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George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Alexander Alekhine
Number of games in database: 1,961
Years covered: 1903 to 1946
Overall record: +1041 -224 =485 (73.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      211 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (150) 
    C68 C77 C62 C86 C78
 Orthodox Defense (142) 
    D51 D67 D53 D64 D52
 French Defense (99) 
    C01 C11 C13 C15 C07
 Queen's Gambit Declined (97) 
    D06 D30 D37 D31 D35
 Queen's Pawn Game (96) 
    D02 D00 A40 A46 E00
 Sicilian (81) 
    B20 B40 B30 B22 B62
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?]
   Mannheim (1914)
   All Russian Amateur (1909)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   Kecskemet (1927)
   San Remo (1930)
   Bled (1931)
   Zurich (1934)
   Berne (1932)
   Scheveningen (1913)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   London (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
   Chess World Champion Nr. 04: Alekhine by Olanovich
   alekhine best games by brager
   Alekhine was sunk! by Calli
   Giant Play!! by Antiochus
   simply the best- Alekhine!!! by Antiochus
   Alekhine 1908-1923 by Chnebelgrind
   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 1,961  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. P Vinogradov vs Alekhine 1-020 1903 Shakmatnoe Obozrenie 7th corr0304C21 Center Game
2. V Manko vs Alekhine  1-033 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC52 Evans Gambit
3. Alekhine vs A Andriyashev 1-030 1905 crC38 King's Gambit Accepted
4. V Zhukovsky vs Alekhine 0-120 1905 crC25 Vienna
5. N Urusov vs Alekhine 0-133 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. A Giese vs Alekhine 0-129 1905 cr RUSC33 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Alekhine vs N Urusov 1-032 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C25 Vienna
8. Alekhine vs A Giese ½-½41 1905 16th Correspondence TournamentC33 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-024 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC25 Vienna
10. Alekhine vs R Geish Ollisevich 1-022 1905 crC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Alekhine vs A Romashkevich 1-018 1906 Earl tournC20 King's Pawn Game
12. Shulga vs Alekhine 0-132 1906 ?C41 Philidor Defense
13. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-036 1906 Earl tourn corrC52 Evans Gambit
14. Alekhine vs Man'ko 1-028 1906 ?C45 Scotch Game
15. Alekhine vs V Zhukovsky ½-½35 1906 cr RUSC39 King's Gambit Accepted
16. Alekhine vs V Rozanov 1-042 1907 MoscowC45 Scotch Game
17. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 1-010 1907 MoskvaD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
18. B Lyubimov vs Alekhine ½-½39 1907 cr 1906-07C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
19. Budberg vs Alekhine 0-134 1907 Moscow Club SpringB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
20. Alekhine vs N Zubakin 0-133 1907 cr 1906-07C33 King's Gambit Accepted
21. NN vs Alekhine 0-132 1907 KislovodskB30 Sicilian
22. Alekhine vs K Isakov 1-026 1907 Moscow Club SpringC44 King's Pawn Game
23. Alekhine vs NN 1-046 1907 KislovodskD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 0-143 1907 Moscow Club AutumnD02 Queen's Pawn Game
25. Viakhirev vs Alekhine 0-136 1907 cr 1906-07C28 Vienna Game
 page 1 of 79; games 1-25 of 1,961  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 120 OF 120 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-06-15  SugarDom: What is interesting in <vbd>'s post is that Najdorf is actually a mean blindfold player himself who actually played against more players. 56, I believe?
Jan-06-15  The Rocket: Kim Peeks IQ was low average (in the 80s). He was not retarded according to the test.

Kasparov has asserted that his memory, though strong, is by no means photographic or eidetic. That's true of most great players in chess. All great players have strong memory but not all people with strong memory make great chess players.

Jan-06-15  SugarDom: Now, i remember that Najdorf did 45-man blind simul, while trying to look for his family separated by WW2.

<All great players have strong memory but not all people with strong memory make great chess players.>

Yeah, the current holder of blind simul record is just an IM (unless he got his GM title by this time). GM Raymond Keene, founder of memory sports is also nowhere the top players...

Jan-06-15  Sally Simpson: Hi Rocket,

"All great players have strong memory..."

Maybe...Maybe not.

Apparently Mieses 5 minutes after a game finishing could never recall the moves. (I think that is an Ed Lasker anecdote though I maybe wrong....memory..huh!)

Tal lost a game to Stein when Stein played an opening cobination that Tal himself had recomended when noting up another game.

Stein vs Tal, 1961

Chess players being absent-minded outside the game is another matter all together.

Reti was notoriously absent-minded. There is the story, if you saw Reti's briefcase you would not find Reti. (again unsourced....I cannot for the life of me recall were I read it, But I have read it somewhere.)

Vishy Anand is absent-minded and for that I do have a source:

Jan-07-15  The Rocket: The stein-Tal story reminds me of this game:Nakamura vs Van Wely, 2010

Nakamura played a specific continuation in the Bg5 Najdorf which Van Wely had in the past provided analysis for! Yet he seemed oblivous to it at the board.

Jan-09-15  Owl: I'm looking for Alekhine game
Where Alekhine queen takes his Opp. g7 Bishop and then Alekhine Knight checks his opp. king on e6. And for some reason the game I think not very sure ends in a draw or he mates Game: Qxg7 KxQ Ne6+
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Owl> This one?

Alekhine vs A Rabinovich, 1918

Jan-09-15  Owl: No that game doesn't follow the description
Qxg7 KxQ Ne6+ (check)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Owl> Sorry, nothing matches that specifically.

There is one game, where Qxg7+ Kxg7 Nd4 (Alekhine v Teunis ten Kate 1933) but that's not what you are lookin' for.

And there are a couple of games after Qxg7 (check or no check) moves does not match.

Jan-10-15  Owl: Maybe he was black in the game! Maybe
Jan-12-15  zanzibar: There is a somewhat infamous account by Fischer of his incarceration at the hands of the Pasadena police that is rather well-known.

An equally harrowing account of the power of the state enveloping another GM is given by Alekhine, of his treatment during the Mannheim 1914 tournament, which was interrupted by the outbreak of WWI:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: I forget how I got here...
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: jphamlore: And then there's this way of thinking at the chess board that Botvinnik derided:


<Botvinnik: 'As far as Garik [Kasparov] was concerned, I immediately came to blows with him. For he first made a move and only then thought about it. While the proper order is, as you know, the other way around. 'Watch out', I used to say to him, 'if you go on like this you’ll become a Taimanov or a Larsen. Garik' (!?). These two were the same even when they were grandmasters -first move, then think. Now young Garik was very insulted by this, because he wanted to be an Alekhine'>

In a way this is also a tribute to the great Alekhine and his stylistic attacking school of chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <zanzibar> Thanks for the link. So poor Alekhine was arrested, forced marched, beaten, imprisoned, starved, stranded. Same for his colleagues who shared the same wrong nationality. Shocking but these things do happen in wars.

Did the German government at any later time ever apologized to these chess masters and give them their prize money? Not only were they denied their professional fees, they were milked to bankruptcy, suffered all the indignities mentioned above, and probably nearly got killed.

Feb-15-15  Owl: Maybe it was Rxg7 not Qxg7
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Playing chess with Alekhine could seriously damage one's health. I've assembled a list of such individuals who died prematurely:

Julius Perlis - climbing accident - 33 - 1913
Carl Schlechter - malnutrition - 44- 1918
Eric Cohn - KIA - 34 - 1918
Georg Rotlewi - tuberculosis - 30 - 1920
Gyula Breyer - heart disease - 28 - 1921
Richard Reti - scarlet fever - 40 - 1929
Henri Weenink - tuberculosis - 39 - 1931
Edgar Colle - ill-health - 34 - 1932
Hermanis Mattison - tuberculosis - 37 - 1932
Giuseppe Padulli - ? - 34 - 1932
Karl Helling - ill-health - 33 - 1937
Erik Andersen - ill-health - 33 - 1938
Arvid Kubbel - executed - 48 - 1938
David Przepiórka - executed - 59 - 1940
Achilles Frydman - died in custody - 35 - 1940
Josef Cukierman - suicide - 40 - 1941
Karel Treybal - executed - 56 - 1941
Leonid Kubbel - malnutrition - 51 - 1942
Ilya Rabinovich - malnutrition - 50 - 1942
Henryk Friedmann - ? - 39 - 1942
Hans Kranki - KIA - 33 - 1942
Mirko Broeder - executed (?) - 32 - 1943
Vladimir Petrov - died in custody - 1943
Leon Monosson - died in custody - 40 - 1943
Heinrich Wolf - died in custody (?) - 68 - 1943
Abram Rabinovich - malnutrition - 65 - 1943
Salo Landau - died in custody - 40 - 1944
Wilhelm Orbach - died in custody - 49 - 1944
Vera Menchik - killed by bombing - 38 - 1944
David Daniuszewski - ? - 53 - 1944
Wolfgang Weil - KIA - 32 - 1945
Klaus Junge - KIA - 21 - 1945
Heinz Nowarra - ? - 48 - 1945
Hans Frank - executed - 46 - 1946
Ludwig Fischer - executed - 41 - 1947
Jan Foltys - ill-health - 43 - 1952
Max Dietze - ill-health - 49 - 1953

Any corrections or suggested additions are welcomed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Updated list. I've used the age of 50 as a cut-off point, except in the case of deaths caused by accident, attributable to violence or directly related to war.

Pavel Bobrov - ? - 49 - 1911
Stefan Izbinsky - ? - 27 - 1912
Julius Perlis - climbing accident - 33 - 1913
Alexey Goncharov - lung disease - 34 - 1913
Friedrich Koehnlein - KIA - 36 - 1916
Carl Schlechter - malnutrition - 44- 1918
Janos Gajdos - ? - 38 - 1918
Eric Cohn - KIA - 34 - 1918
Moisei Elyashov - ? - 48 - 1919
Alexander Evenson - executed - 26 - 1919
Boris Maliutin - ? - 36 - 1920
Peter Evtifeev - ? - 45 - 1920
Georg Rotlewi - tuberculosis - 30 - 1920
Stefan Trcala - ? - 41 - 1920
Henry Baudet - ? - 30 - 1921
Gyula Breyer - heart disease - 28 - 1921
Alexander Flamberg - ? - 45 - 1926
Peter Potemkin - influenza - 40 - 1926
Richard Reti - scarlet fever - 40 - 1929
Henri Weenink - tuberculosis - 39 - 1931
Edgar Colle - ill-health - 34 - 1932
Hermanis Mattison - tuberculosis - 37 - 1932
Giuseppe Padulli - ? - 34 - 1932
Karl Helling - ill-health - 33 - 1937
Erik Andersen - ill-health - 33 - 1938
Arvid Kubbel - executed - 48 - 1938
Nikolai Grigoriev - lung cancer - 43 - 1938
David Przepiórka - executed - 59 - 1940
Achilles Frydman - died in custody - 35 - 1940
Moishe Lowcki - executed - 58 - 1940
Josef Cukierman - suicide - 40 - 1941
Karel Treybal - executed - 56 - 1941
Leonid Kubbel - malnutrition - 51 - 1942
Ilya Rabinovich - malnutrition - 50 - 1942
Henryk Friedmann - ? - 39 - 1942
Hans Kranki - KIA - 33 - 1942
Ivan Golubev - ? - 49 -1942
Mirko Broeder - executed (?) - 32 - 1943
Vladimir Petrov - died in custody - 1943
Leon Monosson - died in custody - 40 - 1943
Heinrich Wolf - died in custody (?) - 68 - 1943
Abram Rabinovich - malnutrition - 65 - 1943
Salo Landau - died in custody - 40 - 1944
Wilhelm Orbach - died in custody - 49 - 1944
Vera Menchik - killed by bombing - 38 - 1944
David Daniuszewski - ? - 53 - 1944
Wolfgang Weil - KIA - 32 - 1945
Zoltan Balla - traffic accident - 61 - 1945
Klaus Junge - KIA - 21 - 1945
Hans Frank - executed - 46 - 1946
Ludwig Fischer - executed - 41 - 1947

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: And finally, Alekhine <playing chess with Alekhine>/(himself) in a Portuguese hotel room most probably caused his own death.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If only he'd been playing Heimlich.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: You people are obviously not giving my fantastic piece of research the respect it deserves. You cannot beat a good list!
Mar-22-15  HeMateMe: What about Alekhine's cats? I bet they didn't fare too well, either.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: What's known about Alkehine's first two marriages?
Mar-23-15  TheFocus: <MissScarlett><What's known about Alkehine's first two marriages?>

They both occurred before his third and fourth marriages.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: German Wikipedia has an entry for Alekhine's second wife, Anneliese Ruegg, which gives the date of their wedding as March 15, 1921, when she was 'only' 41 and he was 28. The divorce is said to have happened in 1926, although Hans Kmoch claimed that Alekhine married his third wife in 1925, which is echoed by Bill Wall (apparently relying on Kotov) who states the divorce happened in 1924.

If anyone has a NYT subscription, could they reproduce the full text of:

<WOMAN COMMUNIST ABANDONS THE REDS; Fraulein Ruegg, Lenin Pupil, Shocks Swiss After Russian Tour --Tells of Children Starving>

Premium Chessgames Member


With regard to the link posted by <zanzibar> about Alekhine's report on his experience at Mannheim 1914:

You asked,

<did the German government at any later time ever apologized (sic) to these chess masters and give them their prize money?>

From the linked article: <For the payment of the cash prizes we had to wait until Monday.>

"The German government" didn't organize and run the tournament. The German Chess Federation is not equivalent to "the German government."

You can find more detailed information here: Mannheim (1914)

<International Chess Congress in Mannheim, July 18 to August 2, 1914 (XIX. Congress of the German Chess Federation).

Prize money (in <Mk.>): Alekhine 1100, Vidmar 850, Spielmann 600, Breyer 375, Marshall 375, Reti 375, Bogoljubov 180, Tarrasch 180 and 100 for each of the other players.>

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