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UltraCorr 2024
The basic price for a downloaded copy is 60 Euro

The well known chess researcher and correspondence chess player,Senior International Master Tim Harding has just released his new 2024 UltraCorr
correspondence chess game database download,which is good for over two and a half million correspondence games.It comes excatly counted   with 2550934 entries and for the
good order his previous edition had to do with only 2452810 entries.
Tim Harding has completely rebuilt his database from it’s original sources instead of just adding new games in a old database.
And not to forget Tim Harding is offering his database also in the new Chessbase 17 2CBH format.
To minimise confusion, there are two different download pages, one for each format. Where it is possible to obtain both versions if you wish,but there is no need to pay twice!
What I like from the new 2024 UltraCorr CC game database, are the excellent annotations to the games,and they are uncountable!
Tim has spend much time on reviewing historical CC games from the 19th and 20th centuries and the results can be found back in this database.
The modern correspondence chess player of today uses Alpha Zero related chess engines which run on fast computers with multiple processors.
AlphaZero is a computer program developed by artificial intelligence and this all results in high class correspondence games and highly interesting for professionals who are searching for novelties.
Correspondence chess had a decisive role on the play of the great Alexander Alekhine,so the reader will find around 109 cc games on this file and as the following game with interesting comments:
Alekhine,Alexander A - Zhukovsky,V [C39]
16th Shakmatnoe Obozrenie 1905-6 corr, 1905
[Alekhine, Harding; Smith & Tikkanen]
Tim Harding did extensive new analysis of this game in 2003, but reviewed this with Stockfish9 in 2018 after seeing also the comments to the criticla position at move 27 in Smith & Tikkanen, "The Woodpecker Method."
For the opening see notes in Kibitzer80 (jan 2003) on Lasker-Chigorin thematic match 1.e4 e5 In the 1970 English edition of Alekhine's Best Games, Black's name is given as "W. de Jonkovski". The date of the game is wrongly given there as 1908 (possibly A's fault).
We have also seen Black's name given incorrectly  as "Schachowski", but he was a different person (Shakhovskoi) who also played Alekhine at CC.
SEE book of Alekhine Mem CC event p6  and p7 for correct cyrillic spellings. See also "Khod v Konverte" (by Romanov & Grodzensky) page 55. 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4!? [6.d4] 6...d5 7.exd5 Bd6 [7...Bg7] 8.0-0 Rice Gambit, see Alekhine's notes (p87 of 1970 English ed).
TH: This move and the next constitute the Rice Gambit, devised by American patron Isaac Rice who financed various tournaments devoted to it and publications about it. However, 8 d4 is considered superior. 8...Bxe5 9.Re1 Qe7 10.c3 Diagram
rnb1k2r/ppp1qp1p/5n2/3Pb3/2B2ppP/2P5/PP1P2P1/RNBQR1K1 b kq - 0 0
 All games in a 1905 thematic (OTB) tournament in St Petersburg (1905) began from this position.[10.d4? Bxd4+] 10...g3 This was Dr L.Cohn's recommendation according to the 8th edition of the 'Handbuch'. After some tests, it was considered unable to refute the Rice Gambit, although adequate for a draw. [10...f3 11.d4 Ne4 12.Rxe4 Bh2+ 13.Kxh2 Qxe4 14.g3 Stronger than 14 gxf3 as played by Pervago against Dr Neustadtl in the correspondence tournament. (14.Bg5 was suggested by Alapin but Deep Fritz finds 14...g3+ 15.Kh1 f6 16.Nd2 Qf5 17.Nxf3 fxg5 18.Qe1+ Kd8 which the computer considers good for Black, although it's very messy.) 14...0-0! Diagram
rnb2rk1/ppp2p1p/8/3P4/2BPq1pP/2P2pP1/PP5K/RNBQ4 w - - 0 0
 All games of the Lasker-Chigorin analytical match, Brighton 1903, began from this position.15.Bf4 Lasker played this in the 1st game and returned to it in the 4th game a) 15.Bd3 Qxd5 16.Qd2 Re8 (16...Qh5 17.Qf4 Re8 18.Nd2 Kg7µ is Deep Fritz's take on this.) 17.Qh6 Re2+ 18.Bxe2 fxe2 19.Qe3 Nc6 20.Qe8+ Kg7 21.Qxe2 Bd7 22.Be3 Re8 23.Nd2 Qe6 24.Re1 Qxa2 25.b3 Qc2 26.Qf2 Qd3 27.Nc4 b5 28.Ne5 Nxe5 29.dxe5= was analysis in American Chess Bulletin 1905 p.96.; b) 15.Qd2? White stands well according to Trevor Hay's old booklet on the KG but Black develops smoothly and protects his K by 15...Bf5-+; 15...Qg6!? This is considered best by Deep Fritz in overnight analysis. a) 15...c6 16.dxc6 (16.Nd2 Qg6 17.Qe1 Bf5 18.Qe7 Nd7 19.Re1 cxd5 20.Bxd5 Nf6 21.Qxb7 Rae8 22.Rxe8 Rxe8 23.Be5 Bc8 24.Qc6 Qc2 25.Bxf7+ Kf8 0-1 Game 2 Lasker,E-Chigorin,M/Brighton USA 1903; 16.Bd3 Qxd5 17.Qc2 f5 18.Nd2 b5 19.Re1 Qf7 20.Re5 Be6 21.Ne4 Bc4 22.Bxc4 Qxc4 23.Nd6 Qf1 24.Re7 Nd7 25.Rxd7 Rf6 26.Qb3+ Kh8 27.Nf7+ Kg7 28.Ne5+ Kh8 29.Nf7+ Kg7 30.Nd8+ ½-½ Game 3 Lasker-Chigorin) 16...Nxc6 17.Bd3 Qd5 18.Nd2 Bf5 19.Nc4 Bxd3 20.Qxd3 Rfe8 21.Ne3 Qd7 22.d5 Ne5 23.Qd4 Ng6 24.h5 Nxf4 25.Qxf4 Qe7 26.Nxg4 f5 27.Re1 Qg7 28.Nh6+ Kh8 29.Nxf5 Qf6 30.Re6 Rxe6 31.dxe6 Re8 32.e7 h6 33.Qd4 Qxd4 34.cxd4 1-0 first game Lasker-Chigorin; b) 15...Re8 16.Na3 (16.Nd2 Qg6 17.Bf1 Bf5 18.Nc4 Nd7 19.Bxc7 Nf6 20.Ne5 Qh6 21.c4 Qe3 led to a 34-move Black win in the 4th game Lasker-Chigorin.) 16...Bf5 17.Qd2 Nd7 18.Bf1 Bg6 19.Nb5 c6 20.dxc6 Qxc6 21.Nc7 Rac8 ½-½ was the 6th and final game of the Lasker-Chigorin thematic match, 1903.; c) 15...b5!? was considered stronger by Alapin but Chigorin did not try it and Deep Fritz7 is not so impressed either. 16.Bxb5 c1) 16.Bd3 D. Janowski 16...Qxd5 17.c4 (17.Na3 c6 18.c4 is better, but still inadequate, accoridng to Deep Fritz7) 17...bxc4 18.Nc3 Qb7 19.Bc2 Qxb2 20.Nd5 Nc6 21.Rb1 Qxd4 0-1 A.Robino-Club Marseille Regence, corr 1903; c2) 16.Nd2! Qf5 17.Bxb5 Qxd5 18.Qb3 keeps Black's advantage to a minimum according to the computer.; 16...Ba6?! This got a ! from the players of 1903 but Deep Fritz prefers a different move (16...Qxd5 17.c4 Qh5 18.Bxc7 Bd7µ is computer analysis) 17.c4 Bxb5 18.Nc3 and now 18...Qg6 was played by Alapin and the Marseille team in one of the games from the 1903 postal tournament, but the position is unclear.(18...Qf5!? is preferred by Deep Fritz but it reckons Black has a minimal advantage) ; 16.Na3 a) 16.Nd2 c6 17.dxc6 Nxc6 and now if 18.Nf1 (18.Qa4 a6 Deep Fritz7) 18...Ne7 (18...Na5 Deep Fritz7) 19.Ne3 Nf5-+ Gelbak-Chigorin, St Petersburg 1905.; b) 16.Bxc7 may be slightly better 16...Bf5 17.Na3 a6 18.Qd2 Nd7µ Deep Fritz7; 16...c6 Diagram
rnb2rk1/pp3p1p/2p3q1/3P4/2BP1BpP/N1P2pP1/PP5K/R2Q4 w - - 0 0
 Black stands better although the 5th game Lasker-Chigorin was drawn in 40 moves.17.Nc2 cxd5 18.Bxd5 Nc6 19.Bc4 Bf5 20.Ne3 Rfe8 21.Kg1 Rad8 22.Qb3 Bd3 23.h5 Qxh5!? (23...Bxc4 looks obvious but Chigorin sacrifices the Bishop to get a pawn breakthrough. 24.hxg6 Bxb3 25.gxh7+ Kxh7 26.axb3 White should not have enough compensation for the exchange.) 24.Bxd3 Rxe3 25.Bxe3 Qh3 26.Qc2 Qxg3+ 27.Kf1 Qh3+ 28.Ke1 g3 The situation looks desperate for White. 29.Bf1 g2?! (29...Qh2 looks like a better winning try, e.g. 30.Qf5 Qxb2 31.Qg5+ (31.Rc1 g2) 31...Kf8 32.Qxg3 f2+ 33.Qxf2 Qxa1+) 30.Qf2 Kh8 A strange move but it is a tacit draw offer. (30...Rd6; 30...gxf1Q+ 31.Qxf1 is not winning for Black and could be worse in the long run as his pawns are all broken.) 31.Bxg2 fxg2 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qg5+ Kf8 34.Kf2 Rd6 35.Qc5 Qh2 36.Rg1 b6 37.Qg5 Rg6 38.Rxg2 Qh1 39.Rg1 Qe4 40.Qf4 ½-½ Lasker,E-Chigorin,M/Brighton USA 1903 (40);
10...Nh5 (Jasnogrodsky) is the book line but is it a clear refutation? 11.d4 Nd7 (Napier) came to be recognised as the toughest defence, but other 11th moves for Black can be considered. 12.Qxg4 investigated by Janowski and Alapin a) 12.dxe5 Nxe5 (RR12...Nb6!? 13.d6! (13.Na3 Qxh4 14.Bb5+ c6 15.dxc6 0-0 threatening ...Ng3) 13...Qxh4 favoured by Fritz8 but 14.e6 fxe6 15.Bxe6 Kd8 16.Bf7÷ Junior7 thinks equal) 13.b3 threatens Ba3 13...0-0! calls White's bluff 14.Ba3 Nf3+! 15.gxf3 Qxh4 16.Re5 is an unclear line that was analysed in New York; Edward Lasker now recommended (16.Bf1? Qg3+ 17.Bg2 gxf3 18.Qxf3 Qxe1+ and Black won in a 1904 tournament game Rosenbaum-Napier.) 16...Bf5! e.g. (16...Qg3+ forces a draw already if that's what Black wants.; 16...f6!? to examine) 17.Nd2 Qg3+ 18.Kf1 Qh2 (Capablanca & Edward Lasker now said Black's attack assures him at least a draw) 19.Bxf8 g3 (RR19...Kxf8 to examine) 20.Bc5 g2+ 21.Ke1 Qh4+ (21...g1Q+? Korchnoi & Zak main line but NOT a draw 22.Bxg1 Qxg1+ RR23.Nf1! (23.Bf1 Ng3÷ Capablanca, Burn & Ed.Lasker cited by K&Z but computers may find several holes in this variation.) 23...Bg6 (Junior 7: 2) 23...Qg6 24.Qd4 a5 25.Re7 Qd6 26.Qe5 Kf8 27.Kd2 Qxe5 28.Rxe5 Ng7 29.Rae1  2.70/16 ; Junior 7: 3) 23...Rd8 24.Qd4  2.75/16 ; Junior 7: 4) 23...Ng7 24.Qd4  2.83/16 ) 24.Qe2 a5 25.Qf2 Qh1 26.Kd2 Rd8 27.Qe2 Nf6 28.Re1 Qg1 Junior 7  2.60/17 ) 22.Ke2 Ng3+ 23.Kf2 Ne4+ 24.Kxg2 Black has to be content with perpetual check according to Keres(24.Ke2?? Nxc3#) ;
b) 12.Bb5 Kd8! 13.Bxd7 Bxd7 14.Rxe5 Qxh4 15.Rxh5 Qxh5 16.Bxf4 Re8!µ played in 1905 by both Chigorin and Napier; 12...Ndf6 (12...Bxd4+ allows White the elegant continuation 13.Kf1 Ng3+ 14.Qxg3 fxg3 15.Rxe7+ (15.cxd4 followed by Nc3 and Bf4 with a good game, according to contemporary analysis. However, it is hard to believe this exchange sacrifice with White's queenside undeveloped. Deep Fritz7 proposes 15...Qxe1+ 16.Kxe1 Nb6 17.Bb3 a5 18.a4 Rg8 claiming a big advantage for Black. However, White now plays Bf4 and maybe he is doing fine. 19.Bf4) 15...Kxe7 16.cxd4 Nb6 17.Bb3 Bf5 18.Bf4 Rhg8 Wellington-Neville, Rice Gambit corr tourney 1911 (0-1, 35)) 13.Qe2 Alapin's try a) 13.Qxc8+ Rxc8 14.Rxe5 Rd8µ .15.Rxe7+ Kxe7 16.Be2! Ng3 17.Bf3 Nxd5 test game played in Berlin, 1910; b) 13.Qg5 Bd6! 14.Rxe7+ (14.Bb5+ Kd8) 14...Kxe7 with deadly threats on the g-file (Rosenthal); c) 13.Qd1 Ng4 14.Bb5+ c1) 14.Be2? f3! 15.Bxf3 Bh2+; c2) 14.Nd2 Rg8 or(14...Ng3) ; 14...c6! 15.Rxe5 (15.dxc6 0-0! Alapin) 15...Nxe5 16.dxc6 (16.dxe5 Qxe5) 16...bxc6! 17.dxe5 (17.Qxh5 cxb5 18.Qxe5 Qxe5 19.dxe5 f3! 20.gxf3 Bb7 21.Kf2 0-0-0µ) 17...cxb5 18.Qxh5 Handbuch 18...Bb7 or first(18...Qc5+) ; 13...Ng4 14.Qxe5 Nxe5 15.Rxe5 Rg8µ (15...Be6 16.dxe6 f5! Estrin & Glazkov alternative for Black) 16.Rxe7+ (16.Nd2 Bh3 17.Bf1 Rd8 18.Rxe7+ Kxe7 19.Kf2 Bg4 20.Bc4 Nf6! 21.Nf3 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Nxd5!µ Handbuch(22...Nh5? Alapin-Burn, Barmen 1905) ) 16...Kxe7 17.Kf2 Bf5 18.Be2 Bg4 19.Bd3 Rg7 20.Nd2 Rag8 21.b3 Bd7 22.Ba3+ Kd8 23.Rg1 Nf6 24.Be4 Bh3 25.Bf3 Ng4+ 26.Ke2 Ne3 27.g3 Nf5 28.d6 Rxg3 29.dxc7+ Kxc7 0-1 Chajes, Grommer & Marder v Capablanca, exhibition game, American Chess Bulletin 1913 p188;
10...Qc5+?! illustrates one of the main motives of the Rice Gambit. The black Queen gets driven to a poor square where she cannot assist the defence after 11.d4 Qxc4 12.Na3! Qa6 (12...Qxd5?? 13.Rxe5+) 13.Rxe5+ followed by Bxf4 with a strong attack] 11.d4 In the same tournament, Alekhine played this line as Black and his opponent R.Geish-Ollisevich went wrong immediately by [11.Qe2? Ng4 12.d4 Qxh4 13.Qf3 and now simply 13...0-0 is easily won for Black(13...Nf2?? was actually played, overlooking that after 14.Rxe5+ White stops the mate by 15 Rh5, but somehow Alekhine won the game in the end.) ] 11...Ng4 12.Nd2 Objectively, this is perhaps a losing move, but I don't designate it a mistake by Alekhine. In an experimental tournament there would be no point in going down the known drawing line. [12.Bxf4! Bxf4 (12...Qxh4 13.Qf3) 13.Rxe7+ Kxe7 14.Qf3 Be3+ 15.Kh1 RRf5 (15...Nf2+ 16.Kg1 Ng4+ 17.Kh1 Nf2+ draws by perpetual check (known since the early 20th century)) 16.Na3 f4 (RR16...Kd8 17.Nc2 Bf2 is a winning try for Black, suggested by Deep Fritz7, but with 18.Qf4 Bd7 19.d6 (Junior7) White seems to have enough play , considering Black's underdeveloped queenside.) 17.Nc2 Bf2? (17...Rf8! Alapin 18.Re1 Rf6²) 18.Qxf4 Re8 19.Rd1! h6 20.Rd2 Kd8 21.Re2 Rh8 22.Qf7 Bd7 23.Qg7 Re8 24.Rxe8+ Bxe8! 25.Qxg4 Nd7 26.Qe6 b5? 27.Nb4! 1-0 Club Marseille Regence (A.Barbier)-E.Zani (assisted by S.Alapin), Rice Gambit thematic corr 1903-4] 12...Qxh4 [12...Ne3 13.Qh5! (13.Qa4+ Bd7 14.Qb3 Bg4 15.Nf1 Qxh4 16.Bxe3 f3 0-1 V.Tabunshikov-E.Zani, LMI Rice Gambit thematic corr 1903-4) 13...Bd6 14.Bb5+ Kd8 15.Ne4 gives White a strong attack according to Dr Lasker in The Rice Gambit (New York, 1910). However, Black may have better 3th moves.] 13.Nf3 "White stands well" wrote Australian expert Trevor Hay in his King's Gambit booklet for Chess Digest, but this seems doubtful. Hay was evidently copying GM Paul Keres, a great connoisseur of open games, who considered that White stood quite well here ('Dreispringerspiel bis Königsgambit', 1971 Sportverlag edition, p.245) 13...Qh6! Diagram
rnb1k2r/ppp2p1p/7q/3Pb3/2BP1pn1/2P2Np1/PP4P1/R1BQR1K1 w kq - 0 0
 Black threatens to win the queen by ...Nf2.[13...Qh2+ 14.Nxh2 gxh2+ 15.Kh1 Nf2+ 16.Kxh2 Nxd1 as suggested by Lipschütz and analysed by Crespi and Reggio in La Stratégie, 1901, could be met by 17.Rxe5+ Kd8 18.Bxf4 Nxb2 19.Bg5+ Kd7 20.Be2 h5? (RR20...c6) 21.Rb1 Na4 22.Bb5+ EM.Lasker, an opinion confirmed by computers.] 14.Qa4+ [14.Rxe5+ is the strongest continuation according to E.Delmar (American Chess Bulletin 1905, page 75) and maybe there is nothing better. After 14...Nxe5 (<14...Kd8÷ 15.Qe1? (¹15.Re2) 15...Nf2 16.Kf1 Bg4 17.Ng1 Nd7 18.d6 cxd6 19.Re7 Be6 20.Rxe6 fxe6 21.Qxe6 Qxe6 22.Bxe6 Re8 23.Bd5 Nf6 24.Bxb7 N6g4 25.Ne2 Rb8 26.Ba6 Rb6 27.Bc4 d5 28.Bxd5 Nd3 0-1 P.S.Leonhardt,-R.Teichmann, London Rice tournament 1904) 15.dxe5 Bg4 White has insufficient compensation for the lost exchange according to Alekhine (modern engines concur), while;
14.Qe2 "would be demolished by 14...0-0 15.dxe5 Nf2 16.Kf1 Qh1+ 17.Ng1 Nh3! (Alekhine);
14.Qd2 Ne3! AAA. "There consequently remains nothing better than to attempt the following diversion" (i.e. Qa4+ as played)] 14...Bd7 [14...c6 had been tried and found wanting in earlier games, e.g. Rice-Hanham 15.Qa3 Nf2 16.Rxe5+ Be6 17.Kf1 Qh1+ 18.Ng1 Nh3 19.gxh3 f3 20.Bg5! Qg2+ 21.Ke1 f2+ 22.Kd2 f1N+ 23.Kd3 Kd7 24.dxe6+ Kc7 25.Qe7+ Kb6 26.Qd8+! Rxd8 27.Bxd8#] 15.Qa3 The young Alekhine follows the latest fashion. As he writes, this move was also played by Professor Rice himself in a consultation game in New York, which was drawn, but the Q on a3 is out of play for a very long time. It is hard to see what is to be gained by putting it here rather than on b4. The main difference seems to be that in some variations the white Q can later capture the a7-pawn if Black castles long. [15.Qb4 was played in another game around the same period, as Alekhine indicates: 15...Nc6! 16.dxc6 Bxc6 17.Bb5 (17.d5 compare Alekhine's game) 17...0-0-0 18.Bxc6 bxc6! (RR18...Bxd4+ 19.cxd4 bxc6 20.Qa3 (RR20.Qe7) 20...Rhe8 21.Bxf4 Qxf4 22.Qxa7 Nh2 (22...Re3 23.Qa6+ Kb8 24.Qxc6 Rd6 25.Qc5 Rh6 26.Qb4+ Kc8 27.Qf8+ Kd7 28.Rad1 Nf2 0-1 Saunders-Wheeler,J/corr 1901) 23.d5 Nxf3+ 24.gxf3 Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 c5 1/2-1/2 Em.Lasker-J.F.Barry, US simul 1903) 19.dxe5 Nf2 20.Kf1 Qh1+ 21.Ng1 Nh3! 22.Qc5 (22.gxh3 f3) 22...f3! 23.gxf3 Nxg1 0-1 Lipschutz,S-Napier,W/RUS 1906] 15...Nc6! Alekhine gives this developing move an exclamation mark although computers consider other moves to be good also. [15...b5! for example] 16.dxc6 "White has no choice. After [16.dxe5 Ncxe5 followed by ...O-O-O gives Black an irresistible attack (AAA).] 16...Bxc6 17.d5T Bxd5?! "Very ingenious. It is probable, however, that the simple variation [17...Bd7! 18.Qc5! f6! 19.d6 c6µ leaving Black two pawns ahead in a defensible position, was preferable". Computers consider that Alekhine is absolutely right about this.
The text move, as he says, "leads to extremely interesting complications most difficult to fathom". That comment was right at any rate; without a computer to guide him, even one of the world's greatest analysts made numerous mistakes in his notes from this point.] 18.Bxd5 Qb6+ 19.Nd4 0-0-0³ Diagram
2kr3r/ppp2p1p/1q6/3Bb3/3N1pn1/Q1P3p1/PP4P1/R1B1R1K1 w - - 0 0
 Matters look bad for White who is behind on development, has the less secure king and even his material advantage (bishop versus three pawns) is microscopic. Alekhine decided to sacrifice in order "to avoid immediate disaster".20.Rxe5! Rxd5?! This surprise move should have lost the game but Alekhine does not see that. He gives it a ! instead. [20...Nxe5 was the reply he expected, when 21.Qb3 Qxb3 (RR21...f3 22.gxf3T (22.Qxb6 f2+ 23.Kf1 axb6³) 22...Qxb3 23.Bxb3 c5 24.Nf5÷ was another sharp possibility.) 22.Bxb3 Ng6 (RR22...c5 23.Nf3) 23.Bd2 "would give White excellent drawing chances" (Alekhine). Nevertheless it is not so clear and this is what Black should have done. .23...c5 24.Nf3;
RR20...f3!? followed by ...Nxe5 also came into consideration.] 21.Rxd5 Qh6 Diagram
2k4r/ppp2p1p/7q/3R4/3N1pn1/Q1P3p1/PP4P1/R1B3K1 w - - 0 0
22.Nf3! Good judgment by the teenage Alekhine, looking to his defences first.
It turns out that the Q on a3 dare not carry out her "threat" after all, e.g. [22.Qxa7 Threatens mate but allows Black to do his worst. The "worst" in fact turns out to be a draw after a long forcing variation 22...Qh2+ 23.Kf1 Qh1+ 24.Ke2 Qxg2+ 25.Kd3 with a position somewhat reminiscent of the Steinitz Gambit! Black's choice is to give more queen checks or to exchange rooks 25...Qxd5! is the right choice (25...Qf1+ 26.Ne2 Qf3+ (26...Nf2+ 27.Kc2 Qxe2+ 28.Kb3 transposes) 27.Kc4 Qxe2+ 28.Kb3 Qa6 the only way to stop Qa8 being mate 29.Qxa6 bxa6 30.Bxf4 looks winning for White, whose second rook can now enter the game.) 26.Qa8+ (26.Bxf4!? Re8 and Black has ample play, which should soon regain the sacrificed material.) 26...Kd7 27.Qxh8 Here White has an extra rook and bishop but as yet they are not doing much, whereas Black can maybe make something of his four passed pawns, active knight and centralised queen. This is why Alekhine did not take the a7-pawn. Black would have at least a draw by perpetual check, e.g. 27...Ne5+ (27...f3 was indicated by AAA as an alternative for Black, attempting to utilise his dangerous kingside passed pawns, but computers are unimpressed by this suggestion:) 28.Kc2 Qe4+ 29.Kb3 (Alekhine's analysis was parroted in a game Ledesma-J.Canepa, Montevideo 1941, which appears in databases today.) 29...Qd5+ End of AAA's variation, and 29...g2 is also sufficient to draw.] 22...Nf2 This threatens mate by ...Qh1 so leaving White no choice. 23.Kf1 Re8! Diagram
2k1r3/ppp2p1p/7q/3R4/5p2/Q1P2Np1/PP3nP1/R1B2K2 w - - 0 0
 Black develops his last piece and cuts off the white king from its escape route. Now the threat is 24...Qh1+ 25 Ng1 Qxg1+! 26 Kxg1 Re1# but White has a more than sufficient anwer at his disposal.24.Bxf4?! It seems that, when annotating this game for his book in 1927, Alekhine did not give as much attention to the later phase as he did with his comments up to move 20. His observation that taking the f-pawn is "the only resource to escape the deadly coils" is 180 degrees away from the truth. This move almost lost whereas he could have obtained serious winning chances with an alternative that he does not even mention! [24.Re5! simplifies and draws the fangs from Black's attack: 24...Rxe5 25.Bxf4 Qxf4 26.Qf8+ (26.Nxe5 is also quite strong but gives Black options 26...Ng4+ 27.Nf3 Nh2+ 28.Ke2 Qc4+ (28...Qe4+) ) 26...Kd7 27.Nxe5+ Qxe5 28.Qxf7+ Kd6 Black is knight for rook down and, while the situation remains volatile, a queen exchange would be fatal for him. There is no clear saving line for Black after 24 Re5. ] 24...Qh1+! 25.Ng1 Ng4 Diagram
2k1r3/ppp2p1p/8/3R4/5Bn1/Q1P3p1/PP4P1/R4KNq w - - 0 0
 Another critical moment has arisen.26.Rh5?! "This sacrifice is the simplest and surest way of saving the game" claimed Alekhine. In fact, it should have been the losing move. [26.Re5! would, as Alekhine said, expose White to danger without any winning chances. Nevertheless, it had to be played and was the only saving move (objectively speaking). 26...Nh2+ 27.Ke2 Rd8! Black's attack flares up again because ...Qxg2+, which cannot be prevented, is associated with dangerous threats now that Alekhine's K cannot escape to the queenside. White now has to fight hard for a draw. 28.Bxg3! (28.Ke3 Qxg2 29.Bg5 f6 30.Bxf6 Ng4+) 28...Qxg2+ 29.Bf2 Diagram
2kr4/ppp2p1p/8/4R3/8/Q1P5/PP2KBqn/R5N1 b - - 0 0
 We have reached the critical position of this variation which Alekhine rejected.29...Qg4+? (29...Ng4! (Harding, 2003 but not mentioned by Alekhine) was necessary, with Stockfish9 returning 0.00 after 30.Qxa7 b6 31.Rf1 Nxe5 32.Qa4 Kb7 (32...Nd3!?) 33.Rd1 hangs on for White, although there is lots of play left.) 30.Ke1! This move was dismissed by Alekhine in a  short parenthesis (30.Ke3 f5?! (30...Qg2 Again, not mentioned by Alekhine but possibly correct, giving Black a slight edge?) 31.Qe7 is the safe option (31.Qb4!? Qg5+ 32.Qf4 Ng4+! 33.Kf3 Nxe5+ 34.Qxe5 Qg4+ 35.Ke3 f4+ Here your computer may tell you White stands somewhat better, but after 36.Ke4 Qg2+ 37.Nf3 Qxf2 Alekhine reckoned that, despite the N deficit, Black has "good winning chances as White cannot protect both his K and his queenside pawns".) 31...f4+ 32.Ke4 Qg2+ 33.Kxf4 Qxf2+ and Black has at least a draw says Alekhine; Fritz8 thinks it's ONLY a draw..) 30...Qg2! 31.Bd4!! (31.Ke2 Qg4+ "and Black has already a draw" said Alekhine, but even that is not clear after 32.Ke1 (Stockfish9)(32.Ke3!? (Harding 2003) may lead to a draw 32...f5 (32...Qg2= Stockfish9) 33.Qb4 Qg5+ 34.Qf4 Ng4+ 35.Kf3 Nxe5+ 36.Qxe5 Qg4+ 37.Ke3 Anyway, this is only of academic interest because White has a winning move in 31 Bd4.) ) 31...Qf1+ 32.Kd2 Qxa1 33.Kc2 and the white K reaches safety, after which he can reckon on exploiting his extra piece.] 26...Qxh5 27.Nh3 Diagram î?. This was a test position in the Smith and Tikkanen book. 27...Qb5+? Black throws away the win that Alekhine's miscalculations had gifted him!.
The only alternative analysed by Alekhine was 27....Nh2+ (when he reckoned White can draw) but in fact the right move, forcing mate, is [27...Nf2 threat 28...Qe2+ and mates in 3 28.Bxg3 (28.Re1 Rxe1+ 29.Kxe1 Qd1#; RR28.Be3 only delays the end with hopeless sacrifices 28...Rxe3 29.Qf8+ Kd7 30.Kg1 Nxh3+ 31.gxh3 Qf3 32.Rf1 Re1 33.Qe8+ Kxe8 34.Rxe1+ Kd7 etc.; 28.Nxf2 Qe2+ 29.Kg1 Qe1+ 30.Rxe1 Rxe1#; RR28.Kg1 Nxh3+! 29.gxh3 Qxh3-+ (Smith & Tikkanen, also giving a winning line starting 29...Qe2)) 28...Nxh3! 29.gxh3 Else 29...£f5+ 29...Qf3+ 30.Bf2 Qxh3+ (RR30...Qe2+ mates one move faster.) 31.Kg1 Rg8+ as discovered by B. Baskov in 1933, and published in Shakmaty v SSSR. After 39 years it was rediscovered by Igor Glazkov in "64". (Information from Romanov & Grodzensky in "Khod v Konverte".);
RR27...Nh2+ doesn't win because of 28.Kg1 Nf3+ 29.Kh1 Rg8! (threatening 30...Qxh3 31 gxh3 g2 mate) 30.Bxg3! Rxg3 31.Qf8+ (Smith & Tikkanen) 31...Kd7 32.Rd1+ Kc6 33.Qe8+ (33.Qc8!?) 33...Kb6 34.Qd7= (Stockfish9)] 28.Kg1! Alekhine settles for the draw, saying that [28.c4 "would allow White to preserve his material, but would leave Black winning chances, e.g. 28...Qxc4+ 29.Kg1 Qd4+ 30.Kh1 Nf2+ 31.Nxf2 and now 31...Qxf2 as in the game does not work because of 32 Bxg3, but instead Black can play 31...gxf2! with some advantage; because the f4-B is en prise. Alekhine gives these possible continuations 32.Qg3 (32.Bg3 Qf6 33.Rf1 Qh6+ 34.Bh2 Re1 35.Qd3 Qc1-+; RR32.Qh3+! holds according to Stockfish9. SMith and Tikkanen say 28 c4 is unclear and best because it opens the third rank for the queen, creating resources like this.) 32...Qxb2 (32...Re1+?? 33.Rxe1 fxe1Q+ 34.Qxe1 Qxf4 35.Qe8#) 33.Rf1 Qxa2 "and Black should win"] 28...Qb6+ 29.Kh1 Nf2+ 30.Nxf2 Qxf2! Black avoids the trap [30...gxf2? 31.Rf1 Qf6 32.g3] 31.Bxg3 Qxg3 32.Qxa7 Diagram
2k1r3/Qpp2p1p/8/8/8/2P3q1/PP4P1/R6K b - - 0 0
 Now material is level. Here Black had several tries and perhaps wisely decided to settle for the clear draw by perpetual check.32...Re1+ Here Alekhine is wrong again, because he says that the only possible winning try [32...Re4 "is easily refuted by" 33.Kg1! but it is not so clear-cut because now comes 'because now comes' 33...Rh4 trying to drive the white K into the open, and no "simple refutation" is apparent to me or to the various computer engines that have examined this position with me. 34.Qa8+ is probably just good enough to draw, as White gains a tempo to develop his R with check: (34.Rd1 threatens mate by Qa8+ but this is easily countered 34...Qh2+ 35.Kf2 Rf4+ (35...Qf4+ 36.Kg1 Qh2+ draws immediately) 36.Ke3 Qg3+ 37.Kd2 Qf2+ 38.Qxf2 Rxf2+ and Black wins a pawn with good chances in the rook endgame.) 34...Kd7 35.Rd1+ Kc6 36.Qe8+ Kb6 but White has no further checks and Black may have some chances of forcing a favourable queen endgame or rook endgame.] 33.Rxe1 Qxe1+ 34.Kh2 Now the traditional finish to the game is incorrect, according to Skinner & Verhoeven, who refer to Alekhine's unpublished notebooks (which he probably did not have at his disposal when writing his book in exile). 34...Qe4 [Alekhine Best Games gave the ending as: 34...Qh4+ 35.Kg1 Qe1+ and this finish is also given in "Khod v Konverte"] 35.Qa8+ Kd7 36.Qg8 Qh4+ 37.Kg1 Qe1+ ½-½.
Conclusion: Super material!

ChessBase Magazine issue 217 Extra
February  2024

ISSN 1432-8992
Euro 14,90
System requirements:
Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), DirectX9 graphic card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 12/Fritz 13 or included Reader and internet connection for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel Core i7, 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, DirectX10 graphic card (or compatible) with 512 MB RAM or better, 10

This time I would like to start the video files from Nico  Zwirs: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.g4 b5 and Adrian Mikhalchishin: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.e4, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e3 a6 6.a4 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 Be7, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 b5 5.a4 Bb7 6.b3 Nf6 7.bxc4 bxc4 8.Bxc4 e6 9.0-0 Be7 and 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Bxc4 c5 9.0-0 cxd4 10.e5 Qd8 11.Ne4 and where white  sacrificies his pawn on d4 to launch a kingsize attack after Qe2.
The main file is good for 51372 entries, plus an extra lucky  bag file from 49 heavy analysed games.
A fine example of play is Carlsen,Magnus (2839) - Vachier Lagrave,Maxime (2727) [D20]
AI Cup Div 1 W INT (2.1), 29.09.2023
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 MVL started playing the trendy QGA quite a bit recently. 3.e4 Carlsen has prepared something in one of the sharpest and most principled of lines. 3...e5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 Nf6 I had once upon a time discovered this rare pawn sacrifice, but by now it is mainstream theory. 6.Nxe5 b5 7.f3 0-0 8.a3 Ba5 9.Be3 c5 The idea of playing this dynamic pawn push is what the computers have discovered recently and the complications often seem to lead to some kind of dynamic equality. Still, as the games show, the arising positions can lead to fascinating fights. 10.dxc5 Qe8 11.Qd6 Be6 12.0-0-0 This is a forced sequence that most of the top players were probably aware of. Certainly both the players here were. 12...Qc8 13.Nxb5 a6 14.Nd4 Bc7 15.Nxe6 A beautiful queen sacrifice, by this point neccessary. The engine claims the arising position to be roughly balanced, so I am not surprised that Carlsen decided to give it a shot. 15...Bxd6 16.Rxd6 fxe6 17.Bxc4 Re8 18.c6 Re7 I am wondering how hard these moves would be to find, but when one knows them alreayd, it's not possible to tell. 19.Bb6 Taking away the c7 square from the queen and threatening Rd8+. 19...Nbd7 All forced. 20.cxd7 Nxd7 21.Nc6 Re8? Finally Maxime forgets his preparation. [21...Kh8! is how the variation continues.] 22.Be3 Now the computer prefers White's position. 22...Qc7 23.Rhd1 Nf8 24.Kb1 Kh8 25.h4 Pushing the kingside is premature, as it weakens the pawns and gives Black queen targets for counterplay. [25.Ka2! This prophylaxis followed by Bb3 (a5 can be met with a4) was stronger according to the computer. It normally fits Carlsen's style, but I guess he felt that being material down, he should generate play faster. Apparently that is just not the case, as White is in no rush and should focus on minimizing Black's counterplay first.] 25...h6 26.g4?! Probably Carlsen missed a double attack of sorts, or just overestimated the kingside attack in the arising position. 26...Qf7! 27.Ne5 Qf6 Maxime is picking up a pawn. 28.Bd4 Qxh4 29.Bxe6 White regains the pawn, but Black now gets some activity. 29...Qh2 30.Bd5 Kh7!? Black can return some material and prioritizes king safety. 31.g5?? Not realizing that Black has created a nasty threat with a previous move. Frankly this is just a blunder. White should have played Nf7, or at least collect the a8 rook. 31...Rac8! This is just a double attack- now Qc2 is a threat and since the a8 rook no longer hangs, Rxe5 is a threat as well. 32.Rc6 White can save material, but at the cost of completely miscoordinating his pieces. 32...Rxc6 33.Nxc6 hxg5 Normal, but the computer prefers to create a passed h-pawn with the bold 33...h5!. 34.Bf7? The engine feels that 34.e5 would maintain better piece coordination. 34...Rc8 35.Be5 Qg2 36.Nd4 g4 Tempting, but the computer of course finds improvements in this messy position with ease. [36...Nd7!] 37.fxg4 Qxe4+ 38.Ka2 Rd8 A good move. 39.Rf1 White is able to somehow not lose material right away, thanks to the miracle on the h-file. 39...Qg2? This is not the best. [39...Rd7! The computer attacks one more pieces and now White should collapse from being overloaded.] 40.Rf5 g6 41.Rf6 Qxg4 Black won a pawn, but White has regained coordination here and is fully back in the game. 42.Nf3? [42.Nc6 The computer likes this move.;
42.Bb3 This pretty much draws by force, if I understand it correctly. 42...Rxd4 43.Rxf8 Kh6 44.Bxd4 Qxd4 45.Rf3 g5 46.Rc3 This must be a fortress, as White will give up the bishop for the g-pawn. 46...g4 47.Be6 Qe4 48.Bxg4 Qxg4 49.a4 It is probably not neccessary, but it makes it even easier to hold, now that Ra3-Rc3 is the defensive setup. This is a well known fortress] 42...Rd3! This move was probably missed by Carlsen. The knight is just too unstable here and White has to once again trade wrong pieces in order not to lose material. 43.Bd5 Rxd5 44.Rf7+ Kh6 45.Bg7+ Kh5 46.Rxf8 Qc4+ The rest is easy. Without the light squared bishop, White's position collapses. 47.b3 Qe2+ 48.Bb2 Kg4 49.a4 Qxf3 50.Rxf3 Kxf3 51.b4 g5 52.Kb3 g4 53.Kc4 Ke4 54.b5 axb5+ 55.axb5 g3 56.b6 g2 57.b7 Rd8 Although Maxime did not play like a computer, from a human perspective he was sharp, while Carlsen has just missed too many of his opponents resources in this game. 0-1:
Conclusion: Must have reference material!