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Combinations of Alexander Alekhine

IM Eric Tangborn Avg Rating: 1640 Tactics

Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine became the fourth World Chess Champion by defeating Jose Capablanca in 1927. He is remembered for his fierce and imaginative attacking style. His life was also filled with controversy. In the early 1930's, his tournament results were stellar, but later became erratic possibly due to alcoholism. Alekhine stayed in Europe during World War 2, where he played in Nazis organized chess tournaments. During this time, anti-Semitic articles appeared under Alekhine's name, although he later claimed they were forged. He died in Portugal in 1946 under unclear circumstances. Alekhine's style had a great influence on Kasparov, who said: "Alexander Alekhine is the first luminary among the others who are still having the greatest influence on me. I like his universality, his approach to the game, his chess ideas. I am sure that the future belongs to Alekhine chess." The great English master C. H. O'D. Alexander wrote "In playing through an Alekhine game one suddenly meets a move which simply takes one's breath away."

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  • Opocensky-Alekhine, Paris 1925

    Alekhine was born into a wealthy family in Moscow, Russia on October 31, 1892. He was introduced to chess by his mother and older siblings and began playing at the age of 7. His first known game was a correspondence game in 1902. His first over the board tournament occurred at the Moscow chess club in 1907. He played in increasingly stronger tournaments and by the age of 16 was one of Russia's strongest players.
  • Alekhine-Munoz, Sabadell 1945

    Alekhine was one of the greatest attacking players, and he also had the ability to see the potential for an attack where others saw nothing. Max Euwe said, "Alekhine is a poet who creates a work of art out of something that would hardly inspire another man to send home a picture post-card." Bobby Fischer, in a 1964 article, ranked Alekhine as one of the ten greatest chessplayers in history and wrote of Alekhine, "He had great imagination; he could see more deeply into a situation...
  • Alekhine-Lasker, Zurich 1934

    In August 1914, Alekhine was leading an international tournament in Mannheim, Germany when World War I broke out. The Russian players in that tournament were interned in Rastatt, Germany. "Life in prison was rather monotonous," Alekhine later recalled. "There were no books, no newspapers and, of course, no chessboard. Bogoljubow and I played blindfold chess for hours. Our battles were interrupted when for four days I was placed in solitary confinement, for the reason that during a...
  • Bogoljubow-Alekhine, Germany/Holland 1929

    This is a game from the World Championship match between Alekhine and Bogoljubow. "Bogoljubow is aggressive and enterprising," wrote Alekhine before the match. "In our understanding of the essence of chess we have a certain similarity, but we have very different views both on life, and on the principles of the struggle. He regards his opponent as an excellent experimental field for applying his skill and never tries to study his opponent. He often hopes for a miracle, where what is needed is knowledge...He...
  • Alekhine-Petrov, Warsaw Olympiad 1935

    In June of 1919 during the Russian civil war, Alekhine was arrested by police -apparently due to someone informing on him of being a spy - and was sentenced to death. He was charged with links with White counter-intelligence, after the Russians liberated the Ukraine from German occupation during World War 1. Literally a couple of hours before he was to be shot, an order was given to free him.
  • Alekhine-Reshevsky, Kemeri 1937

    Alekhine was married 4 times in his life, each time to older women. In early 1920, he married the Russian baroness Anna von Sergewin, who was several years older. For a short time in 1920–1921, he worked as an interpreter for the Communist International and was secretary in the Education Department. There he met Swiss journalist and Comintern delegate Annalisa Ruegg, who was thirteen years older than he, and they married on March 15, 1921. Alekhine was given permission to leave Russia to visit...
  • Capablanca-Alekhine, Buenos Aires 1927

    This game is from the World Championship match in Buenos Aires in 1927. Alekhine won the title, scoring 6 wins, 3 losses, and 25 draws. This was the longest World Championship match until the contest in 1984 between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Alekhine's victory surprised almost the entire chess world, since he had never previously won a single game from Capablanca. After Capablanca's death Alekhine expressed surprise at his own victory, since in 1927 he did not think he was superior to Capablanca,...
  • Alekhine-Colle, Paris 1925

    "When I first met him, at Pasadena in 1932, I began to understand the secret of his genius. He was showing a game with Euwe played at Bern a few months earlier, and his eyes and bearing had a strange intensity which I had never seen before. The man loved chess, it was the breath of life to him."-Reuben Fine
  • Alekhine-Freeman, USA (Blindfold Simul) 1924

    Alekhine writes this about one of his early weaknesses: "[My first tournament victory] endowed me with a curious psychological weakness which I had to work long and hard to eradicate - if indeed I have ever eradicated it! - the impression that I could always, or nearly always, when in a bad position, conjure up some unexpected combination to extricate me from my difficulties. A dangerous delusion."
  • Alexandrov-Alekhine, Correspondence 1909-10

    Alekhine once told a border policeman: "I am Alexander Alekhine, Chess Champion of the World! I have a cat named Chess. Papers? I don't need any papers."
  • Alekhine-Hofmeister, Petrograd 1917

    Alekhine was never a good loser. This story is from the Summer 2000 Blitz Chess magazine in a tribute to Grandmaster Arthur Dake. Arthur continued his 1934 tour of the Midwestern states. When he got to New York, Arthur came upon Alekhine at the Manhatten Chess Club playing rapid transit with the best players. That evening Arthur took on the World Champion for a small pot, alternating games with E. Schuyler Jackson, who was a strong player and a few years older than Dake. Alekhine started the evening...
  • Capablanca-Alekhine, Buenos Aires 1927

    During the 1943 Prague tournament, Ludek Pachman's first serious event at the age of 18, he writes in his book Checkmate in Prague of meeting Alekhine: "After [my win over Foltys], the great Alekhine invited me to his room. He got me to demonstrate my game, made a few comments, praised me, and then showed me his game, explaining several hidden combinations and also accepting praise. Mrs. Alekhine was there with her two cats. I had to hold one for a bit and the wretch scratched me, but it was a marvellous...
  • Alekhine-Euwe, The Hague 1921

    This is a game with Euwe long before their World Championship matches. In 1933, Alekhine challenged Max Euwe to a championship match. On October 3, 1935 the world championship began in Zandvoort, the Netherlands. Although Alekhine took an early lead, he faltered badly beginning with game 13 and the challenger became the new champion on December 15, 1935 in a very close match. Euwe's win was a major upset and is sometimes attributed to Alekhine's alcoholism, but overconfidence may have been a bigger...
  • Alekhine-Mindeno, Holland (Simul) 1933

    "Alekhine was clearly ahead of his time in his approach to chess. According to my theory, the game of chess consists of three components: material, time, and quality of position. ... Alekhine was the first who began intuitively to combine all three factors in his play, linking them together. He demonstrated clearly that material is only one of the forms of advantage. In creating a certain type of position, he would sacrifice a pawn or two, or even a piece! Sometimes he would overstep the mark,...
  • Alekhine-Feldt,Tarnopol (Blindfold Simul) 1916

    The years during World War 1 must have been very difficult for Alekhine. His parents both died prematurely during this time (after his father spent more than a year in a German Prison). Alekhine worked at the front for the Red Cross, rescuing the wounded under artillery fire. He suffered a serious concussion and was sent to a military hospital in Tarnopol. Alekhine writes "For a whole month I lay immobile, bedridden. For me at that time playing blindfold was a real godsend. At my request I was...
  • Alekhine-Supico, Lisbon Blindfold exhibition 1941

    At the end of the 1930's,there were negotiations with Alekhine to play world championship matches with both Botvinnik and Keres and Capablanca However, they were disrupted by World War II. He was representing France at first board in the 8th Chess Olympiad at Buenos Aires 1939 when, to the horror of Alekhine and all the participants at the tournament, war broke out in Europe. Alekhine and others called for a boycott of the German team to protest the attack of Nazi Germany on Poland. Unlike many participants...
  • Alekhine-Levenfish, St Petersburg 1912

    After the fall of France in June 1940, Alekhine and his wife found themselves in German occupied territory. He tried to go to America by traveling to Portugal and applying for an American visa. He also sought permission to enter Cuba and play a match with Capablanca. Little did he know that Capablanca himself had only 18 months to live. Both requests were denied. To protect his wife, Grace Alekhine, who was an American Jewess, he agreed to cooperate with the Nazis. Alekhine took part in chess tournaments...
  • Alekhine-Fletcher, London (Simul) 1922

    In March 1941 during the German occupation of France, anti-Semitic articles appeared under Alekhine's name in the Pariser Zeitung. These articles said that Jews had a great talent for exploiting chess but showed no signs of chess artistry. He described his 1937 match with Euwe as "a triumph against the Jewish conspiracy". Later that year he was reported to make further anti-Semitic statements in interviews for two Spanish newspapers, in which he stated "Aryan chess was aggressive chess ... on the...
  • Gruenfeld-Alekhine, Carlsbad 1923

    After World War II, Alekhine could not play in any chess tournaments outside of Portugal and Spain because of his alleged Nazi affiliation. In the Autumn of 1945 he moved to the small Portugese town of Estoril. The pianist Dmitry Paperno writes of Alekhine in his memoirs: "Suffering from loneliness and illness, the world champion was hoping to wait until the end of that dangerous time, when all over Europe they were seeking, and judging war criminals and collaborators. You can imagine those...
  • Alekhine-Junge, Crakow 1942

    In March 1946 Alekhine received an official challenge from Botvinnik. It was agreed that the match would take place in London, but on March 24 the chess world was stunned to learn the champion died in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal. The 53 year old Alekhine was found in his room sitting immobile in front of a chessboard. The circumstances of his death are still a matter of debate. It is usually attributed to a heart attack, but a witness to the autopsy stated that choking on meat was the actual...

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