Alexander Raetsky & Maxim Chetverik


It must be very difficult to write anything new about Alexander Alekhine. In addition to his three books of best games, virtually every author of note (and principally Kotov) has had something to say about him.  Now, however, two authors have combined to dissect the various aspects of Alekhine's play and provide some new analysis woven around an instructional format.

Initially they provide a short biography that includes the two games that Alekhine himself considered to be the most brilliant of his career - against Bogoljubov at Hastings in 1922 and that against Reti at Baden-Baden during 1925.  To these the authors have added game 22 against Euwe played during the World Championship match in 1937 at Delft, just one of the venues used during this return match.

They then continue to examine various aspects of his play, laying emphasis on its attacking nature.

In Chapter 2 they consider some simple combinations and then set 16 positions for solving, providing some hints on the various themes. If these hints do not provide the solver with sufficient help, he can move on to another section of the book where a short "Alekhine Tip" is provided.  The solutions are then given in the final section of the book.

This format is continued in chapters entitled:-

"Moving On"  - deeper combinations

"Imagination in Attack"

"Further into the Maze"

"Chess Wizardry"

"Beating Alekhine"

and finally

"Endgame Brilliance"

Almost half the book is taken up with setting the scene and the puzzles.  The remaining half consists of the tips and then deeply analysed solutions.

The authors are not well known in English publications, although there are one or two Everyman books that bear their name.

Raetsky is a Russian International Master who is a regular contributor to the Russian magazine "64" and Chetverk, also Russian, is a FIDE Master and a well-known opening theoretician.

The book is published by Everyman Chess in soft covers containing 176 pages and costing 12.99.

It is interesting to note that the cover bears a note "THE MASTERS".  Is this an indication that it is the start of a series delving into the mechanics of success of acknowledged great players?

As a puzzle book for players of intermediate level, this is a good buy.  If in addition you are an Alekhine fan, this is a must.


(1) Mieses,Jacques - Alekhine,Alexander [C22]
Scheveningen Scheveningen (3), 29.07.1913
[Maxim Chetverik & Alexander Raetsky]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Be7 5.Bd2 Nf6 6.Nc3 0-0 7.0-0-0 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Qg3 Bh4 10.Qf3 Be6 11.Be3 Nxc3 12.Rxd8 Nxa2+ 13.Kb1 Raxd8 14.Be2 Nab4 15.Nh3 Rfe8 16.Nf4 Bf5 17.Rc1 g6 18.g4 Be4 19.Qh3 Bf6 20.Bf3 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Ne5 22.Qe2 c5 23.Rg1 c4 24.h4 Nd5 25.Nxd5 Rxd5 26.f4 Nd3 27.Qf3  

Black has rook and knight against a queen while two pieces are attacked. The situation appears desperate, so what has Alekhine prepared? An important thing is to keep calculating even if the checks run out.


Black invests even more material to keep the initiative.


This is the only good move. Weakening the long diagonal with 28.b3? is fatal after 28...Ra5! 29.cxd3 cxd3 30.Kc1 Bc3! (the net closes around the white king) 31.Kd1 (the only try but now Black has a study-like win) 31...Ra1+ 32.Bc1 Re1+! 33.Rxe1 Rxc1+ 34.Kxc1 d2+ 35.Kc2 dxe1N+!  

28...Rxb2+ 29.Kc1 cxd3!  

Black threatens ....Rc8+ followed by ....Rcc2 and mate on the back rank.


The only good defence. Instead 30.Rg2 Rc8+ 31.Kd1 transposes to a variation given in the notes to White's next move.

30...Rc8 31.g5??  

White misses the main threat and loses quickly. 31.Rg2? also loses but it takes brilliant play from Black to show why. 31...Rb1+ 32.Kd2 Rb3! (with the idea ...Rc2+ then ...Rb1+) and now 33.Ke1 gives Black a choice of pretty wins. 33...Bxh4+! (The easier one to calculate is 33...Rc1+! 34.Bxc1 (or 34.Kf2 Bxh4+ ) 34...d2+ ) 34.Kd1 Rcc3!! (34...Rcc3 creating the charming threat of 35.-- Rb1+ 36.Kd2 Be1# ) 35.Bf2 Bxf2 36.Rxf2 looks like a complete defence until you spot the trick 36...Rc2! saves the day.; 31.Rg2 Rb1+ 32.Kd2 Rb3! 33.Kd1 Bc3! (taking the d2-square away from the king is natural but it does seem strange to block the c8 rook; remarkably, Black can afford the time to relocate the bishop to b4) 34.Bc1 Bb4 (34...Bb4 (now Black plans either 35.-- Rxc1+ then d2+ or the immediate ....d2)) 35.Bb2 Re8! (the c1 square is now covered so the rook switches sides) and White has no defence. If for instance 36.Rg1 d2! 37.Qxb3 Re1+ and Black's extra pawns will be decisive.; 31.Qe4! was the only defence, hitting the d-pawn, when Black must settle for a draw with; for example 31...Rb1+ 32.Kd2 Rb2+ 33.Kd1 (but not 33.Ke1?? Rcc2 The interesting thing is that Kasparov over-looked this in his book on the World Champions!

31...Rcc2 32.Ke1 Rb1+ 33.Qd1 Bc3+
Winning everything but missing 33...Re2+ 34.Kf1 Rxd1# Even Alekhine was human, after all.