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George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Alexander Alekhine
Number of games in database: 1,953
Years covered: 1903 to 1946
Overall record: +1047 -233 =486 (73.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      187 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (149) 
    C68 C77 C62 C86 C83
 Orthodox Defense (142) 
    D51 D67 D53 D64 D52
 French Defense (98) 
    C01 C11 C13 C15 C07
 Queen's Pawn Game (96) 
    D02 D00 A40 A46 E00
 Queen's Gambit Declined (96) 
    D06 D30 D37 D31 D35
 Sicilian (79) 
    B20 B40 B22 B62 B44
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (101) 
    C77 C79 C78 C68 C71
 Queen's Pawn Game (66) 
    D02 A46 A40 E10 A50
 French Defense (59) 
    C11 C01 C12 C02 C13
 Nimzo Indian (39) 
    E33 E34 E22 E21 E30
 French (32) 
    C11 C12 C13 C00 C10
 Sicilian (31) 
    B40 B20 B24 B83 B23
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1922 0-1
   Reti vs Alekhine, 1925 0-1
   Alekhine vs Vasic, 1931 1-0
   Alekhine vs Nimzowitsch, 1930 1-0
   Alekhine vs Lasker, 1934 1-0
   Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 0-1
   Alekhine vs NN, 1915 1-0
   Alekhine vs O Tenner, 1911 1-0
   Alekhine vs Yates, 1922 1-0
   Gruenfeld vs Alekhine, 1923 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)
   Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Match (1929)
   Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Rematch (1934)
   Alekhine - Euwe World Championship Match (1935)
   Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   All Russian Amateur (1909)
   Stockholm (1912)
   Mannheim (1914)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   San Remo (1930)
   Bradley Beach (1929)
   Berne (1932)
   Bled (1931)
   Zurich (1934)
   Scheveningen (1913)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   Semmering (1926)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   Munich (1941)
   Karlsbad (1911)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Alekhine! by amadeus
   Alekhine Favorites by chocobonbon
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1920-1939 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   My Best Games Of Chess 1924-1937 by A. Alekhine by dac1990
   Alexander Alekhine's Best Games by KingG
   Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Alyokhin Art (1) by Owl
   alekhine best games by brager
   Giant Play!! by Antiochus
   simply the best- Alekhine!!! by Antiochus
   Alekhine 1908-1923 by Chnebelgrind
   Alekhine was sunk! by Calli
   The Greatest!! by Antiochus
   Alekhine: Chess Biography by jessicafischerqueen
   Alekhine vs Champions & Prodigies Decisive Games by visayanbraindoctor

   Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924
   Reti vs Bogoljubov, 1924
   Botvinnik vs Vidmar, 1936
   Alekhine vs Botvinnik, 1936
   Alekhine vs K Junge, 1942

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Alexander Alekhine
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(born Oct-31-1892, died Mar-24-1946, 53 years old) Russia (citizen of France)
[what is this?]
Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine was the fourth World Champion, reigning from 1927 to 1935, and from 1937 until his death in 1946. He is the founding inspiration for the Soviet School of Chess that came to dominate world chess after World War II.


Alekhine was born in Moscow, on 31 October 1892 (October 19th on the Russian calendar). Circa 1898, he was taught the game of chess by his older brother, Alexei Alexandrovich Alekhine (1888-1939). His life and chess career were highly eventful and controversial, spiced with two World Wars, including internments by the Germans and the Soviet Cheka (by whom he was marked for execution as a spy) at either end of WWI; subjection to suasion by, and suspicions of collaboration with, the Nazis in WWII; the deaths of his brother, Alexei, in 1939 and his sister, Varvara, in 1944; four marriages; five world championship matches; alcoholism; poor health during WWII and conspicuously failed World Championship negotiations with Capablanca. His eventful life and career terminated in strange circumstances in Portugal just hours after the details of the Alekhine-Botvinnik World Championship match were finalised.

Despite – or perhaps because of this - Alekhine played some of the finest games the world has ever seen. His meticulous preparation, work ethic and dynamic style of play provided the founding inspiration for the Soviet School of Chess despite the fact that soon after he won the world title, his anti-Bolshevik commentaries marked him as an enemy of the Soviet Union until after his death.


1900-1910 By 1902, at the age of 10, young Alekhine was playing correspondence chess sponsored by Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie, Russia's only chess magazine at the time, and won the 16th and 17th Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Chess Tournaments in 1906 and 1910. In 1908, his win at the Moscow Chess Club's Spring Tournament, at the age of fifteen was followed by winning the Autumn Tournament a few months later, a feat which earned him the right to play in the All-Russian Amateur Tournament in 1909. The youngest player in the tournament at the age of sixteen, he won the event held in St. Petersburg (+12 -2 =2), thereby earning the Russian Master title and becoming acknowledged as one of Russia’s top players. His prize was a cut glass Sevres vase that was donated by Czar Nicholas II, and which became his most prized and life-long possession. The year 1910 saw Alekhine win the Moscow Chess Club Autumn and Winter Tournaments, give his first simultaneous exhibition (+15 -1 =6) and participate in the master section of the 17th German Chess Congress in Hamburg, coming equal 7th with Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky. Upon graduating from Polivanov Grammar School in July 1910, he enrolled in and started studying law at Moscow's Imperial University, but after a few months he transferred to the St. Petersburg School of Jurisprudence (where he eventually graduated in 1914).

1911-1920 In 1911, his success at winning some events at the Moscow Chess Club earned him the right to play Board 1 for the Moscow Chess Club in a match against the St. Petersburg Chess Club, during which he drew his game with Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky. Late in 1911, he played in the 2nd International Tournament in Carlsbad and placed equal 8th, behind Richard Teichmann, Akiba Rubinstein, Carl Schlechter, Georg Rotlewi, Frank James Marshall, Aron Nimzowitsch, and Milan Vidmar. By 1912, Alekhine was the strongest chess player in the St. Petersburg Chess Society, winning the St. Petersburg Chess Club Winter Tournament in March and the 1st Category Tournament of the St. Petersburg Chess Club in April. His international successes began in 1912 when he won the 8th Nordic championship held in Stockholm with 8.5/10, 1.5 points clear of Erich Cohn, but then recorded his only minus score of his career later in 1912, when he won 7 and lost 8 games in the All Russian Masters Tournament in Vilna, placing equal 6th behind Rubinstein, Ossip Bernstein, Stefan Levitsky, Nimzovich, and Alexander Flamberg. In 1913, he tied for 1st with Grigory Levenfish in the St. Petersburg Masters Quadrangular Tournament, and then won the 40th Anniversary of the Nederlandschen Schaakbond Commemorative Tournament in Scheveningen with a score of 11.5 out of 13 ahead of a field that included David Janowski, Gyula Breyer, Fred Dewhirst Yates, Edward Lasker and Jacques Mieses. Alekhine's first major success in a Russian tournament came when placed equal first with Aron Nimzowitsch in the All-Russian Masters Tournament at St. Petersburg in early 1914; the playoff was drawn with one win each and they were declared co-winners enabling both to qualify for the 'tournament of champions' in St. Petersburg which was held a few months later. At St. Petersburg he placed 3rd behind Emanuel Lasker and Jose Raul Capablanca. This was the tournament at which Czar Nicholas II was reputed to have awarded the title of Grandmaster of Chess to the top five place getters: Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Siegbert Tarrasch and Marshall. He graduated from the Emperor's College of Jurisprudence on May 16, 1914, finishing 9th in a graduating class of 46 and in July 1914, Alekhine tied for 1st with Marshall at the International Tournament in the Cafe Continental in Paris. (1)

A few weeks later, he was leading at Mannheim, Germany with nine wins, one draw and one loss, when World War I broke out and the tournament was stopped with six rounds left to play. However this did not prevent Alekhine from receiving the prize money for first place, some 1100 marks. After the declaration of war against Russia, Alekhine and other Russian players, including Efim Bogoljubov, were interned in Rastatt, Germany. After some drama, he was released several weeks later and made his way back to Russia, where he helped raise money to aid the Russian chess players who remained interned in Germany by giving simultaneous exhibitions. Soon after he won the Moscow Chess Club Championship in December 1915, his mother died after which he was posted to the Austrian front where he served in the Union of Cities (Red Cross) on as an attaché in charge of a mobile dressing station. In September, while hospitalised at the Cloisters military hospital at Tarnopol, he played five people in a blindfold display, winning all games. After leaving hospital, Alekhine returned to Moscow, where he was decorated for valour. In 1918, chess activity which had been briefly banned under the new Bolshevik regime picked up under Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky, the Chief Government Commissar for General Military Organization, who encouraged and organized chess activities in Russia as part of the campaign to promote culture and education in the Red Army. In 1918, Alekhine worked at the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department as an examining magistrate. In June 1919, while in Odessa, Alekhine was briefly imprisoned and marked for execution by the Cheka, as they suspected him of being a spy due to some documents that were left in his hotel room by a previous occupant. He was released, apparently because of an intercession of a Jewish chess player Yakov S Vilner, who was also the 1918 Odessa chess champion (see paragraph below concerning Alekhine’s purported anti-semitism). (2) A few months later in Moscow in January 1920, he made a clean score in the Moscow City Chess Championship with 11/11, and in October 1920, he won the first USSR Championship, his last tournament in Russia.

1921-30 Alekhine’s permanent departure from Russia in 1921 began a period of chess dominance matched only by Capablanca. Between leaving Russia in 1921 and winning the World Championship in 1927, Alekhine won or shared first prize in most of the tournaments in which he competed, including Budapest, L’Aia (in Italy), Triberg, and The Hague in 1921, Hastings and Karlsbad in 1922, the 16th British Chess Federation Congress at Portsmouth in 1923, Baden-Baden and the Five Masters Tournament in Paris in 1925, Hastings (1925-26), Birmingham, Scarborough and Buenos Aires in 1926, and Kecskemét 1927. Alekhine was 2nd or equal 2nd in the Breyer Memorial Tournament in Pistyan and at the 15th British Chess Federation Congress (known as the London victory tournament) in 1922, at Margate, Semmering, and the Dresden Chess Club 50th Year Jubilee Congress in 1926, and at New York in early 1927.

1931-38 Alekhine dominated chess for almost a decade after his title win. Tournament victories were at San Remo 1930 (+13 =2, 3½ points ahead of Nimzowitsch) and Bled 1931 (+15 =11, 5½ points ahead of Bogoljubov), London 1932, Swiss Championship in Berne in 1932, Pasadena 1932, Mexico City (=1st with Isaac Kashdan), Paris 1933, Rotterdam 1934, Swiss Championship in Zurich in 1934, and Orebro in 1935. In the eighteen months after losing the title to Max Euwe in 1935, Alekhine played in ten tournaments. His results were equal first with Paul Keres at Bad Nauheim in May 1936, first at Dresden in June 1936, second to Salomon Flohr at Poděbrady in July 1936, sixth behind Capablanca, Mikhail Botvinnik, Reuben Fine, Samuel Reshevsky, and Euwe at Nottingham in August 1936 (including his first game – which he lost - against Capablanca since the title match), third behind Euwe and Fine at Amsterdam in October 1936, equal first with Salo Landau at the Amsterdam Quadrangular, also in October 1936, first at the Hastings New Year tournament of 1936/37 ahead of Fine and Erich Eliskases, first at the Nice Quadrangular in March 1937, third behind Keres and Fine at Margate in April 1937; equal fourth with Keres, behind Flohr, Reshevsky and Vladimir Petrov, at Kemeri in June–July 1937 and equal second with Bogoljubow behind Euwe at the Bad Nauheim Quadrangular in July 1937. After regaining his title from Euwe, 1938 saw Alekhine win or come equal first at Montevideo, Margate, and Plymouth before placing =4th with Euwe and Samuel Reshevsky behind Paul Keres, Reuben Fine, and Mikhail Botvinnik, ahead of Capablanca and Flohr, at the historic might-have-been Candidates-style AVRO tournament in the Netherlands. The AVRO (meaning Algemene Verenigde Radio Omroep or General United Radio Broadcasting) tournament, the strongest tournament ever until that time, was held in Holland on November 2-27, with the top eight players in the world participating in a double-round affair. Alekhine finished ahead of Capablanca for the first time, defeating him in their second encounter. Flohr, the official FIDE-endorsed challenger to Alekhine in the next world championship match came in last place without a single win in 14 rounds.

1939-1946 Alekhine was playing first board for France in the 8th Chess Olympiad at Buenos Aires 1939 when World War II broke out in Europe and as team captain of the French team, he refused to allow his team to play Germany. Shortly after the 1939 Olympiad, Alekhine won all his games at the tournaments in Montevideo (7/7) and Caracas (10/10). Alekhine returned to Europe in January 1940 and after a short stay in Portugal, he enlisted in the French army as a sanitation officer. After the fall of France in June 1940, he fled to Marseille and tried to emigrate to America but his visa request was denied. He returned to France to protect his wife, Grace Alekhine, an American Jewess, whom the Nazis had refused an exit visa, and her French assets, a castle at Saint Aubin-le-Cauf, near Dieppe, but at the cost of agreeing to cooperate with the Nazis.

He played in no tournaments in 1940.

During World War II, Alekhine played in 16 tournaments, winning nine and sharing first place in four more. In 1941, he tied for second with Erik Ruben Lundin in the Munich 1941 chess tournament, won by Gosta Stoltz; the reception at this event was attended by Josef Goebbels and Dr. Hans Frank. Also in 1941, he tied for first with Paul Felix Schmidt at Cracow/Warsaw, and won at Madrid. In 1942, Alekhine won at Salzburg, Munich, Warsaw/Lublin/Cracow and tied for 1st with Klaus Junge at Prague, the latter having been sponsored by Germany’s Nazi Youth Association; these tournaments were organised by Alfred Ehrhardt Post, the Chief Executive of the Nazi-controlled Grossdeutscher Schachbund ("Greater Germany Chess Federation") - Keres, Bogoljubov, Gösta Stoltz, and several other strong masters in Nazi-occupied Europe also played in such events. In 1943, he drew a mini-match (+1 -1) with Bogoljubov in Warsaw, won in Prague and was equal first with Keres in Salzburg. By 1943 Alekhine was spending all his time in Spain and Portugal as the German representative to chess events. In 1944, he won a match against Ramon Rey Ardid in Zaragoza (+1 -0 =3; April 1944) and later won at Gijon when prodigy Arturo Pomar-Salamanca, aged thirteen, achieved a draw, the youngest person ever to do so with a world champion in a full tournament setting, a record that stands as of 2014. After the event, Alekhine took an interest in the development of Pomar and devoted a section of his last book to him. In 1945, he won at Madrid, tied for second place with Antonio Angel Medina Garcia at Gijón behind Antonio Rico Gonzalez, won at Sabadell, tied for first with Lopez Nunez in Almeria, won in Melilla and took second in Caceres behind Francisco Lupi. Alekhine's last match was with Lupi at Estoril, Portugal near Lisbon, in January 1946 which he won (+2 -1 =1).

In the autumn of 1945, Alekhine moved to Estoril. In September, the British Chess Federation sent Alekhine an invitation to tournaments in London and Hastings. Alekhine accepted the invitations by cable from Madrid. In October, the United States Chess Federation (USCF) protested the invitation of Alekhine to the victory tournament in London. The USCF refused to take part in any projects or tournaments involving Alekhine. Protesters included Reuben Fine and Arnold Denker. In November, Alekhine was in the Canary Islands giving chess exhibitions and giving lessons to Pomar. Also in November 1945, a telegram arrived, signed by W. Hatton-Ward of the Sunday Chronicle, the paper that was organizing the victory tournament in London that, due to a protest from the United States Chess Federation, the invitations to tournaments in England had been cancelled. Shortly after, Alekhine had a heart attack. In December, Alekhine played his last tournament at Caceres, Spain.

World Championship

In November 1921, Alekhine challenged Jose Capablanca to a world championship match. A match was suggested for the United States in 1922, but neither this nor a candidate match between Alekhine and Rubinstein in March 1922 to determine a challenger took place. In August 1922, Alekhine played in the 15th British Chess Federation Congress (known as the London victory tournament). The participants of the tournament signed the so-called London agreement on August 9, 1922, which were the regulations for world championship matches, first proposed by Capablanca. Signatories included Alekhine, Capablanca, Bogoljubow, Geza Maroczy, Reti, Rubinstein, Savielly Tartakower and Vidmar. Clause one of the London Rules stated that the match to be one of six games up, drawn games not to count.

After Alekhine won a tournament at Buenos Aires in October 1926, he again challenged Capablanca. The Argentine government undertook to guarantee the finances of the match and in New York Capablanca, Alekhine, and the Argentine organizers finally reached an agreement about the world championship match. The winner would be the first person with six wins, draws not counting. Capablanca accepted the challenge and began the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927) in Buenos Aires on September 16, 1927. All but two of the games in Buenos Aires took place behind closed doors at the Argentine Chess Club, with no spectators or photographs. The other two took place at the Jockey Club but were moved to the Argentine Chess Club due to excessive noise. (3) Assisted by superior physical and theoretical preparations for the match – including a thorough study of Capablanca’s games - Alekhine became the 4th World Chess Champion after defeating Capablanca by +6 -3 =25 in the longest title match ever played till that time. The only longer title match since then was the Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984).

On July 29, 1929, Alekhine and Bogoljubow signed an agreement in Wiesbaden for a match. The rules differed from the London Rules (6 wins, draws not counting) with the number of maximum games limited to 30 games, but the winner still had to score at least 6 wins. The match was not played under the auspices of FIDE or the London Rules. He and Bogoljubow played the Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Match (1929) at Wiesbaden (first 8 games), Heidelberg (3 games), Berlin (6 games), The Hague, and Amsterdam from September 6 through November 12, 1929. Alekhine won with 11 wins, 9 draws, and 5 losses. In April-June, 1934 Alekhine again played and defeated Bogoljubow in the Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Rematch (1934) in Germany with the score of 8 wins, 15 draws and 3 losses. He then accepted a challenge from Max Euwe.

On October 3, 1935 the Alekhine - Euwe World Championship Match (1935) began in Zandvoort, with 10,000 guilders ($6,700) to go to the winner. On December 15, 1935 Euwe had won with 9 wins, 13 draws, and 8 losses. This was the first world championship match to officially have seconds to help in analysis during adjournments. Salo Landau, a Dutch Jew, was Alekhine's second and Geza Maroczy was Euwe's second. From October 5 to December 7, 1937, Alekhine played Euwe for the world championship match in various Dutch cities (The Hague, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Groningen, and Amsterdam). Alekhine won the Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937), becoming the first world champion to regain the world title in a return match, winning 10 games, drawing 11, and losing 4.

Unfinished Championship negotiations

There were two sets of unfinished negotiations that featured prominently during Alekhine’s reign: the long awaited rematch with Capablanca and the extended negotiations for a match with Botvinnik.

On December 12, 1927, in Buenos Aires after their match finished, Alekhine and Capablanca agreed to play a rematch within the next year, under the exact conditions as the first match. In 1929, after winning at Bradley Beach, New Jersey, Bradley Beach offered to host a Capablanca-Alekhine return match, but Alekhine refused and instead accepted the challenge from Efim Bogoljubow. Subsequently, Alekhine not only avoided a return match with Capablanca, but refused to play in any event that included the ex-champion. (4) Capablanca was not invited to San Remo 1930 and Bled 1931 for this reason, a situation which continued until the Nottingham tournament of 1936, after Alekhine had lost the title to Max Euwe. During this tournament, Capablanca defeated Alekhine in their individual encounter. Negotiations continued in various forms until 1940, but the rematch never occurred, despite four title matches being played in 1929, 1934, 1935 and 1937, generating bitter denunciations from Capablanca.

FIDE had tried exercising its limited power by short listing Flohr and Capablanca respectively to challenge Alekhine, but Alekhine declared that he would not be bound by FIDE’s plans. After the AVRO tournament of 1938, which had originally been intended by FIDE as a Candidate-style tournament to produce a challenger for the title, both Botvinnik and Keres issued Alekhine with challenges with Flohr's challenge probably lapsing because of his last placing at AVRO. All three negotiations were stalled or derailed by World War II. The Soviet annexation of Estonia forced Keres’ withdrawal from negotiations in favour of Botvinnik, while Capablanca died in 1942. In 1946 within hours of the Alekhine-Botvinnik match arrangements having been completed, and a venue (in Britain) for the match finally agreed to, Alekhine was found dead in Room 43 of the Estoril Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal under unsettling circumstances.

Simultaneous exhibitions

Alekhine once reminisced: "I was only 9-years old, just after the turn of the century, when I saw the great American Pillsbury play 22 boards blindfolded in Moscow.", an experience that left a very deep impression on the budding chess player.

Alekhine played many simuls during the six years leading up to his world championship match in 1927, using them as fundraisers to meet the stiff conditions Capablanca had set for the challenge. He continued to play simuls, including blindfold and match simuls throughout the 30s. In New York on April 27, 1924, Alekhine broke the world record for blindfold play when he played 26 opponents, winning 16, losing 5, and drawing 5 after twelve hours of play. He broke his own record on in early 1925 by playing 28 games blindfold simultaneously in Paris, winning 22, drawing 3, and losing 3. In the early 1930s, Alekhine travelled the world giving simultaneous exhibitions, including Hawaii, Tokyo, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in what subsequently became known as Alekhine's Magical Mystery Tour. In 1932, Alekhine played against 300 opponents in Paris grouped in 60 teams of 5 players each, winning 37, losing 6, and drawing 17. In July 1933, Alekhine played 32 people blindfold simultaneously (again breaking his own world record) at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago (World's Fair), winning 19, drawing 9, and losing 4 games in 14 hours.

Team play

Alekhine played first board for France in five Olympiads: Hamburg 1930 (+9-0=0 on their top board **), Prague 1931, Folkestone 1933, Warsaw 1935, and Buenos Aires 1939. He won the gold medal for first board in 1931 and 1933, and silver medals for first board in 1935 (Flohr winning gold) and 1939 (Capablanca winning gold). Although he didn’t win a medal in Hamburg because of insufficient games played, he won 9/9 and the brilliancy prize for the game Stahlberg vs Alekhine, 1930. His overall game score for the five Olympiads was +43 =27 -2.


Several openings and opening variations are named after Alekhine, including Alekhine's Defence. Alekhine is known for his fierce and imaginative attacking style, combined with great positional and endgame skill. He also composed some endgame studies. Alekhine wrote over twenty books on chess, mostly annotated editions of the games in a major match or tournament, plus collections of his best games between 1908 and 1937.


Alekhine was married four times, first to Russian baroness Anna von Sewergin in 1920 to legitimise their daughter Valentina, and divorced her some months later. Valentina died circa 1985 in Vienna. In 1921, he married Anneliese Ruegg, Swiss journalist, Red Cross nurse and Comintern delegate and they had a son in 1922, named after him. Young Alex Aljechin, as he came to be known, was under the guardianship of Erwin Voellmy for some years and in later years, he made regular appearances as a spectator in Dortmund until about 2005. Alekhine divorced Ruegg in 1924. In 1924, Alekhine met Nadezhda Semyenovna Fabritskaya Vasiliev, widow of the Russian General V. Vasiliev, and married her in 1925, divorcing her in 1934. In 1934, he met and married his fourth and final wife, Grace Wishaar, a wealthy US-born British citizen. Alexander and Grace Alekhine – for whom this was also her fourth marriage - remained married until he died.

His elder brother Alexey Alekhine was also a keen player.

Accusations of Anti-Semitism

Alekhine was accused of anti-Semitism following a series of articles that was published in 1941 within Nazi-occupied France in the Pariser Zeitung and in the Deutsche Schachzeitung under his by-line. In April, 1941, he tried to go to America via Lisbon, but was denied a visa apparently because of these articles. Controversy over whether they were a result of genuine collaboration, or whether he was forced to write these articles under Nazi coercion, or whether articles written by him were changed by Nazi editing for publication continues to this day. The evidence against him includes a series of articles written in his own hand that were found after his death, although the extent to which they may have been coerced is unclear. The evidence that he was not anti-semitic includes a lifetime of friendly dealings with Jewish chess players (including his second at the 1935 world championship, Salo Landau); friends, and possibly his fourth wife, Grace Alekhine to whom he was married for 14 years until his death; and Yakov Vilner who interceded on his behalf to save him from execution by the Soviet Cheka in 1918. Grace defended her late husband, asserting that he refused privileges offered by the Nazis.


“He played gigantic conceptions, full of outrageous and unprecedented ideas. ... he had great imagination; he could see more deeply into a situation than any other player in chess history. ... It was in the most complicated positions that Alekhine found his grandest concepts.” - <Bobby Fischer>

“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.” - <Garry Kasparov>

"He is a poet who creates a work of art out of something which would hardly inspire another man to send home a picture postcard." - <Max Euwe>

"Firstly, self-knowledge; secondly, a firm comprehension of my opponent's strength and weakness; thirdly, a higher aim – ... artistic and scientific accomplishments which accord our chess equal rank with other arts." - <Alexander Alekhine>


Alekhine also played at least 40 recorded consultation chess games including the following partnerships: Alekhine / Amateur, Alekhine / B Reilly, Alekhine / Trompowski, Alekhine / G Esser, Alexander Alekhine / Leon Monosson, Alexander Alekhine / Efim Bogoljubov, Alexander Alekhine / Walter Oswaldo Cruz, Alekhine / O Cruz, Alekhine / Blumenfeld, Alekhine / Bernstein, Alekhine / Znosko-Borovsky, Alekhine / H Frank, Alekhine / V Rozanov, Alekhine / D N Pavlov, Alekhine / Nenarokov, Alekhine / Tselikov, Alekhine / Tereshchenk, Alekhine / Zimmerman, Alexander Alekhine / Victor Kahn, Alekhine / E Barron, Alexander Alekhine / Johannes van den Bosch, (bad link), Alekhine / R Wahrburg, Alekhine / Dr. Fischer, Alekhine / Budovsky, Alekhine / Allies, & Alekhine / Koltanowski Blindfold Team.

Sources and References

(1) 1912-14 results:; (2) Wikipedia article: Yakov Vilner; (3) There is correspondence between Alekhine and Capablanca that suggests that Alekhine was open to a rematch and actually accepted a challenge from Capablanca in 1930, but that it fell through because of difficulties on Capablanca's side: Max Euwe. (4) Shaburov Yuri: Alexander Alekhine. The Undefeated Champion (Publisher: Moscow. 'The Voice', 1992 256pp)

- Kevin Spraggett ’s theory about Alekhine’s death: and;

- 2006 Chessbase article about Alekhine's death:;

- two Russian articles that include commentary on Alekhine's death: <1>: (Russian language) - Google translation is as follows: and <2> (Russian language) - Google translation as follows:;

- Bill Wall on Alekhine:;

- Playlist of 29 games analysed by <Kingscrusher>:

- Discussion about literature about Alekhine: and a list of books about Alekhine

Wikipedia article: Alexander Alekhine , (**) Wikipedia article: World records in chess

 page 1 of 79; games 1-25 of 1,953  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. P Vinogradov vs Alekhine 1-020 1903 Shakmatnoe Obozrenie 7th corr0304C21 Center Game
2. V Zhukovsky vs Alekhine 0-120 1905 crC25 Vienna
3. N Urusov vs Alekhine 0-133 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C33 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Alekhine vs N Urusov 1-032 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C25 Vienna
5. Alekhine vs A Giese ½-½41 1905 16th Correspondence TournamentC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-024 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC25 Vienna
7. Alekhine vs R Geish Ollisevich 1-022 1905 crC39 King's Gambit Accepted
8. A Giese vs Alekhine 0-129 1905 cr RUSC33 King's Gambit Accepted
9. V Manko vs Alekhine  1-033 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC52 Evans Gambit
10. Alekhine vs A Andriyashev 1-030 1905 crC38 King's Gambit Accepted
11. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-036 1906 Earl tourn corrC52 Evans Gambit
12. Alekhine vs V Zhukovsky ½-½35 1906 cr RUSC39 King's Gambit Accepted
13. Shulga vs Alekhine 0-132 1906 ?C41 Philidor Defense
14. Alekhine vs Man'ko 1-028 1906 ?C45 Scotch Game
15. Alekhine vs A Romashkevich 1-018 1906 Earl tournC20 King's Pawn Game
16. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 0-143 1907 Moscow Club AutumnD02 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Viakhirev vs Alekhine 0-136 1907 cr 1906-07C28 Vienna Game
18. Alekhine vs V Rozanov 1-042 1907 MoscowC45 Scotch Game
19. B Lyubimov vs Alekhine ½-½39 1907 cr 1906-07C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
20. Budberg vs Alekhine 0-134 1907 Moscow Club SpringB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
21. Alekhine vs N Zubakin 0-133 1907 cr 1906-07C33 King's Gambit Accepted
22. NN vs Alekhine 0-132 1907 KislovodskB30 Sicilian
23. Alekhine vs K Isakov 1-026 1907 Moscow Club SpringC44 King's Pawn Game
24. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 1-010 1907 MoskvaD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
25. Alekhine vs NN 1-046 1907 KislovodskD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 79; games 1-25 of 1,953  PGN Download
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <The Rocket: I should specify - Nazi writings which were either done under pressure (threaths), or manipulated.>

Here's my short take on the articles "controversy."

I put "controversy" in quotes, because as far as I'm concerned there is no controversy.

1. Alekhine wrote the articles.

2. He went to Spain in 1941 and bragged about them, specifically that they were the first to address chess from the racial point of view.

3. He never claimed to have been pressured to write them.

4. He did claim they had been edited before publication, without his knowledge to change his meaning.

As to that claim, see #2 above.

Alekhine in Spain:

<He [Alekhine] added that in the German magazine Deutsche Schachzeitung and the German daily Pariser Zeitung, currently published in Paris, he had been the first to deal with chess from the racial point of view. In these articles, he said, he wrote that Aryan chess was aggressive chess, that he considered defence solely to be the consequence of earlier error, and that, on the other hand, the Semitic concept admitted the idea of pure defence, believing it legitimate to win this way.’>

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Alekhine was definitely strongest in the 1927 to 1934 period. He can be regarded as a late bloomer, winning the World Title at age 35. Earlier in his career he had to share status with many other aspiring young masters, in the shadow of Lasker and Capablanca.

Yet it is not true that he had become a has-been in WW2. Buenos Aires Olympiad may have heralded his return to top level chess; AFAIK he turned in the 2nd best performance (peculiarly after another alleged has-been Capablanca). His subsequent play up to 1943 were full of energy and imagination.

I think Alekhine's status (apart from his cooperation with Nazis) suffered because of typical stereotypical thinking. The narcissistic generation syndrome and 'the new generation takes over' mentality. I see this all the time today. Chess fans grow tired of seeing the same old faces again and again and just can't wait for the next bright comet.

In the 1930s, a strong crop of rising chess masters showed up- Flohr, Botvinnik, Keres, Reshevsky, Fine. Moreover, Soviet prepared openings began to crop up; and every one had become aware of just how strong the Soviets had become.

Then came this tournament:

USSR Championship (1940)

The line-up is stunningly strong. Everyone probably knew in their hearts that this was the strongest large tournament in the WW2 era. The openings were completely 'modern', and featured the KID (for instance see Botvinnik vs Boleslavsky, 1940) and Sicilian Scheveningen (Boleslavsky vs I Rudakovsky, 1940, P Dubinin vs E Gerstenfeld, 1940), which for some reason are always associated by present-day chess pundits with the adjective 'modern'. (Personally I do not subscribe to this paradigm, but that is what I see among a lot of kibitzers.) There were Sicilians, Grunfelds, Nimzo-Indians, Bogo-Indians, Catalans, English openings galore. Opening-wise, the tournament is virtually indistinguishable from a super GM tournament played yesterday.

And what is an anachronistic oldie like Alekhine doing in such an era of 'modern chess'? He must be weak by then (",).

That's part of the psychology of it, why many chess pundits tend to see Alekhine as an irrelevant force in the chess world in the war years. He belonged to an archaic era.

No one asks the hypothetical question: what if Alekhine had never left Russia and participated in these great Soviet tournaments? I believe that he would have won most of them, including 1940. Who in the 1940 tournament could have stopped a motivated Alekhine even in 1940? Take the first top five. Of the winners, AAA had already previously played Lilienthal, and had beaten him in a Hastings tournament. Bondarevsky is a great player, but better than an Alekhine? Smyslov was too new and raw. The only player in the 1940 event that Alekhine played a lot of games with was Keres, and before and, tellingly enough, after this tournament, he just kept on dominating the great Paul. Botvinnik could only place 5th. Regarding the so-called 'modern' opening systems, if Lilienthal and Keres could handle them, certainly so could Alekhine, a known fanatical opening researcher and gifted with an eidetic memory for chess positions.

IMO Alekhine's reputation in WW2 IMO suffered not only from his cooperation with Nazis (whether voluntary or not is another topic), but also becasue of stereotypical thinking of chess fans and chess players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:


<In the 1930s, a strong crop of rising chess masters showed up- Flohr, Botvinnik, Keres, Reshevsky, Fine.>

I would add <Kashdan>, <Euwe> and <Sultan Khan> to your list.

Here are some tournament highlights from some of the strongest rated players in the early 1930s:

Game Collection: WCC: Alekhine-Bogoljubov 1934 ARCHIVE Contenders

Premium Chessgames Member
  Maatalkko: Good post Visayan. Actually, Alekine's record against Keres during the war years was 3 wins 3 draws. I was not even aware of that. It just does not compute that a reigning Champion trounces a top challenger like that, yet is considered uncompetitive against the next generation. It seems that "Alekhine's Decline" is just a lazy trope.
Nov-18-14  Petrosianic: <Alekhine was definitely strongest in the 1927 to 1934 period.>

Unfortunately, he did himself no favors dodging the rematch with Capablanca. Had he played and won it, that really would be unquestionably true.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: If Alekhine had held to the London rules for everyone, that would have been consistent on his part.

But he played Bogoljubov twice for less money and would not do the same for Capablanca.

Kind of hints of someone who felt very confident he could win in one particular match while unsure of playing against the other opponent.

Then you have the appearance fee fiasco.

If organizers wanted both Capa and Alekhine in the same tournament, they had to pay $2,000 to Alekhine.

They could not afford to, and so Capa was left out.

These two did not play each other for almost 9 years.

That's a whole lot of bobbing and weaving if you ask me.

Can you imagine Vladimir Kramnik when he was Champ, asking for an appearance fee to any event in which Kasparov was also invited to play?

That would have been seen in a very outrageous light.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:


<But he played Bogoljubov twice for less money and would not do the same for Capablanca.>

In 1934 the <State of Baden> raised 40,000 Reichmarks for the <Alekhine-Bogoljubov> match, which works out to around $10,600 US at the time. This was the total cost of the event though, so we don't know how exactly how much was left for the purse. According to the London Rules, the champion had discretion to insist on up to $10,000 US for the purse, in addition to traveling and accomodation costs for both players.

-<Rainer Buland, Bernadette Edtmaier, and Georg Schweige, "The guestbook of the World Chess Cup 1934 in Germany: facsimile, research, history and environment" (Lit Verlag June 11, 2014), pp.29, 146>

According to "De tribune," when all was said and done the organizers of the <Alekhine-Bogoljubov 1934> match had lost 20,000 guilders.

-<"De tribune" (30 June 1934)>

20,000 guilders would work out to be about $13,400 US in a 1935 conversion.

-<"Het Phohi-Sportpraatje. Schaken en Voetbal." In "Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië" (24 Dec 1935), p.3. In>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <Jess>

In January 1934, 2.61 Mark were worth $1, so 40,000 Mark amounted to roughly $15,000.


Nov-19-14  The Rocket: <But he played Bogoljubov twice for less money and would not do the same for Capablanca.>

He returned the favour to Capablanca, who made it very difficult for him, and several other challengers to get a world championship match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:


Thanks for the correction!

That sum makes more sense now in conjunction with the report on the organizers' losses.

Good heavens- they can't have made much on ticket sales.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <He returned the favour to Capablanca, who made it very difficult for him, and several other challengers to get a world championship match.>

Capablanca raised about $21,000 just to get Lasker to sit down and play him in 1921.

$10,000 is a lower figure, and players like Reti, Rubinstein, Alekhine, Maroczy, Bogoljubov, Tartakover, and Vidmar must have thought it fair, because they signed the agreement.

Once the stock market crash hit, (1929) getting 10 grand was a more daunting task.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Maatalkko: I have never understood why people say Alekine's play "deteriorated" in the 1940s.>

It's probably a combination of

-disgust over his conduct during the war,

-unthinking extrapolation from his declines during the second half of the 1930s and 1944-46, and

-taking into account the relatively weak opposition he faced in the Nazi bloc. It's hard to figure out how good he really was in the 1940s. He didn't face anyone really strong besides Keres, who unlike AAA did not have a good war.

<Actually, Alekine's record against Keres during the war years was 3 wins 3 draws.>

True. Before the war, it was a more reasonable +2-1=5, and Alekhine's wins were scored when Keres was 19 and 20. Keres' win is one of the worst beatings Alekhine ever took.

Keres vs Alekhine, 1937

Keres finished ahead of Alekhine at Margate (1937) and of course AVRO . Alekhine finished ahead at Dresden (1936). They tied at Bad Nauheim (1936) and Kemeri (1937).

Nov-19-14  Petrosianic: I don't remember who said it, but someone commented that Keres played less well when he was "unhappy". That seems so obvious as to not be worth saying, but he was talking about unhappy circumstances in life. Everyone was unhappy during the war, of course, but his point was that this affected Keres more than people like Euwe or Alekhine. Some players tune out real life better when they sit down at the board than others do.
Nov-20-14  The Rocket: < Keres' win is one of the worst beatings Alekhine ever took.>

That game is not worthy of any examination at all.

Nov-20-14  aliejin: I do not know if Keres was "unhappy" but alekhine
sure he was ready to play chess
in the tragedy of World War II .....

He played chess in the first war (almost died)
played chess in the Bolshevik revolution (he was arrested. nearly died) played chess in exile and poverty (he that came
from a rich family, very very rich).....

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <WCC Editing Project: <In the 1930s, a strong crop of rising chess masters showed up- Flohr, Botvinnik, Keres, Reshevsky, Fine.>

I would add <Kashdan>, <Euwe> and <Sultan Khan> to your list.>

Yes. Euwe eventually took the Title. Kashdan and Sultan Khan were probably Candidates level masters.

It seems mighty peculiar but none of them really played at the level of the big three- Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine. IMO not even Botvinnik and no one else, until Fischer came along. After AAA, it was the first era of first among equals. Then Karpov and Kasparov arrived in quick succession. Then another era of first among equals arrived. Carlsen has now ended this second era.

IMO all of these champions played significantly better than their contemporaries, really standing out from the pack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <aliejin: I do not know if Keres was "unhappy" but alekhine sure he was ready to play chess
in the tragedy of World War II .....

He played chess in the first war (almost died)
played chess in the Bolshevik revolution (he was arrested. nearly died) played chess in exile and poverty (he that came from a rich family, very very rich).....>

Nice that you pointed this out. Alekhine was a one in a billion man. No world champion has led a more colorful (and interestingly dangerous) life than he, and survived. (Or maybe not if it is indeed true that he was assassinated.)

Nov-21-14  HSOL: <chancho>: Regarding appearance money, doesn't Kramnik and other top players today demand appearance money for pretty much EVERY tournament they enter?

Regarding Alekhine's attempts to not having to play Capablanca, isn't the modern day Kramnik-Topalov boycott quite similar?

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Alekhine may have also been underestimated because he played in a lot of 'weak' tournaments. Kibitzers then come up with the fallacy that AAA was only impressive because he had weak opposition. Using this false logic, then Lasker, Capblanca, Fischer, and Karpov were weak too, because they also played in many relatively weak events.

The Kasparov era in a sense was slightly different because for the first time, the World Champion almost always only played in super GM tournaments, tournaments where there were no bunnies to kill. I would guess that Kasparov would only join such tournaments in order to protect his Elo rating from a sudden drop, in case he unluckily happened to play poorly in a bunny-filled tournament.

As one goes up the ladder in a World Championship cycle, even in the past, bunny tournaments got rarer. For instance, in proto Candidates tournaments such as New York 1927 and AVRO 1938, there were no bunnies. And the strongest events in chess history usually are the very top one, the World Championship match. There isn't any tournament today that is a stronger event than the Lasker vs Capablanca 1921 match, the Capablanca vs Alekhine 1927 match, and the Karpov vs Kasparov matches. Matches where Champions who stood out from the rest had to duke it out again and again for more than a dozen games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <chancho> ....and it was difficult enough for Alekhine to drum up the financial support he needed to challemge Capablanca in '27, before everything came crashing down.
Nov-22-14  aliejin: "If Alekhine had held to the London rules for everyone, that would have been consistent on his part."

This is absolutely illogical.
Why respect perpetuity standards ?
especially from a mediocre person as Capablanca?

(Capablanca was a chess genius
, but outside of chess, he was a person
vulgar, vague and poorly educated)

Is correct intends to play a rematch in the same conditions as the original match .... but from then on should be possible to better rules.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: It would be great if CG puts up a page for the Prague 1943 tournament. It was Alekhine's last moderately strong tournament (meaning there were strong masters there along with assorted bunnies typical of pre-WW2 tournaments), and tellingly enough, he nearly wiped out the field.

Botvinnik, Keres, and Fine were the leading contenders at that time, but in the 1941 to 1943 period, I believe that AAA was playing better than any of them and would have beaten them in a match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gottschalk: Submitted today:
[Event "?"]
[Site "Warsaw"]
[Date "1935.??.??"]
[White "Heinz Foerder"]
[Black "Alexander Alekhine"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. b3 Bg7 4. Bb2 O-O 5. c4
b6 6. Nc3 Bb7 7. Be2 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. d4
cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 Ne4 12. Qd3 d6 13. Bf3
f5 14. Rab1 Nc5 15. Qd2 Bxf3 16. gxf3 f4 17. Nd5
e5 18. exf4 Qh4 19. Kh1 Qh3 20. Qe2 e4 21. Rg1
Bxb2 22. Rg3 Qh4 23. Rg4 exf3 24. Rxh4 fxe2 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: Can some <ALEKHINE FAN> please identify this position from an Alekhine game?

click for larger view

White has just <BROKEN THE PIN> on the <UNDEFENDED> White d3-queen with 1 ♘d4-e6!, threatening ... ♕d5x♕d3?? ♖c2-c7#. And 1 ... ♕d5-a5 protecting c7 can be met by the <REMOVAL OF THE GUARD> 2 ♕d3-b5+!.


Dec-04-14  Chessdreamer: <notyetagm> see Alekhine vs S Kohn, 1930.
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