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Alekhine's Defense, Modern (B05)
1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 Bg4

Number of games in database: 2569
Years covered: 1921 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 43.6%
   Black wins 25.3%
   Draws 31.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Lothar Vogt  15 games
Milan Matulovic  15 games
Eduard Gufeld  12 games
Vladimir Bagirov  62 games
Lev Alburt  47 games
Jorge Szmetan  44 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Botvinnik vs Flohr, 1936
Nigmadzianov vs L Kaplun, 1977
Luer vs Rattman, 1922
J Echavarria vs J Szmetan, 1999
Kasparov vs Yermolinsky, 1975
L Steiner vs Koblents, 1937
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 page 1 of 103; games 1-25 of 2,569  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Z von Balla vs Kostic 0-1801921BudapestB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
2. Luer vs Rattman 1-0111922Correspondence -B05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
3. A Kubbel vs I Rabinovich  1-0431925USSR ChampionshipB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
4. W Schoenmann vs L Schmitt  1-0421925DSB-24.Kongress Hauptturnier AB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
5. Spielmann vs Reti 0-1311925Baden-BadenB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
6. L Steiner vs L Prokes 1-0391925DebrecenB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
7. L Asztalos vs V Vukovic  0-1561925DebrecenB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
8. L Steiner vs Gruenfeld ½-½471925DebrecenB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
9. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Reti 0-1231925MoscowB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
10. Rubinstein vs Spielmann 0-1301925MoscowB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
11. J W te Kolste vs E Sapira 1-0161926Antwerp-RotterdamB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
12. K Havasi vs Colle  0-1191926Budapest 1st FIDE MastersB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
13. Tartakower vs S Takacs 1-0521926Budapest 1st FIDE MastersB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
14. L Prokes vs Reti ½-½331926Budapest 1st FIDE MastersB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
15. Showalter vs Kashdan 0-1571926ChicagoB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
16. N Banks vs A Leise  0-1521926SimulB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
17. A van Nuess vs R Pitschak 1-0581927MagdeburgB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
18. E G Sergeant vs Reti  ½-½381927Hastings 1926/27B05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
19. A Brinckmann vs W Schoenmann 1-0311927BremenB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
20. Yates vs S Takacs  0-1351927KecskemetB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
21. A Brinckmann vs Gruenfeld  ½-½491927KecskemetB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
22. A Brinckmann vs Colle 1-0351927KecskemetB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
23. Maroczy vs V Vukovic 1-0311927London OlympiadB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
24. G A Thomas vs I Censer  1-0611927London OlympiadB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
25. G Nyholm vs Gruenfeld  0-1261927London OlympiadB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
 page 1 of 103; games 1-25 of 2,569  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <suenteus po 147> Good job, Professor! But I think after 6. Bxf3 Black should play 6 ... c6 instead, due to 6 ... e6!? 7. c4 should win the exchange plus a Pawn. Is there a different defense here? After 9. Qe2!? consider the immediate 9 ... Nd4 10. Qe4 Nxf3+ 11. Qxf3 c6 and White no longer has the 2 Bishops. That was good how you won a Pawn through the wholesale trades, then 28 ... Qd4 led to a winning K&P endgame. Good technique.

At this rate, you'll be over 2200 in no time. =)

Oct-18-05  suenteus po 147: <tpstar> Thanks for the suggestions! I did not notice until much later that the whole time my b7 pawn as hanging, just waiting to be plucked. So, yes, I appreciate the wisdom of 6...c6 over 6...e6. Also, I have trouble in the opening developing deliberate plans of attack and exchanges (the kind, for example, arising from your suggestion 9...Nd4 in response to 9.Qe2!?). Usually I don't feel that confident and agressive so early when development is such a huge priority. I do appreciate the comment though as it is never too early to exploit a questionable move by my opponent.
Oct-18-05  Assassinater: It seems like 12. Rxd4 Bxd4 13. cxd5 exd5 is fairly good for white, with two pieces (and the two bishops) in return for a Rook and a pawn. Of course, white's lack of development will hurt him, but it certainly hurt him in the game. Probably the knight on the rim was a mistake, as Nc3 gives the rook an escape square and develops fair more naturally. 16... Qh4 17. Bb1 Qh5 looks good, forcing the bishop back to b1 and going after the advanced e-pawn as well as threatening the knight check. Similarly, 16... Nxa7 17. Ra1 looks fine, as the pawn isn't really poisoned. Besides <tpstar's> advice, that's all I really have to say. Nice tactical blow with Nxe6!, winning a pawn after the exchanges.

Of course, I'm just a patzer, trying to get better by analyzing other games like mine and seeing where better moves could've been played.

Oct-23-05  ksadler: The problem with that game is that there is no need to remove the tension with 5. .. Bxf3. You are doing what White wants! As a previous poster suggested, now White's bishop is on the long diagonal and can put pressure on your defense, forcing 6. .. c6, making a difficult chain of events for your b8-knight. I would suggest either 5. .. e6 or 5. .. c6. In general, there is no need to make exchanges like 7. .. dxe5 either. Just develop your pieces and you will be fine. The mainline is 1. e4 ♘f6 2. e5 ♘d5 3. d4 d6 4. ♘f3 ♗g4 5. ♗e2 e6 6. O-O ♗e7 7. c4 ♘b6 8. ♘c3 O-O 9. ♗e3 as in Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 and many others.

You said that you had problems in B05 in general, then just play 4. .. g6 or 4. .. dxe5 5. Nxe5 and either 5. .. g6 or 5. .. c6. Both positions are more comfortable as Black (as I got hammered for years playing the B05 lines and crushed in the middlegames)

Oct-23-05  suenteus po 147: <Assassinater> Thanks for the analysis of white's potential improvements. I always like to know where my opponent could have played better as well, as it helps me with anticipating my opponents best options to the positions.

<ksadler> It's a shame to see you without your Alekhine avatar. You looked so menacing :) As to your suggestions, I see what you mean about 5...Bxf3. I usually see such moves as removing my own tension, and not my opponent's :) Anyway, your point well taken, and I will study up on that mainline you provided. I would like to avoid (B05) if I could, but I'm not really a g6 kind of guy. I rarely fianchetto my king's bishop and I shudder to think of going back to King's Indian defenses and Pircs to refamiliarize myself with play in those positions. I tried them for a while and suffered dearly for it. I do appreciate the advice, though!

Oct-24-05  ksadler: <suenteus po 147: It's a shame to see you without your Alekhine avatar...> Yes, I know...I will eventually coff up the $22. If you are not into the fianchetto 4. .. dxe5 5. Nxe5 c6 (Vallejo-Pons vs Mamedyarov, 2004 or R Paramos-Dominguez vs Baburin, 2005 ) is a good solid line w/out a fianchetto or 5. .. Nd7 (which is much more risky...check out Fischer vs Larsen, 1966 or DeFirmian vs Rohde, 1989 ). Either way gives Black more chances that in the .. Bg4 lines I think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: ere's a game from the Gameknot tournament, which homedepotov kindly agreed to let me post:

[Event " Friendly Mini"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.11.23"]
[White "homedepotov"]
[Black "keypusher"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1584"]
[BlackElo "1793"]
[TimeControl "432000+172800"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 e6
6. O-O Be7 7. c3 (White wants to get out of book, but 7 c4 is better.) Nc6 8. exd6 cxd6 9. h3 Bh5 10. Nbd2 Nf4 (Because the pawn is on c3, white's knight goes to d2, blocking the bishop, and black's knight hops to f4 in search of the bishop-pair.) 11. Ne4 Nxe2+ 12. Qxe2 a6 13. Ng3 Bg6 14. Bf4 h6 15. Rfe1 O-O 16. a4 Re8 17. b4 Bf8 18. b5 Ne7 19. c4 Nf5 20. Nxf5 Bxf5 21. g4? (Trying to keep the bishop away from the queenside, but the weakening will come back to haunt white's king.) Bh7 22. Rec1 e5! 23. dxe5 dxe5 24. Be3 axb5 (Not a bad move, but based on an oversight--black missed that the queen could go to a2 on move 27.) 25. axb5 Rxa1 26. Rxa1 Bd3 27. Qa2 Qf6 28. Ne1 Bg6 29. c5 Rc8? (To avoid giving both sides question marks for several moves, I'll just note that Fritz thinks Qd5 and Rd1 will give white the advantage. So black should have put his rook on d8.) 30. Rc1 e4 31. Qc4 Qh4 (Beginning the attack on white's king.) 32. Kg2 h5 33. f3 (21 g4 brings more weaknesses in its wake.) hxg4 34. fxg4 Bd6! 35. Bf2 Qg5 36. c6 bxc6 37. bxc6 Qe5! (Now black is winning.) 38. Qc3 Qh2+ 39. Kf1 e3! 40. Bxe3 Qxh3+ 41. Ng2 Be4 42. Qd2 Qh1+ 43. Bg1 Bh2 44. Qf2

Can't resist a diagram here.

click for larger view

44...Bd3+ (Originally I intended 44...Bxg1 45 Qxg1 Bxg2+, but then I decided the text was "simpler." Not exactly!) 45. Ke1 Bxg1 And now, instead of resigning, White uncorked 46. Kd2! Qh6+ (I should have just grabbed white's queen, but played the check automatically.) 47. Qf4 Qe6 (Found after some anxious searching. Luckily, it's crushing.) 48. Kxd3 Qd5+ 49. Ke2 Qxg2+ 50. Kd1 Rd8+ 51. Ke1 Re8+ 52. Kd1 Qe2# 0-1

Black had some good luck!

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Since Alekhine's is the opening of the day, I'll repost <whereismymind>'s fritz analysis of our game in the gameknot tournament here:

lethe(1674) - keypusher (1793) [B05]
[Fritz 8 (30s)]
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0–0 Be7 7.c4 Nb6 8.Nc3 0–0 9.Be3 d5 10.c5 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Nc8 12.f4 Nc6 13.b4 a6 14.f5 last book move[considered Rb1as played in Short vs Alburt, 1985 ,but decided on the book move] 14...Bg5 15.f4 Bh6 16.fxe6 fxe6 17.Bg4 Qd7 18.Rb1 N8e7 19.Ne2 Nf5 20.Bxf5 Rxf5 21.a4 Ne7 22.b5 [considered Ng3]axb5 23.axb5 Rff8 24.Qd2 Nf5 25.Qc3 [25.Ng3 b6 ] 25...Ra2 26.Ng3 Qf7 27.Nxf5?? causes further problems for ? [better was 27.b6 Qg6 28.Bd2 cxb6 29.Rxb6 ] 27...Qxf5–+ [27...exf5?! 28.Rb2 Ra4 29.Rb4=] 28.Qe1 Qe4 29.Qg3 Bxf4!! right on the chin. 30.Bxf4 [30.Rxf4 A deflection 30...Qxb1+] 30...Rxf4! Eliminates the defender f4 31.Rxf4 Theme: Deflection from b1 [31.Qxf4 Deflection from g2 31...Qg2# A beautiful mate combination] 31...Qxb1+ 32.Rf1 Qe4 [32...Qxb5?! 33.Qf3 Qe8 34.Kh1–+] 33.Qf3 [33.Rd1 hardly improves anything 33...Ra1!! a brilliant sacrifice 34.Rxa1 Qxd4+ 35.Kg2 Qxa1–+] 33...Qxd4+ [33...Qxd4+ 34.Kh1 h6 (34...Qxc5?? is impossible because of the following mate in 3 35.Qf7+ Kh8 36.Qe8+ Qf8 37.Qxf8#) 35.Qf8+ Kh7–+] 0–1

And in the interests of adequate disclosure, here I am getting absolutely whacked in the same opening.

[Event "Let's play chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.10.29"]
[White "tex178"]
[Black "keypusher"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1909"]
[BlackElo "1771"]
[TimeControl "1/259200"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 e6
6. O-O Be7 7. c4 Nb6 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. exd6 cxd6 10. d5 exd5 11. cxd5 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Ne5 13. Be2 O-O 14. a4 a5 15. Ra3 Ned7 16. Nb5 Nc5 17. Bf4 Qd7 18. Re1 g6 19. Re3 Nc8 20. Bh6 Rd8 21. Nc3 Bf8 22. Bg5 Nb6 23. Bb5 Qf5 24. Bxd8 Rxd8 25. Qd4 Qc8 26. Qf4 Nbd7 27. Ne4 Nxe4 28. Re3xe4 Kg7 29. Rc4 Nc5 30. Rc3 Kg8 31. Rce3 Nd7 32. h3 Ne5 33. Rc3 Qb8 34. Rec1 Bg7 35. Qe3 f5 36. f4 Nf7 37. Rc3c7 Bf8 38. Qe6 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here is a collection of winning combinations in B05 miniatures:
Jun-08-06  Rocafella: So the idea is to lock out your bishop early. Is this because it is usually the [quote] bad bishop?
Sep-03-06  Knight13: <Rocafella> I think Alekhine players knows how to handle that kind of situation... I don't usually get a bad bishop in Alekhine unless I blunder in the opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Speaking of Alekhine's Opening...

[Event "Dr Zhivago"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2006.09.03"]
[Round "-"]
[White "WannabeCG"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "??"]
[BlackElo "??"]
[TimeControl "1/1209600"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "unterminated"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ne4 3. d3 Ng5 4. Nf3 h6 5. Be2 e6
6. O-O Qf6 7. Re1 Qg6 8. Kh1 h5 9. Bxg5 f5 10. Bd2 h4 11. Nc3 a5 12. h3 f4 13. Bxf4 Bc5 14. Ne4 Be7 15. Neg5 O-O 16. Nxh4 Qh6 17. g3 Bxg5 18. Bxg5 Qxg5 19. Nf3 Qh5 20. Kh2 d6 21. d4 dxe5 22. Nxe5 Rxf2+ 23. Kg1 Qf5 24. Bg4 Qf6 25. Nf3 Rxf3 26. Bxf3 e5 27. dxe5 Qg5 28. Kg2 *

I think I can win this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I would like to blame the following defeat on Lev Alburt, although my opponent (and even me) had a lot to do with it. I haven't looked at this with a computer, so comments are welcome (and would be welcome in any case).

Gameknot White (2023) keypusher (1836)

1. e4 Nf6
2. e5 Nd5
3. d4 d6
4. Nf3 Bg4
5. Be2 e6
6. O-O Be7
7. c4 Nb6
8. h3 Bh5
9. Nc3 O-O
10. Be3 d5
11. c5 Bxf3
12. Bxf3 Nc4

Where is my mind and I have had some interesting games that continued 11. gxf3 (h3 Bh5 had not been played).

13. Bf4 Nc6

Another game of mine (again without h3 Bh5) continued 12. b6 b3 13. b3 N4a5 14. Rc1 bxc5! 15. dxc5 Nbc6 16. Re1 Rb8 with decent play for Black.

14. b3 Nc4a5
15. Qd2 b6
16. Na4! f6?

16....f6 didn't look right to me, but it worked in A Bangiev vs Alburt, 1976, where White continued passively with 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. Be3.

If I ever reach this position again, I may try 16....bxc5, with something like 17. dxc5 Rb8 18. Rfe1 Qd7 19. Rac1 f6 (or maybe 19....Rb4) 20. exf6 Bxf6 to follow.

17. Bg4! Qd7

I should have humbly played ...f5 here or on the next move.

18. Rfe1 fxe5?
19. Bxe5 Bf6
20. Bxf6 Rxf6
21. Nb2 Raf8

And I probably should have left the rook on the queenside. The doubled rooks on the f-file look good but don't accomplish anything. Generally speaking, Black's pieces seem active, but the pawn weaknesses on e6 and the queenside turn out to be much more important.

22. Nd3!

22. b4 Nc4 23. Bxc4 dxc4 would give Black some play.

22. ... Kh8
23. Qe3 Nd8

The kind of move that makes it clear you screwed up somewhere. The knight stays here until the end of the game.

24. Re2 Nac6
25. b4! b5
26. a4! a6
27. axb5 axb5
28. Rea2!

A really nice maneuver by White. I was feeling thoroughly outplayed here, and rightly so.

28. ... Qe8
29. Ra8 Qf7?

Better 29....Re8 here, to prevent White from doubling rooks on the eighth rank, at least for a while.

30. Rc8! Qd7
31. Raa8 h5?

But Black is lost anyway.

32. Ne5! Nxe5
33. dxe5 Rh6

To keep defending e6 but...
34. Be2 c6
35. Qg5!

Black resigns. Fittingly, it is on the miserable knight on d8 that the final blow falls.

Nov-13-07  Where is my mind: I think 16...f6 is better than 16...bxc5? because of 17.Nxc5 Bxc5 18.dxc5 Rb8. The computer gives 16...Qd7.Some players have played 15...Qd7. The computer liked your f5 idea and your 18th move.An alternative on move 18 or 19 is Rae8 to cover up the e6 pawn weakness.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Not much to say about this next one, I just get beat. But some nice strokes by my opponent at the beginning and the end.

[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1960"]
[BlackElo "1872"]
[TimeControl "1/259200"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 e6 6. O-O Be7 7. c4 Nb6 8. h3 Bh5 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3 d5 11. c5 Bxf3 12. gxf3 (Accepting doubled pawns in return for a huge advantage in space.) 12....Nc8 13. f4 Nc6 14. b4 a6 15. Rb1 (15. (or 14.) f5 Bg5 is <where is my mind>'s and my favorite battleground) 15....Bh4 16. Bd3 g6 (I was intrigued by a positional pawn sacrifice: 16....N8e7 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 19. Qxh4 Nf5 20. Qxd8 Rfxd8, and I thought Black could hold the ending easily. But I was worried about 17. Qh5 Ng6 18. Kh1 followed by Rg1, Rg2, Ng1 and Nf3) 17. Kh2 N8e7 18. Rg1 Nf5? (18....Kh8 is necessary) 19. Bxf5! exf5 20. Qf3 Ne7 21. Qh5! Nc8 22. Qxf5! Kh8 23. Qg4 f5 (I still had some hopes of defense here, since it is not easy for White to break through.) 24. Qf3 c6 25. a4 Qd7 26. b5 axb5 27. axb5 Ne7 28. Ra1 Rfb8 29. b6 (I thought this was a mistake, but White's judgment was better) 29....Nc8 30. Bd2 Qe6 31. Be3 Qd7 32. Qe2 Be7 33. Qb2 Kg8 34. Rxa8! Rxa8 35. Ra1 Rb8 (Black's problem is he needs to guard both a7 and a8, which he can't do) 36. Ne2 Kg7 37. Ra2 Bf8 38. Qa1 Ne7 39. Ra8 Rxa8 40. Qxa8 Ng8 (Heading for d8. Unfortunately it takes a little too long.) 41. Nc1 Nh6 42. Nb3 Nf7 43. e6! (A very pretty winning move. I saw it a few moves beforehand; my opponent, unfortunately, saw it sooner.) 43....Qxe6 44. Qxb7 1-0.

Again, no computer was used in the making of these scanty notes. <where is my mind>, I have a couple of our games on a busted laptop already analyzed with Fritz's help, so I hope to recover the analysis before posting them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Another interesting loss.
White (2015) Keypusher (1857)

1. e4 Nf6
2. e5 Nd5
3. d4 d6
4. Nf3 Bg4
5. Be2 e6
6. c4 Nb6
7. Nc3

A different system, in which White delays castling in order to try to make aggressive use of his kingside pawns.

7. ... Be7

Black is afraid to try 7....dxe5 8. dxe5 Bxe2 9. Qxe2 Qxd4, but learns that the alternative also poses risks.

8. h3 Bh5
9. exd6 cxd6
10. d5 e5
11. g4 Bg6
12. h4 h5

12....h6 is an alternative, after which White can play for a strong bind with a knight on e4 against a bad bishop on e7. Now the play revolves around White's attempt to force c5.

13. g5 Na6
14. Be3 Rc8
15. Nd2 Nc5
16. Bxc5 Rxc5
17. Nde4!

White plays aggressively and logically.

17. ... Bxe4
18. Nxe4 Rc8?

Losing! Necessary is 18....Rc7 and if 19. c5 Nc8 20. Bb5+ Kf8 Black fights on.

19. c5 Rxc5

19....dxc5 20. d6 Bf8 21. Bb5+ Nd7 22. Qd5 is worse.

20. Nxc5 dxc5
21. Bf3 Qd6

After the exchange sacrifice, on the other hand, the position is pretty blocked. Is it defensible? Maybe Petrosian could hold it...

22. Qe2! a6

I thought 22....g6 23. Qb5+ Kd8 24. a4! Kc8 25. a5 Nd7 26. a6! would prevent me from blockading the queenside. White decides not to take the h-pawn.

23. O-O-O g6
24. Rhe1 Nd7
25. Be4 Kd8

The black king appears to be searching for his lost rook. Rather poignant.

26. Kb1 Rf8
27. Qc2 Kc7
28. f4 exf4?

I can't remember if I overlooked White's next move or thought there was nothing I could do about it. Probably the former.

29. Bxg6! Ne5

29....fxg6 30. Rxe7; 29....Bxg5 30. hxg5 fxg6 31. Re6.

30. Bxh5 Rh8

I probably should have resigned around here, but carried on trying to blockade for a while longer.

31. Qe2 f6
32. g6 Bf8
33. Rh1 Bg7
34. Bf3 Kb8
35. h5 Bh6
36. Rhf1 Rg8
37. Bg4 Rg7
38. Be6 Re7
39. Rc1 Re8

39....f3 40. Qh2 Bxc1 41. Rxc1 is also quite hopeless.

40. Rc3 Re7
41. Qc2 c4
42. Qf5 Bg5
43. Rh1

Black resigns. Better late than never.

Nov-16-07  nescio: <keypusher>
Are your wins with this opening less interesting?
The subtleties of 1...Nf6 are probably too much for me and I don't understand much of your game against (2023), although more than about your second gameknot game with the white pieces against him, of which I don't understand anything at all.

As you have published your games here and this page is devoted to the opening, could you explain what the benefits of these positions are for Black? Let's look at the position after your 14th against (2023). I can see that it is solid enough, but Black will have to spend too much time (Re8, Bf8, Ne7, Nac6 for example, or b6 and Na5-b7-d8 perhaps?) to find employment for that knight on a5, of which the only apparent advantage is that it isn't in the way of the other pieces. Meanwhile White can continue with his pressure on both wings. Then why play Nc4 and not Nc8, Nc6 and N8e7? I remember having these thoughts 30 years ago when looking at the game Geller vs Timman, 1975 which also showed problems for Black with his e6-pawn. I can understand trying such a variation once or twice, but again and again?

Here is the game Haslinger-Spence which is important for your game against (2015):

[Event "Monarch Assurance 15th"]
[Site "Port Erin"]
[Date "2006.09.23"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Haslinger,Stewart"]
[Black "Spence,David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "B05"]
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.c4 Nb6 7.h3 Bh5 8.exd6 cxd6 9.Nc3 Be7 10.d5 e5 11.g4 Bg6 12.h4 h5 13.g5 N8d7 14.Be3 Rc8 15.Nd2 Nc5 16.Bxc5 Rxc5 17.Nce4 Bxe4 18.Nxe4 Rc7 19.c5 Nc8 20.Bb5+ Kf8 21.Qf3 a6 22.Ba4 b5 23.cxb6 Nxb6 24.Bc6 g6 25.Qb3 Nd7 26.Rh3 Kg7 27.0-0-0 Nb8 28.Rc3 Qc8 29.Qb6 Nxc6 30.dxc6 Rd8 31.Rd5 Qb8 32.Qxa6 Qb4 33.f3 Rb8 34.Rb3 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nescio>

<Are your wins with this opening less interesting?>

Yes, unfortunately, on average they are. But that doesn’t happen in just this opening, but in all openings. Most of the time I beat people that are weaker than me and lose to people that are stronger than me. If my strength stays the same, then the average strength of me and my opponent will usually be higher in games that I lose than it is in games that I win. Thus the games I’ve posted here generally show a 2000 player beating an 1850 player. If I concentrated on games you’d see games in which an 1850 player beats 1700-rated opponents. Generally, not always but generally, the games featuring the 2000-level player are going to be more interesting – especially to me, since by definition the 2000 players are playing better, stronger chess than I am.

<As you have published your games here and this page is devoted to the opening, could you explain what the benefits of these positions are for Black?>

There are some objective benefits. As pieces come off the board White may find it difficult to defend all the space he grabbed in the opening. There have been a number of games (the win against lethe further down the page is an example) in which White’s pawns on his fourth rank become targets.

But I can’t oversell the pluses of Black’s play. There is a reason, after all, that you see a thousand Sicilians for every Alekhine's Defense in strong tournaments. But I began playing Alekhine’s Defense right around the time I began playing on Gameknot, in 2005, and I simply fell in love. I fell in love with the 4….Bg4 variation in particular. Love over the chessboard is no more rational than love in other places, but it’s still love. I am not sure if playing Alekhine’s makes me a better player, but it does make me enjoy the game more. And since the world title is not likely for me, enjoyment is what I play for.

Also, every chessplayer has to consult his own preferences. I like closed positions, solid pawn chains, etc., because I don’t calculate well and I like not to have to do so unless the position is heavily in my favor. On the other hand I don’t mind cramped positions too much provided I can find just one decent square for each piece.

Finally, soon after I began playing (maybe too soon) I encountered games like Opocensky vs Nimzowitsch, 1925 where Black accepts a very cramped position and counterattacks successfully. I love games like that. On those occasions when I manage to carry out such a counterattack it is very satisfying to me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Then why play Nc4 and not Nc8, Nc6 and N8e7? >

Good question.

Nov-17-07  Where is my mind: <keypusher> It's interesting in the game vs 1960 that if you played 18...Kh8 you were still OK.Your defense in the middle game was impressive.In the correspondence game Machala,Rudolf - Bialas,Torsten 1986 black played 18...Kh8 and managed to hold onto a draw. In the 2015 game maybe the ? should be for 17...Bxc4 with 17...Rc7 being a better move. Good luck recovering the analysis.
Nov-18-07  themadhair: <keypusher>
The critical position in our game was thus:

click for larger view

It is difficult to suggest a constructive course for black and any pro-active attempts to do so will entail a certain element of risk. As white my general idea was Rc1, Be2 followed by a b4 to exploit the extra space on the queenside - a relatively risk free plan. To be honest it was probably worth trying something like f6 as black rather than be suffocated.

The idea I was looking at was 16...f6 17.Bg4! Qd7 18.Rfe1 Rae8 19.Qe3 f5 20.Be2 Rb8 with the following position: (I don't think exf6 is good for white as it relieves black from a lot of pressure)

click for larger view

With the position so closed I think blacks knights would have decent prospects.

At the time the idea of 20.Bh5 (instead of Be2) followed by Rac1 seemed to be good enough for white.

In the game once the position opened the half-open e-file was too much of a weakness which you couldn't cover without making massive concessions. Maybe f6 just wasn't possible?

I found the line 16...bxc5 17.Nxc5 Bxc5 18.dxc5 Rb8 to be an interesting alternative:

click for larger view

I suspect that white may be able to chip away here but it is not exactly clear how to do so.

Nov-18-07  refutor: when i play the alekhine, i try to avoid this line because it is much easier for White to get an advantage than for Black to make it "unclear" (on the theory that success for white in the opening is and success for Black is unclear). it is difficult for Black to muddy to waters in these lines compared to some others and black can easily end up with a passive position (in my opinion)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks for your notes and comments, <whereismymind>, <madhair> and <nescio>.
Nov-18-07  nescio: <Where is my mind: In the 2015 game maybe the ? should be for 17...Bxc4 with 17...Rc7 being a better move.> On general considerations 17...Bxe4 is understandable, to remove as many potential attacking pieces as possible. At the time I may have looked at 17...Rc7 and concluded that 18.c5 Nc8 19,Qa4+ Kf8 20.Nb5 with more pressure on d6 was good enough. Like <keypusher> I'm not much of a calculative player, and I developed an aggressive style just for that reason. I found out the hard way that defending requires much more calculation than attacking.

Perhaps 10...0-0 (instead of 10...e5) is worth looking at.

Nov-19-07  Where is my mind: <17...Bxe4 is understandable>Yeah your right and 17...Rc7 isn't the most obvious move to find <defending requires much more calculation than attacking.> That's interesting.Thanks<nescio>

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