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Alexander Alekhine
George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Number of games in database: 2,019
Years covered: 1903 to 1946

Overall record: +894 -170 =439 (74.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 516 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (158) 
    C68 C77 C62 C78 C86
 Orthodox Defense (145) 
    D51 D67 D52 D64 D53
 French Defense (102) 
    C01 C11 C13 C15 C07
 Queen's Gambit Declined (101) 
    D06 D30 D37 D31 D35
 Queen's Pawn Game (100) 
    D02 D00 A40 A46 E00
 Sicilian (88) 
    B20 B40 B30 B62 B29
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (101) 
    C77 C79 C78 C68 C71
 Queen's Pawn Game (65) 
    D02 A46 A40 E10 A50
 French Defense (58) 
    C01 C11 C12 C02 C13
 Nimzo Indian (39) 
    E33 E34 E22 E21 E23
 French (32) 
    C11 C12 C13 C00 C10
 Sicilian (31) 
    B40 B20 B83 B23 B24
Repertoire Explorer

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

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)
   Mannheim (1914)
   Hastings 1925/26 (1925)
   San Remo (1930)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   Bled (1931)
   Zurich (1934)
   Berne (1932)
   Bradley Beach (1929)
   Scheveningen (1913)
   Semmering (1926)
   Podebrady (1936)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   Karlsbad (1911)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Alekhine! by chessgain
   Match Alekhine! by amadeus
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by Qindarka
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by daveyjones01
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by brucemubayiwa
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by SantGG
   Alekhine Favorites by chocobonbon
   Alex Alek Alex Alek Alex Alek Alex Alek by fredthebear
   Biography - Alekhine (Linder) by Qindarka
   My Best Games by Alexander Alekhine by LionHeart40
   My Best Games Of Chess 1924-1937 by A. Alekhine by SantGG
   My Best Games Of Chess 1924-1937 by A. Alekhine by dac1990
   Alexander Alekhine's Best Games by KingG
   Alekhine was sunk! by Calli

   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 (federation/nationality 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 Dewhurst 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, Alekhine 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 / Trompowsky, Alekhine / G Esser, Alexander Alekhine / Leon Monosson, Alexander Alekhine / Efim Bogoljubov, 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, Alekhine / Victor Kahn, A Alekhine/G Barron/E Hanger, Alekhine / Johannes van den Bosch, (bad link), Alekhine / R Wahrburg, Alekhine / Dr. Fischer, Alekhine / J Budowsky, 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 (kibitz #167). (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 81; games 1-25 of 2,019  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. P Vinogradov vs Alekhine 1-020 1903 Shakmatnoe Obozrenie 7th corr0304C21 Center Game
2. N Urusov vs Alekhine 0-133 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C33 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Alekhine vs A Giese ½-½41 1905 16th Correspondence TournamentC33 King's Gambit Accepted
4. V Zhukovsky vs Alekhine 0-120 1905 crC25 Vienna
5. Alekhine vs N Urusov 1-032 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C25 Vienna
6. Alekhine vs A Andriyashev 1-030 1905 crC38 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-024 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC25 Vienna
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 R Geish Ollisevich 1-022 1905 crC39 King's Gambit Accepted
11. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-036 1906 Earl tourn corrC52 Evans Gambit
12. Shulga vs Alekhine 0-132 1906 ?C41 Philidor Defense
13. Alekhine vs A Romashkevich 1-018 1906 Earl tournC20 King's Pawn Game
14. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-028 1906 ?C45 Scotch Game
15. Alekhine vs V Zhukovsky ½-½35 1906 cr RUSC39 King's Gambit Accepted
16. Alekhine vs N Zubakin 0-133 1907 cr 1906-07C33 King's Gambit Accepted
17. Alekhine vs NN 1-046 1907 KislovodskD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Alekhine vs K Isakov 1-026 1907 Moscow Club SpringC44 King's Pawn Game
19. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 0-143 1907 Moscow Club AutumnD02 Queen's Pawn Game
20. Alekhine vs V Rozanov 1-042 1907 MoscowC45 Scotch Game
21. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 1-010 1907 MoskvaD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
22. Viakhirev vs Alekhine 0-136 1907 cr 1906-07C28 Vienna Game
23. Budberg vs Alekhine 0-134 1907 Moscow Club SpringB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
24. B V Lyubimov vs Alekhine ½-½39 1907 cr 1906-07C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
25. NN vs Alekhine 0-132 1907 KislovodskB30 Sicilian
 page 1 of 81; games 1-25 of 2,019  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 131 OF 131 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: < Judging from old ladies I see around New York, her protruding stomach was probably the result of a curved spine.>

Never seen that. But maybe I'm reading too much into the picture. The explanation could lie in the man standing behind her with a smile on his face.

Sep-18-16  WorstPlayerEver: Alekhine seems to be amused as well. The man on the right side seems to think: "Oh no.. not again!"
Sep-19-16  aliejin: I often see people
presenting Alekhine, and his
circumstances , as ridiculous
and abhorrent.
Ridiculous wives,
Alekhines with outrageous reactions,
jokes about drinking ...
(As if it were not a disease)
as gossip programs
about artists

I prefer to see the portrait
made by capablanca about alekhine
before New york 1927 (see the book
Panov on capablanca) or people wrote
about Alekhine like Reti, Lasker, Euwe,
tartakower ( during the 1927 match )

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: There you go again, worrying about what people are saying about someone who's been dead 70 years. You ought to be grateful anyone's still interested. He's got 130 pages of kibitzing vs just 83 for Lasker. OK, Capa's got 251, but who's counting?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I found the game, Pape-Freeman, in the <Falkirk Herald> of May 27th, 1931, their game from this event:

So we'll soon be welcoming Mrs. Alekhine to the site!

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: She is still breathing? :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The (New York) Sun, January 25th, 1926, p.1:


Noted Chess Player's Wife to Be Deported.

Mrs. Annaliese Ruegg-Alekhine, who has been held at Ellis Island for several weeks with her son, is planning to divorce her husband, Alexander Alekhine, world renowned chess player, and is not a bona fide visitor to this country, Immigration Commissioner Curran said to-day. He announced, according to the association, that she would be deported from Ellis Island next Saturday, explaining that her case had been thoroughly investigated and reviewed by Secretary of Labor Davis.

Mrs. Ruegg-Alekhine had sought to enter this country for a six months' visit to study prohibition and to lecture on prohibition activities abroad. Yesterday it had been reported that she would be allowed to enter under $500 bond, but Commissioner Curran said she would not be allowed to enter under any condition. She will be returned to England.

"There is not the slightest reason to believe she is a bona fide visitor," Mr. Curran said. "She is simply trying to evade the immigration quota law. Apparently she is unwilling to await her turn, as do the other Europeans.">

Oct-07-16  WorstPlayerEver: <MissScarlett>

'But who's counting?'

Wesley So fans.

Oct-31-16  WorstPlayerEver: Happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Alexander Alekhine!!!!!!!
Oct-31-16  aliejin: "Under icy layers of
contemporary art
in the Games won by
Alekhine shine .. burning
desire to find new ways ...."
Oct-31-16  cunctatorg: One of the men who changed chess for ever...
... though Garry Kasparov was needed in order to prove that somebody can play like Alekhine versus the elite of the eighties-nineties, particularly the other stars of the Botvinnik school and even versus Anatoly Karpov!

Alexander Alekhine was needed in order to prove that Harry Nelson Pillsbury's style could be repeated successfully -and even drastically improved- against the elite of the twenties-thirties...

Alexander Alekhine's legacy is a cornerstone of (for) the game of chess and a monument, even an apex of human boldness and creativity.

Nov-03-16  Petrosianic: <Alexander Alekhine was needed in order to prove that Harry Nelson Pillsbury's style could be repeated successfully -and even drastically improved- against the elite of the twenties-thirties...>

Not against Capablanca he didn't. Alekhine won the 1927 match by out-Capablanca-ing Capablanca, not by playing in his usual style, which had failed miserably against Capa in previous outings.

Nov-04-16  cunctatorg: <Petrosianic> I am under the impression that neither Harry Nelson Pillsbury was really over-agressive though he definitely was a master of the attack!! Am I wrong and how much?

It is widely believed that Alekhine's "usual style" was a little-bit too risky, not solid and "healthy" enough in order to safely subdue a player of the Capablanca class; I don't disagree, after all both Jose Raul Capablanca ("... Alekhine's play is twenty-per-cent bluff.") and Bobby Fischer expressed similar remarks though there is an essential (imho) difference between bluff, mostly bluff, fifty per cent bluff, YOUNG Mikhail Tal's percentage of "bluff" and "TWENTY PER CENT" bluff... I must add that (in that contex)t Garry Kasparov was able to achieve more than Alexander Alekhine, he was able (after 1984...) to play against Anatoly Karpov in a very aggressive style, very aggressive but solid too. Well, how much solid and "healthy"?!? A few (not all of them!) critical Kasparov's victories against Karpov had been proven by almost-post-mortem analysis to be also refutable ... though even Anatoly Karpov himself wasn't able to find these refutations "over the board"!! There is no need for my to present these games from the 1985 and 1986 matches, they are well known and in fact famous (not infamous) and glorious!!... This is my first point regarding Alekhine's "usual style of play", the solid aggression and Kasparov's aggressive style of play against Anatoly Karpov after 1984...

It is also said that AAA's play against JRC during their 1927 WCC match featured Alekhine's most conservative and cautious play ever! This is true but only regarding the vast majority of the games of that epic match; however there are certain striking -and also decisive!- exceptions to this fact: Alekhine had played extremely cautiously the first part of 11th game of that match (Capablanca-Alekhine: 0-1, 66 moves) but he did play ingeniously but not so cautiously the second part of that game, the heavy pieces endgame after the 40th move ... and he eventually was the winner of that game... He also played in a very aggressive, ingenious, solid but impressive and convincing style the 21st game and was the winner (as Black) after just 32 moves! Last but not least, he had launched an ingenious and epic attack (as White) during the last, 34th game of the Buenos Aires match and he was able to outplay Capablanca's defense during the phase of that game between moves 19 and 28 and obtain one (perhaps) decisive advantage and then he was able to capitulate on this advantage and emerge victorious after the 82nd move of that game!! I must honestly here that it seems to me a nightmare for every player to overcome Capablanca's defensive reaction which was in fact an ingenious but also solid, devilish tactical counter-attack!! We can witness that kind of defensive reaction from Jose Raul's part at the very first game of that match (Capablanca-Alekhine, 0-1, 43 moves) and at the aforementioned 34th game!!... Therefore your assessment that Alekhine out-Capablancaing Jose Raul is true but not absolutely true, there is the RELATIVE (to some measure, that is) exception of two-three Alekhine's victories ... and all Alekhine's victories were just six during that epic apex of chess history... That's my second point.

By the way there is some point of disagreement between ... me (brrrhhhhh...) and Garry Kasparov himself; Kasparov considers that the coming of Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov himself was unavoidable from the functions of such machines like the Soviet School of chess and the Botvinnik School, not to mention the tremendous Fischer effect from 1970 until 1972!! However I fail to see another Soviet player (or even a player from any ex-soviet state) of the Kasparov or Karpov calibre ... and please, don't mention the great Vladimir Kramnik... Therefore it seems to me that the rise of Karpov and Kasparov was a random and somehow accidental phenomenon like the rise of the "chess phenomenon" of Victor Korchnoi at his forties, after that is the 1970-72 Fischer "march"!! The late Victor Korchnoi was the unique member of the old Soviet School who was able (without being either Karpov or Kasparov at their peaks) to react and rally in order to deliver some chess massacres, obviously inspired by Fischer...

Nov-04-16  Petrosianic: <I am under the impression that neither Harry Nelson Pillsbury was really over-agressive though he definitely was a master of the attack!!>

Right. I think of him as a great attacker, but not reckless like a Marshall or Janowski (or Tal, although he usually got away with it). (I'm not a big expert on Pillsbury, but I did look at his matches with Showalter a couple of years ago).

But Alekhine is one of the few players who really did alter his playing style for a match. He played the 1927 match like Capablanca, super-cautious, and hyper-positionally. He beat Capa at his own game.

<Bobby Fischer expressed similar remarks>

Yeah, he said something like if you've seen one Alekhine game, you've seen them all. He always tries to build a strong center and start pointing everything at the Kingside, then starts checkmating around Move 25.

Nov-08-16  cunctatorg: Alexander Alekhine had some rare quality as a chess player, a rare synthesis of universality and creativity, wide and deepest understanding of the game plus a liking for complete domination... In my humble opinion he came thirty or forty years before his era and thus almost nobody was able to successfully follow his pathways until Kasparov's coming. Victor Korchnoi has famously written ("Chess is my life"; 1976) that in his opinion (not Mikhail Tal but) "Alekhine, Keres and Spassky were the masters of the attack" which is rather (I insist about the unfortunate H. N. Pillsbury's case...) true back then but it also proves that Alekhine was far before his era since neither Keres nor Spassky had Alekhine's universality and success rate against the most serious competition; Alekhine had performed true miracles from 1925 until 1934...

Imho Bobby Fischer's main point wasn't the aforementioned by you, regarding this we can also compare with this very site's description of Alekhine's style by Bobby Fischer himself. Fischer did declare that he wasn't envy of the (otherwise highly praised by him) Alekhine's style due to its lack of control, due to this "twenty" per cent bluffing element; it's true that Alexander Alekhine between 1925 and 1934 had a superb percentage of victories but he also had a higher than Fischer's (well..., forget abour RJF from 1970 until 1972, lol!! Just compare with JRC or (?) Mikhail Botvinnik from 1936 until 1948) percentage of defeats. Bobby Fischer explicitly declared that the lack of this virtue was the reason for him to bypass Alekhine's style...

However you are right that Alekhine's change of style during the majority of the games of the 1927 match was a phenomenon than even Fischer didn't mention or commented; Alekhine's games were not only solid, positional creations but also prophylactic and often defensive achievements.

Nov-08-16  cunctatorg: Alexander Alekhine's choice of opening as Black against Capablanca's 1. d4 was also impressive; fro some reason he didn't choose Nimzowitsch's Indians (NID and QID) but QGD variations that demand a highly defensive performance from Black's part... For the one reason or the other, Capablanca wasn't able to crush Alekhine's defensive match strategy for more than twenty games and Alekhine wasn't tired to stubbornly defense his black side of the match, he wasn't also lured to change his match strategy...

Imho that Buenos Aires 1927 match is Alekhine's greatest ever achievement, more interesting and important than his subsequent successes at San Remo and Bled.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Yet another reason I tend to prefer <Alekhine's Cannon>:

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: (terminology-wise)
Jan-14-17  wrap99: <Jonathan Sarfati> I remember in one of his books Edward Lasker says he ran away from home when forbidden to play Pillsbury. If I am remembering rightly, I wrote to him and asked if he ended up playing Pillsbury and he said no. I sure wish I still had this written response but I don't. There is also the myth that he met Einstein but I think also he wrote that he did not -- of course Emanuel Lasker was friends with Einstein. Mother threw away post card or cards I would really like to have now. I may still have one letter or postcard, from like 1975 when he was 90 and the last survivor of NY 1924 (by a long shot, I think).
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I remember in one of his books Edward Lasker says he ran away from home when forbidden to play Pillsbury.>

Was this a Pillsbury simul in Berlin?

Jan-14-17  wrap99: <MissScarlett> This is probably in The Adventure of Chess, a book I have not seen in decades but that sounds about right. BTW, he really was a great chess writer and that book has a very early mention of Bobby Fischer. I in fact asked Lasker what he thought of Fischer (this was in 1975) and his reply was, "He suffers from a lack of education." This strikes me as a fairly polite and yet accurate description, at least in part, of why RJF ended up as he did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: (West Hartlepool) Northern Daily Mail, Monday, December 29th, 1930, p.7:


Chess champion's narrow escape.

Vienna, Monday (Reuter). - The famous chess master Dr. Alekhine, has just had a narrow escape from being seriously burned.

While staying at an hotel at Esseg (Hungary) he fell asleep in bed with a lighted cigarette in his mouth, setting the bed on fire.

Fortunately the hotel staff noticed smoke coming from under the door of his room, and, forcing the door, rescued him after he had received only slight burns.>

Aberdeen Press and Journal, December 30th, 1930, p.11:


Asleep in Blazing Room.


Zagreb, Yugoslavia, Monday.

Dr Alekhine, the world's chess champion, has just had a narrow escape from death through falling asleep while smoking a cigarette in bed.

He had returned at 5 a.m. to his room in a hotel in the town of Osjek after a banquet. An enormous smoker of cigarettes, he lit a final cigarette in bed and went to sleep while still smoking it.

The cigarette set fire to the bedclothes and the flames spread to the furniture. Hotel servants found the chess champion unconscious. He had almost been suffocated by the fumes and was suffering from slight burns.

Dr Alekhine seems little the worse for his experience, and is planning a journey to the United States next month. - British United Press.>

The paper appended a brief portrait of Alekhine, finishing with: <He became a famous chess player when he was twelve, one of his greatest triumphs being the defeat of Dr Laskar [sic], a world champion.>

It should be pointed out that Esseg is not in Hungary and is, in fact, coterminous with Osjek [sic]:

Skinner @ Verhoeven report that Alekhine gave a simul at Osijek in the evening of December 23rd.

However, the <Falkirk Herald>, of March 4th, 1931, p.15, has:

<"American Chess Bulletin," in February issue, says that Dr Alekhine has "cabled" to in [sic] this - "Fire cigarette story pure journalistic bluff. Please deny it. Enjoy perfect health." - The story came from Jugoslavia, and stated circumstantially that Dr Alekhine had narrowly escaped being burnt to death through falling asleep while smoking a final cigarette in bed, at an early hour in the morning at an hotel. It was given in the press in this country, and no doubt elsewhere, but it was by no means invented by the newspapers, which stated that it was telegraphed by an international telegraphic newsagency of repute. The "bluff" must have originated in Jugoslavia, therefore.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations):

<Alekhine Alexandre of 11 Bis-rue Schoelcher Paris France died 24 March 1946 at Hotel du Parque Estoril Portugal Administration (with Will) (limited) London 3 January 1950 to Kenneth Ewart and Henry Philip Verey solicitors attorneys of Grace Alekhine widow. Effects £228 14s. 4d. in England.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations):

<Alekhine Grace of 11 Bio Rue Schoelcher Paris 14 France and care of Mercantile Bank of India 15 Gracechurch Street London E.C.3 widow died 21 February 1956 at The American Hospital in Paris Neuilly-Sur-Seine Paris Administration (with Will) (limited) London 7 January to James Neil Fisher solicitor and Roy Diston solicitors managing clerk attorneys of Collins J. Peeke single woman and Roberta Fisher married woman. Effects £2635 8 s. 5d. in England.>

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