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     Volume 4 Issue 3 | July 9, 2004 |


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Time Out

The sailor returns Chess

The organisers of an international masters tournament in California, 1972, were greatly surprised when an old man appeared at their office and wanted to play in that strong event. It was meant for grandmasters and masters only, and there was no room for an unknown elderly gentleman. The stranger introduced himself as William Arthur Dake. Even that did not work, for no organiser could instantly work out who this man could be. Dake then divulged the most startling truth about his chess life, " I'm Arthur Dake who defeated world champion Alexander Alekhine in Pasadena, 1932." That struck the men in front of him like a thunderbolt. All of them had heard about Arthur Dake, but nobody had seen him. The organisers felt honoured to invite Dake to play in the tournament.

Dake was indeed a mysterious character. A sailor by profession, he was a gifted player too. After all, it wasn't easy to beat Alekhine in 1932, when the great master was at the peak of his form. Alekhine was on a tour of North America and played in a tournament in Pasadena before he went to Mexico City. He never wasted his time in any pursuit other than chess. On the train to Mexico, he made the best use of the long journey studying a variation of the Scotch Opening. And that was about the only thing he did during the journey!

It's not known why Dake did not play after his fine showing in Pasadena. Perhaps chess players in those days didn't have a professional attitude. Dake was perhaps not an ambitious man who would like to develop a career in chess. Nobody knows what he was doing during those 40 years, except sailing from one place to another. He preferred the beauty of a vast expanse of water to the infinite charm of chess which captivated, and still captivates, many a great mind.

His reappearance in 1972 was no doubt a memorable event. Chess fans were delighted to learn that he was still alive.

Here is Dake's great victory against Alekhine.

Position after 19.Rxe7

White-Arthur Willam Dake
Black-Alexander Alekhine [B13]
Pasadena, 1932
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Be6 7.c5 g6 8.Bb5 Bg7 9.Ne5 Qc8 10.Qa4 Bd7 11.00 00 12.Bf4 a6 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Rfe1 Nh5 15.Bd2 Ra7 16.Re2 Be8 17.Rae1 f5 18.Nf3 Nf6 19.Rxe7 Rxe7 20.Rxe7 f4 21.Bxf4 Ne4 22.Be5 Bh6 23.Nxe4 dxe4 24.Ng5 Qf5 25.Qb3+ Bf7 26.Nxf7 Rxf7 27.Rxf7 Qxf7 28.Qb8+ Qf8 29.d5 e3 30.f4 Qxb8 31.Bxb8 Kf7 32.dxc6 Ke8 33.b4 g5 34.g3 gxf4 35.gxf4 Kd8 36.a4 Kc8 37.Bd6 Bg7 38.Kf1 1-0.




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