In 1927 thirty-five-year-old Alexander Alekhine became the first Russian to win the world chess championship title. He defeated the Cuban grandmaster Jose R. Capablanca, who had held the world title. Alekhine won six games, Capablanca three, and 25 were drawn.
The match was more than a personal victory for Alekhine, it was a triumph for the ideas of the Russian chess school.
“For me chess is not a game but an art,” Alekhine once said. “Yes, I consider chess an art and accept all the responsibilities it lays upon its devotees.”
“Alekhine’s win”, wrote Emanuel Lasker, the eminent German grandmaster who held the world crown longer than anyone (from 1894 to 1921), “is the victory of an inflexible fighter over a mind that shies away from anything obscure. Capablanca aims at precision, using scientific methods. Alekhine is a greater artist, has a more searching mind, and, in principle, such creative work is on a higher level”.
Richard Reti, a Czechoslovak grandmaster, remarked that “in games won by Alekhine, beneath the ice-cold cloak of modern technique, there burnt the bright and passionate flame of searchings for new paths — something quite alien to Capablanca”.