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Inside Story: Alekhine the Magician (Solitaire Chess) – uschess.org


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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the September issue of Chess Life magazine. Consider becoming a US Chess member for more content like this — access to digital editions of both Chess Life and Chess Life Kids is a member benefit, and you can receive print editions of both magazines for a small add-on fee.
This month’s feature is Bruce Pandolfini’s famed “Solitaire Chess” column. Readers are encouraged to play along the old fashioned way with a board, but we have also provided an interactive study with all of Pandolfini’s comments.
Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) was a deadly attacking player. Once he got going, his initiative could become overwhelming. Nonetheless, his openings could be bland and not threatening at all. Opponents might get complacent, seemingly falling asleep at the board. But then, just like that, a mental switch was turned on and Alekhine would shift gears and begin to go about mounting an attack. It might seem innocent at first, but one harmless move after the other and suddenly the opponent was hit with a surprise finish. Consider this 1921 game played in Triberg against Alfred Brinckmann (White). After an innocuous beginning, with a roughly equal position, Alekhine the magician abracadabras his way to a pretty finale.
 

 
Now, it’s time to focus and solve along with Alekhine for the rest of his miniature victory.
 

 
As a bonus, enjoy a half-dozen mating nets courtesy of the author, as well.
Exercises #389
There’s a right way to do things, but there’s also personal style. Within a range of correctness, each of us prefers certain types of positions, opening variations, attack or counterattack, and so on. At the same time, there are setups and situations liked by others that we don’t like. To broaden your overall game, try to become better aware of your likes and dislikes. You don’t always want to play the same way. That would betray your plans. You also should prepare yourself to contest reasonable positions in which you’re uncomfortable. That way, opening, middlegame, endgame, you’re ready no matter what.
 

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