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George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Alexander Alekhine
Number of games in database: 1,986
Years covered: 1903 to 1946
Overall record: +1003 -210 =471 (73.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      302 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (155) 
    C68 C77 C62 C78 C86
 Orthodox Defense (145) 
    D51 D67 D53 D64 D52
 French Defense (101) 
    C01 C11 C13 C15 C07
 Queen's Pawn Game (97) 
    D02 D00 A40 A46 E00
 Queen's Gambit Declined (97) 
    D06 D30 D37 D31 D35
 Sicilian (85) 
    B20 B40 B30 B62 B22
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (102) 
    C77 C79 C78 C68 C71
 Queen's Pawn Game (65) 
    D02 A46 A40 A50 E10
 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 Nimzowitsch, 1930 1-0
   Alekhine vs Vasic, 1931 1-0
   Alekhine vs Lasker, 1934 1-0
   Alekhine vs NN, 1915 1-0
   Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 0-1
   Alekhine vs Yates, 1922 1-0
   Alekhine vs O Tenner, 1911 1-0
   Alekhine vs A Fletcher, 1928 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)
   Kecskemet (1927)
   Berne (1932)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   Bled (1931)
   San Remo (1930)
   Zurich (1934)
   Scheveningen (1913)
   London (1922)
   Semmering (1926)
   Munich (1941)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   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
   World Champion Nr. 04: Alekhine by Olanovich
   Alekhine was sunk! by Calli
   Alekhine simuls, consultations & blindfolded by gauer
   simply the best- Alekhine!!! by Antiochus
   alekhine best games by brager
   Giant Play!! by Antiochus
   Alekhine 1908-1923 by Chnebelgrind
   The Greatest!! by Antiochus
   Alekhine: Chess Biography by jessicafischerqueen

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

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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, 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 / 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, Alekhine / E Barron, 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 80; games 1-25 of 1,986  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. P Vinogradov vs Alekhine 1-020 1903 Shakmatnoe Obozrenie 7th corr0304C21 Center Game
2. Alekhine vs R Geish Ollisevich 1-022 1905 crC39 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Alekhine vs A Andriyashev 1-030 1905 crC38 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-024 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC25 Vienna
5. A Giese vs Alekhine 0-129 1905 cr RUSC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. V Zhukovsky vs Alekhine 0-120 1905 crC25 Vienna
7. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-033 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC52 Evans Gambit
8. N Urusov vs Alekhine 0-133 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C33 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Alekhine vs N Urusov 1-032 1905 Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Correspondence Tournament No. 16C25 Vienna
10. Alekhine vs A Giese ½-½41 1905 16th Correspondence TournamentC33 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Shulga vs Alekhine 0-132 1906 ?C41 Philidor Defense
12. Alekhine vs Man'ko 1-028 1906 ?C45 Scotch Game
13. Alekhine vs V Zhukovsky ½-½35 1906 cr RUSC39 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Alekhine vs A Romashkevich 1-018 1906 Earl tournC20 King's Pawn Game
15. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-036 1906 Earl tourn corrC52 Evans Gambit
16. B V Lyubimov vs Alekhine ½-½39 1907 cr 1906-07C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
17. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 1-010 1907 MoskvaD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
18. Budberg vs Alekhine 0-134 1907 Moscow Club SpringB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
19. Alekhine vs N Zubakin 0-133 1907 cr 1906-07C33 King's Gambit Accepted
20. NN vs Alekhine 0-132 1907 KislovodskB30 Sicilian
21. Alekhine vs K Isakov 1-026 1907 Moscow Club SpringC44 King's Pawn Game
22. Alekhine vs NN 1-046 1907 KislovodskD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 0-143 1907 Moscow Club AutumnD02 Queen's Pawn Game
24. Viakhirev vs Alekhine 0-136 1907 cr 1906-07C28 Vienna Game
25. Alekhine vs V Rozanov 1-042 1907 MoscowC45 Scotch Game
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  Jonathan Sarfati: <beatgiant> <OK, then go point out where a pre-WWII defensive style player like Maroczy played a defensive exchange sac. No?>

What about a defensive exchange sac played by positional player Rubinstein against Maroczy? Maroczy vs Rubinstein, 1907

Jan-27-16  beatgiant: <Jonathan Sarfati>
Thanks for pointing out that example.

I get that players made exchange sacrifices before WWII. I even get that some of them were not calculated all the way to the end. What's at issue is the purpose and follow-up, whether for active counter-play or defense.

It has already taken me half a dozen posts, some of them in-depth, to discuss what I thought was the totally straightforward Alekhine-Marshall case, and even now I'm not sure the good doctor is convinced that example is not <defensive>. So I'm not going to be able to go over each and every pre-WWII exchange sac in depth here. It's been discussed before by other kibitzers who are probably more knowledgeable than me, and still not resolved.

So, I'm willing to leave the outcome of this discussion as, <some people believe the exchange sac for defense was a well-known strategem even before WWII, and others don't>. And, if anyone is still open-minded about it, to discuss other post-WWII advancements in chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <beatgiant> Even if hypothetically I agree that AAA did not make a 'defensive' sac against Marshall, it does not change the point <Jonathan Sarfati> and I have been making, that pre WW2 players were making positional exchange sacs. <Jonathan Sarfati> has also given you obvious examples of what you insist upon, a 'defensive' sac.

I know that you think I have a <preconceived notion> on this topic. I do not think so, because a long time ago, I was naive enough to think exactly like you did; that such things as the positional exchange sac could not have been understood by pre WW2 players.

Why? I think it's because there are many chess books (not only Watson's although he is the most vociferous advocate of the idea) that imply that chess is 'advancing' onto a 'higher level.'

I have changed my mind on this based on empirical data. I have found out upon replaying their games that pre WW2 masters do comprehend the same tactics and middlegame pawn structures that post WW2 masters understand (there is one possible exception I have given above, the hedgehog).

I hope you don't get miffed, but I urge you to consider the possibility that it is you who has a <preconceived notion> on this matter. Perhaps you have grown up on books that portray chess as steadily 'advancing', and so are bewildered or fail to see what's really happening when you see a pre WW2 master employing the same type of tactics that present day masters are also employing.

Apart from the above, I am curious why you are so insistent on dividing positional sacs into 'defensive' or 'offensive'. IMO it's an artificial partitioning because they both employ the same basic chess principles, some of which I have explained above. Many positional exchange sacs in fact have both 'defensive' and 'offensive' aspects. Like most things in the real world, they occur in shades of gray and grade into one another.

From this perspective, the Alekhine, Petrosian, and even the Capablanca sacs above are fundamentally the same because they are based on the same principle: <There are holes in the R side which the N side can exploit favorably with the Knight, on which the N can't be challenged by an opposing B or N (because they have been exchanged off with a R). This is usually can happen because the position retains a semi closed character just after the sac is made, in which the interlocked pawn structures allows for such holes.>

Dividing them into 'offensive', 'defensive', 'losing', 'drawing', 'winning', 'active', 'passive', etc.. IMO is an artificial process of partitioning that you may be insistent upon precisely because you have the <preconceived notion> that chess must evolve into a more advanced level. Even this application does not work for that purpose because there are more obvious examples of 'defensive' sacs that <Jonathan> above has given.

Instead of giving more examples of post WW2 games that employ a type of sac that you think would not have been understood by pre WW2 masters and then asking me to give a pre WW2 version of it, I would request that you yourself look for the same tactic in a pre WW2 game. Most likely you will after only a couple of hours of perusing pre WW2 games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: The most famous exchange sac that I know of is probably this:

Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921

16... Bxf3! 17. Bxc8 Rxc8 18. gxf3 Qxf3

From Capa's notes, he thought it was

<the only reasonable way in which he (Lasker) could hope to draw the game.>

So for Capablanca, it was a 'defensive' exchange sac. I now have the backing of a true chess genius in the matter of exchange sacs that can qualify as 'defensive' done by pre WW1 masters, seen from the paradigm of partitioning an exchange sac into 'offensive' or 'defensive' (something that I regard as kind of artificial).

It's post WW1 but was played by pre WW1 masters. I have noticed that this game does not often get cited as an ingenuous example of an exchange sac. Why? Because Lasker lost! Had he drawn or won, it would have been a different matter.

Nevertheless IMO it's one of the finest examples of the chess principle I gave above:

<Q + N on the attack is usually more powerful than Q + R.>

Jan-29-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> <Even if hypothetically I agree that AAA did not make a 'defensive' sac against Marshall>

I posted at length showing Marshall had no real threats and Alekhine followed up his sac by throwing the kitchen sink at Marshall's king, and yet still we are talking about <hypothetically> agreeing that the sac was not defensive?

I agree that pre-WWII masters often made exchange sacrifices for <positional> compensation, but that compensation was usually aimed at positive counterplay and not defense. But if we can't even definitely agree on a case like the Alekhine-Marshall game, I see no further point in discussing the exchange sac example.

<I would request that you yourself look for the same tactic in a pre WW2 game. Most likely you will after only a couple of hours of perusing pre WW2 games.>

The problem is, I'm looking at the same games you are but not seeing the same things you are. You think I simply haven't ever looked at pre-WWII games? I've posted detailed kibitzes on many of them already.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <You think I simply haven't ever looked at pre-WWII games? I've posted detailed kibitzes on many of them already.>

Certainly not. I often look at your kibitzes if you must know. I think they're quite good.

If I may say so, I think it's more of an attitudinal bias stemming from a possible preconceived notion that you have as I wrote above.

For example, you surely must know of the Capablanca vs Lasker game above. It's pretty famous. Yet it did not occur to you that it was a genuine positional exchange sacrifice done by Lasker in a 'defensive' mode. Our attitudes can blind us to such very obvious facts. I know it should qualify as 'defensive', but you might not listen to me. However I just found out that Capablanca himself thought it was 'defensive', and so I have posted it. If you still disagree, you are now disagreeing with Capablanca.

It's why that in all good will I am urging you to consider the possibility that it is you who has the <preconceived notion> in this matter.

Jan-29-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> In the given game, Lasker played an exchange sac to launch a saving <counter-attack>, but again, I'm not going to further discuss the matter of exchange sacs here.

I do want to make one other thing clear: <a type of sac that you think would not have been understood by pre WW2 masters> I never said they could not <understand it>. The claim is that they did not typically think of <playing> that way in their own games. Once they saw the successful examples, we can be sure they would add the technique to their arsenals.

The GMs who did span across these eras, such as Reshevsky, took part in these evolutions same as everyone else did. That's not the same as claiming that chess was already being played at the highest possible level of perfection by 1940.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: Speaking of the alleged opening superiority of modern players, a number of critics of the Fischer - Spassky (1992) rematch accused them of being unable to play modern openings. Ljubomir Ljubojevic defended their play quality and replied that the modern players can't play the older openings so well. Now we see a tough player like Tomaschevsky being reduced to a resignable position on move 30 against Carlsen's London System -- Carlsen vs Tomashevsky, 2016>

Speaking of old openings former world champion Anand just lost to a Steinitz.

Anand vs A Demuth, 2016

I don't think the Steinitz will be back in vogue, but the Berlin (one of Lasker's favorites) has been back since 2000. As previously posted, I think this trend began when Kramnik brought back the Berlin in the Kasparov match.

World Champion Carlsen seems to be spearheading this trend of playing 'old' openings nowadays.

Such a trend has not even been noticed or are being ignored by many chess fans so obsessed in shoehorning chess history into some kind of imaginary advancement into a 'higher level' (whatever this vague term even means in concrete terms). Such things as bringing back 'old' openings and the glaring empirical data that pre WW2 masters completely understood and employed the same tactics as modern masters do, do not fit into the shoehorn, and so have a tendency to get ignored by Watson's ideological followers. Or they see it but the openings and tactics do not register for what they are.

<Ljubomir Ljubojevic defended their play quality>

This is the important point of Ljubo. Some of the games were stunning displays in tactical and positional prowess. Many chess fans though fail to appreciate them because they do not fit into the shoehorn that Fischer and Spassky must have been way over the hill in 1992, and whatever they play is no good. I suspect that the Fischer of 1992 may well cream the tar out of many of today's 2700s GMs.

WW2 Alekhine himself has fallen victim to such an attitude. Many reports have implied AAA to be over the hill during WW2. I thought so myself, naively believing these stories, until I took a closer look at AAA's WW2 games. Still the same old brilliant Alexander Alekhine. I now believe that in 1942-1943 AAA was still the best chess player in the world.

In these matters, I believe that it's important to leave the old shoehorn behind in the shoe box.

Feb-03-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> <some kind of imaginary advancement into a 'higher level' (whatever this vague term even means in concrete terms)> Top players learn from the games of their predecessors so they can make better decisions in their games.

For example, Capablanca was able to win a couple of endgames with rook and four pawns against rook and three pawns: Duras vs Capablanca, 1913 and Capablanca vs Yates, 1930 Although not perfect, Capa's play illustrated the winning plan advancing the rook's pawn to the fifth rank.

As champion kibitzer <Calli> pointed out on the page of the Duras game, <White's best setup in the 3 vs 4 endgame is to place pawns at g3 and h4. In this game, Duras allows h5-h4 and its all over. Such things were not well understood in 1913.>

This later example of the same ending was drawn: V Mikenas vs Alekhine, 1935 and there, the defender had the setup cited by <Calli>.

You can now find all this in the standard books on the rook endings. It means if you, <visayanbraindoctor>, found yourself defending against Capablanca with three pawns against four in a rook endgame, you need not lose it as Duras and Yates did.

There we have one of the simplest possible examples of the <advancement of chess knowledge>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <beatgiant: Top players learn from the games of their predecessors so they can make better decisions in their games....>

So, with any luck, do ordinary players such as ourselves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <perfidious: <beatgiant: Top players learn from the games of their predecessors so they can make better decisions in their games....>

So, with any luck, do ordinary players such as ourselves.>



If I may say so, now you are talking sense. There are quite specific endgame POSITIONS in which chess knowledge has advanced in the sense that later generations know more about them than previous ones. However talk about these positions should be specified or else they lead to the kind of crappy meme such as Watson's <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today> that spread like viruses, and like viruses do much to harm chess culture.

I can think outright of some examples myself. In the 16th century, I doubt if they knew about the Lucena or Philidor position.

At the end of WW2 I believe that most important commonly recurring practical endgame positions were already known.

Two of the recurrent Rook endgame positions that became widely known only recently in the WW1 to WW2 era is the 4 pawn vs 3 pawn all on the same side that you mention above and the RP + BP. Before WW1 I believe they were not well understood.

There may be many known computer generated endgame positions nowadays that we can now assign with ++ / -- but they do not occur in real chess competitive events.

Even in your examples above, note that Capablanca knew, even without prior extensive theory before him, how to play the endgame in a fundamentally correct manner, a testament on how strong a Rook endgame player he was, I believe to be the strongest one in chess history. I believe that his classic RP + BP endgame against Kostic Capablanca vs B Kostic, 1919 also led to a closer study of this type of commonly recurring endgame.

Feb-04-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> <Capablanca to play the endgame> In his Primer of Chess, Capa said the secret was <practice, practice and more practice>, and no doubt he was highly practiced in rook endgames.

Human chess play is highly knowledge-based, unlike computers that get stronger by adding more processing power. My intention with this example was to show that now <everybody can easily know what was a lot of work for masters of the past to find out>. I'm nothing compared to Duras or Yates, but I do know how to defend this endgame.

There have been more advances in other phases of the game, but it's going to be hard to discuss the examples in depth if you and I don't share basic concepts such as the difference between attack and defense.

Feb-05-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> Example of a player getting stronger by <studying chess knowledge>.

Fischer 1959 Gligoric vs Fischer, 1959 where he played inaccurately and allowed a win that Gligoric missed. Fischer wrote that Olafsson showed him the line after the game.

Fischer 1962: Fischer vs Portisch, 1962 much more accurate. What do you think happened in the meantime? <He made a serious study of rook endings.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <beatgiant>

You are saying that the Fischer of 1962 was a bit better than the Fischer of 1959. But of course. In fact, this 1962 Fischer was still to improve until he reached his high plateau in 1970 to 1972.

You must surely know that as a chess player grows in experience and study, his level of play improves and reaches a high plateau defined by his natural abilities, motivation, and accumulated knowledge and experience. This happens for all chess players, past and present. You just gave an example, and then you seem to imply that it proves Watson's speculations. It does not.

If you are citing cases in which a player learns from past games or study in order to prove Watson's speculation that <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today> or Larsen's statement that he would beat everyone from the 1920s, you aren't succeeding. You are making true but red herring statements in the context of the discussion above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: We had two examples from Tradewise Gibraltar that endgame progress is not linear.

Hou Yifan misplayed a pawn and King endgame, and Yu Yangyi misplayed an opposite color bishop two pawns down ending Yu Yangyi vs G Jones, 2016

For Alekhine and Fischer there was no option but immersing themselves in endings to improve, but today, most players know quite a bit, but not as deeply as those two.

Yu Yangyi was familiar with the outlines of the drawing technique, but like Gawain Jones, only through a cursory study of Dvoretsky's examples. He could not remember clearly, and did not find the drawing technique over the board.

He likely will study it now, but maybe not. With all the information a GM has to know, devoting hours and days to endgame study might not be an efficient use of time.

Feb-05-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> No I am <not> trying to defend any statement by Watson. But nor do I buy the opposite extreme that <all major advancement ceased in 1940> so players of old would not have much to learn about what happened since then.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <tamar: We had two examples from Tradewise Gibraltar that endgame progress is not linear.>

I believe that it's because present day players tend to underestimate endgames and forego studying it. Here are other examples:

M Matlakov vs Kramnik, 2015

See my notes on this game. GM Matlakov made a basic mistake that allowed Kramnik to get a passed pawn in a Queen ending. IMO it's the same type of mistake found in this pre WW2 game Lisitsin vs Capablanca, 1935 (also see my notes there). So Matlakov may have failed to study endings such as these.

Karjakin vs Anand, 2010

Anand fails to try to attempt to win this ending, although he might have had chances. He must have thought it was an easy draw for White. While it is a theoretical draw, Black should play on because the draw isn't automatic. I now believe that Anand was unaware of this game J Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1915, which is exactly the same type of ending. If Anand were aware of this game, and given that winning might have given have given him a tie for first in the tournament, I believe he would have continued playing, and tried to follow the pattern by which Capablanca won this type of ending.

Even knowing the theoretical draw isn't a guarantee that you would get the draw. It still needs skills to hold certain types of endings.

Kramnik vs L Bruzon Batista, 2015

Bruzon fails to hold a R + B vs R ending, the same type of ending found in this pre WW1 game Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908.

There are more glaring although rare examples of present day masters unable to mate with B + N + K vs naked K. Q + R vs R has more examples of present day masters unable to win in competitive events.

Although <beatgiant> disputes it, I believe that most recurring practical endings have been known since WW2, and it should be possible for a top master to study all of them in a systematic manner. But progress certainly isn't linear as empirical data shows. The two reason are that present day masters fail to study the endings and for some endings, even knowing the theoretically best way to play them does not mean that it's possible over the board in competitive play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <visayanbraindoctor> On the other hand... the Rook versus Rook and Bishop defense Ding Liren played against Carlsen at Wijk aan Zee is an example of how players today can successfully outdo past players.

Carlsen admitted he was a bit upset that he could not force Liren past the "second rank defense". That shorthand phrase is an indication how endings are now divided into stages, and players head for the crucial positions if they are well versed.

It is possible-if the motivation is there-for even lower rated players than Ding to memorize the ideas about defending this ending, much like players can memorize how to mate with bishop and knight.

The engines and tablebases will show you the way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <tamar: how players today can successfully outdo past players.>

I agree with you. However I do not think that the R + B vs R ending is a good example of this if you are referring to pre WW1 players. Although I doubt if there was such a formal term as "second rank defense" in 1908, Ding technically did not outdo the 1908 Lasker, as both achieved the theoretical draw. Both Ding and Lasker understood this ending equally well, both went for theoretically drawn positions, and had the skills to hold the defense. (Just because the defenses involved had no formal names in 1908, it does not mean that the top masters then did no know how to employ them.) Lasker (and Ding) on the other hand certainly outdid Bruzon and other present day active players who have failed to hold this ending. Bruzon tried to head into a crucial known drawn position, but messed it up. In brief, if Lasker were transported in time to today's world and given the same position as Ding to defend, he would surely have held it too. I do not know if Tarrasch was ever at the defender's side of this ending, but he also probably would hold it.

For pre WW1 players, better examples of specific endings wherein a modern player (or even a 1935 player such as Mikenas) can outdo them are the ones I gave above (Rook endings with 4 pawns vs 3 pawns all on the same side and the RP + BP).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Lasker used the Szen drawing position when defending KRB v KR in Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908. As usual with good defense, the same position recurs in a different orientation when White tries to win.

Lasker could have entered the Cochrane position with 89... Ke1, but chose not to, and his move was fine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Lasker figured out everything on his own with the help of a few guideposts, such as the Szen position, and the Cochrane position. Plus he had two adjournments after the position was reached.

Ding Liren played perfectly over the board, and was not even pushed out of the second rank defense.

Inconclusive I agree. Here is another case.

Troitzky, a contemporary of Lasker, solved the two knights versus King and pawn(s) ending without the aid of engine or tablebase, and "The Troitzky Line" became the calling card for his genius in analysis.

In commenting on a game in Gibraltar, Elisabeth Paehzt, a good player, but only 2470 range, knew instantly where the pawn had to be to draw or win because she took the hour or so to memorize it, and include it in her technique.

So what was wondrous in Lasker's time is a commonplace tool now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <tamar: ...

So what was wondrous in Lasker's time is a commonplace tool now.>

That is the way it goes. Whenever we admire champions of the past being 20 something years ahead of *their* time we have to live with the fact that 20 years later it is *common* knowledge. That is progress. The standard of play is generally higher but this does not mean that the masters of the past would be mere punching bags today.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <tamar: So what was wondrous in Lasker's time is a commonplace tool now.>

True enough especially in the pre WW1 era. Probably not so true by the post WW1 era. By the 1930s, such things as the Troitzky line must have been pretty well known. Such a chess fanatic as Alekhine no doubt would have memorized it in his leisure time. Botvinnik and the Soviet masters would have studied it systematically as typical of the Soviet school with regards to common endgame positions.

I do not think that such endings as the Troitzky line or defending a R + B vs R ending was wondrous anymore by the 1930s. The main difference is that today, it's easier to study them because of computers. This however is even truer for openings. The result has been discussed above. I believe that the old masters had it much tougher using the pen and paper method compared to today's push buttons. It doesn't mean that they were lacking in understanding of these positions. The positions were already known in that era, but took more effort and time in order to study.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <visayanbraindoctor:...The positions were already known in that era, but took more effort and time in order to study.>

Agreed but, would a Lasker even be interested in relearning all his endings aided by engines and tablebases?

Lasker was very strong, but his over-riding quality was as a fighter. He believed that the struggle was what defined chess. How would he do with so much knowledge already out there?

I think he well could have taken Fischer's attitude, and spurned computer help as offensive.

He might not even see chess as a challenge anymore, and refuse to play.

Alekhine is the first figure I would say without a doubt would adapt, and even like the engine aided world.

Feb-07-16  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> <You must surely know that as a chess player grows in experience and study, his level of play improves and reaches a high plateau defined by his natural abilities, motivation, and accumulated knowledge and experience.>

But the point is, Fischer in 1959 was already at a higher level of general play than Olafsson, only not in rook endings. Moreover, we don't see a vast number of rook endings in Fischer's games between 1959 and 1962. So it's hard to see this as an example of developmental progression based on improvement in natural abilities and experience as you hypothesize above.

I think the conclusion is inescapable that Fischer improved his rook endings specifically by <studying to acquire knowledge of them>, just as any top player today needs to study to acquire whatever knowledge is important for competetiveness today.

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