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The Soviet Chess Primer

November 26th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

In The Soviet Chess Primer, by Ilya Maizelis, to be published on 10 December, the chapter on Combination includes a selection of little-known examples from Alekhine. You can test yourself on the following – White to play and win:

Alekhine – Amateur, Groningen (simul) 1933

White to move

White achieved victory in the sole possible way, which is extremely subtle:


The black rook cannot stop the a-pawn.

1…Re4 2.a5 Rxg4 3.a6 Rh4

If 3…Rg1, then 4.a7 Ra1 5.Ra3!! bxa3 6.a8=Q axb2 7.Qb7+ and 8.Qxb2 winning.

4.Rd8!! Kxd8 5.a7

Black resigned. An endgame study in a practical game!

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  1. jmws
    November 26th, 2014 at 12:34 | #1

    Out of curiosity I went to the Royal Dutch Library in The Hague and looked into a Russian 1960-examplar of the book (the yellow one). It looks awesome! Jacob: will the original drawnings also be part of the book? I kind of liked them: so Sovietish…LOL…

    Unfortunately you can’t borrow the book. The library has two examplars one signed by the author and the other one by Botvinnik.(!).

    Again: seem to be an awesome book!
    Can’t wait.

  2. Mark Moorman
    November 26th, 2014 at 13:04 | #2

    I am occasionally coached via Skype by a Serbian IM who often speaks about how important access to Soviet chess books was to his game. He often holds them up and shows me the Cyrillic script in the text. I will have to ask him about this book, and I look forward to getting it when it comes out.

  3. jmws
    November 26th, 2014 at 13:12 | #3

    @Mark Moorman. Well, we have to thank Quality Chess for bringen books like this one and Lipnitsky back into print! @ Jacob. Wonderful fragment of Alekhine. In a simul! makes you humble. Very humble indeed…

  4. John Shaw
    November 26th, 2014 at 14:00 | #4


    Yes, the Russian publisher was kind enough to supply us with the wacky drawings, so they are in our book. A few involving strange elephants, I think.

  5. Michael Bartlett
    November 26th, 2014 at 16:00 | #5

    wow I actually got this one! Must be a blue moon.

  6. November 26th, 2014 at 16:59 | #6

    This books looks simply outstanding!

    Any chance it will be offered in a hardbound edition?? Thanks.

  7. John Shaw
    November 26th, 2014 at 17:12 | #7

    @Jeffrey “notyetagm” Hall

    Sorry, not at the moment – paperback only.

  8. jackson
    November 27th, 2014 at 18:50 | #8

    This beautiful example is also included in one of the great Artur Yusupov’s books. I wonder if Artur would recommend this book? Does anyone know if it’s a good substitute for the Tarrash book (with the unattractive descriptive notation) recommended by Artur?

  9. Nikos Ntirlis
    November 28th, 2014 at 10:41 | #9

    The Tarrasch book has been reprinted in “normal” chess notation. I know because i have it (although i cannot find it now to tell you the title of the publisher).

  10. John Johnson
    November 28th, 2014 at 11:40 | #10

    Reading descriptive is not Champollion deciphering the Rosetta Stone, It’s not that hard.

  11. steven
    November 30th, 2014 at 02:06 | #11

    Anyone knows the Maizelis Chess Primer original title in russian? I mean the 1960´s version,

    thank you all!

  12. John Shaw
    December 1st, 2014 at 10:27 | #12


    The original title was just “Chess”.

  13. December 1st, 2014 at 14:26 | #13

    jackson :This beautiful example is also included in one of the great Artur Yusupov’s books.

    Does anyone know on which page of which Yusupov book this example is included??


  14. steven
    December 23rd, 2014 at 05:55 | #14

    Thank you @JohnShaw! 🙂

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