03 February 2015

Perceiving Threats

Lesson of the Week

Youth chess students in the after school clubs that I coach will be looking at a position from a game played by a young player who would go on to become World Champion. Many chess scholars regard Alexander Alexhine (1892-1946) as the best to ever play the game of chess. This position comes from a correspondence game against Konstantin Alekseyev Vygodchikov, who was Alekhine's age. Alekhine had Black. In 1928, Vygodchikov would share first place with two others in the Belarusian Championship. Alekhine had become World Champion one year earlier.

This game was played 1909-1910.

Black to move

What did Alekhine play? Why?

Some students may see a second position from this game.

Black to move
After 29.Rxg6
Who stands better? Why?


  1. I see a strong white attack despite having a threat to rook. ie

    1 ...fxR 2 Ne7++ Kh7 3 NxN hxN 4 Qh3+ Qh4 5 QxQ#

    but.... this is a general flaw in my chess, If I sometimes can see the tactics, I don't always know what to do about it. Does the great alekhine find something better than Kh8? I didn't.
    I'm a little down this morning. on chess.com in one of turn based games I had a big attack against a stuck king; but I think I've uncovered refutes on every line. somehow in the middle of my attack- I went left when I should have gone right...

    So, I think I'm going to empathize with Mr. Vygodchikov.... what could have been! if this game weren't so hard. LOL.

    1. Alekhine did indeed play Kh8 in the first diagram. My chess engine concurs that this move was best.