The Soviet Chess Primer

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!

14 thoughts on “The Soviet Chess Primer”

  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. 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. @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. @jmws

    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. 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?

  6. 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).

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