In the book The Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James, the following passage appears on page 156.
Alekhine, near the end of his life, lonely and sick, but still world champion, told a friend of the amazing happenings at the great St Petersburg tournament of 1914. One night, in mid-tournament, there's a knock on Alekhine's hotel room door. A ragged old Russian peasant demands entrance, saying he has found a chess secret of great importance. Impatiently Alekhine lets him enter. ‘I have found a way for white to checkmate in twelve from the starting position,’ claims the old man. Alekhine starts to throw him out, but the peasant is insistent. To end matters, Alekhine sets up the board. Twelve moves later, the future world champion, white-faced, turns his king over. ‘Do that again,’ he says. The old man does. And again. Aghast, Alekhine hustles the old man along the corridor, to the room of his great colleague Capablanca. The same sequence of events happens. Capablanca thinks first it’s a bad joke: he ends up beaten again and again in twelve no matter what defence he tries.
As Alekhine concludes his sensational account, the friend leans forward eagerly and asks the question you are now asking yourself: ‘Then what did you do?’ Alekhine’s devastating reply: ‘Why, we killed him of course.’
Before you throw this book in the fire in disbelief, we’d better come clean. The above (roughly) is the plot of a terrific short story we read some years ago; annoyingly we couldn’t track it down. If you know the source, drop us a line.
Can any reader identify the short story in question?