QGDD51

Alekhin Alexander
Capablanca Jose Raul

Ch World (match) (34)
Buenos Aires (Argentina), 1927


This game - the 34'th - was the last in the match and secured Alekhine the title of World Champion.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 c6 6. a3 Be7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nd5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7

10... Nxc3!?

11. Ne4 N5f6 12. Ng3 c5

12... b6!?

13. O-O Nb6 14. Ba2 cxd4 15. Nxd4 g6 16. Rc1 Bd7 17. Qe2 Rac8 18. e4 e5 19. Nf3 Kg7

19... Rxc1!? 20. Rxc1 Rc8

20. h3 h6

Better

20... Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Rc8

and black holds the position.

21. Qd2! Be6?

Capablanca now gets a very difficult position.

21... Bc6 22. Nh4! Nxe4 (22... Bxe4 23. Qe3!) or(22... 22... Bd7 23. Qa5) 23. Nhf5+ gxf5 24. Nxf5+ Kf6 25. Qxh6+ Kxf5 26. g4#

The best was probably 21...Na4!? as suggested by Lasker

22. Bxe6 Qxe6 23. Qa5 Nc4 24. Qxa7 Nxb2 25. Rxc8 Rxc8 26. Qxb7 Nc4 27. Qb4 Ra8 28. Ra1 Qc6! 29. a4! Nxe4 30. Nxe5!

The tempting 30. Nxe4? fails because of

30. Nxe4? Qxe4 31. Rc1 Rc8 32. Nxe5? Ne3! 33. Qxe4 Rxc1+ 34. Kh2 Nf1+ 35. Kg1 Ng3+

Alekhin

30... Qd6! 31. Qxc4 Qxe5 32. Re1 Nd6 33. Qc1! Qf6 34. Ne4 Nxe4 35. Rxe4 Rb8 36. Re2 Ra8 37. Ra2 Ra5 38. Qc7 Qa6 39. Qc3+ Kh7 40. Rd2 Qb6 41. Rd7 Qb1+ 42. Kh2 Qb8+ 43. g3 Rf5 44. Qd4! Qe8 45. Rd5 Rf3 46. h4 Qh8 47. Qb6! Qa1 48. Kg2 Rf6 49. Qd4 Qxd4 50. Rxd4

The position is won. Alekhine plays very carefully, but considering the importance of this game one can hardly blame him! The endgame has become a classic and can be found in many endgame books.

50... Kg7 51. a5!

The rook behind the passed pawn!

51... Ra6 52. Rd5 Rf6 53. Rd4 Ra6 54. Ra4 Kf6

Black cannot allow the white king to reach b5. In that case black's rook cannot stop the pawn.

55. Kf3 Ke5 56. Ke3 h5 57. Kd3 Kd5 58. Kc3 Kc5 59. Ra2

Shows clearly why the rook is better placed behind the passed pawn. If the black rook moves the pawn advances. Pawn moves will not help, so black must allow the white king to advance.

59... Kb5 60. Rb2+

There's no rush.

60... Kc5 61. Ra2 Kb5 62. Kd4

62. Kb3 gains nothing.

62. Kb3 Rf6 63. a6? Rf3+ 64. Kb2 Rxf2+

and black wins.

62... Rd6+

62... Kb4 63. Ra1!

63. Ke5 Re6+ 64. Kf4 Ka6

It is better to block the pawn with the king, but in this case it makes no difference to the final outcome.

65. Kg5 Re5+

The passive 65... Re7 loses after

65... Re7 66. Kf6 Rb7 67. Re2 Kxa5 68. Re7 Rb2 69. Rxf7 Rxf2+ 70. Kxg6 Rg2 71. Rf3

66. Kh6 Rf5 67. f4?

This is ok, but there is a faster way:

67. Kg7! Rf3 68. Kg8 Rf6 69. Kf8 Rf3 70. Kg7 Rf5 71. f4

with zugzwang.

67... Rc5! 68. Ra3 Rc7 69. Kg7 Rd7 70. f5! gxf5 71. Kh6 f4 72. gxf4 Rd5 73. Kg7 Rf5 74. Ra4 Kb5 75. Re4! Ka6 76. Kh6 Rxa5

Or 76... Kb7 and white wins like this:

76... Kb7 77. Re5 Rxf4 78. Kg5! Rf1 79. Kxh5 f5 80. Kg5 f4 81. Rf5 f3 82. Kg4

77. Re5 Ra1 78. Kxh5 Rg1 79. Rg5 Rh1 80. Rf5 Kb6 81. Rxf7 Kc6 82. Re7

At seven in the afternoon this sealed move was opened and Capablanca resigned immediately. Alekhine had won 6 games, lost 3 and was the new World Champion. Just before his death in 1946 Alekhine wrote: "How was it possible that he lost to me?...Even today I can't answer this question with certainty. In 1927 I wasn't convinced of my superiority. The main reason to his defeat may have been that he over estimated his own strength."

1-0