws, suggesting that the younger generation was rising in strength. One of the four winning players in the simul was a future Soviet and World Champion: the young Mikhail Botvinnik.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 Bb4

An interesting transposition to Nimzo-Indian positions.

 

6. cxd5 exd5 7. Qb3 c5!?

Aggressive play by the future champ, but it does leave Black with an isolated pawn, which has both strengths and weaknesses.

 

8. dxc5 Qa5 9. Bxf6 Nxf6 10. O-O-O?

This is very dangerous with so many lines opening on the Queenside. Relatively best might be 10. Rc1! O-O 11. a3 Bxc5 12. Qb5 getting the Queens off the board to make the isolani less of a middlegame threat and more an endgame weakness.

 

10... O-O 11. Nf3 Be6 12. Nd4 Rac8! 13. c6 Bxc3 14. Qxc3 Qxa2 15. Bd3 bxc6 16. Kc2 c5 17. Nxe6 Qa4+! 18. b3 Qa2+ 19. Qb2 Qxb2+ 20. Kxb2 fxe6

Black is left with an additional pawn and the better position. The rest is a matter of technique as they say, yet it is impressive how much Botvinnik already had at age 14!

 

21. f3 Rc7 22. Ra1 c4! 23. bxc4 dxc4 24. Bc2 Rb8+ 25. Kc1 Nd5! 26. Re1 c3! 27. Ra3 Nb4 28. Re2 Rd8 29. e4 Rc6 30. Re3? Rd2! 31. Raxc3 Rxc2+ 32. Rxc2 Rxc2+-+ 0-1


Carlos Torre - Solomon Gotthilf [D43]

Moscow International Tournament/Moscow (10) 1925


1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bf5?

Torre biographer Velasco writes, "This premature development of the Black queen Bishop was a common mistake in this line at the time. Correct is either 4... dxc4 or 4... e6 ." Obviously the Soviets suffered from a lack of opening preparation in this tournament. Yet deep opening preparation would soon become one of the hallmarks of the Soviet School. Yet it was Torre who was the better prepared, having demonstrated this refutation of 4...Bf5? in Torre-Opocensky Marienbad 1925.

 

5. cxd5! cxd5

Or 5... Nxd5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. Nxd5 cxd5 8. Qxd5

 

6. Qb3 Qb6?!

Capablanca recommended 6... Bc8!

 

7. Nxd5 Nxd5

7... Qxb3 8. Nxf6+ exf6 9. axb3

 

8. Qxd5 e6 9. Qb3 Qxb3

9... Nc6 A game played during the period of Soviet chess domination continued instead: 10. Bd2 Qxb3 (10... Nb4 11. Rc1 ) 11. axb3 Bc2 12. Bc3 b5 13. e3 Rb8 14. Ra6 Nb4 15. Rxa7 Bxb3 16. Ne5 Nc2+ 17. Kd2 b4 18. Nd7 (18. Bd3!?) 18... bxc3+ 19. Kxc3 Rb4 20. Nxf8 Kxf8 21. Bd3 1-0 Korchnoi-Ruderfer, Riga 1975. As Velasco points out, "Clearly, the great Victor Korchnoi had studie the games of Carlos Torre!" Indeed, the Korhnoi game is the mirror image of the present one, with a Soviet player demonstrating the vast superiority of his opening preparation over the Western player.

 

10. axb3 Bc2?!

Black wants to recover his pawn, but in the process he risks losing the Bishop.

 

11. Bd2 Bxb3 12. e4! f6

Black cannot rescue the Bishop without making major concessions:

 

a) 12... f5 13. Bb5+ Kf7 14. Ne5+ Kg8 15. exf5 exf5 16. Ke2 Bd5 17. Rhc1+- Nc6 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. Bxc6 Bxc6 20. Rxc6

 

b) 12... Nc6 13. Bb5! threatening Ne5 for starters 13... Bd6

 

13. Bc3 Bc2 14. Nd2 Nd7 15. Bb5 a6 16. Ke2

Holding d3--there will be no escape!

 

16... Rc8 17. Bxd7+ Kxd7 18. Rhc1 b5

To exploit the resulting pin on the c3-Bishop, but White remains well ahead in material.

 

19. Rxc2 b4 20. Rxa6 bxc3 21. Rxc3 Rxc3 22. bxc3 Bd6 23. Nc4

The ending is absolutely hopeless for Black. Torre said of this game that it was "the most classical one I have played so far. Basically it is a very simple game, but its beauty lies in its harmony. At the beginning White had a very simple plan: to take advantage of Black's dubious 4th move with the Bishop. The rest of the game is a natural unfolding of this idea." Such strategic coherence would also become a hallmark of the Soviet style once they had advanced enough in basic tactics and opening theory.

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Efim Bogoljubov - Solomon Gotthilf [D12]

Moscow International Tournament/Moscow (18) 1925


Bogoljubow won this tournament, but he proved himself no Soviet when he immediately moved to Germany where he wrote the tournament book. There is a letter exchange between him and the Soviets where he explains that he simply cannot live under Soviet conditions, which were never up to European standards. Many players, esecially Jews, left the Soviet Union during this time and that is likely why it took them so long to become as formidable and organized as they had become a decade later in the next major Moscow event.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. d4 d5 4. e3 Bf5

Not good, as especially well illustrated in the Torre - Gotthilf game.

 

5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 e6 7. Ne5! Nbd7?

7... >= Nfd7!

 

8. g4! Bg6

8... Nxe5 9. dxe5 Bxg4 (9... Nxg4 10. Qa4+ Qd7 (10... Ke7 11. Qb4+) 11. Bb5) 10. Qa4++-

 

9. h4 h6

9... h5? 10. Nxg6 fxg6 11. Bd3! (11. Qb3 Qb6) 11... Nxg4 (11... Kf7 12. g5 Ng8 (12... Ng4) 13. Qf3+) 12. Bxg6+ Ke7 13. f3 Ngf6 14. e4

 

10. Nxg6 fxg6 11. Bd3 Kf7 12. Qc2 Nxg4 13. Bxg6+ Kg8 14. Nxd5!! exd5 15. Qf5 Bb4+ 16. Ke2

16. Bd2 Bxd2+ 17. Kxd2 Qa5+ 18. Kd1! Nxf2+ 19. Qxf2 Rf8 16... Qf6 17. Qxg4 17. Qxd5+ Kf8 18. Qxd7 Qxg6

 

17... Nf8 18. Bd3!

18. h5? Nxg6! (18... Qg5 19. Qxg5 hxg5) 19. hxg6 Qa6+ 20. Kf3 Rf8+ 21. Kg2 Rf6

 

18... Ne6 19. Qf5

19. Qg2 Rd8 20. Rh3 (20. a3)

 

19... Qxf5 20. Bxf5 Kf7 21. Bd2 Bxd2 22. Kxd2 g6 23. Bc2 g5 24. Bb3 Rad8 25. hxg5! Nxg5

25... hxg5 26. Rxh8 Rxh8 27. Bxd5

 

26. Rh5 Kg6

26... Ne4+ 27. Ke2 Nf6 28. Rf5+-

 

27. Rah1 Rd6 28. Bc2+ Kg7 29. Rg1

Threatening f4

 

29... Rg6 30. Kd1

and White must win material since if the attacked Rook at g6 moves the Knight falls to f4.

1-0


Ilyin A Zhenevsky - Richard Reti [B05]

Moscow International Tournament/Moscow (17) 1925


1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 Bg4

The Alekhine Defense is a hypermodern line that was developed during this time by European players and picked up first in the West, even by the classical throwback Frank Marshall. Though the Soviets would become known for their own great opening experiments and analyses, it was the Western players who introduced the most experimental lines at the Moscow 1925 tournament. Could they have been the Soviets' inspiration?

 

5. Be2 Nc6 6. exd6?!

Surrendering the center prematurely. The Soviet is obviously flustered by Reti's opening. 6. c4

 

6... Qxd6 7. Nc3?! O-O-O!

7... Nxc3 8. bxc3 O-O-O 9. Ng5 Bxe2 10. Qxe2=

 

8. Nxd5

a) 8. O-O Nf4

b) 8. Ne4 Qg6!

c) 8. Nb5!? Qg6 9. c4 is unclear.

 

8... Qxd5

The game started out hypermodern but turns rapidly classical. This position could have arisen from the Scandinavian.

 

9. Be3

9. O-O Nxd4 10. Nxd4 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Qxd4

 

9... e5!

"Black plays the whole game with great vigor." This is a standard classical tactic in these positions.

 

10. dxe5 Bxf3 11. gxf3?!

A terrible concession, but the alternative at this point was hardly better: 11. Bxf3 Qa5+! 12. Bd2[] Qxe5+

 

11... Qa5+! 12. Bd2 Qxe5 13. c3 Bc5

Are we sure that this is he hypermodern master Richard Reti playing the Black pieces?

 

14. O-O? Rhe8

Naturally getting the last piece into play. Somewhat better, though, was 14... Qd6! 15. Be3 Qg6+

 

15. Bc4 Qf5 16. b4 Ne5 17. Be2 Bb6 18. f4 Qg6+ 19. Kh1 Qc6+ 20. Kg1 Re6-> 21. Bh5 Rxd2! 22. b5 Rg6+ 23. Bg4+ Nxg4!

The conclusion might be 24.bxc6 Nxf2+ 25.Qg4 Rxg4#

 

0-1

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