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Akiba Rubinstein vs. Alexander Alekhine

  • NM GreenLaser
  • | Aug 20, 2011
  • | 6967 views
  • | 28 comments

Akiba Rubinstein (1882-1961) was a Polish Jew born when Russia ruled most of Poland. He learned chess at the age of 16, which is now considered too late. Within five years, he gave up his studies to become a rabbi to play chess. It took him another four years to be considered one of the world’s best players. In 1912, he won five major events in a row. A match with the world champion, Emanuel Lasker, was set to take place in October 1914, but war began July 28, 1914. The guns of August  blew into the Great War or World War I. This ended Rubinstein’s chance to play for the title.

In later years, Paul Keres was regarded as the best player to not have become world champion. In more recent times, it has been argued that Viktor Korchnoi deserves that regard. Earlier, it was Rubinstein that was held to be the best non-champion. While Keres, never had a match for the title, he did play in the tournament for the world championship in 1948. Korchnoi played in two championship matches with Karpov (1978 and 1981). Rubinstein as a competitor to be called the best player to never become world champion has less competition to be called the best to never have played for the world championship.

Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) became world champion in 1927. Just as people argue about which player is the best non-champion, they argue about which champion was the best. Alekhine is at least considered a good champion. My databases show the results of Rubinstein versus Alekhine. From 1911 to 1914, Rubinstein won 2, lost 1, and drew 1. From 1921-1930, Rubinstein won 1, lost 7, and drew 2. In the earlier period, Alekhine was not as strong as Rubinstein. However, Alekhine was ten years younger. In the latter period, Alekhine was clearly stronger than Rubinstein. However, Rubinstein was ten years older. At first being younger is a disadvantage. Later being younger is an advantage. Rubinstein had declined while Alekhine had improved.

I have selected a game from the Russian National Tournament or Championship of 1912, which was held in Vilna (Vilnius), to show Rubinstein against Alekhine. This event had ten players (after one dropped out) and was a double round robin. Rubinstein won the tournament with 12/18. he had 9 wins, 3 losses, and 6 draws. Alekhine placed sixth with a score of 8.5/18. He had 7 wins, 8 losses, and 3 draws. Rubinstein won both his games with Alekhine, but one of those games is not in the databases. Some of Rubinstein’s other games from this period are not available. This means that his score with Alekhine from 1911 to 1914 was one (or probably more) better than above.

 

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    MIDYMAT

    NIce game and article....thanks for posting it

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    fischer70, if the material in chess books that you read is too advanced for you, take smaller bites. You don't say what books or types of books you read. In opening books, find a position you want to reach. Study that position and how to reach it. When you are playing that opening, you will have a goal. Learn more positions close to that one as your play puts you in other positions. Your own games will motivate your interest to study particular positions in all phases of the game. This will keep you awake and feel less like the work of reading a book from cover to cover.

  • 3 years ago

    fischer70

    hey greenlaser how about helping out a fellow woodpusher lol. hows about helping me with a little problem i seem to be having, how should i, go about studying in a way that i will really get something out of it rather than tired eyes and mass confusion over trying to decipher, some of the material i run across in some chess books. could it be that maybe  they are to advanced. hope to hear from you later.  fischer70

  • 3 years ago

    aalekhine68

    I like this article of yours very much!  Especially how you explained why Rubinstein was better earlier and Alekhine became better later.

  • 3 years ago

    aalekhine68

    I remember the movie "Fastest Gun Alive" starring Glenn Ford.  There was an old wise man there who said "No matter how good you are, there's always someone better."  

  • 3 years ago

    aalekhine68

    It is very difficult to say who was the best - Alekhine? Fischer? Karpov? Kasparov?  They were all world champions.  They were the best during their time.  It is also not accurate to say Kasparov is the best just because he was the last and he studied the games of his predecessors and know how they play.  What if Kasparov lived during the time of Alekhine?  Then he would not have had the benefit of studying and learning from Alekhine's, Fischer's, Karpov's and other players' games.  I used to think Fischer was the best.  Then Kasparov came along - and then I thought, "Kasparov" is the best - he was my favourite.  In my opinion, we cannot conclude that we are better than the previous generation - we are better off - because we have more information available to us.  Today, I do not say "the best is..."  I say, "My favorites are Alekhine, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov and Anand".  :-)

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    soulpower74, yes, Wednesday is the correct day. Hope to see you!

  • 3 years ago

    soulpower74

    Your right I do need the practice. Are you guys playing this Wednesday at the library?

  • 3 years ago

    karangtarunasemarang

    thanks.....Smile

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    fischer70, I do not root for the Redskins, although I got a free wool Redskin sweater from a certain insulation company. I believe that without Redskin fans there are no Eagle fans, etc. There cannot be a league without teams. Some fans want to eliminate all other fans and teams, literally. In chess we need a diversity of fans and opinions also. The Fischer of 1970-72 may have been the best. That was too short and fans were deprived of more. Fischer could have become even stronger, but would probably not have been able to duplicate his scores of those years. If only chess players were gladiators, he could not have fled the arena. But then, under such a system, the rest of us would not be likely to be free. Morphy also quit too soon for fans. We are going to see more of today's top players quit in the next few years.

  • 3 years ago

    fischer70

    greenlaser thanks for the comments, i pretty much agree with some of the points you make butin this case.  its sort of like going for the home team, i root for the redskins no matter what, and i guess ill just keep to my opinion on whom is better fischer or kasparov, however i do like the way karpov plays.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    rickywong, if someone was always better than Korchnoi, it was not demonstrated without unfair practices. In the case of Keres, there was suspicion of unfair practices against him. Carlsen is very strong, but I am sure would prefer to give up the title of "strongest never..." for the real title. A player is usually given the substitute title after his chances are gone. While still a challenger or hopeful, such a player has been called the crown prince. Those competing today have the job of entertaining us. Paul Morphy was called world champion, but is not regarded to have been one of the world champions in the line started by Steinitz.

  • 3 years ago

    rickywong

    >In later years, Paul Keres was regarded as the best player to not have become world >champion.

    >In more recent times, it has been argued that Viktor Korchnoi deserves that regard. 

    There was always someone better than Korchnoi, so it is normal that he didn't become WC.

    I think Carlsen shd be the one considered strongest who has never become WC...

  • 3 years ago

    gringostar

    good game

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    BCG1, yes, Pillsbury was a great player. Every few years a number of players are considered by the public as great. A few get title shots and many do not. Some die early leaving the public to speculate on their promise. Pillsbury may have booked his illness at St. Petersburg.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    soulpower74, you need practice to improve or maintain your form, but not to play. You know you are welcome to show up.

  • 3 years ago

    BCG1

    Harry Nelson Pillsbury was a strong candidate to be world champion. After his victory at the 1895 Hastings Tournament he was leading the next super event, St. Petersburg 1895/96 at the halfway point having taken 2 1/2 0f 3 from Lasker and 3 0f 3 from Tchigorin! He was "unwell" in the second half, probably due to the effects of the syphilis that killed him. His lifetime record against the great Lasker, who was in his prime as the world champion, was 5 wins, 5 losses and 4 draws. One of the real tragedies in chess history was Pillsbury's illness and the lack of a match with Lasker.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    fischer70, Fischer was a great player and is considered to be the greatest by many. His tenure as champion was too short and places a limit on his contribution to chess. If he had competed successfully for another nine years the evaluation of him as the greatest would have become more solid. However, new champions are often valued over earlier champions due to the simple fact of defeating them. Fischer defeated himself and deprived anyone of credit for defeating him. Rubinstein competed longer than Fischer, but also had emotional problems that resulted in his leaving chess.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    ontomorrow, Rubinstein never played a match or tournament for the world championship. He may have been the best player to never play for the title. He may have been the best player to never have become world champion, but Keres and Korchnoi have since been considered to be the best non-champions.

  • 3 years ago

    soulpower74

    I think I am passing on the NY State Championships this year..Perhaps next year. Have not played much OTB chess lately afraid my form will be way off. Good luck to you up there.

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