Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008777, Sun, 19 Oct 2003 14:25:03 -0700

Fw: Fw: Fw: Prototype chessmasters for THE DEFENSE Alekhin
EDNOTE. Let me add that I agree that George Shimanovich's original tone was more strident than I would prefer.

----- Original Message -----
From: Scribe1865@aol.com
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Fw: Prototype chessmasters for THE DEFENSE Alekhin

In a message dated 10/19/2003 11:38:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time, chtodel@cox.net writes:

The only maniacal in Alekhin was his constant striving to finish his opponent on the board. Off the board he was a gentleman, which Mr. Yost should know. Speaking of Alekhin's chess style he excelled in all aspects of the game, including positional side of it.. He is recognized by professional chess players for his contributions to chess endings which is impossible to do without being astute positional thinker.

This part of George's post is quite true. In fact, I did mention that Alekhine was among the greatest chessplayers (although perhaps not the strongest by hypothetical FIDE rating). He could create fantastic positions, as Grandmaster Tartakower observed when he said, "I can see combinations as well as Alekhine, but cannot create the positions from those combinations arise."

However, and this I will debate, Alekhine was NOT primarily a positional player. He was not, like Tigran Petrosian, someone who would use sitzfleisch to edge a pawn out of an otherwise drawn game. Alekhine's play was much more volatile, and thus he seems different in style than Luzhin.

Forgive me for being blunt, but I simply cannot stand people who cannot think up their own ideas and apply their mind to classify those who can. They belong to this list as 'poshlost' to 'Cloud, Castle, Lake'.

Forgive me for being blunt, but I cannot stand people who engage in ad hominem attacks, perhaps out of a sense of personal insecurity. Obviously the greater vulgarity is George's, and he would do well to apologize for his brutish writing if he has enough presence of mind to do so.

If he would disagree with me, fine, disagree with me, but his attack is characteristic of a demagogue. We should be debating issues on this list rather than posting unwarranted insults. (As for my "coming out of nowhere," I have been quietly enjoying the posts on this list for quite a while now.)

Eric Yost

PS: Alekhine's alcoholism was a matter of record preceding his first match with Yefim Bogulyubov. As for "'Combinations like melodies. You can simply hear the moves.', - these are not the words of a positional player," I believe any world-class player, regardless of style could say those words.