terrible confession -
you ever heard the story of Alexander Alekhine’s terrible confession? Near
the end of his life, Alekhine, lonely and sick but still world champion,
told a friend of the amazing happenings at the great St Petersburg
tournament of 1914. This is his story.
in mid-tournament, there is a knock on Alekhine’s hotel room door. A
ragged old Russian peasant demands entrance, saying he haa found a chess
secret of great importance.
Impatiently, Alekhine lets him enter. “I have found a way for white to
checkmate in nineteen from the starting position,” claims the old man.
Alekhine starts to throw him out, but the peasant is insistent.
matters, Alekhine sets up the boad. Nineteen moves later, the world
champion, white-faced, turns his king over. “Do that again,” he says. The
old man does. And again, the champion loses. Aghast, Alekhine hustles him
along the hotel corridor to the room of his great colleague, Capablanca.
The same sequence of events happens. Capablanca thinks first it’s a bad
joke; but he ends up beaten again and again in nineteen no matter what
defence he uses.
Alekhine concludes his sensational account, the friend leans forward
eagerly and asks the question you readers are now asking yourselves. “Then
what did you do?” The champion’s devastating reply: “We killed him, of
tear up this copy of Arena in angry disbelief, we had better come clean.
The above story, very roughly, is the plot of a short story written by
Vincent Fotre entitled, “Mate in Nineteen.” In this case, truth could not
be stranger than fiction.
Article by Carl Jacobs
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