Alekhine mystery solved (sort of)

Alekhine mystery solved (sort of)

Kimuto & Allies – Alexander Alekhine
Tokyo (blindfold simul), January 20, 1933
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d6 7. Bg5 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Qe7 9. Re1 Nd8 10. d4 Ne6 11. Bc1 Rd8 12. Nh4 Nf8 13. Qe2 Ne8 14. Nf5 Bxf5 15. exf5 f6 16. f4 c6 17. Bd3 Nd7 18. g4 Kh8 19. c4 b6 20. g5 Nc7 21. g6 h6 22. fxe5 dxe5 23. Qh5 Re8 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Rxe5 Qf8 26. Rxe8 Rxe8 27. Bf4 Na6 28. Kh1 Rd8 29. Rg1 Rd7 30. c5 b5 31. Bd6 Qe8 32. Qf3 Rd8 33. Be4 Rc8 34. Rg2 Qd7 35. Re2 Nb4 36. a3 Nd5 37. Bxd5 cxd5 38. Qxd5 Re8 39. Rxe8+ Qxe8 40. Qe6 Qa8+ 41. Kg1 a5 42. Qf7 1-0

This game can be found in Donaldson, Minev and Seirawan’s 1993 book Alekhine in Europe and Asia, p. 80. However, they were suspicious and wrote:

“This game is given as it appears in Caparrós and Lahde [The Games of Alekhine (1992). Ed.]. We believe that Alekhine was most certainly White. One, because he almost always took that color in exhibitions. Two, because the style of play – White makes several small combinations – seems more like Alekhine. Three, the score we have for Alekhine from Tokyo, given in Revista Mexicana de Ajedrez, 1933, p. 247, is 14 wins, no draws, no losses.”

Skinner and Verhoeven, in Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games, 1902-1946 (1998), investigated further and reached a different conclusion:

“The circumstances in which the (…) game was played are not known. Kimuto is not listed as one of Alekhine’s opponents in the display at the Imperial Hotel, neither does any source indicate that consultation partners were involved in that event. Furthermore, no Alekhine loss was mentioned in the contemporary reports. Whether the game was from another unreported event in Tokyo, or was played informally, can only be a matter of speculation. It was quite common, for instance, for Alekhine to play a few light hearted blindfold games for entertainment purposes while attending a social function (…). Another possibility and probably the most likely, is that the source might be in error and the game may actually have been played in Shanghai, where he did play blindfold against consultation partners and also had to concede three losses.”

The same game, move for move, was published by Deutsche Schachzeitung … in 1907!

Deutsche Schachzeitung, December 1907 pp. 364-365.

So this game was not played by Alekhine. Skinner and Verhoeven gave a contemporary source, Schach-Hochschule 1934, pp. 152-154, but I don’t have access to that magazine and the investigation stops here until further notice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *