Baby Shoes for Sale. Never Worn.

  • GM Gserper
  • | Feb 5, 2012

As the well-known legend goes, Ernest Hemingway once won a bet that he could write a short story which would have just six words. You see this story as the title of this article. It is a perfect story indeed: it has a beginning, a middle and an end!

And just like any good story it shows a wide range of human emotions: hope, joy, tragedy, agony...

Yes, I remember, this is a chess web site, so the point I am trying to make is 'short' doesn't mean inferior. Sometimes a short chess game can be similar to that Hemingway story. We can see how a chess player anticipates a great battle, he gets his pieces out ready to strike, but... Here comes the tragedy! An unexpected move of his opponent instantly finishes the game!

Besides their aesthetic value, such games are usually very instructive. By learning from somebody else's mistakes we are trying to make sure that such debacles are not going to happen in our own games.  Today our guide is the great World Champion Alexander Alekhine who was famous for his sharp style. Try to guess how he beat his opponents in the following short games of his:



When you are done with all the positions, I recommend you to go back and replay all the games from the beginning in order to understand what caused each catastrophe. In many cases it was not just one bad move, it was a faulty strategy. So, if these games will help you to remember why it is so important to develop your pieces in the opening, not engage your Queen in a risky mission too early, pay attention to the safety of your King, then I am sure you are not going to end up on the receiving end of such short stories!
Good luck!


  • 4 years ago


    TQ SIR...

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    @leibo said:

    "In the first game of this article - after Qc6,  Black can defend with Bd7!  And I don't see a forced checkmate sequence. I played with this variation a bit, and I discovered ttat Black gets out of this mess, only with a minor injury. Can anybody show the best moves for White in this scenario?"

    After 15. Qxd7+ Qxd7 16. Rxd7 gxh5 17. Rxg7 followed by taking black's other g-pawn and white is up a minor piece and 3 pawns (= 2 minor pieces). 

    Game over.

  • 4 years ago


    whats the story anyway?

  • 4 years ago


    oh my god all of them i got right withou failing once!!Cool...    Embarassed 

    I think the 5th one was the hardest!!!

  • 4 years ago


    short and way to finish game

  • 4 years ago


    After I finish studying "Silman's Complete Endgame course", I will also going to study Alekhine's games. The advice of GM Gserper is very good.Cool

  • 4 years ago


    Loomis --

    But after Bd7 Qxd7+ Qxd7 Nxd7 comes hXg5 and Black is down only one minor piece. He could still put up a fight...

  • 4 years ago


    @jfrommel: But I thought gabrielconroy already made that point with his last sentence.

  • 4 years ago


    Very good puzzles !!

  • 4 years ago


    good...........interesting..............sahi hai be

  • 4 years ago


    Great stuff, totally enjoyed this.

  • 4 years ago


    Mr.Guy888 was joking. His point was that contractions are not more or less wrong than spelling both words out.

    Ewanygengi's point was a ridiculous one.

  • 4 years ago


    all correct except 5,6 and last one 

  • 4 years ago


    Perhaps mr.guy is joking, but since when are contractions less correct than two separate words?

  • 4 years ago


    Blitz stuff.

  • 4 years ago



    use past tense,he's/he has Smile already written it

  • 4 years ago


    leibo, After Bd7 Qxd7+ Qxd7 Nxd7 white is ahead by two minor pieces. This is more than a "minor injury".

  • 4 years ago


    @ gambrielconroy

    I believe you mean to say "is not less accurate." Tongue out

  • 4 years ago



    "If you are getting worried about the precision of language might one write "does not matter" rather than "doesn't matter"?

    And having seen how silly your comment was might one agree that no it does not matter at all"

    No, that's a different point. Arguing that the construction, balance and word order in a sentence-long short story is important is completely valid, and here precision clearly is important. Using "doesn't" instead of "does not" isn't less accurate.

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