Euwe-Alekhine Rematch (1937)

The ACB issue of January 1936 published a new draft of principles and regulations which clearly show the willingness to see FIDE handling the matter of the world championship:

  1. The FIDE to guarantee a match once every two years.
  2. Purse: Eight thousand dollars, plus traveling and living expenses for both players during the match.
  3. The FIDE to provide half of the purse (four thousand dollars), the challenger to provide the rest.
  4. The FIDE to appoint a committee of three well-known, first-class amateur players to control and decide all matters about the championship not covered by the rules. Their decision is to be final. (I suggest the following committee: Sir George Thomas, England; Walter Penn Shipley, U.S.A., and either Strick von Linschoten or Dr. A. Rueb, Holland.)
  5. The committee of three to name the official challenger.
  6. Outside of this regular course, any qualified player, that is, any well-known international player, has a right to challenge for the championship at any time, provided he guarantees to provide the whole purse and expenses by posting a forfeit with the committee of three, or the FIDE, of two thousand dollars. This forfeit to go to the champion in case the match does not take place because of the inability of the challenger to meet the rest of his obligations.
  7. The champion must be ready to play within six months after the forfeit is in the hands of FIDE or the committee. In the case of the regular challenger named by the FIDE he must also be ready to play within six months, but in both cases, the champion must be notified immediately, so that he may have time to prepare. In other words, play must begin six months after the champion is notified of the challenger, and not later, unless by mutual consent of the parties and the committee. It can, of course, take place earlier if agreeable to all the parties involved. In case of misunderstanding as to the application of this rule, or any other file for that matter, the final decision rests with the committee of three named by the
  8. Of the purse, the champion is to receive two thousand dollars as a fee and the remainder to be divided in the proportion of sixty percent to the winner and forty to the loser.
  9. The match to be off from sixteen to twenty games, according to the desire of the people who put up the money required for the match to take place. Draws will count half a point and the winner will be he who scores the first half of the total, plus one- half; that is, 8½ or 10½ points, according to whether 16 or 20 games are played.
  10. Play to proceed at the rate of 32 moves in two hours and, if the game is not finished during the first four hours, then an interval or intermission of from one to one and one-quarter hours, to be followed by the second session of three hours at the rate of 24 moves in one and one-half hours. No analysis will be permitted during the interval or intermission.
  11. There shall be an umpire or referee to see that the rules and ethics of the game are strictly observed. Each player shall have the right to a second attending the games, but neither the players nor the seconds nor the umpire will be allowed to bring any kind of chess paraphernalia into the room.
  12. Play to take place every other day; but, if a game has not been finished after two sessions, then it will be continued on the following thy, and, in that case, there will be no free day before the next game is played.
  13. Either player will have the right to demand that play shall take place in a separate room, far enough away from the onlookers so that the players may work without being disturbed. To this separate room will only have access, besides the umpire and seconds, no more that, three other persons in the capacity of distinguished guests. Of course, the right to play in a separate room may be waived by the players if they so desire.
  14. Any of the above rules may be modified by the mutual accord between the players and umpire and the promoters of the match.
  15. Should the committee of three decide on a given occasion that there was no official challenger worthy of a match for the title, then the FIDE can postpone the match for one year, but in that case the FIDE must engage the services of the champion for an amount of the work no greater than that involved in playing for the title and for no greater length of time than one month. For this work, the champion shall receive a fee of no less than two thousand dollars. In the case of a tournament, the fee will be independent of the money prizes.

More principles were published in the Minutes of the FIDE General Assembly of 1936:

  1. The World Champion shall be a match and not a tournament
  2. The regulations shall be approved by the General Assembly of FIDE after consultation with the Grandmasters.
  3. The selection of the Candidates shall be done by a committee of seven persons nominated by the General Assembly. The list of names will be sent to the federations, and those will vote for the strongest player to be qualified. The Candidate who will have the highest number of votes will be nominated. In a case of a tie, the committee will decide the nomination.
  4. The total fund shall not be more than SFR 20,000 in gold. The Candidate will be responsible for 80% of the fund, FIDE, and its members will be responsible for 20%. The match will start only when full financial commitment will be achieved. After the deduction of organization’ expenses the prize fund will be divided in the proportion of 5 to 3.. The first players who will score 15½ including six wins will the proclaimed the winner. If after 30 games the score is equal then the championship will continue until a decision will arise.

Few weeks before the 1937 FIDE Congress, the Dutch Chess federation announced his willingness to present a proposal to settle the matter of world championship: « Early next year the Dutch chess federation should be organized, under the aegis of FIDE, a tournament engaging all the accepted candidates for the world title, to be followed, the year after, y a match between the winner of this tournament and the world champion. All expenses of both these events being guaranteed! »

At its Congress of Stockholm of 1937, FIDE considered the organization of the World Championship as one of the top priority. The body discussed the Dutch proposal then rejected by 8 to 4 the Dutch proposal to organize a candidate’s tournament based on the principle that it is up to FIDE to nominate the Candidate and to supervise the Candidate’s Tournament. The President asked power from the General Assembly to have a “carte blanche” to negotiate a modification of regulations for the next World Championship with the World Champion. Meanwhile, The General Assembly accepted as final regulation for the World Championship the following (main points):

  1. The match is games between the Official Candidate nominated by FIDE and the World Champion
    2. Starting 1940 the Word Championship will be organized every four years.
    3. The fund will be a maximum of SFR 20.000 – gold. Eighty percents will be brought by the Candidates or the organizers and twenty percents by FIDE and the affiliated federations.
    4. The winner will get 5/8 and the loser 3/8 of the prize fund.
    5. One year before the final match, the official candidate will have to challenge through FIDE, the World Champion including to deposit into FIDE bank account 80% of the fund for the match.
  2. The first player that will get 15½ points including 6 won will be World Champion.
    7. If after 30 games the score will be 15-15 with 6 won then the Champion will keep his title. But if after 30 games the score is equal and no one reaches six victories then the match will continue until the first victory.

During the same meeting, as stipulated in the proposal, the Federations were asked to nominate one challenger to play the World Champion in a match to be co-organized by FIDE. After the first ballot Mr. Salo Flohr CSR got six votes, Jose R. Capablanca CUB 4 votes, Paul Keres EST 1 vote, Mikhail Botvinnik USSR 1 vote and Ruben Fine USA 1 vote. After the second ballot, Flohr got eight votes and Capablanca 5 votes. The GA proclaimed Flohr HUN as official FIDE Candidate for the match to be played after the revenge match Euwe-Alekhine.

Front of this meeting, World Champion Max Euwe make the declaration that if he keeps his title, he will accept to challenge in 1940 the FIDE Candidate S. Flohr. However, if he won the match vs. Alekhine, his wish is first to play R. Capablanca for an unofficial match. If he had to lose to Capablanca, he would donate his title to FIDE and Mr. Capablanca, who shall agree before with the authority of FIDE on the World Championship, will play Mr. S. Flohr. The FIDE President Dr. A. Rueb confirmed that if A. Alekhine won the match, he would be invited to play under the FIDE regulations, S. Flohr. “If the World Champion renounces to his title then the title will belong to FIDE. From now any match for the world title will be organized under the FIDE auspices”.

In the Hungarian chess magazine Magyar Sakkvilag, the Polish Master and delegate Dr. Tartakover commented positively that FIDE could be useful in deciding questions as rules of chess or world championships but criticized the international body of slow moving and ineffective decision maker. He also criticized FIDE to let down a well-endowed tournament of Candidates offered to be organized under his auspices:The reason for this crassly stupid decision are hard to find. You can send ten wise men into a committee-room and then make a very stupid committee. Invoke the curse of Babel and the confusion is intensified. Add a group of men whose heads are slightly puffed by the position they have attained, and who are spitefully jealous of any scheme to which their name is not affixed, and you get the result like this.”

Tartakover stated on the “unsatisfactory” proposal to select Flohr as the next Candidate for the world championship. “Without in any way disparaging the merit of Flohr, that rock of safety and correctness we must sorrowfully record the Assembly of FIDE deprived the ever-famous Capablanca of his last chance of regaining his title which the Dutch proposal offer him. Get better man! Mr. Rueb and his delegates are not gods. If a laborer makes a mess of his job, he is sacked. If an engineer makes a bad blunder, he lost his job. The present FIDE is incompetent. We should sack the lot!”. Tartakover recognized Euwe “truly knightly” gesture in volunteering, should he beat Alekhine again, to meet Capablanca in a match of which the winner should play Flohr in 1940.We can only designate the intervention of the FIDE in this burning question of practical chess as truly deplorable.”

Baruch Wood chief editor of Chess presented the mach in his editorial dated of October 1937: “The whole atmosphere has changed. Euwe, the challenger, is now the challenged. Alekhine has put the bottle behind him resolutely, and we are told drunk nothing but buttermilk for weeks. There will be none of the swashbuckling “about his play this time. Last, dine it is safe to say that had he not under-estimated Euwe he could never conceivably have lost his title. Why close our eyes to the fact that a challenge from Euwe was as presumptuous as its predecessors from Bogoljubow? The whole chess world was saying it at the beginning of the match—only alter the match was over did we discover how many discerning but mute prophets of Euwe’s success we had been harboring in our midst. Now it is Alekhine who must give of his best. Euwe’s play in the last eighteen months has been splendid, in every sense of the word…”

The Manchester Guardian published interviews of Euwe and Alekhine in its issues dated of October 5th, 1937. Among other things Euwe: “I personally have considered Alekhine as certainty very strong, but never as invincible. No one is, in my opinion, invincible in a game of chess. And it seems to me that my success was partly due to this conviction. Not that I had, before the beginning of the first match, made myself believe that I should certainly beat my opponent, but that I thought I had a fair chance because I had noticed weaknesses In Alekhine’ s play. Others had seen these weaknesses, but had regarded them as accidental rather than as chronic. With the knowledge that perfection can never he attained I began the previous match for the world’s championship, and I approach the coming match with the same certainty.

It is, in my opinion, of no importance at all that Alekhine has had varying success, or, let us rather say, varying luck in the last few tournaments. I know Alekhine too well not to realize that he is incalculable. His splendid attacks and wild combinations may fail miserably today, but tomorrow they may least to unexpected results. The Nottingham Tournament is an excellent example of the truth of this statement. In the first half of the tournament Alekhine is unrecognizable in the second half he reaches his San Remo form. In the meantime, how is my own play? Will my form be good, or not so good? Happily, at the moment I am completely rested, With the end of the school year. In the middle of July, a cessation of my teaching activities began which will last until January. 1938. I could and can, therefore concentrate solely on chess. At the end of July and the beginning of August, I took advantage of the opportunity to get some practice and participated in the German quadrangular tournament and the team tournament at Stockholm. This kind of preparation was certainly necessary, since I had played very little this year. I seldom have a chance to take part in tournaments and, therefore, I am chiefly in need of tactical experience. I must have the certainty that my calculations and combinations are, on the whole, correct, so that I may be positive that I shall make no outright blunders. The knowledge that everything has been done to enable me to enter the arena as strong as possible gives me an inner quietness with which I approach the coining battle full of confidence.”

Alekhine’s reply began by recalling the fact that no world champion has ever regained the title. He continues: ‘‘This well-known fact undoubtedly influences the opinion of the chess public as a whole, predisposing it to regard the result of a return match as a foregone conclusion, or almost so. But the chess public forgets, or perhaps a large part of it does not know, that in the history of modern chess there exists only one precedent of an attempt at the recovery of the title. This attempt was made in 1896 by Steinitz, then an old man, against Lasker, a young one, and failed lamentably. Lasker himself, after losing to Capablanca, made no serious attempt to arrange a new match. And Capablanca after I had defeated him, did not succeed in fulfilling, for the purpose of a return match, the financial conditions which he had imposed on me in 1927.

“The Lasker-Steinitz precedent can scarcely be taken as conclusive. It took place between an old man and a man of twenty-four, young, ambitious and full of vigor. There was little reason to suppose that time older player, who had lest once, could recover, by something like a miracle, his former powers. What is still more important is that the result of the original match, ten wins to five, was absolutely conclusive. It was only the veneration of some Moscow supporters for the encounter to be arranged; in this Steinitz lost ten games and won only two. The situation after my match with Euwe in 1935 is decidedly different. In the first place, we do not belong to different generations the nine years’ difference in our ages (Euwe is 36 and I am 45) cannot conceivably, other things being equal, have a decisive influence on the result of our encounter. And while Euwe deserved his victory in 1939, having made fewer serious mistakes than I did, it was far from being a decisive victory. He won absolutely on the “spot” to 15.5 to 14.5 or nine wins to eight. Nor only that, but if the match been played under the same rules as the match with Capablanca, I should have won it at the sixteenth game, having then been the first to complete six wins… There was only one reason for lily bad play at time, but it was amply sufficient I was stale after about eighteen months of interrupted opted chess work… The result was that I arrived for the opening of the match sick of chess, and to force myself to think of chess I had recourse to various stimulants, such as tobacco in excess and above all, alcohol. These stimulants might have done little harm in a short contest but proved fatal in the long run; in these circumstances defeat became inevitable….“

The Czech newspaper Sachovy Tyden, the Master Znosko-Borovsky was telling about the physical condition of Alekhine:”… For the past two months, following on the tournament in Kemeri Alekhine has been leading a very well regulated kind of life. He lives on his estate, goes to bed at 10 p.m., rises at 7 am., takes a lot of walks, does some fishing, and plays no chess whatsoever—except for playing games and studying some novel way of opening. He sleeps so well and has such a good appetite that he has put on weight—11 kg-. He doesn’t smoke; he doesn’t drink-, he has shunned excitement of any kind. One can most decidedly see an immense difference between him as he is now and the Alekhine we used to see in the last few years.”

And Alekhine to add: “I can not imagine,’ how I could be in better fettle or feel better physically than I do to-day. . . Why I think Euwe will not win, all the more so because he will in all probability not be content with a formal victory of one point as last time, but will try to prove that he is the master. . . . He is playing far better than he used to …yet within the last two years he has committed some positively gross blunders in games.”

Few days before his match Euwe was quoted: “I do not underestimate Alekhine’ s play, merely because he has missed first place once or twice during the last few months. I believe I have less reason for optimism in respect to the return match in 1935 after the Warsaw International Team Tournament, where Alekhine really did play beneath his form.”

  1. Euwe (NED) – A. Alekhine (FRA) 9½-15½

Holland 5th October until 16 December 1937

The match started in The Hague and finished in Rotterdam. Thirty games were played 8 in The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the remainder at Utrecht, Delf, Eindhoven, Groningen, Haarlem, and Leiden. The first to score 15½ points draws included will be the winner

 

  1. Euwe has already mentioned that he was very optimistic before the 1937 Match. He had good reasons to be. Since the 1935 Match, Euwe had played in three tournaments in which Alekhine had also competed and in each Euwe had come out ahead of him. In the individual games he had played against him during this period, Euwe also had a plus score. Alekhine’s results outside of the tournaments already mentioned did not show much promise either. It is not surprising; therefore, that world opinion was strongly against Alekhine at this time. It was thought that this match would not be a real struggle, that it would be a walkover for the World Championship. This opinion was widespread both by the press in the Netherlands and the press abroad-especially abroad. “Alekhine has had his day” was the general conclusion. It is most difficult for one to play in such an atmosphere not only of optimism but exaggerated optimism. It kills one’s ambition to do one’s utmost. Why play at full strength against such a poor opponent when the result of the match does not mean anything? Certainly, that was not his Euwe’s line of thought. He was only slightly optimistic, but nevertheless: so this time, the psychological factors were against him. Another thing, Euwe has already remarked that his theoretical preparation for the 1937 contest was not at the high level of that for the first match. Perhaps he did not consider this theoretical preparation too important. He had acquired this impression in the course of the many games he had played between the two matches, especially in light of his games with Alekhine. For instance, playing with the black pieces in the Amsterdam Tournament, Euwe had emerged from the opening with a slight disadvantage. Alekhine had started an attack, Euwe had struggled and resisted. In the ending, he had bitten Alekhine.

In this mood, Euwe entered the second match. He certainly does not know whether he could have saved the title without the handicaps he has mentioned. Alekhine wanted to play perfect chess in this return match. At the outset, however, he did not realize this. Euwe won the first game but lost the second. Both were fierce struggles. In the third game, Alekhine was saved by a miracle, and the forth he also nearly lost. The score was now 2:2. In the fifth game, Euwe beat Alekhine in a little more than twenty moves, not because of a better opening variation but because he understood the position which arose the tenth move better than his opponent. This was just what he had hoped. Euwe’s rapid victory made a deep impression in all countries where the match was being followed. It was rumored in Vienna, far from the field of battle, that Alekhine had drunk more than ever during this game. Everyone believed this, of course. It was too simple an explanation of an overwhelming defeat. In reality, Alekhine had not taken a drop of liquor – not during this game, not during the whole match. So far, the course of the match strengthened Euwe’s conviction that he was the better player, and perhaps he thought it would really not be necessary to use all his energy and resources. This fifth game impressed many people, but not Alekhine himself. He knew, of course, that this was a critical stage in the match, and as already mentioned, Alekhine had prepared some surprising opening innovations for just such critical moments. In the sixth game, he produced such an innovation. Over the board, Euwe could not find the right answer and lost it almost as fast as he had won the preceding game. The score was now 3:3. Euwe felt a little wronged. In his opinion, he had played superior chess, and still, the score was only even. This was a bit discouraging. Factor form outside the board also began to play their part. Euwe was irritated by Alekhine’s variety of little tricks: playing the games in a sweater with a cat embroidered on it, the regular appearance of his Siamese cats in the spectator’s rooms, the noise he made when slamming doors as he went out. Whether he did it on purpose or not, Euwe did not know. It was most curious that in the first match, such things did not irritate him at all. On the contrary, they encouraged him, because he thought: “Here you have the powerful Alekhine, unbeatable in the chess world, and still he makes use of such little tricks. He must have more esteem for my play than I thought he would have.”

 

At the middle of the match, EUWE wrote to Chess‘‘My match with Alekhine took, all too soon after its commencement, an unfortunate turn for me. The circumstances recall our previous match in 1935, consideration of the play, however, reveals the distinct difference. Two years ago, in the earlier games, my difficulties—often insuperable ones— arose in the openings. This time I cannot criticize myself on score for I have repeatedly obtained thoroughly free and satisfactory positions. But subsequently, I have been making stupid blunders which I simply cannot explain, for they were superfluous blunders, blunders by which I took the initiative in encompassing my own downfall.

This is not to disparage Alekhine’s achievements, for the manner in which he as seized and evaluated the proffered opportunities has been above praise. The eighth game is an excellent illustration of what has been happening.’’


Alekhine said after a third of the match:
 ‘‘When these lines are published my readers will know more about the match than I do at the moment having just concluded the tenth game. The result of this first third of the match is certainly very encouraging for me, but I keep firmly in mind the thought that I stood no less promisingly at the corresponding stage of the match two years ago and— well, better to forget what happened afterward ! The hardest part of the work is therefore still to come. The situation after ten games is even slightly above my expectations as, although I had hoped to obtain a lead in the first stage, I did not think I should obtain such a big one so early I am inclined to attribute my success so far to particularly careful preparation both technical and physical. Dr. Euwe’s play, with his deep strategical conceptions and occasional slight tactical errors, has been about the same as usual.”
In the immediately following games, Euwe was determined to demonstrate his power and superiority, but he went to far. He took chances and tried to force the situation in the three succeeding games, and each time he lost. These repeated failures made Euwe play a little more carefully, but he could not alter the fact that after the first fifteen games, the score stood 9:6 in Alekhine’s favor.

 

The 16th game has gone into history as a comedy of errors. For almost one hour, in which two moves were played by each side, Alekhine could have made a winning combination which he did not see and which I did not see either. But the public saw the combination and waited breathlessly. This game ended in a draw. A lucky escape means more, in general than saving half a point. To Euwe, it was the beginning of a new match, and he made a last try to save the title. He played the next games with full strength and complete concentration. Euwe won the 17th, almost won the 18th as well, missed a clear win in the 19th, and also had good prospects in the 20th. The score now stood 11:9. True, Euwe had reduced the difference in their score by only one point, but he had the feeling that he was beginning to come up to the level of Alekhine’s play. But just as the 21st game in the first match had become Alekhine’s nightmare, the 21st game in the return match became Euwe’s nightmare. After an unusual building up of the position, Euwe made an artificial maneuver, which put his rook into a bad position from which some material loss resulted. Euwe could not hold the game, and Alekhine’s advance had again increased to three points. Now it is incomprehensible that after this set-back Euwe mentally resigned himself to defeat. But the tension had become too much for him. Euwe was unwilling to play the remaining games with the same concentration and still lose the match. He knew the match could no longer be saved, but certainly, he could have tried to diminish the difference between their scores or at least could have kept the difference from increasing. At that time, Euwe did not care, and later he felt ashamed that he did not accept the responsibility one has as a World Champion to perform as well as possible. In fact, thinking the situation over perhaps he should have taken alcohol at this critical stage of the match. Alcohol might have taken away his depression, might have given him a new impulse. As things were, Euwe played the next four games colorlessly, making a good move here, a bad move there-he did not care too much. After 25 games Alekhine had attained the necessary 15 ½ points and had regained the title, or, as Alekhine used to say his title. The score was 15 ½ to 9 ½. According to the contract, they had to play a total of 30 games. And so the five remaining games took place. Since the tension had now disappeared, Euwe could suddenly play better chess again. Out of these last five points, he scored three, but this was not very important, and these points did not count as in the result as a whole. He still had the greatest respect for Alekhine’s play in this return match and Euwe repeated that he was not at all convinced that he could have beaten Alekhine even with his best play.

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

Game 7

Game 8

Game 9

Game 10

Game 11

Game 12

Game 13

Game 14

Game 15

Game 16

Game 17

Game 18

Game 19

Game 20

Game 21

Game 22

Game 23

Game 24

Game 25

 

The match is over. In a packed hall at The Hague’s Zoological Garden, Dr. Euwe holding out his hand in a gesture of combined resignation and congratulation. Dr. Alekhine took it with a brad smile, then turn to acknowledge the applause of the spectators and to pay tribute to his opponent in a short speech. The crowd sand the French and Dutch national anthems.

 

A few days later Alekhine wrote to Chess: ‘‘I can truthfully say that the match developed on more or less the lines I anticipated. I had planned to try to obtain a lead in the first ten games, to hold this through the second third of the match and reserve a special big effort for the concluding stages. The second part of the match did not quite keep to schedule, as my opponent diminished this lead: this did not occur, however, until after I had had the match in my hands, for I obtained an easily won position in the sixteenth game, only to let it slip. Had this game ended logically there would have been much less excitement both among the public and in the press. As things went, Euwe had a distinct, if fleeting to make a fight to save his title and could he have found the win on either the 18th or the 19th game the issue would still have remained open.’’

 

The American Master Fred Reinfeld wrote about the two-third of the final match for Chess:

“In the present match, the games are very different! There has not been one empty game!

Sacrifices and Combinations have been frequent and even short games where the Queens were exchanged off early (as in the fourth and eleventh games) have been exciting and rich in ideas. I have heard some complaints about the prevalence of the Slav Defense, but these criticisms are not at all well taken. In the first place, the games played in the match with this variation have been at least as interesting as the rest, and as a matter of fact – it was the Slav Defense which produced the finest game thus far (the thirteenth game) Furthermore, the lines of play in this variation have been varied constantly, and have led to plenty of excitement and tension. And also, it must be remembered that each Slav Defense implies a keen psycho logical struggle, with each player attempting to establish or refute, as the case may be, some definite line of play.

In the second third of the match, Euwe has shown a gratifying return to his true form. Despite the crushing handicap of the conscious ness of his catastrophic showing between the sixth and tenth games, he has more than held his own in the next ten games (two wins, one loss and seven draws). This almost miraculous recovery, of which only a handful of masters could possibly be capable, proves once more, if proof were needed, that Euwe has the true stature of a World Champion.

The thirteenth game particularly proved an inspiration to him, as is indicated by the following comment in the Haagsche Courant, shown to me by J. B. Snethlage: “The adjourned position is a very difficult one, but at the time of adjournment, Dr. Euwe was so convinced of his ultimate success that he showed his sealed move to his opponent. We hope that this unusual gesture is not a sign of over-confidence.” It wasn’t!

And while evaluating Euwe’s play. we must remember that Alekhine is not the Alekhine of two years ago. He has really trained faithfully for the match, he is playing his very best, he is chock-full of innovations and of a tactical in genuity which in its imaginative richness can only be called diabolical!”

The English newspapers commented the final issues of the match.

The Daily Mail: “What a lovely, long, encounter this is…Euwe has not stated that he will knock Alekhine for a loop, nor has Alekhine intimidated that Euwe will be a pushover…”
The Manchester Guardian:“Alekhine has re-established his position as the greatest living player and done much to strengthen the belief that he is the greatest player of all time…He knows books as well perhaps as Euwe, perhaps no better, but he gets away from it as soon he can, even at the cost of a theoretical error in development and trusts to his extraordinary insight into complicated position to outwit his opponent.” In the same newspaper Euwe worte:” Our match had to solve the problem presented by Alekhine himself; it had to provide an answer to the question: Is it or is it not true that Alekhine is very strong?  And the outcome of the contest which has just been finished has answered this question in a completely convincing manner Alekhine is not only very strong, but he must be regarded as the best player in the world. On the basis of games with one opponent it is impossible to judge whether he is again the Alekhine of San Remo. But there is surely no great difference. Alekhine has played wonderfully and I certainly do not consider it a disgrace to be worsted by such an opponent. But I do deplore my collapse at the end. This collapse was so bad that I put up too little resistance, so that the numerical expression of the result is not a true reflection of our relative strength during the match as a whole. When I discovered, after the tenth game, what kind of opponent I had to contend with, I was already three points behind. Then I appreciated how serious the situation was, and exerted myself with all the strength at my command to reduce my opponent’s lead. At first it did not go very smoothly. But beginning with the fifteenth game I had all sorts of chances. After seventeen games I was only two points behind, and if it had then gone well I might have been able to save the day. But things simply would not go my way, either in the eighteenth, or the nineteenth, or the twentieth game. This was due partly to my own mistakes and partly to the fact that the positions offered any opponent hidden resources which had been difficult to foresee. All three games were drawn so that I was still two points behind when the twentieth game was over. This check discouraged me to such an extent that I played the rest of the match in a depressed mood.

One can understand the course of the match beet by dividing the games into groups of five.

Games.                                                                                            Result.

1-5. An optimistic beginning                                                              2.0-2.0

6-10. Alekhine wakes up I look on surprised                                       0.5-4.5

11-15. A fierce fight                                            ��                             2.5-2.5

16-20. I battle with all my strength to reduce the lead                        3.0-2.0

21-25. I am demoralized Alekhine is brimming with self-confidence          0.5-4.5”

About Alekhine’s play Euwe wrote: ‘Alekhine not only had various innovations in the openings but also constructed time framework of the game in the simple strategical manner which used to characterize his play. His tactical resourcefulness and combinative ability are so well known and so typical of his style that it is net necessary for me to enlarge on them. His play in the ending was also at a high level. But I must rise above all marvel at the manner in which he treated adjourned positions. This is all the easier to judge since I also had to analyze the adjourned games, and thus knew them through and through. When I think of the creative ideas which my opponent sometimes infused, into the positions, of the unexpected turns which he was able to discover, then I must express the greatest admiration for his mastery of this phase of the game. My play was far less satisfactory. If I disregard the opening, I must admit that this match has brought cut the various defects in my play clearly a lack of absolute precision in combinations, occasional bad blunders, but especially the complete absence of a drawing technique. This last defect turned out to be of the utmost importance I did not know how to hold the draw in positions which were drawn.

This weakness is most obvious in the second, seventh, eighth, twenty-first, and twenty-fourth games. This match has set me on the track of a weakness in my play, and I am determined to eliminate this weakness,’’

In the same article Alekhine continued: “ Euwe’s play, as a thorough and, above all, an impartial examination of the games will show, was not only not inferior to but slightly better  than his play in 1935, at all events in twenty games. This will become clear from the following consideration it was unanimously agreed that the quality of my play was greatly superior to that of 1935, yet after the nineteenth game the situation was the same as in the first match. The only possible inference is that my adversary also succeeded in making a greater effort than at the first time. It is true that after the en game, which virtually decided the fate of the title, Euwe played, on the whole, rather passively. For all that he did his best right to the end (see, for instance, his stubborn resistance, in spite of losing the exchange, in the end game of the twenty -fifth game), and even after the match -was over, in the five exhibition games which we were obliged to play under our contract, he produced high-class play, winning in the twenty-ninth his best game of the whole series. It is therefore perfectly ridiculous to say, as a section of the local press said, that he was out of form.’

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Euwe 1 0 = = 1 0 0 0 = 0 = = 1 0 = = 1 = = = 0 0 = 0 0
Alekhine 0 1 = = 0 1 1 1 = 1 = = 0 1 = = 0 = = = 1 1 = 1 1