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Alekhine plays Klyatskin's Defense
Compiled by Calli

The opening 1 e4 Nf6 was analysed by Allgaier in Tafel 9 of his book Neue theoretisch-praktische Anweisung zum Schachspiele (Vienna, 1819).

"Since the defense 1.e4 Nf6 was worked out in theory, before Alekhine, by the young Russian master, Klyatskin, some Soviet authors call it the 'Moscow Defense'. - Tartakower's Best Games, Vol 1, Game 69

Reuben Fine in his revision of Modern Chess Openings (6th ed., 1939) says "1...Kt-KB3, although known as a playable move long before the present Champion's days, was introduced as a tournament weapon by Alekhine at Budapest in 1921."

For example, see Nimzowitsch vs Albin, 1905 . There are other games between minor players where the move was played. Allgaier, in his book, gives 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.f4 in 1819! A well-known Moscow player and problemist, Mikhail Gertsovich Klyatskin (sometimes spelled Kliatskin) (1897-1926), championed the defense in Russia where he was recognized for development of its opening theory. Alekhine, in fact, only claimed to have introduced the move into master practice. The opening apparently got its name when Hans Fahrni published a booklet , "Das Aljechin-Verteidigung", in 1922. This collection chronicles all serious "Alekhine's Defense" games by A. Alekhine and notes his gradual disenchantment with the opening.

I usually give White's second move in the description. Out of 16 games, only 6 games continue 2.e5. The man who the defense is named after, therefore played only six games with its signature variation and that includes the Saemisch game which tranposes into a French formation and game 2 which is from a simul. This, of course, is not Alekhine's fault that his opponents did not care to continue a complicated and little known opening, but the fact remains that Alekhine contributed very little to the theory of the opening named after him. Alekhine may have abandoned the opening because his opponents got easy equality with 2.d3 or 2.Nc3. Notable games are 2)Steiner,modern looking 5)Maroczy, well played by AA 8)Znosko, combat! 12)Yates some nice tactics 13) Nimzowitsch, a classic. For some reason, Alekhine thought Nimzowitsch was a good player to try 1...Nf6 against. He had virtually stopped playing the opening after 1925 but employed the defense three times in 1926-1927 against Nimzo. The author of "My System", however, scored 2-1.

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Problem by Klyatskin 1924

1st try for AA. Transposes to a French Exchg formation.
Saemisch vs Alekhine, 1921 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 24 moves, 1/2-1/2

2.e5 11.Rc1? ruins it. 11.Rd4! with a fight in store.
E Steiner vs Alekhine, 1921 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 62 moves, 0-1

2.e5 A simul loss. 25.Bxg6! ends it quickly.
L S Leif-Jones vs Alekhine, 1923 
(B04) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 28 moves, 1-0

2.Nc3 French position. Bogo's 19.a4? gives AA a passer.
Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1923 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 52 moves, 0-1

2.d3 Geza's line. 9Kf1?! odd 13Qe1? better is Qe2 and Re1
Maroczy vs Alekhine, 1924 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 24 moves, 0-1

2.d3. Thomas' 22.d4? is bad. 22.f5! equalizes
G A Thomas vs Alekhine, 1925 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 53 moves, 0-1

2.Nc3 Mieses somehow omits h4, AA opens the file.
J Mieses vs Alekhine, 1925 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 34 moves, 0-1

4 pawns A real Alekhine defense Tremendous fight!
Znosko-Borovsky vs Alekhine, 1925 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

2.Nc3 Was AA getting tired of these drawing lines?
A Aurbach vs Alekhine, 1925 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 60 moves, 1/2-1/2

2.d3 Again AA gets nothing a out of the opening
Nimzowitsch vs Alekhine, 1926 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 53 moves, 1/2-1/2

2.e5 Again easy equality. Sergeant blunders 27.Ng5??
E G Sergeant vs Alekhine, 1926 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 27 moves, 0-1

2.e5 Yates has no problem with AA's defense.
Yates vs Alekhine, 1926 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 37 moves, 1/2-1/2

2 Nc3 A Nimzo masterpiece. AA to abandon 1...Nf6?
Nimzowitsch vs Alekhine, 1926 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 46 moves, 1-0

2.d3 Another Queen exchange and drawn ending
Nimzowitsch vs Alekhine, 1927 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

2.Nc3 After 5 years, Opening again yields nothing.
S Factor vs Alekhine, 1932 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 48 moves, 1/2-1/2

2.Nc3 Last time! M-B w/bad opening. 37.c5? can't be right.
Milner-Barry vs Alekhine, 1934 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 58 moves, 0-1

16 games

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