My Game with Alekhine

Jun 8, 2008, 9:41 PM |

A friend turned me on to this article which he clipped from the San Francisco Chronicle several years ago:

My Game with Alekhine

by Leah Koltanowski

When I was a young lass my parents used to take me abroad each year.  It was a wonderful event.  From age 17, I travelled on my own, mostly to Europe.  On my visit to Paris, being a keen chess player, I decided to visit the famous Cafe de la Regence, famous hangout of the chess fiends.  The fact that I was a young woman and unescorted did not bother me.  I sat down at a table with a chess board and pieces on it, and ordered "un cafe noir" from the waiter.  A dozen other tables were taken with chess players at each other's throats and many chattering in various foreign languages.
I was sipping my coffee when a well-dressed man, with a handkerchief in his breast pocket, stood in front of me and asked, "Voulez-vous jouer une partie des echec?" and without waiting for an answer, he sat down and set up the pieces, giving me the white pieces,  I got over the shock of e4 and , at the same time, I asked my opponent, "what is your name?" "Alekhine," he replied, and answered with 1...Nf6   Even I knew that was the Alekhine Defense, but I was too excited to ask myself if the great Alexander Alekhine would sit down and play an unchallenged game!  After an hour or so, the following position was reached:








and a number of kibbitzers had gathered around the table.  Worst of all I was in deep trouble.  Should I resign and leave as soon as possible or study the board a bit longer?  But please, I begged myself--no tears, even if it wasn't the real Alekhine.
So I studied the board.   The more I looked, the less i liked it.  Then all of the sudden I cried out , " Eureka, it's mate in eight moves!"  Most of the spectators laughed or smiled at my outburst.  My opponent said nothing.  I continued to move with:
1.Qa8+ Kg7 2.Qg8+ Kxf6 3.Qxg6+ Ke5 4.Qxe6+ Kd4 5.Qd5+ Kc3 6.Qc4+ Kb2 7. Qxc2+ Ka1 8. Qb1 mate!!








 My opponent sat flabbergasted, red in the face, but said nothing.  I paid the waiter, and upon leaving,  I whispered to Alekhine, "You gave me your name, let me tell you mine in complete confidence--I am the chess goddess Caissa."

Congratulations, Leah!  George

This is just how it appeared in the Chronicle.  Hope you enjoy it.  By the way I was not able to solve it...would get the black king out to the center of the board but loose the thread.  Damn.