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Alexander Alekhine

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 Alexander Alekhine 1892-1946
World chess champion 1927-1935,1937-1946 (17 years total).

"During a chess competition a chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk"

 

Index

Personal Background
Match/ Tournament History
Game philosophy
Literary contributions
Other activities
Quotes
Games
Research references and credits
Relevant web sites
Revision history
Further reading

Personal Background

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Dr. Alexander Alexanderovich Alekhine was born on October 31, 1892 in Moscow. 

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His father was a wealthy landowner, a Marshal of the Nobility and a member of the Duma. His mother was an heiress of an industrial fortune. 

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Both he and his older brother, Alexei (1888-1939) were taught chess by their mother

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Match/ Tournament History

Introduction

After gaining the master title in 1909, Alekhine had played in 44 strong tournaments and had won or shared 25 first and eight second prizes. He had come first in all but 5 of the 39 minor tournaments. His historical ELO rating has been calculated to be 2690.

Year Description and implications Result
1907 Moscow (17 games) ?
1908 Fahrni match held in Dusseldorf Draw (+1=1-1)
Bardeleben match held in Dusseldorf Won (+4=1)
Blumenfeld match held in Moscow Won (+4=1)
Dusseldorf 4th= (+8=2-3)
Moscow 1st (+5=3-1)
1909 Nenarokov match held in Moscow Lost (-3)
Moscow i 5th (+6=1-3)
Moscow ii 1st (+6=1)
St Petersburg
Gained the master title
(+12=2-2)
1910 17th German Congress in Hamburg 7/8 (+5=7-4)
1911 Carlsbad 8/11 (+11=5-9)
1912 St Petersburg 1st (+5=4)
Stockholm

Implications

This and the St Petersburg event of the same year show that Alekhine was improving from previously poor tournament results - Hamburg and Carlsbad from the 2 years previous.

1st (+8=1-1)
Vilna, All Russian 6/7 (+7=3-8)
1913 Scheveningen 1st (+11=1-1)
St Petersburg All Russian 1/2 (+13=1-3)
St Petersburg, Quadrangular 1/2 (+2-1)
Nimzowitsch match held in St Petersburg (+1-1)
Ed Lasker match (Paris-London) +3
Levitsky match held in Moscow Won (+7-3)
1914 Manheim All Russian tournament held in St Petersburg

Tied with Nimzovich for first place
1st= (+9=1-1)
St Petersburg tournament

Implications

With this tournament Alekhine became a Grandmaster and moved up in the ranks of the strongest players in the world.

The 5 finalists were awarded the title of "Grandmaster of Chess" by Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

3rd (+6=8-4)
behind Lasker (1st) and Capablanca (2nd)
Manheim tournament

War broke out - the 1st world war had begun.

Was leading (+9=1-1)
1916 Moscow 1st (+10=1)
1918 Moscow Triangular 1st (+3=3)
1919 Moscow 1st (+11)
1920 First Soviet Championship

Implications

With this encouraging tournament victory, Alekhine turned is back on an acting career!

1st (+9=6)
1921 Triberg 1st (+6=2)
Budapest

Implications

In Budapest he popularized what is now called the Alekhine's defense.

1st (+6=5)
The Hague 1st (+7=2)
Match against Sämisch held in Berlin +2
Match against Teichmann held in Berlin Draw (+2=2-2)
Match against Grigoriev held in Moscow Won (+2=5)
1922 Pistyan 2/3 (+12=5-1)
London

Alekhine's wins

Alekhine Alexander - Marotti Davide 1-0
Watson C - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Znosko Borovsky Euge - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Atkins Henry - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Yates Frederick D 1-0
Morrison John Harald - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Rubinstein Akiba - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Download PGN here

2nd to Capablanca (+8=7)
Hastings

Decisive games

Wins
Rubinstein Akiba - Alekhine Alexander 0-1

Thomas George Alan - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Thomas George Alan 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Tarrasch Siegbert 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1

Loss
Alekhine Alexander - Yates Frederick D 0-1
Download PGN here

1st (+6=3-1)
Vienna 4/6 (+7=4-3)
Match against Golmayo held in Madrid Won (+1=1)
Match against Dr Bernstein held in Paris Won (+1=1)
1923 Carlsbad

He tied for 1st with Bogoljubov and Maroczy

1/3 (+9=5-3)
Portsmouth

A selection of Alekhine's wins
Alekhine Alexander - Drewitt 1-0

Alekhine Alexander - Jesty 1-0
Seitz A - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Moses 1-0
Steiner E - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Vajda Arpad 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - West A 1-0
Download PGN here

1st (+10=1)
Margate 2/5 (+3=3-1)
Match against Muffang held in Paris Won (+2)
Match against Aurbach held in Paris Won (+1=1)
1924 New York 3rd prize (+6=12-2) after Lasker and Capablanca
1925 Blindfold simultaneous display

In February 1925 Dr. Alekhine broke the world blindfold record by playing 28 games blindfold simultaneously, winning 22, drawing 3 and losing 3. 

 
Paris

Alekhine's wins

Colle Edgar - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Opocensky Karel 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Colle Edgar 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Znosko Borovsky Euge 1-0
Opocensky Karel - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Download PGN here

1st (+5=3)
Berne 1st (+3=2-1)
Hastings 1/2 (+8=1)
Baden-Baden

Alekhine's wins

Alekhine Alexander - Colle Edgar 1-0
Tarrasch Siegbert - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Yates Frederick D 1-0
Nimzowitsch Aaron - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Te Kolste Jan_Willem 1-0
Reti Richard - Alekhine Alexander 0-1 (Features fantastic Re3!!)
Alekhine Alexander - Treybal Karel 1-0
Thomas - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Thomas George Alan - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Saemisch Fritz 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Rabinovich Ilya 1-0
Mieses Jacques - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Download PGN here

1st (+12=8) ahead of Rubenstein and Bogoljobow
1926 Semmering 2nd (+11=3-3)
Dresden 2nd (+5=4)
Scarborough

Alekhine's wins

Alekhine Alexander - Colle Edgar 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Landau 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Landau Salo 1-0
Dawbarn CYC - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Goldstein - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Kahn Victor 1-0
Colle Edgar - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Downlad PGN here

1st (+7=1)
Birmingham 1st (+5)
Buenos Aires 1st (+10)
1927 Buenos Aires World Championship match against Capablanca

The match lasted 73 days featuring 34 games making it the longest world championship match ever held.

This match loss finally shattered the legend of Capablanca as the human chess machine. 

Capablanca was denied a rematch with Alekhine. His relations with Alekhine his former friend degenerated into a public feud. 

The decisive games

Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A 0-1
Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A 1-0
Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A 1-0
Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A 0-1
Alekhine,A - Capablanca,J 1-0
Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A 0-1
Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A 1-0
Alekhine,A - Capablanca,J 1-0
Alekhine,A - Capablanca,J 1-0
Download PGN here

Alekhine won (+6=25-3)
Match against Euwe held in Amsterdam (+3=5-2)
Kecskemet 1st (+8=8)
New York 2nd (+5=13-2) after Capablanca
1929 Venice 1st (+7=1)
Bradley Beach 1st (+8=1)
World title defence match against Bogoljubow held in Weisbaden

Implications and Drama

Bogoljubow was the winner of the Moscow tournament of 1925. This was a convincing match win by Alekhine.

Decisive games

Wins

Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0

Losses

Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Download PGN here

Won (+11=9-5)
1930 Hamburg Olympiad

Alekhine played board 1 for France in this Olympiad

(+9)
San Remo

Alekhine conceded only two draws to take first prize by a margin of 3.5 points. The rating performance by today's standards would be around FIDE 2800 performance.

Alekhine's wins

Alekhine Alexander - Monticelli Mario 1-0
Yates Frederick D - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Nimzowitsch Aaron 1-0
Vidmar M - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Maroczy Geza 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Kmoch Hans 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Kmoch Hans 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Tartakower Savielly 1-0
Ahues Karl - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Romih Massimiliano 1-0
Colle Edgar - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Rubinstein Akiba 1-0
Grau Roberto - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Download PGN here

1st (+13=2)
1931 Nice 1st (+4=4)
Prague Olympiad (+10=7-1)
Bled (category 13)

Alekhine was 4.5 points ahead of the runner up

Such a margin of tournament victory had not been evidenced since Lasker's London triumph in 1899!

Alekhine's wins

Stoltz Gosta - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Tartakower Savielly 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Vidmar Milan sr 1-0
Colle Edgar - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Pirc Vasja - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Flohr Salo 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Maroczy Geza - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Kostic Boris 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Stoltz Gosta 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Colle Edgar 1-0
Nimzowitsch Aaron - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Pirc Vasja 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Maroczy Geza 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Nimzowitsch Aaron 1-0
Download PGN here

1st (+15=11)
1932 Thirty-two blindfold simultaneous games +19=9-4
London 1st (+7=4)
Berne 1/3 (+2-1)
Berne 1st (+11=3-1)
Pasadena 1st (+7=3-1)
Mexico 1/2 (+8=1)
1933 Paris 1st (+7=2)
Folkestone Olympiad (+8=3-1)
Hastings 2/3 (+4=5)
Match against Dr Bernstein held in Paris Draw (+1=2-1)
1934  Rotterdam, Quadrangular 1st (+3)
Zurich 1st (+12=2-1)
World title defence match against Bogoljubow held in Baden-Baden

Decisive games
Wins
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0

Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 1-0
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 0-1

Losses

Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Bogoljubov Efim 0-1
Bogoljubov Efim - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Download PGN here

Won (+8=15-3)
1935 World Championship defence match against Euwe held in Amsterdam

Game 24 picture

Drama and implications

The Dutchman Dr Max Euwe was a strong Grandmaster and excellent theoretician. He was however the underdog of the match. 

The seemingly impossible happened however.... Alekhine lost, despite having led the match 5-2 at one stage.

It was noted that Alekhine had turned up drunk for some of the games in this match. Alekhine's sobering loss in this match, was motivation to not drink so much for the next two years. 

Decisive games from the match

Wins
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0

Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0

Losses
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0

Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 0-1
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 0-1
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Download PGN here

** This was the first world championship match to officially have seconds - an assistant who stayed up all night analyzing an adjourned chess position and gave advice to the champion as to the next move.

Lost
(+8=13-9)
Orebro 1st (+8=1)
Warsaw Olympiad (+7=10)
1936 Dresden 1st (+5=3-1)
Bad Nauheim 1st (+4=5) equal with Keres
Dresden 1st (+5=3-1)
Podebrady 2nd (+8=9)
Nottingham tournament (Category 14)

Alekhine is 2nd from right seated, Capablanca is 3rd from left seated. Lasker is 2nd from left seated. Other world champion celebrities include Euwe (3rd from right seated),  Botvinnik (2nd from right standing

6th (+6=6-2) after Botvinnik, Capablanca, Euwe, Fine and Rehevsky
Amsterdam 3rd (+3=3-1)
Amsterdam, Quadrangular 1/2 (+2=1)
Hastings 1st (+7=2)
1937 Margate 3rd (+6-3)
Kemeri 4/5 (+7=9-1)
Nauheim-Stuttgart 1st (+11=4)
World Championship return match against Euwe held in The Hague

Alekhine became the fist man in history to actually regain the World Chess Champion title.

Decisive games

Wins

Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 0-1
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0
Alekhine Alexander - Euwe Max 1-0

Losses

Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Euwe Max - Alekhine Alexander 1-0
Download PGN here

Won

(+10=11-4)

Exhibition match against Euwe held in the Hague (+1=2-2)
1938 Carrasco-Montevideo 1st (+11=4)
Margate 1st (+6=2-1)
Plymouth 1/2 (+5=2)
Avro

The top eight players in the world participated in this tournament, making it the strongest tournament ever held! 

Fourth (+3=8-3) equal with Euwe
1939 Buenos Aires Olympiad (+9=7)
Montevideo 1st (+7)
Caracas 1st (+10)
Alekhine accepted Botvinnik's challenge for the World title. However the 2nd World war put an end to international chess in Europe.  
1941 Munich 2nd place (+8=5-2) with Lundin 1.5 points after Stoltz
Cracow 1/2 (+6=5)
Madrid 1st (+5)
1942 Salzburg 1st (+7=1-2)
Munich 1st (+7=3-1)
Cracow 1st (+6=3-1)
Prague 1/2 (+6=5)
1943 Salzburg 1/2 (+5=5)
Prague 1st (+15=4)
Bogoljuobow match held in Warsaw Draw (+1-1)
1944 Gijon 1st (+7=1)
Match against Rey Ardid held in Zarragoza Won (+1=3)
1945 Madrid 1st (+8=1)
Gijon 2/3 (+6=1-2)
Sabadell 1st (+6=3)
Almeria 1/2 (+4=3-1)
Melill 1st (+6=1)
Cáceres 2nd (+3=1-1)
Match against Lupi held in Lisbon-Estoril Won (+2=1-1)
March 24, 1946 Alekhine had accepted a world title challenge against Botvinnik. It was destined not to be.

In a Lisbon Hotel, Alexander Alekhine aged 53 was found dead in his room with a chess set in his hands.

He was the only World Chess Champion to have died still in possession of the title.

 

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Game philosophy

Alekhine's style took ideas from all the various schools of thought. He developed and integrated them together into a new dynamic chess. Combined with his determination to win, and immense capacity for work, he became one of the most effective players in his era.

He refined Lasker's approach to chess (of making the opponent play in uncomfortable positions to their style), by giving his opponents the opportunity to overindulge in their very own style of play! Examples include beating Capablanca in simple chess, out complicating Nimzovich, and luring Reti into enormously idea-rich positions!


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Literary contributions

Book Date
My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 1927
The Book of the New York International Chess Tournament 1924 1925
The Book of the New York International Chess Tournament 1927   
Nottingham 1936 tournament book  
My Best Games of Chess (1924-1937) 1939
107 Great Chess Battles, 1939-1945   

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Other activities

Introduction

Alekhine may not have been the most ideal World chess champion from the perspective of some his activities as a person as opposed to a chess-player. There is evidence that he was a Nazi collaborator. 

1914-1919 activities

In 1915 and 1916 Alekhine served in the Union of Cities, a kind of Russian Red cross in Austria. He took time off to win the Moscow Championship in both years. He did see some of the battle and spent a month in Hospital in Tarnopol with a spinal wound. He played some blindfold chess while in Hospital!

In 1918 he began work as an examining magistrate in the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department. 

In 1919 he travelled to the Ukraine for unclear reasons. When the Allies liberated the Ukraine from German occupation, he was imprisoned in the death cell at Odessa, charged with "links with White counter-intelligence"- i.e. suspected of being a spy!. 

Soon he was back in Moscow, this time working in a film studio, with the apparent intention of becoming an actor. 

In 1920 however, he won the first all-Russian championship and turned his back on the stage. In this year he joined the communist party and became a translator for the Communist International and the secretary of the Communist Education Department.

In 1921 Alekhine married again - a swiss delegate, Anneliese Rüegg. This is strange because it is unclear what the state of his current marriage was. This new marriage enabled Alekhine to get permission to travel across the Soviet borders. He went to Berlin, soon abandoned his wife, and became a chess professional, never again to return to Russia.

1925

In 1925 Alekhine became a naturalized French citizen. He qualified for entrance to the Sorbonne Law School where he wrote a thesis on the Chinese prison system, and always signed himself "Dr", although certain sources, e.g. Hooper state that he never completed his doctorate at Sorbonne.

1941-1943 activities

In 1941 Alekhine wrote a series of anti-Semitic chess articles. Was the motivation of this to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect his wife and their French assets? Please Email Feedback . In 1941-1942 he participated in Nazi chess tournaments in Munich, Salzburg, Warsaw, and Prague.


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Quotes

"During a chess competition a chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk"

"Chess is not only knowledge and logic"

"The fact that a player is very short of time is, to my mind, as little to be considered a an excuse as, for instance, the statement of the law-breaker that he was drunk at the time he committed the crime."

 

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Games

Play through Alekhine's games using a Java browser!
Alekhine games zipped (Chessbase format)

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Research references and credits

The Oxford companion to chess
by David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld
The Guinness Book of Chess Grandmasters by William Hartston

Alexander Alekhine by Alexander Kotov
Certain pictures, e.g. Avro courtesy of Live on the net chess archives

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Relevant web sites

Chess history.
See the Deja News 'Chess History' Discussion Group

The Game is Afoot website - Alekhine

World chess championship matches
New York 1924 International Chess Tournament


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Revision history

1st draft 12 December 1999

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Further reading

107 Great Chess Battles, 1939-1945 (Dover Books on Chess) 
Alekhine in Europe and Asia
Alekhine in the Americas
Alexander Alekhine's Best Games (Batsford Chess Library)
Extreme Chess : C. J. S. Purdy Annotates the World Championships : Alekhine-Euwe I, 1935 : Alekhine-Euwe Ii, 1937 : Fisher-Spassky I, 1972 (Purdy seri 
My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 
A. Alekhine : Agony of a Chess Genius 
Alekhine's Anguish : The Chess World
Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games, 1902-1946 : 2543 Games of the Former World Champion, Many Annotated by Alekhine, with 1868 Diagrams, Fully Indexed

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