Reti - Alekhine 









Richard Reti (2650)  -  Alexander A. Alekhine (2775) 
[A00]
 Baden-Baden (Spa)Germany;   1925 

  [A.J. Goldsby I]  


I have endeavored to make the  THE (!)  definitive analysis 
of this game on the 'net. 
(This is the full-length version of this game.) 


 Many writers  -  such as Chernev - have often said this is one of  
 the most beautiful games ever played. 

***

This game is in over half a dozen books dedicated to the prettiest and best 
games of chess ever played. 

(Indeed. In the book, 
 [The Mammoth Book Of]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games," 
{by  GM's John Nunn,  John Emms,  &  FM Graham Burgess.};
the authors give this game a score of 14!! 
{15 would have been a perfect score.} !!!
This is high praise, indeed!) Nunn's analysis of this game is probably 
the best and the most detailed that this particular game has ever received. 

This game is also covered in the excellent book: 
"Chess Highlights Of The 20th Century,"  by  FM Graham Burgess

And this is game # 20 in the book, (now one of my favorites!) 
"The 100 Best," 
('The 100 Best Chess Games of The 20th Century, Ranked.') 
  by  GM Andy Soltis

                                               *** 

Both players play this game very creatively. It is a very unusual opening. 
But the final combination that Alekhine plays is very sharp, VERY interesting 
and easily one of the best Queenless attacks ever played. 


My notes are based primarily on those of  GM Andrew Soltis
in his book,  "The 100 Best.
( The 100 Best Games Of The 20th Century, Ranked. 
[McFarland Books, copyright 2000.] ).

(I spent almost 3 days annotating this game using just the Soltis book, 
a couple of chessboards, {+ magnetic sets} 2-3 DC-PMP's and ChessBase. 
{+ any analysis engines available under ChessBase.} 
Only AFTER I finished this process, did I begin the task of looking this 
game up in other books to see what other writers had written about this game. 
 This discovery process is very important to me. 

Of course I would be lying if I said I was not familiar with this game -
I think I first saw it in a book or a magazine when I was like eight or nine 
years old. (I annotated it by hand in one of my note-books, when I was like
12 years old.) But I tried to clear my mind and not depend on memory, only 
what GM Soltis had written and what the computer engine's evaluations 
were revealing to me. 


1. g3!?, (Maybe - '!') 
Fianchettoing the KB, and keeping ALL of White's options open. 

Many have criticized this move as inaccurate. 
All I can say is that is if 1. b3, is sound ... 

Reti deserves special recognition for playing this at a time when virtually 
the whole chess world considered this move unsound. 

[ The usual way to play this opening is for White to play 1. N-KB3. (Nf3) 

Now, the normal way (move order) to reach the Reti Opening is to play: 
1.Nf3
, followed by normal development. 

Now MCO gives the line: 1...d5;   (1...Nf6!?;).    2.c4 c6; 3.b3 Nf6;  

 (I like to play the  "Lasker System,"  via the following move order:  
 3...h6!?; 4.Bb2 Bf5; 5.g3 Nd7!?; 6.Bg2 e6; 7.0-0 Ngf6; 8.d3 Bc5!?;  
 This is Emmanuel Lasker's original idea.  9.Nbd2 0-0; 10.Qc2 Bh7;  
 11.a3
a5!
; 12.Rac1 Rc8; 13.Qb1 Qe7; 14.Qa1, "~"   followed by White  
 doubling his Rooks on the c-file.). 

4.g3 Bg4!;  The best, according to MCO. 

4...Bf5!?;  is ... the "London System." 
(This system was all the rage at one time.). 

5.Bg2 e6; 6.0-0 Nbd7; 7.Bb2 Bd6; 8.d3 0-0; 9.Nbd2 a5; The end of the column. 
(Col. # 6; page # 706.). 10.a3 Qe7; 11.Qc2 e5; 12.e4 dxe4; 13.dxe4 Bc5
14.h3, "~" 
{I rate this position as "unclear."} 
 ... "with just a small advantage for White." - GM Nick DeFirmian

(The symbol for "White is a little better," is "+/=". {A plus over an equal sign.} 
But I did NOT use it here as I do not believe it is appropriate for this position.)

(This is rather strange. I checked this position vs. about half a dozen 
different analysis engines.  ALL  of them consider this position to be 
AT LEAST a little better for Black! "=/+" or even "/+". 
 ' - 0.37  for Junior 6.0; ... after nearly 30 minutes!). 

GM J. Hjartarsson - GM Stefansson;  Reykjavik, (Iceland) [Rapid]; 1995.
[ See MCO-14; columns # 1 -6, (Mainly col. # 6 here.) 
and notes n-p. {Mainly note # (p.) here.} ]. 
 MCO has many lines here, but this seems to be what that book considers best. ].  

 

1...e5!?; (Possibly - '!') 
Alekhine grabs the center, which is maybe the best response. 
(The "Classical" response.) 

[  The symmetrical response would be: 
 1...g6
;  and Black could imitate/follow White's moves for a while. 
2.Bg2
Bg7; 3.c4 Nf6;  
 
( Black could keep the perfect symmetry (!) for even a while longer with:  
  3...c5
; 4.Nc3 Nc6; 5.Nf3 Nf6; 6.0-0 0-0; "=" etc. 
 White probably should now play the central break with d4. ). 
Now the continuation: 4.Nf3 0-0; 5.d4 d6; 6.0-0 Nbd7; 7.Nc3 e5
8.e4
c6; "~"  (Maybe "+/="), with a King's Indian Defense - type position. 
(White has a slight space advantage.); 

The Hyper-modern response would be:  1...Nf6;  --->   
thus keeping all of Black's options open.

Black could have also played:  1...d5;  This [also] would have been 
a Classical response, but probably would have allowed too much 
leeway to White, as now the first player has the choice between 
about a dozen different defenses to 1. Pawn to Queen Four, 
... BUT WITH COLORS REVERSED! 
(But it it is still OK ... and 100 per cent playable.) 

Of course virtually ANY first move by Black, followed by systematic
development, would be acceptable for Black.

(This is just common sense.)  ]

 

2. Nf3!?
Enticing the Black Pawns forward. 

"A provocative move in the Hyper-Modern style."  
 - GM Andrew Soltis

"A very unusual move." - GM John Nunn

"An experiment ... which Reti never repeated after the present game." 
 - GM A. Alekhine

Many writers have also criticized this move, some ...
 have even awarded it a question mark! 

The move does entail risk, but not overly so. In fact White emerges 
from the opening with a fair-sized advantage. 

 All I will say is that if this move is wrong, then you need to throw  
 the Alekhine's Defense, (1. e4, Nf6!?); on the trash heap also!! 

[ Much safer for White was: 2.d3,  with a possible Reversed Pirc. 

Or  2.Bg2,  keeping all of White's options open. ].  

 

2...e43. Nd4 d5;  
This must be good, grabbing the center. 

[ 3...c5!?; (Maybe - '!')  This might actually be best.  
  4.Nb3 c4; 5.Nd4 Bc5; 6.c3 Nc6!; "=/+" - Alekhine and Nunn. ]. 

 

4. d3!
The best, White should immediately undermine Black's center pawns. 

(Soltis does NOT give this move an exclam.) 

[ A few writers recommended:  4.a3!?, but this is questionable. 
                                         ***
Definitely not: 4.Nc3?? c55.Ndb5 a66.Na3 b5!7.Nab1 d4
8.Nxe4
f5; "/+" (Maybe "-/+")  This is funny as this is a direct refutation of 
one of the lines that one of the annotators gave in the book of this tournament! ]. 

 

4...exd3!?;  (Black gives up his "Far, advanced Pawn" on e4.) 
Nunn calls this:  "A very timid reaction." 
(Black almost completely surrenders the center for no real reason.) 

[ 4...Nf6!;  -  GM J. Nunn. 

4...c5!?; (Maybe - '!')  This also may be better and more vigorous than 
what was actually played in the game. ('!' - GM R. Fine.) ].  

 

5. Qxd3!?, (Maybe - '!') 
Probably the sharpest and best. 

White plays very aggressively and creatively. 

[ 5.cxd3!? ]. 

 

5...Nf6
Simple development here is probably best, although Black 
could have tried 4...a6!?   4...Nf6; also prepares a quick 
castling (king-safety) by Black. 

6. Bg2
White continues logically with his development. 

[ White could try: 6.a3!?; "=" 
   Or the computer likes: 6.Bf4, "~" ].  

 

6...Bb4+!?; Hmmm. (Maybe - '!') 
Interesting, Alekhine returns the favor. 

I think the main idea is to keep a White Knight off of c3. 

(Several annotators gave this move a question mark!).  

"Alekhine himself criticized this move." - GM John Nunn

"Trying at all costs to bring as rapidly as possible all pieces into action." 
   - GM A. Alekhine
 (He goes on to remark that Black might miss his dark-squared Bishop.) 

[ If Black plays: 6...c5!?; 7.Nb5 a6; 8.N5c3, "<=>" ("with good counterplay") 
  and White has strong pressure on the Black d-pawn. ]. 

 

7. Bd2, (Maybe - '!')  
This is probably the best. 

[ 7.c3!? Be7; "=" ].  

 

7...Bxd2+
Black goes ahead and trades. (In order not to lose tempo.) 

[ 7...Be7!? ]. 

 

8. Nxd2
Logically, this must be best. 

To take with the White Queen is to agree to a loss of tempo. 

[ 8.Qxd2?! 0-0; 9.0-0 c5; "=/+" ("Black is just slightly better.") ].  

8...0-0
;  
Castling to safety can never be a bad idea, but ... 
   Maybe ...a6; preparing ...c5;  was better? 

"The opening has resulted in an even game, but both sides 
thirst for complications."  - GM Ruben Fine

  [ "A leading present-day openings manual offers the move 8...Nbd7!?
     even though 9.Qe3+ Qe7; 10.Qxe7+ Kxe7; 11.0-0-0, "+/=" 
  
  ("White is slightly better.");  
     is good for White."  - GM John Nunn. ].  

 

9. c4!?, (Maybe - '!') 
"This (and 4. d3, exd3;) fits in perfectly with Reti's philosophy of allowing 
the enemy to establish a pawn center and then attack it. But Black's acquiring
of d5 recalls Aaron Nimzovich's own version of Hypermodernism --- that 
you can occupy the center in order to liquidate the pawns and create outposts 
on the vacated squares."  - GM A. Soltis.

Although Soltis does not give this move an exclam, I really think it probably 
deserves one. Reti's approach to this opening is ultra - vigorous, aggressive, 
very logical ... and virtually a revolutionary new method. Nothing short of a 
genius could play this way, while the rest of the chess world was content to 
follow the mindless dogma of the Classical School. Let us not forget that it 
was Reti - and his new opening system - that caused the defeat of 
J.R. Capablanca in New York in 1924. This defeat was the first loss by the 
great Cuban - some began referring to Capa as a "chess machine" - in over 
a decade. In fact, so unbelievable was this loss by Capa, that it made ... 
 ... the front-page story  in newspapers all around the world!! 
( LIFE-Master  A.J. Goldsby I ).  


"A good move."  - GM J. Nunn

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 

[ White could have also tried: 9.0-0-0!? Re8; "=" but this is a completely 
   different type of game. 9.0-0!? c5!; "=" ] .

9...Na6!?
; (Maybe - '!') 
Many annotators have given this move an exclam ... but it is unclear 
whether or not it deserves this award. 

(Soltis gives NO mark or comment to this move at all.).  

Black obviously intends ...Nc5; or ...Nb4; winning a tempo 
off of the White Queen. 

"The best defence..."  - GM J. Nunn

[ The continuation: 9...c5!?; ('?') 10.N4b3 dxc4; 11.Qxc4, "+/"  
  ("White is clearly a LOT better."), would just lose a pawn. - GM J. Nunn. ].  

 

10. cxd5 Nb411. Qc4 Nbxd512. N2b3
"Securing the Knight on d4." - GM J. Nunn.

[ 12.0-0!?,  ... "is less accurate." - GM J. Nunn. ]. 

 

12...c6; (Forced?)  
This is probably best. 

"Aiming to retain Black's main asset, the strongly 
posted Knight on d5." - GM J. Nunn

[ 12...Re8!?; "~" ].  

 

13. 0-0 Re8; 
"Black has excellent development and can discourage the 
  most dangerous White plan of e2-e4."  - GM A. Soltis.

14. Rfd1
Strong centralization. 

[ 14.e4!? ]. 

 

14...Bg4; (Maybe - '!') 
This is very good and very active. 

"Aiming for counterplay against e2." - GM J. Nunn

"To prevent e4." - GM R. Fine

'!' - GM Ruben Fine. 

[ 14...Qd6!? ].  

 

15. Rd2
"Relatively best." - GM J. Nunn

 [ Not 15.h3?! Bh5!; 16.g4 Bg6; 17.e3 Ne4; "=/+" 
   and Black is clearly (a little) better. ]. 

 

15...Qc8!?; (Maybe - '!') 
Black looks to dominate the light squares. (Now White cannot play h3. 
Black can also exchange off the White defender of the light-squares 
with ...B-h3xg2; if White allows it.).  

Alekhine always played very aggressively, if given the chance. 
(Several annotators have given this move an exclam.) 

(Soltis gives this move no mark at all, 
but it is a very critical point in the game.) 

"A typical manoevre."  - GM J. Nunn

'!' - GM R. Fine. 

[ Maybe just a little better was: 15...Qe7!?; (Maybe - '!')  16.e3 Rad8; "=" ]. 

 

16. Nc5,  (Maybe - '!') 
"Clearing the way for the b-pawn's advance."  - GM J. Nunn

[16.Rad1!? ]. 

 

16...Bh3; (Critical position.)  
Now the game should probably end in a draw ........
after 17. Bf3, Bg4; 18. Bg2, Bh3; etc. But White decides to go for more. 

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

"A brilliant offer of a pawn."  - Irving Chernev

"The fun begins."  - GM R. Fine

 

17. Bf3, (Forced?) This might be relatively best. 

[ "White cannot grab a pawn: 17.Bxh3?!; (Maybe - '?')  17...Qxh3
( A player at the Pensacola Chess Club taught me - in the very early 1970's - 
that it was always bad to get your opponent's Queen, ... ... ... 
"down, hard on top of your own King." !! ) 
18.Nxb7?!
, ('?') 18...Ng4;  (Now there are four {4!} pieces in the general 
neighborhood of ...  - or pointed at - the White King.) 
as 19.Nf3 Nde3!; 20.fxe3 Nxe3; 21.Qxf7+! Kh8!
22.Nh4 Rf8; "=/+" (Maybe "/+".)  would cost him his Queen."  
 -  GM J. Nunn
(Irving Chernev gave this line first, as did [also] GM R. Fine.) ].  

 

17...Bg4;  (Maybe - '!') 
Black is just a tiny bit better here, but it does not register at all with 
most computer programs. 
(It is also a "micro-advantage," and not really significant in any way.)

(17...Bh3-g4! - FM G. Burgess.).  

<< Giving the opponent the choice between three possibilities: 
(1.)  To exchange his beloved "fianchetto" Bishop; 
(2.)  To accept an immediate draw by repetition of moves, 
(18. B-N2, B-R6; 19. B-B3, etc.), which at such an early stage 
always means a moral defeat for the first player; 
(3.)  To place the Bishop on a worse square, (R1). He finally decides 
to "play for the win" and thus permits Black to start a most interesting 
counter-attack. >>  -  GM Alexander Alekhine

                                             ***

--->  FM Graham Burgess, in his book, 
        "Chess Highlights Of The 20th Century,"
 ...  
        picks up his coverage of this game with this position. 

                                             ***  

18. Bg2 Bh3

"In a sense, this is the turning point of the game."  - GM A. Soltis

19. Bf3
,  Probably the best.  

[ "Reti sees that:  19.Bxh3!? Qxh320.Nxb7!?, (Maybe - '?!/?')  is bad,  
     (20.Nf3!?)    because of: 20...Ng421.Nf3 Nde3!; "=/+" 
  (Black is clearly a little better.)  ( If 22.fxe3!? Nxe323.Qxf7+! Kh8!
    24.Nh4
Rf8!; "/+" )"  - GM A. Soltis. ]

 

19...Bg4
Now the tension ... and the game ... has reached a critical point. 

                                          *** 

A very famous - but little known story - about this game is as follows: 

After making his 19th move, Alekhine informed Reti that the position 
had been repeated three times and he was claiming a draw. Alekhine 
walked over and got the arbiter, told him the game was drawn because 
the position had been repeated three times. Alekhine then signed his 
score-sheet, handed it to the arbiter, and began making obvious 
preparations to leave the tournament hall. 

Meanwhile Reti began checking his score-sheet. He told Alekhine the 
position had only been repeated twice and the game was NOT a draw. 

A furious argument broke out. The arbiter took both score sheets, 
another arbiter played through the game, and concluded the position
 had only been repeated twice. 

In the interim ... Alekhine and Reti continued their debate. 
"The position was repeated only twice," said Reti. (In a very loud voice.) 
"Three times!," barked Alekhine as he donned his scarf and hat. 

At this point the arbiter stepped in and corrected Alekhine. 
"The position has only been repeated twice and the game must continue," 
the arbiter (TD) told The World Champion somewhat fearfully. 
(Alekhine's temper was already quite well known!).  

At this point, a seemingly contrite, corrected, and humbled Alekhine 
took off his coat, hat and other accoutrements; and sat down to 
continue the game. 

"I don't know why you bothered, put your Bishop on g2. I shall then 
place mine on h3, and the game will be drawn," said Alekhine to Reti, 
as he was pondering his next move. 
(Alekhine told Reti this in his own language!).  

At this point, poor Reti probably felt honor-bound to continue the game, 
and therefore placed his Bishop on the slightly inferior square of h1. 
(Making many of the tactics that work in the game, possible.) 

Thus Alekhine's greatest stroke that he made in this game, was not 
any moves he made on the chess-board ... 
but his skillful maneuvers to trick Reti into avoiding a repetition of position!!! 

(GM Andy Soltis, in his column, "Chess To Enjoy," {'Chess Life'); 
once gave a somewhat shortened version of this story.).  

                                             ***

"Here Alekhine erroneously claimed a draw by recurrence of position." 
  - Irving Chernev

(Purdy says that he might have done this deliberately, in order to make 
 Reti over-confident.) 

 

20. Bh1!?, (Maybe - '?!') 
White wants to continue the game, but allows Black the attacking 
lever of h7-h5-h4; a very unwise decision. He also places his 
Bishop on a vastly inferior square. 

(Soltis does not query this move at all.). 

<< So White decides to continue the game at the risk of allowing 
the pawn advance of ... h5 - h4. "Caprice of fate rules in the chess art," 
Alexander Kotov noted. "However, is that only in chess?" >> 
 - GM A. Soltis.  

"Reti decides to play for a win."  - GM R. Fine

IF ... (and it is a big 'if'!) ... White loses by force here, 
then one could even award this move a question mark! 

[White could try: 20.Bxg4 Nxg4; 21.e3, "~" 
 White should probably play: 20.Bg2! Bh3; and now the 
  game is drawn by repetition of position. ]. 

 

20...h5!;  (Alekhine goes for the jugular.) 
A very nice and energetic move by Alekhine. 
(This move is also awarded an exclam by Soltis.).  

Black will weaken the White pawn structure by playing h5-h4xg3. 
Ideas like this were commonplace in the games of Bent Larsen ... 
in the 60's through the 80's. 

"Black aims to soften White's King-side ... "  - GM J. Nunn

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

21. b4, (Maybe - '!')  Preparing a pawn advance on the Queen-side 
to weaken Black's Pawn structure there. 

"Instead, playing e4 doesn't give White any advantage."  - GM J. Nunn

21.e4!? Nb6; 22.Qc3 Qc7; 23.b4 Nbd7!; "=" 
... "and Black eliminates the powerful c5-knight."  - GM J. Nunn. ].  

 

21...a622. Rc1 h423. a4 hxg324. hxg3 Qc7
"The start of Alekhine's second combination."  -  Irving Chernev

(I should comment that all the computer programs give White 
at least a small edge, {"+/="}; here.).  

"Reti, playing with ongoing inventiveness, has managed to retain the 
initiative. He has a positional edge because of his superiority in the 
centre and on the queenside, with Alekhine obviously looking for 
counter chances on the kingside."  - GM Garry Kasparov

25. b5!?, (Maybe - '!')  (Most comps give an evaluation of:  "+/="  here.) 
"This move has been often criticized, but it appears stronger than 25. e4." 
  -  GM J. Nunn

(Soltis gives this move NO mark at all.).  

'!' - GM John Nunn. 
'!?' - GM R. Fine. 

[White could have played: 25.e4!? Nb6
 ( GM G. Kasparov  calls: " 25...Ne7!?; 26.a5,  a solid positional alternative." ) 
 
26.Qb3 Nbd7; "~" (Maybe "equal," or "=".) 
... "when Black has comfortable equality." - GM J. Nunn. ]. 

 

25...axb5
This looks virtually forced. 

[ Not 25...Qb6?!; 26.bxc6, "+/" ("White is clearly better.") ]. 

26. axb5

"White's strategy seems to be working very nicely. The isolated black pawn 
is doomed to fall within a few moves. But Alekhine wasn't going to passively 
wait for destruction. He finds a way to completely change the unwanted course 
of the game."  -  GM Garry Kasparov

[ There is no reason to play: 26.Qc2?? bxa4; "/+" ... 
 ("Black is clearly a LOT better.");  as one of my students suggested. ].  

 

26...Re3!; (Maybe - '!!') 
Many authors and writers over the years have called this one 
of the most grand combinations ever played!! 

One of the greatest "quiet moves" ever played in a game of chess, 
according to GM Andor Lilienthal. 

"An impressive 'quiet' move, which begins a remarkable combination." 
 -  GM A. Soltis. 

"A fantastic idea."  - FM G. Burgess

"Just as White's Queenside attack arrives, this spectacular rook 
sacrifice energizes Black's counterplay."  - GM J. Nunn

"Startling, to stay the least." - Irving Chernev

'!!' - GM Salo Flohr. 
'!!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 
'!' - GM G. Kasparov. 

(I have seen several annotators give this move THREE exclams.) 

                                                 ***

{Funny. After years of practically worshipping this game, my analysis 
indicates White may be able to win by force. This means this whole game 
could be UNSOUND!} (See the analysis of 27. Kh2! - which probably refutes 
Black's whole scheme of attack.) 

I must add the following comment. After VERY SHARPLY criticizing 
White's 27th move, GM John Nunn  said, 
"In my opinion this does not detract from Alekhine's achievement. When 
playing at his best, Alekhine had a special ability to provoke complications 
without taking excessive risks." 

I must agree with Nunn. The advancement of technology will yield better 
and better tools, such as a chess analysis engine that perhaps one day no 
human can defeat. Many of the beautiful games in the hall of great chess 
achievements may be shown to be unsound. (We already know that the 
openings and tactics have VASTLY improved in the last 150-200 years!! 
This includes other improvements in the overall theory of the game.) 
This is simply the inevitable advance of chess technology. 
(And one that mirrors the general advance of technology overall.) 

Should this relentless advance of technology lessen our enjoyment or 
appreciation of this game? I should say not!! 

                                                 ***  

A good way of explaining this is by comparing chess to another art form.  
   PAINTING. 
At one time, - for a very long time - (for over HUNDREDS of years!); the 
ONLY way of capturing and preserving an image was by an artist putting 
this image down on some medium, like a scrap of paper or an oil painting 
on a piece of canvas. 
 We still - today! - greatly appreciate the beauty of these paintings. 

--- Today we have machines that can more accurately reproduce any 
image; say cameras and computers and other equipment ... for capturing 
visual images ... even those that can store an image digitally. ---
(I even saw a machine in a mall one time. Stick in a photo and 
insert a few quarters and the machine accurately reproduces a 
pencil drawing of any photograph!) 

--->  Does all this technology lessen our interest in good art - 
 or even the demand for good artists? I don't think so. --->    

So in the same way, we will continue to play and enjoy chess and take 
pleasure in the best achievements of the greatest Masters of chess ... 
even when some machine finds a flaw in the game! 
(This game will always be a great one, no matter what. Alekhine's 
combination here has been recognized by dozens of world-class 
players here as something VERY SPECIAL!!!).  

                                                 ***  

 

27. Nf3!?,  (Maybe - '?!') 
I am not sure if this move is the best. 

Perhaps White could do better with another move. 

Soltis does NOT question this move, or award it a question mark. 
(Or an appellation of any kind!) 

Yet I feel quite strongly the move. 27. Nf3 is inferior and maybe even loses 
by force. If this is the case, you could even award White's 27th move a full 
question mark. 

(Another thing I should point out is - that the evaluations of virtually all the 
computer chess programs change significantly in Black's favor after White's 
twenty- seventh move.) 

        --- Nunn DOES award this move a question mark!! --- 
 (I only discovered this AFTER I had finished with GM Soltis's book.) 

I will say in Reti's defense, this move is the most natural looking. It is also 
very easy to play the role of "armchair quarterback" here, and second-guess 
all of White's moves. I am sure that actually sitting across the board from 
Alekhine and trying to accurately calculate such a hair - raising and a 
nerve - wracking series of extremely complicated and difficult tactical lines ... 
well that was a totally different experience altogether!!! 

"This is the critical moment of the game." - GM J. Nunn
 (Nunn goes on to remark that "Alekhine claimed that Black has the advantage 
 against any reply; other annotators have generally followed his lead." 
 And ... Reti had, "Two lines leading to a clear draw." 
 Very penetrating and accurate comments.).  

'?' - GM John Nunn. 
'?' - FM Graham Burgess. 
'?' - GM G. Kasparov. 

***

[  Some of the alternatives for White are: 

 Var. # 1.) 
" A key alternative is: 27.Bf3!?, (Maybe - '!')  {'!' - GM A. Alekhine.} 
 which for decades was thought to favor Black because of 27...Bxf3!?; " 
 
( The computer gives: 27...Ree828.bxc6, "+/=" ).  
(Returning to the Soltis line.) " 28.exf3, {'!' - GM A. Alekhine.} 
{ ... "ending Black's activity." - GM G. Kasparov.}  
 28...cxb5
;  29.Nxb5 Qa5!?
 { '!' - GM A. Alekhine. }  ( ... "still with an advantage for Black." 
'!' - GM A. Alekhine. )  and if  30.Rxd5!?, "  (Maybe - '?!/?')   
( The computer gives: 30.Rdd1!, "+/=" Alekhine gives 30. RxN, a full question mark. )  
(Returning to the Soltis line.) " then  30...Re1+;  31.Rxe1 Qxe1+;  
 32.Kg2
Ra1?;   ... 'and wins.' " (Says GM Soltis.) 
 ( Nunn, instead, gives the line: 32...Nxd5; 33.Qxd5 Ra1; "="  When I first  
 analyzed this game on my computer, I stopped here and evaluated 
 this position as equal. 
 Nunn continues this line:  34.Qd8+ Kh7; 35.Qh4+ Kg8; ...  

 "with perpetual check."  - GM John Nunn. )   
(Returning to the Soltis line.) "As John Nunn pointed out in 1996, White is, 
however winning in the last line with  33.Rd8+ Kh7;  34.Qh4+ Kg6
35.f4!, "+/-".
"  - GM A. Soltis.  

                                          ***

 Var. # 2.) 
27.Bg2!?'?!' - GM John Nunn.   27...Rea3;  Interesting. 

                                          ***

 Var. # 2a.)  
Nunn gives the line: 27...Rxg3!?; (Maybe - '!')  28.e3, Best/forced? 
( Or 28.e4!? Rxg2+!?; ('!')  Black could also try 28...cxb5;  or 28...Nb6!?  
  29.Kxg2
Nf4+; (Black has a very good attack.) 30.Kh1 Qe5!?
  31.bxc6
Qh5+32.Kg1 Bf3; "-/+"   
28...Nxe3!?
; (Maybe - '!') 29.fxe3 Qe5; {Black has excellent compensation 
for his material."};
(29...Qe5; Maybe - '!?') ... "and Black has very good 
compensation for the piece."  -  GM John Nunn
But the computer now gives:  30.Re1, "+/=" ("White has a slight advantage.") 
(but 30...Rxe3;  probably gives Black excellent play.);   

 Var. # 2b.)  
27...Raa3?!; (Maybe - '?')  This is NOT the best way to continue the attack. 
28.Ncb3, "+/=" 
Now White is just a little better. ) 

                                          *** 
(Returning to the analysis of  Variation # 2, the main analysis line, here.)  
  28.bxc6, "+/=" White is clearly just a little better.  

                                          ***

 Var. # 3.)  
27.Kh2!?
,  (Maybe - '!')  ('!' - GM J. Nunn.)  
(This is best - according to Nunn; and also according to Alekhine.) 
27...Raa3!?; (Maybe - '!')  This is best, according to Nunn.  
'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM John Nunn. 

 Black could also play: 
 Junior 6.0:  27...Bh5!?28.Bf3, "+/="  0.20/6   
 Or  27...Re5!?; 28.bxc6, "+/="  White is clearly a little better. 
 (In both lines.)  

28.Nd3!, "+/=" - line by  GM A. Soltis. (Among others.) 
( 28.Nd3, is best - and our main analysis line in this variation.) 

 ***  

 Some alternatives to 28. Nd3! here are:  
 Var. # 3a.)  
28.Ncb3!? Bh5!?;  This is best, according to several computers. (But...) 

***

 Nunn {instead} gives: 28...Qe5!;  This is probably better than all the moves 
 given by the computers. 

 '!' - GM A. Alekhine.  
  29.bxc6!?, "+/"  (Maybe - '!') Without this move, White could  
 actually risk losing.  

***

 Or 29.fxe3!? Qh5+30.Kg1 Qh331.Bxd5 Nxd5!
 "This is better than forcing the immediate draw."  - GM J. Nunn

Or 31...Qxg3+32.Kh1,   ( 32.Bg2?? Bh3; "-/+" ).   32...Qh3+;  
 33.Kg1
Qg3+34.Kh1= ,  is a draw, by repetition of position. 
 ( Not 34.Kf1?? Bh3+35.Bg2 Qxg2+36.Ke1 Qg1#. ) 

 32.Nf3 Qxg3+33.Kh1 Bxf3+;  The most forcing and probably best. 

 33...Nxe3!?34.Rd8+ Kh735.Ng5+ Kh6
 ( Not 35...Kg6??36.Qxf7+ , wins for White. "+/-" )  
36.Nxf7+
Kg637.Nh8+ Kh6; "=" ... "is a dead draw."  -  GM J. Nunn. ). 

  34.exf3 Qxf3+35.Kh2 Qxe3!;  ...  
 ... "and White is in difficulties." - GM J. Nunn

 36.Rd3
,  It is hard to suggest moves here for White. 
 But it may be that  36.Qh4, is the best move here for White. 

Or  36.Re2 Qh6+37.Kg1 Rxb3!; "/+";  ... and ... 
 "a clear advantage for Black."  -  GM J. Nunn.
Or  36.Qh4!?, (Maybe - '!')  This might be the best line for White. 
 36...Rxb3; "="
;  (Maybe - "=/+")  Black is only a little better. 
 (Nunn did not give this line.);  
Or  36.Rxd5!?, ('?!')  36...cxd537.Qc8+ Kh738.Qc2+ g6; "-/+"
 ... "with a clear advantage for Black."  -  GM J. Nunn

  36...Qf2+37.Kh1 Ra238.Rd2 Rxd2;  
 39.Nxd2 Qxd2; "/+" (Maybe "-/+")  Black is better.  - GM J. Nunn. 

***

 (Returning to the analysis line of the sub-variation: 28...Qe5!;  29. bxc6!?) 
  29...bxc6!30.fxe3 Qh5+31.Kg1 Qh3; "="  and ...  
 "Alekhine stopped his analysis here; implying that Black is better; 
 however it seems to be only a draw."  -  GM J. Nunn.  

 32.Bxd5,  It is hard to determine exactly what is best here. 
  (Or 32.Bf3 Qxg3+33.Kh1, "=" ...  "is also a draw."  -  GM J. Nunn. ).  
 32...Nxd5!33.Nf3 Qxg3+;  This has got to be the best here.  
 ( Not  33...Nxe3?34.Rd8+,  "+/-"  "wins for White." - GM J. Nunn. ) 
 34.Kh1, Box, or 100% forced.   (Not 34.Kf1?? Nxe3# ).    34...Bxf3+;  
 35.exf3 Qxf3+36.Kh2 Qxe337.Qxc6,  (White can do this thanks to the  

 preliminary exchange on c6.)  37...Rxb338.Qc8+ Kh7;   39.Qf5+ Kh6;  
 40.Rc6+ g641.Rxg6+ fxg642.Qf8+,  
 ... "with perpetual check."  -  GM J. Nunn. ). 

 (Returning to the analysis of the sub-line 3a: 28.Ncb3!? Bh5!?;) 
  29.Bxd5, "+/="  White is clearly just a little better.  

***

 Var. # 3b.)  
28.Ndb3 Re5; "<=>"  ("With good counterplay for Black.") 
"Black's pieces are very active."  -  GM J. Nunn
 
( Or 28...Qe5!?; ('?!')   29.fxe3 Qh5+30.Kg1 Qh3;  
   31.Bxd5
Qxg3+32.Kh1 Qh3+; "="  ... "is a draw."  -  GM J. Nunn. ).   

***

 Var. # 3c.)  
Kasparov gives: 28.fxe3?!; (Maybe - '?')  28...Nxe329.Qb4 Nf1+!
30.Kg1
Qxg3+31.Bg2,    ( Or 31.Kxf1 Bh3+; ("-/+") and Black wins. ). 
31...Ne3;  ... "and mates."  -  GM Garry Kasparov. (ChessBase.) 

 ***  

 (Returning to the analysis of variation # 3, with 27. Kh2!?, Raa3;  28. Nd3!,) 
"The critical line, worked out by John Nunn is: 28...Nh5;  (Maybe - '!') 
This might be best.

 ( Black could also play: 28...Rxg3?29.fxg3 Nh530.Rg1 Ne3;  
 31.Qc1 Rc332.Qe1, "+/-"  ...  "wins for White."  -  GM J. Nunn
 Or 28...Ne4?!29.Bxe4 Rxe430.Qxd5 cxd531.Rxc7 Rxd4;  
 32.Rxb7 Bxe233.Rxe2 Raxd334.Rb8+ Kh7;  and now:  
 35.Re7
,  ... "gives White a very favorable ending."  -  GM J. Nunn. ). 

***

29.Qxd5!,  Easily the best. 

***

Nunn also gives:  29.Bxd5?! Rxg3!; "~"  Best -  GM John Nunn. 

---> ( Nunn gives the following line(s), but it is riddled with errors. 
29...Nxg3?30.Bxf7+!,  
 { Or 30.fxg3? Qxg3+31.Kh1 Qh3+32.Kg1 cxd5
    33.Qc2
,  Nunn now gives: "33...Nf4; and Black wins." 
    But this move is not possible ... There are no Black Knights on the board!! 
    33...Rg3+34.Kf2 Rg2+35.Ke1 Qh1#. }  

30...Kf8!?;  Forced. (Looks best.) 
 Or 30...Kh831.Kg2!, "+/-" and White should win.
 (Nunn does NOT give this move, ... but all the computers find it instantly!) 

 Nunn gives: 31.fxg3?? Qxg3+32.Kh1,  "with perpetual check." - GM J. Nunn
 In actuality, the position is a mate is 5 for Black!! ("-/+");  
 (Or) Nunn also gives:  31.Nf4?? Qxf4;  This looks best. 
 Nunn gives: "31...Nf1+;  32. Kg1;  refutes the attack." ("+/-") - GM J. Nunn
 (This is dead wrong!!)  32.Kg1 Qh6; "-/+"  Black wins easily. 

31.Nf4,   ( Or 31.Qc5+ Kxf732.Kg1!, "+/-" ).   31...Nf1+32.Kg1!, "+/-"  
 ... "refutes the attack." - GM J. Nunn. ) <--- 

*

 (Returning to the sub-variant with: 29. Bxd5?!, Rxg3!) 
30.Bxf7+!

 ( Not 30.fxg3?? Qxg3+31.Kh1 Qh3+32.Kg1 cxd5
  33.Qc2
Nf4; "-/+" and Black wins. - GM J. Nunn. ) 

30...Kh8; (Forced?)  This may be best. 
30...Kf8?; 31.Qc5+ Kxf7; 32.Ne5+ Kg8; 33.fxg3, "+/-" 
 ... "wins for White." - GM J. Nunn. 
31.fxg3
, (31.f4?? Qe7-+ ). 
31...Qxg3+; 32.Kh1= , ... "with a perpetual check." - GM J. Nunn. 
(The computer gives: "=/+" This line may merit further investigation. {A.J.G.} ) 

***

(Back to the main analysis line here.) 
29...Nxg3;  Forced? 

  ( Not 29...Rxg3?30.Qe5!, "+/-"  -  GM J. Nunn. ).  

30.Kg1 Nxe2+;  This is probably forced or best.

 Not 30...Qa5?!; 31.bxc6! Qxd2; 32.cxb7! Re8; 33.Rb1! Rxd3
 34.b8Q
Qd1+; 35.Rxd1 Rxd1+; 36.Kg2 Rxb8; 37.Kxg3 Bxe2
 38.Qe5
Rd8; 39.Nf5, "+/-" ... "wins for White." - GM J. Nunn

31.Nxe2 Rxe2;  32.Qc5!?, "+/" (Exclam, according to Nunn.) (Maybe - '?!') 
when White is slightly better, but does not have real winning chances." 
 - FM G. Burgess
(GM J. Nunn, in the book, "The World's Greatest Chess Games," gives 
many lines,  but ends with this crucial one,  and concludes that the game 
should be drawn.)

 My computer likes:  32.bxc6!?, (Maybe - '!/!!')  This looks a lot better  
 than Nunn's suggestion. 32...bxc6;  This looks forced.  
  
(Or 32...Rxd2?!33.cxb7!, "+/-" A student sent me an e-mail, and said he      
      was not convinced this line was a win for White. So:  33...Qb8;     
      34.Rc8+! Bxc8;  35.Qd8+ Kh7;  36.Be4+! f5;  37.Qh4+! Kg8;  38.Bd5+! Be6;     
      39.Bxe6+ Kf8;  40.Qh8+ Ke7;  41.Qxb8, "+/-"   This is of course an easy win      
      for White! (I extended this line to it's logical conclusion because many      
      of students could not follow it.)    
 
33.Rxe2
Bxe2;  34.Qe5, "+/-"   Over an hour's worth of analysis, and  
 checks of 3 different strong computer chess analysis engines; confirms  
 this is a win for White!  (A BIG hole in Nunn's work!).  
 This refutes Alekhine's entire concept, ...  and his whole combination!!!  

 *** 

 I sent this whole analysis to  GM A. Soltis  during the time period of 
 Oct.-Dec, 2001. I waited several months, and this was his exact reply: 
  "Dear A.J., 
    Your analysis looks good to me. Maybe no one considered the the line:   
    32. bxc6, (!) before, because they didn't see 32...Rxd2; 33.cxb7, Qb8;   
    34. Rc8+!"  

  "As to what this means for the game, I'm not sure. Maybe Black isn't so    
  
badly off after 28...Bh5; after all."   
  (Soltis is basically agreeing here with what I said in my analysis, and 
   my letter to him.) 

  "I'm surprised you found so many Nunn errors. I never use a computer to   
  
  verify my analysis, but I assumed that he did."   

   "Good work!!"      

   Sincerely, GM Andy Soltis.    
 
(No date on the note, but the letter's envelope was post-marked, 
   February 13, 2002.) 

 *** 

Nunn finishes this line with: 
32...Rxd2
;  33.Qxa3 Qd8;  34.Ne1 cxb5;  35.Bxb7, "+/" 
"White only has 1 pawn left, so his winning chances are near zero." 
 -  GM J. Nunn
( [The Mammoth Book Of]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games." 
   Page # 137. );

                                        ***  

 Var. # 4.)
Not 27.Rdc2?! Rxg3+!!;  28.Bg2
  ( 28.fxg3? Qxg3+; 29.Bg2 Ne3; "-/+" ).  
28...Bh3;  29.fxg3 Qxg3;  30.e4 Ne3; "-/+" 

                                        ***  

 Var. # 5.) 
27.fxe3??
Qxg3+; 28.Bg2 Nxe3; "-/+" 

                                        ***

 Var. # 6.) 
27.bxc6?
Rxg3+;  28.Bg2,   ( 28.fxg3?? Qxg3+29.Bg2 Ne3; "-/+" ). 
28...Ne3!;  29.fxe3 Bh3; "-/+" Variation by  -  GM John Nunn

Probably the deepest analysis of the possibilities after White's 27th 
move here that you will ever see!  
(This concludes my analysis of White's alternatives on move 27.) ].  

 

                                        ***

27...cxb5;  "=/+"  (Maybe even - "/+") 
(According to several strong computer programs, Black is now clearly better.) 

Many writers consider this a good move ... Black isolates his QNP, 
but blows the game wide open. 

'!' - GM G. Kasparov. 
'!' - J.F. Kirby. 

[ 27...Raa3!? ]. 

 

28. Qxb5 Nc3!;  "/+
"A second critical phase of the combination. White's e-pawn falls." 
  - GM A. Soltis

(The computers are already awarding Black a fair-sized advantage here.) 

"The fireworks continue."  -  Irving Chernev

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

29. Qxb7,  
This looks forced again. 
(Black seeks the safety of a simplified position, with the Queens off the board.)

[ 29.Qc4!? b5; "/+" (and "Black is clearly better."); 
  ... "and the Queen cannot continue to defend e2."  -  GM John Nunn
Or 29.Qb2?! Ra2; "/+" and "Black is clearly better." ].  

 

29...Qxb7; (Maybe - '!') 
The best, according to GM John Nunn. 

[ 29...Nxe2+!?; 30.Rxe2,   (30.Kh2!? )   30...Qxb7
 31.Rxe3!, {"Compensation."}
 
"when the resulting position offers few winning prospects." 
 - GM John Nunn
(This line originates with Alekhine.) ].  

 

30. Nxb7 Nxe2+31. Kh2,  
This looks best. (Forced.) 

"A fantastic position; so much is en prise. Yet the material is even, and 
one would ordinarily expect a quick draw. But Alekhine has a trick up his 
sleeve: he will win White's QN at N7 (b7) after twelve (12) forced moves!" 
  - GM R. Fine

[ 31.Kf1 Nxg3+!; 32.fxg3 Bxf3; 33.Bxf3 Rxf3+; 34.Kg2
   (Or 34.Ke2 Rxg3; "-/+"). 
  34...Raa3; 35.Rd8+ Kh7; 36.Rh1+ Kg6; 37.Rh3 Rfb3!; ("-/+") 
  ... "and Black should win."  - GM A. Soltis

  ***

Or:  ... "with a decisive attack."  - GM John Nunn.

   ... "White must give up the Knight or be mated in two moves by 
   the Black Rooks."  -  Irving Chernev.

   ... "and wins."  -  GM A. Alekhine. ].  

 

31...Ne4!; (Maybe - '!!') 
"Just when you think the combination must be over ...  
- because of the absence of Queens - Alekhine continues to find tactics." 
 - GM A. Soltis

"What a move!"  - GM G. Kasparov.  

One of the greatest queenless attacks of all time. 

'!!' - GM G. Kasparov. 
'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

[ 31...Rxf3!?; 32.Rxe2 (32.Bxf3?? Nxc1; "-/+").   32...Rxg3;  
  33.Kxg3 Bxe2; "=/+"  (Maybe - "/+") 
 This should be a draw, ('!') according to GM John Nunn. ].  

32. Rc4
, (Maybe - '!?') 
"This move has been praised as clever defense."  - GM A. Soltis.

"Relatively best."  -  GM R. Fine.

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 

[ Var. # 32W1.)  
  "A superior defense was: 32.Rd8+! Rxd8; 33.fxe3, was best from a pragmatic 
  point of view. It would force Black to find the difficult  33...Rd5!; 34.Rc4 N2xg3
  after which 35.Bg2 Nf1+!; ("-/+") { '!!' - FM G. Burgess, GM J. Nunn. } 
  (and) wins."  -  GM A. Soltis.  

Continuing this line, we get: 
  36.Kg1 Rd1; 37.Bxf1 Bxf3; "-/+"  ...  and  "the threat of 38...Nd2;  is decisive." 
  - FM G. Burgess. (and GM John Nunn.); 

  Var. # 32W2.)  
 
Probably bad was: 
 
32.fxe3?! Nxd233.Rc2,   ( 33.Nxd2?! Nxc1; "-/+" - GM R. Fine. ). 
 
33...Nxf3+34.Bxf3,   ( Not 34.Kg2? Ne1+; ("-/+") )  34...Bxf3; "-/+" 
 ... "when Black has gained a piece."  -  I. Chernev. ].  

32...Nxf2!

The best, and also given an exclam by GM Soltis. 

[  Var. # 32B1.)  
  "Black had to see through 32...Bxf3!?; ('?' - Soltis.)  33.Rxe4! ; (Maybe - '!!') 
  '!!' - GM G. Kasparov.  ( 33.fxe3? Nxd2; "/+" Probably "-/+" ).   33...Rxe4?;" 
  (Soltis only gives this move, which is a huge error.) 

 ( Black has the far superior: 33...Bxe4!34.fxe3,  (Forced.)   
  ( Not 34.Nc5?? Bxh1; "-/+" ).   34...Bxh135.Kxh1 Nxg3+;   
 36.Kg2 Ne4; "-/+"  when Black is much better.  
 But now White could play: 37.Rd8+ Rxd838.Nxd8,  
 "with good drawing chances." - GM Garry Kasparov. )   

  "34.Bxf3; "=" ."  Soltis stops here, but the general conclusion 
    is that White is OK. 

 ( Not 34.Rxe2?? Rxe2; 35.Bxf3 Rxf2+;  ("-/+")  Black wins easily. )

Continuing this line, we get:
    34...Nc3; 35.Bxe4 Nxe4; "=" ... 
    ... "and White is out of the woods." - Irving Chernev.  

***

   Var. # 32B2.)  
 (Soltis gives a line before this one, saying that, "Black had to 
  see through {this line} ...") etc.  ...   
 " as well as 32...Nxd2; ('?')  33.Nxd2! Rd3;   ( Maybe 33...Be6!? ) 
   34.Nc5! Rxd235.Bxa8, "=". "  -  GM A. Soltis. ].  

 

33. Bg2
White is lost, but Reti makes Alekhine find the most difficult win! 

"This avoids the Black threat of NxB/h1 and then BxN/f3+."  
 - Irving Chernev

[ Var. # 33W1.)
  White could have also played: 33.Ng5!? Nxh1; "-/+"  

  Or Var. # 33W2.)  
  33.Nd6
, ('?!') 33...Be6; "-/+"  

  Or Var. # 33W3.)  
  33.Rcc2
Nxh1; 34.Rxe2 ( Or 34.Kxh1? Bxf3+;  and now play could 
   proceed:  35.Kh2 Ra1!; ("-/+") The threat of ...Rh1 mate is decisive. )  
   34...Rxe2+35.Rxe2 Bxf3; "-/+" ].  

 

33...Be6!; (Maybe - '!!') 
(Very pretty.) 

Another beautiful move, also given an exclam by GM Andy Soltis. 

"Black clears g4 for 34...Ng4+;  35. Kh1, Ra1+."  -  GM A. Soltis

"Gains a decisive tempo."  - Irving Chernev

Black continues to find the most beautiful and artistic lines. 

                                                 ***

"The remaining moves are all now forced."  -  GM John Nunn

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - GM G. Kasparov. 

[  Var. 33B1.)   Maybe also winning for Black was: Junior 6.033...Ne4!?
   34.Rb2
Bxf3; 35.Bxf3 N2xg3; "/+" (Maybe even "-/+") Black is clearly better. 
  (Nunn  also gives this line.) -1.84/12

   Var. 33B2.)   But not 33...Bxf3?!; ('?') 34.Bxf3 Rxf3; 35.Rxe2 Nd1; "/+" 
  when Black is much better, but will have to win the game all over again. 

   Var. 33B3.)   33...Raa3!?; "=/+" (Maybe - "/+")  Interesting, but probably 
  not the best. (But Black still seems clearly better here.);  

   Var. 33B4.)   33...Ra6!?; (Maybe - '!'/'!!')  This probably wins for Black, too. 
   34.Rd8+ Kh7; 35.Ng5+ Kg6; 36.Rd5 f5!; 37.Nh3 Bxh3
   38.Bxh3
Nxh3; "-/+" and  Black wins easily. ].  

 

34. Rcc2,  (Maybe - '!?') 
White is just doing the best he can here. 

To his credit, Reti seems to be holding his own. 

[ White could have tried: 34.Rb4!?,  although this probably will not save him. 
After 34...Ng4+35.Kh3 Nh6+36.Kh2 Nf5; "/+" (Maybe "-/+") when 
Black will probably win without too much difficulty. ].  

34...Ng4+
;  
A nice - but kind of obvious - check by Black. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

35. Kh3, (Forced.) 
Its not often that a player walks willingly into a discovered check! 

"Forced, for if 35. K-R1, R-R8ch."  - GM R. Fine

35.Kh1?? Ra1+; ("-/+")  and Black wins easily.  -  Irving Chernev. ].  

35...Ne5+
36. Kh2
Unfortunately for White, this looks forced. 

[ 36.Kh4? Ra4+; ("-/+") and Black wins. ].  

36...Rxf3!

Yet one more beautiful tactical shot by Alekhine. 
(This move is also awarded an exclam by Soltis.). 

'!' - GM A. Alekhine. 
'!' - GM R. Fine. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

 

37. Rxe2
Forced again. 

[ 37.Bxf3? Nxf3+; 38.Kg2 Nxd2; "-/+" - Irving Chernev. ]. 

 

37...Ng4+
This forces White to walk into a discovered check. 
'!' - Irving Chernev. 

38. Kh3 Ne3+39. Kh2 Nxc240. Bxf3
And this is forced too. 

It also looks like White has (nearly) escaped. 

[ 40.Rxc2? Re3; "-/+" ]. 

 

40...Nd4!White Resigns,  0 - 1.

[ White loses a piece after: 40...Nd4!;  41.Rf2 Nxf3+; 42.Rxf3 Bd5!; "-/+" ]

 0 - 1 


The final shot in a series of hammer blows by Alekhine. 
(This final move is also awarded an exclam by Soltis.) 

( '!' - Irving Chernev. 
  '!' - GM R. Fine. ). 

***

"Despite the scarcity of pieces, the tactics decide." 
  - GM A. Soltis

"This game has its critics, as well as fans ... but the fans prevail." 
  - GM A. Soltis

"A wonderful combination, marked by fantastic maneuvering of the 
  Black minor pieces." 
  - Irving Chernev

C.S. Howell suggested: 
"Every player should study this game. Any player who fails to study it, 
or who studies it and learns naught - should give up chess for Mah Jong." 
 - Clarence Seaman Howell,  (in 'The American Chess Bulletin.').
 { Howell, [1881-1936];  was a famous American Master, who was both a  
   good player OTB, an analyst, and an excellent postal player. He never 
   achieved much international success, and is almost an non-entity outside 
   the U.S.A. His analysis of a new variation of the Spanish, published in the 
   British Chess Magazine in 1922, led to the variation being named after him. }. 

( Isaak Linder  was a Russian [chess] historian. He asked dozens - if not 
hundreds - of players many questions about chess. His third question was 
something like: "What is your favorite game of chess?" {Should NOT be 
one of your own games.} OR ... "Which game ... had the greatest impact 
on you in your development as a chess player?" And/or  "Which game do 
you consider to be the best or the greatest or the most artistic?" )

Both  GM Alexander Kotov  and  GM Andor Lilienthal  ...  BOTH 
cited this one game (ALONE) in response to Linder's third question!! 

This game is considered by many to be the greatest game of chess ever 
 played. It is certainly one of the finest Queenless attacks ever played in 
 all of the history of chess. 
( Soltis ranks this as the twentieth {#20} best game of chess in 
  his book, "The 100 Best."). 

A reader's survey in BCM, ('BCM' = British Chess Magazine)  voted this 
game, "One of the most beautiful games of the first half of the 20th Century." 

Alekhine  himself  said that he considered this game ... 
 one of his two best ever efforts!! 
 (The other was his game vs. E. Bogolyubov, Hastings; 1922.). 

" This game is, 'The Gem of all gems!' " - Cecil J.S. Purdy. 
(C.J.S. Purdy was a famous postal player. He also wrote very well.). 

"It is truly a game of bewildering beauty, one of the greatest masterpieces 
 in the entire literature of chess."  - Irving Chernev

"A fantastic game, maybe one of the best ever played!" 
  - Al Horowitz. (From 'Chess Review.'). 

"I think there is reason to nominate this game the most beautiful ever 
 played in the history of chess."  - GM Garry Kasparov


(I have seen this game in dozens of books and magazines over the years. 
Below are the ones I consider to be the best, or the main sources of information.). Bibliography: 
(I consulted the following books, [& sources]  in the order given
to annotate this game.) 

***

# 1.)  "The 100 Best,"  by  GM Andy Soltis
           (The 100 Best Chess Games Of The 20th Century, Ranked.) 

# 2.)  [The Mammoth Book Of] "The World's Greatest Chess Games," 
         by  GM John NunnGM John Emms,  and  FM Graham Burgess

# 3.)  "Chess Highlights of The 20th Century,"  
         by  FM Graham Burgess

# 4.)  "My Best Games Of Chess,  {Volume II} 1924-1937," 
          by  GM Alexander A. Alekhine

# 5.)  "The Golden Dozen,by  Irving Chernev. 

# 6.)  "The World's Great Chess Games,by  GM Ruben Fine

# 7.)   I also studied very carefully the former World Champion's notes,  
{Super - GM  Garry Kasparov}; on this game from his excellent analysis 
for ChessBase. (Not a book, but a database game.) 


I first annotated this game in the 1970's. 
 (I think it was run in a Virginia [State] publication or magazine.) 
(I sent it to several different sources, so I am unsure of who used it and who did not.) 


This game is pretty much the full version of the game as it exists in my database.
(I have not shortened it for publication.)
If you would like a copy of that game to study, please contact me. 

 *** 

   This page last updated on:  Wednesday, February 12, 2014 .  


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 Copyright, () A.J. Goldsby I.  A.J. Goldsby,  1985-2013. 
    Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2014.  All rights reserved. 

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