<%-- Page Title--%> Time Out <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 155 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

May 21, 2004

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The slave of chess


The lives of some great chess masters were just as torrid and checkered as their brilliant play over the board. Many of them had to settle abroad because of violent changes that took place in their countries of origin. This was particularly true about the period between the two great wars, when the world witnessed some major changes. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the rise of ultra nationalists in Germany were events that greatly influenced the lives of some top masters like Alexander Alekhine and Emanuel Lasker.

Alekhine got into trouble because of his noble background. The Bolsheviks were chess enthusiasts and did a lot for the promotion of the game in the former Soviet Union. Lenin himself was a chess player and so was Maxim Gorky. But Alekhine was imprisoned with many other noblemen immediately after the fall of the Czarist regime. It is said that Leon Trotsky came to learn that the 26-year old young man was great chess master and decided to release him. Alekhine moved to Paris and became a French citizen.

He once again found himself in a difficult situation and faced charges of collaborating with the Nazis and writing anti-Semitic articles in German journals. This happened at the fag end of his life. Alekhine tried to defend himself, but he was an abandoned man by the time the war ended. He died a loner at the small town of Estoril in Portugal on March 15, 1946, the very night FIDE held a meeting to find a future challenger for him!

As a player, Alekhine had the ability to produce superb combinations. Even today, you have to go through the games of the Franco-Russian genius to learn how to launch an irresistible, sacrificial attack. If chess was Capablanca's mother tongue, it was Alekhine's obsession. He virtually spent his whole life trying to resolve the mysteries of the 64 squares. Like most other great players, he had a monumental ego. Nevertheless, he had the humility to say, " Don't call me a master. We are all slaves. Chess is our master."

You should enjoy the beautiful combination in the following game.

White- Richard Reti
Black-Alexander Alekhine [A00]
Baden-Baden 1925
1.g3 e5 2.Nf3 e4 3.Nd4 d5 4.d3 exd3 5.Qxd3 Nf6 6.Bg2 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nxd2 00 9.c4 Na6 10.cxd5 Nb4 11.Qc4 Nbxd5 12.N2b3 c6 13.00 Re8 14.Rfd1 Bg4 15.Rd2 Qc8 16.Nc5 Bh3 17.Bf3 Bg4 18.Bg2 Bh3 19.Bf3 Bg4 20.Bh1 h5 21.b4 a6 22.Rc1 h4 23.a4 hxg3 24.hxg3 Qc7 25.b5 axb5 26.axb5 Re3! 27.Nf3? cxb5! 28.Qxb5 Nc3 29.Qxb7 Qxb7 30.Nxb7 Nxe2+ 31.Kh2 Ne4!! 32.Rc4 Nxf2 33.Bg2 Be6! 34.Rcc2 Ng4+ 35.Kh3 Ne5+ 36.Kh2 Rxf3! 37.Rxe2 Ng4+ 38.Kh3 Ne3+ 39.Kh2 Nxc2 40.Bxf3 Nd4 41.Rf2 Nxf3+ 42.Rxf3 Bd5 0-1


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