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Alexander Alekhine
George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

Number of games in database: 2,208
Years covered: 1905 to 1946
Overall record: +877 -169 =438 (73.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 724 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (181) 
    C68 C62 C78 C77 C86
 Orthodox Defense (166) 
    D51 D63 D50 D67 D61
 French Defense (126) 
    C01 C11 C07 C13 C15
 Sicilian (108) 
    B20 B32 B40 B62 B30
 Queen's Pawn Game (106) 
    D02 D00 A40 A46 D05
 Queen's Gambit Declined (103) 
    D06 D30 D37 D31 D35
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (105) 
    C79 C78 C77 C68 C71
 Queen's Pawn Game (66) 
    D02 A46 A40 E10 A50
 French Defense (62) 
    C11 C01 C12 C00 C13
 Nimzo Indian (41) 
    E34 E33 E22 E32 E21
 French (35) 
    C11 C12 C00 C13 C10
 Sicilian (30) 
    B40 B20 B83 B23 B33
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 Yates, 1922 1-0
   Gruenfeld vs Alekhine, 1923 0-1
   Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927 1-0
   Alekhine vs Vasic, 1931 1-0
   Alekhine vs Von Feldt, 1916 1-0
   Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927)
   Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Match (1929)
   Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Rematch (1934)
   Alekhine - Euwe World Championship Match (1935)
   Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Scheveningen (1913)
   19th DSB Congress, Mannheim (1914)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   San Remo (1930)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   Prague Olympiad (1931)
   Bern (1932)
   Zurich (1934)
   Montevideo (1938)
   Bled (1931)
   All Russian Amateur (1909)
   Semmering (1926)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   Hamburg Olympiad (1930)
   Karlsbad (1911)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Alex Alek Alex Alek Fredthebear Alex Alek Alex by fredthebear
   Alekhine's 300 games by 7krzem7
   Match Alekhine! by docjan
   Match Alekhine! by chessgain
   Match Alekhine! by amadeus
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by skaki
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by brucemubayiwa
   Alekhine - My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by Incremental
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by Parmenides1963
   My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by wvb933
   Alekhine - My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by StoppedClock
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by doug27
   My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by Sergio0106
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by igiene

   Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1924
   Reti vs Bogoljubov, 1924
   Botvinnik vs Vidmar, 1936
   Alekhine vs Botvinnik, 1936
   Botvinnik vs Tartakower, 1936

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 Marshall, Aron Nimzowitsch, and Milan Vidmar. By 1912, Alekhine was the strongest chess player in the St. Petersburg Chess Society, winning the St. Petersburg Chess Club Winter Tournament in March and the 1st Category Tournament of the St. Petersburg Chess Club in April. His international successes began in 1912 when he won the 8th Nordic championship held in Stockholm with 8.5/10, 1.5 points clear of Erich Cohn, but then recorded his only minus score of his career later in 1912, when he won 7 and lost 8 games in the All Russian Masters Tournament in Vilna, placing equal 6th behind Rubinstein, Ossip Bernstein, Stefan Levitsky, Nimzovich, and Alexander Flamberg. In 1913, he tied for 1st with Grigory Levenfish in the St. Petersburg Masters Quadrangular Tournament, and then won the 40th Anniversary of the Nederlandschen Schaakbond Commemorative Tournament in Scheveningen with a score of 11.5 out of 13 ahead of a field that included David Janowski, Gyula Breyer, Fred Dewhirst Yates, Edward Lasker and Jacques Mieses. Alekhine's first major success in a Russian tournament came when placed equal first with Aron Nimzowitsch in the All-Russian Masters Tournament at St. Petersburg in early 1914; the playoff was drawn with one win each and they were declared co-winners enabling both to qualify for the 'tournament of champions' in St. Petersburg which was held a few months later. At St. Petersburg he placed 3rd behind Emanuel Lasker and Jose Raul Capablanca. This was the tournament at which Czar Nicholas II was reputed to have awarded the title of Grandmaster of Chess to the top five place getters: Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Siegbert Tarrasch and Marshall. He graduated from the Emperor's College of Jurisprudence on May 16, 1914, finishing 9th in a graduating class of 46 and in July 1914, Alekhine tied for 1st with Marshall at the International Tournament in the Cafe Continental in Paris. (1)

A few weeks later, 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 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 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.

On March 24, 1946, Alekhine was found dead in his hotel room, under circumstances that continue to arouse controversy. The official cause of death was choking to death, since a large piece of unchewed meat was found in his larynx. Alekhine was known to be in failing health, having been told the previous year by a Spanish doctor that he was suffering terminal cirrhosis of the liver.

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 (1984/85).

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 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 1930s. In New York, on April 27, 1924, Alekhine broke the world record for simultaneous blindfold play when he took on 26 opponents, winning 16, losing 5, and drawing 5 after twelve hours of play. He broke his own record, in early 1925, by playing 28 games 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 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 Alexei Alekhine was also a keen player.

Accusations of Anti-Semitism

Alekhine was accused of anti-Semitism following a series of articles that were 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 hand-written manuscripts of the articles that were allegedly found after his death, but their existence remains unsubstantiated. 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 12 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 / I. Turover, Alekhine / B Reilly, Alekhine / Trompowsky, Alekhine / G Esser, Alexander Alekhine / Leon Monosson, Alexander Alekhine / Efim Bogoljubov, Alekhine / W 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 / O Zimmerman, Alekhine / Victor Kahn, A Alekhine / G Barron / E Hanger, Alekhine / J van den Bosch, [bad player ID, 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: h 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

Pablo Moran, Agonia de un Genio (ALEKHINE), 1977

Online biography of Alekhine by Jeremy Silman, in seven parts:

Wikipedia article: Alexander Alekhine , (**) Wikipedia article: World records in chess

Last updated: 2021-05-05 03:40:59

 page 1 of 89; games 1-25 of 2,208  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. N Urusov vs Alekhine 0-1331905Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Corr Tourney No. 16C33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Alekhine vs A Gize ½-½41190516th Correspondence TournamentC33 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Alekhine vs R Geish-Ollisevich 1-022190516th Correspondence TournamentC39 King's Gambit Accepted
4. V Zhukovsky vs Alekhine 0-1201905corrC25 Vienna
5. Alekhine vs N Urusov 1-0321905Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie Corr Tourney No. 16C25 Vienna
6. Alekhine vs A Andriyashev 1-0301905corrC38 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-0241905Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC25 Vienna
8. A Gize vs Alekhine 0-129190516th Correspondence TournamentC33 King's Gambit Accepted
9. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-0331905Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie theme 16th corrC52 Evans Gambit
10. Viakhirev vs Alekhine 0-1361906corr 1906/07C28 Vienna Game
11. Shulga vs Alekhine 0-1321906?C41 Philidor Defense
12. Alekhine vs V Manko 1-0281906?C45 Scotch Game
13. Alekhine vs N Zubakin 0-1331906corr 1906/07C33 King's Gambit Accepted
14. B V Lyubimov vs Alekhine ½-½391906corr 1906/07C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
15. V Manko vs Alekhine 1-0361906Earl tourn corrC52 Evans Gambit
16. Alekhine vs A Romashkevich 1-0181906Earl tournC20 King's Pawn Game
17. Alekhine vs A Gize 1-0251906F Shakhovskoi corr /07C29 Vienna Gambit
18. Alekhine vs V Zhukovsky ½-½351906RUE corrC39 King's Gambit Accepted
19. Alekhine vs K I Isakov 1-0261907Moscow Club SpringC44 King's Pawn Game
20. Alekhine vs V Nenarokov 0-1431907Moscow Club AutumnD02 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Alekhine vs V Rozanov 1-0421907MoscowC45 Scotch Game
22. Budberg vs Alekhine 0-1341907Moscow Club SpringB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
23. Gajdukevich vs Alekhine  1-0321907KislovodskB20 Sicilian
24. Alekhine vs NN 1-0461907KislovodskD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Alekhine vs V Nenarokov 1-0101907MoscowD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
 page 1 of 89; games 1-25 of 2,208  PGN Download
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Oct-28-22  ZoboBear 000000001: Anyways, <> (and <chessbase> online) didn't have it either:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: No, I just uploaded it.

Should have said <thanks> first :)

Oct-28-22  ZoboBear 000000001: De nada!
Dec-04-22  stone free or die: Whyld wrote:

<In other words, [Brian] Reilly, who was careful and precise, did not want to be quoted as having verified the text. However, I have other authority for that verification.>

about the supposed notebooks in Alekhine's handwriting which may (or may not) have been his famous anti-Semitic Nazi articles.

Do we know who or what was the <"other authority">?

(Sorry if I missed or forgot this...)

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <MissScarlett>

<iii)he spent the period from April-August 1941 in Portugal and Spain (the price for his visa may well have been his articles for the <PZ>)>

Alekhine never claimed anything of the kind, correct?

Luckily for him, no one seemed to be aware in 1944-46 of his bragging about the PZ articles in the Spanish press.

<i) how did Alekhine's wife - who, as far as I know remained in France, and maybe in Paris, for the whole war - affect his behaviour?>

What did Alekhine say about the effect of her existence on his conduct?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Alekhine never claimed anything of the kind, correct?>

No, but I think that's immaterial. Any defence of Alekhine need not be constrained by his own testimony.

<Luckily for him, no one seemed to be aware in 1944-46 of his bragging about the PZ articles in the Spanish press.>

Bragging is a pejorative term. You appear to think these Spanish remarks constitute a slam dunk. I agree with regard to establishing authorship, but I don't think they prove malice.

<What did Alekhine say about the effect of her existence on his conduct?>

In his 1946 open letter to Hatton-Ward, he wrote:

<I have played chess in Germany and occupied countries because this was our only means of livelihood, but also the price I paid for my wife's liberty. Reviewing in my mind the situation in which I found myself four years ago, I can only state that to-day I should have acted in the same way. In normal times my wife has certainly the means and necessary experience to look after herself, but not in time of war and in the hands of the Nazis. I repeat, if the allegation of "collaboration" rests on my forced sojourn in Germany, I have nothing to add - my conscience is undisturbed.>

Given the time that Alekhine spent away from Paris both during and after the war, there must be a suspicion that the couple were practically estranged at some point. Even so, his leaving for America without her would have looked very bad.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <<Alekhine never claimed anything of the kind, correct?> No, but I think that's immaterial. Any defence of Alekhine need not be constrained by his own testimony.>

I disagree, only because he was in such bad odor after the war, I can't imagine he would have foregone any truthful defense. "I was coerced" or "I was trying to get away from the Nazis" or "I was trying to protect my wife" might have gained him some sympathy. So the fact that he didn't advance a particular defense is some evidence against it I think.

Of course, I don't believe any of the defenses he <did> advance, so perhaps he would point to me and say that self-righteous people after WWII wouldn't have credited anything he said.

<Given the time that Alekhine spent away from Paris both during and after the war, there must be a suspicion that the couple were practically estranged at some point. Even so, his leaving for America without her would have looked very bad.>

<MissScarlett> I must admit that you have a point. I was all ready to pounce on a claim that he protected her because she was Jewish, something I don't think he, the Nazis, or anyone else believed her to be.

I don't suppose there is any evidence AAA ever tried to get her out of France?

She outlived him by a decade, I hadn't realized.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Don't you think it plausible that the articles were a quid pro quo to obtain a visa for Spain & Portugal? What else could have prompted them?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <MissScarlett>,<keypusher> See Winter's article "Was Alekhine a Nazi" here

Alekhine is quoted giving the articles-for-visas excuse in _Chess_ Jan. 1945, citing an interview published in _News Review_ in Nov. 1944.

"After France's fall, it took him the best part of a year to get permission to leave for Portugal and the U.S.A. One of the conditions insisted on by the Germans was that he write two chess articles for the _Pariser Zeitung_."

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < beatgiant: <MissScarlett>,<keypusher> See Winter's article "Was Alekhine a Nazi" here Alekhine is quoted giving the articles-for-visas excuse in _Chess_ Jan. 1945, citing an interview published in _News Review_ in Nov. 1944.

"After France's fall, it took him the best part of a year to get permission to leave for Portugal and the U.S.A. One of the conditions insisted on by the Germans was that he write two chess articles for the _Pariser Zeitung_.">

You're killing me, beatgiant! But thanks.

Dec-06-22  stone free or die: CL&R (Aug, 1993) p52_458


<Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Alekhine - But Didn't Know Enough to Ask.>


<2. What were Alehhine's political views?>

Most likely, Alekhine had no politics if only because he did not think politically. His public postures included the following: anti-Bolshevik servant of the czar (and husband of the Baroness Ana von Sewergin); member o the Soviet Communist Party (and husband of Annaliese Ruegg, a Swiss Comintern agent); anti-Communist member of the Russian emigration in Paris (and husband of Nadezhda Vasilieva, widow of a czarist general); admirer of Stalinist chess culture (and husband of Grace Wishard, wealthy widow of a British army officer); and anti-Semitic hobnobber with Nazi bigwigs in Reich protectorates.

During a tour of the Far East in 1933, Alekhine gave a little-known interview with The Straits Times (Singapore), in which he betrayed a blank incomprehension of politics. "If Dr. [sic] Alexander Alekhine... has anything to do with it," wrote a reporter, "the Sino-Japanese dispute will be settled over the chess board and the ancient game will serve to bring about closer understanding between the East and West as well!"

Chess solving the bloody Sino-Japanese conflict of the 1930s and, in addition, getting the twain of East and West to meet? The point here is not that Alekhine's idea is farfetched but that it would never enter the mind of someone literate in politics. "I was stunned when Alekhine spoke of the political power of chess," said one of Alekhine's Chinese opponents at a simul in Singapore, "and I thought that only a distracted, apolitical man of chess could imagine that a game would halt the Japanese advance into China!"


Dec-06-22  stone free or die: Continuing...

<3. Was Alekhine anti-Semitic, and did he author a series of three articles in the Nazi press (e.g., Deutsche Schachzeitung and Pariser Zeitung) with the title, "Jewish and Aryan Chess?">

Alekhine's father was a Marshal of Nobility and a member and secretary of the arch-conservative Fourth Duma; his mother, Anisya Prokhorova, was the daughter of a Moscow textile industrialist. In 1914 Alekhine completed his course at the Imperial School of Law and was appointed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Given this background, it is highly likely that he entertained some anti-Semitic views, though no conclusive evidence exists on this point. We do know that he had many friends among Jewish masters and backed up these private relationships with public praise in his chess writings. Such praise coming from a prominent member of the generally anti-Semitic Russian emigration in Paris was significant.

In a series of articles for the New York Times on the Carlsbad International of 1929, Alekhine disparaged Capablanca's chess style while heaping praise on the ideas of Julius Breyer, Richard Reti, Savielly Tartakower and Aron Nimzovich, whom he labelled as an "advocate of a real artistic line" and an "explorer of our art." Keep in mind both this disparagement of Capablanca and the lavish praise for four Jewish pioneers of hypermodernism.

From March to June 1941, the articles on "Jewish and Aryan Chess" appeared in several Nazi-controlled publications. Here is Alekhine's account of a supposed argument with "the Riga Jew Niemtsovitch" at the conclusion of New York 1927: "Furious though he [Nimzovich] was, he dared not attack us directly but one evening, whilst talking about the Soviets, he turned to me and said 'Who whereupon says "Slav" says "Slave'. I replied 'But who says "Jew" need say no more!'

As the fortunes of war waned for the Nazis, Alekhine denied having written the articles or, at least, the versions that appeared in print. A few Chess Life readers are aware that David Hooper and Ken Whyld in their Oxford Companion to Chess claim that "the manuscripts, in his [Alekhine's] handwriting, were found among his wife's effects." A seemingly damning point, except that Brian Reilly, whom the two authors probably had in mind as finding the manuscripts, denied ever seeing them! Yet there is convincing, if not airtight evidence that Alekhine wrote something for the Nazis, though what he wrote, as opposed to what was printed, is still in dispute. This evidence is contained in two recently unearthed interviews that the champion gave to very friendly reporters from Informaciones and El Alcazar, two Madrid newspapers. Alekhine spoke of doing "a study of Aryan and Jewish chess types," and as one of the reporters wrote, "added that in the German magazine Deutsche Schachzeitung and in the German daily Pariser Zeitung..., he has been the first to treat chess from the racial viewpoint." Further, in a stunning 180-degree shift from his earlier disparagement of Capablanca, Alekhine stressed "the greatest glory of Capablanca on depriving the Jew Lasker of the world chess scepter."

The big, unanswered question is whether the Nazis took a semi-unsavory piece of racial speculation by Alekhine and turned it into a screed scurrilous of anti-Semitism. If they did, then Alekhine has a defense. In his day the use of racial and national stereotypes as a form of intellectual shorthand was widely considered to offer useful insights. Thus, in an article for the New York Times, Alekhine ascribed "a peculiar psychological quality" to Yefim Bogolyubov: "Strange to relate, he combines with his Ukrainian sluggishness and incidental stubbornness in pursuit of his aims an industry and zeal for scientific chess which may be due to his extended sojourn in Germany."

Our point is that 60 years ago this Step 'n' Fetchit stereotyping of Ukrainians by a Great Russian passed the "p.c." test of the world's leading newspaper.


Dec-06-22  stone free or die: And to finish our excerpt from the Evans/Parr article:

<16. Alekhine - short notes.>

Although subsequently accused of collaborating with the Nazis, Alekhine refused to permit his French team to play the Germans at the Buenos Aires Olympiad of 1939. Unlike those masters less brave who sat out World War II in Argentina, Alekhine returned to France as an interpreter for army intelligence and fled to Marseilles after the fall of Paris. In World War I, as chief of a medical detachment, he suffered a severe back contusion and received the Red Cross (1st and 2nd degrees), two crosses of St. George, and the Cross of St. Stanislas (3rd degree).

Alekhine holds the record among chess champions for most wives-four. Although he preferred women older than himself (one of his wives was jokingly described as "Philidor's widow"), he was not sexually dysfunctional, producing a son and an illegitimate daughter.

From round seven of Mannheim 1914 through round three of Bad Pistyan 1922, Alekhine played 78 games without defeat, scoring +59 =19. This undefeated skein exceeds any such numbers posted by the "invincible" Capablanca. Even Capa's widely heralded feat of scoring +65 -1 =28 from round 17 of St. Petersburg 1914 through round four of New York 1924 is exceeded by Alekhine's record of losing only once in 111 games (+79 -1 =31) from Mannheim 1914 through round three of Hastings 1922.

Everyone knows Alekhine quit smoking before the second match with Max Euwe; few know that he also kicked the habit before the Capablanca match. "Only when I rid myself of the passion for cigarettes," he once wrote, "did I attain enough confidence to win the world championship." When asked why he lost to Euwe in 1935, Alekhine replied, "Too much Alekohol."

At the time of his death, Alekhine was preparing to convert from Russian Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism. Finally, for those of you planning to get stranded on a desert island, place advance orders for two upcoming multi-volume collections of Alekhine's games. Jan Kalendovsky and Vlastimil Fiala of Czechoslovakia claim to possess about 2,000 games, while Dr. L.M. Skinner of the United Kingdom and Robert Verhoeven of The Netherlands claim some 2,200 games.> >

Dec-06-22  stone free or die: In the next month's CL&R there was a letter from Ken Whyld offering some corrections and commentary on the Evans/Parr article:

CL&R (Aug, 1993) p6 - Whyld on Reilly, Alekhine, Nazis, etc.txt


Dear Larry Evans:

I hope that you safely received the copy of the first edition of The Oxford Companion to Chess which I sent to you after our discussion in London.

You know that Brian Reilly died without completing his book on Alekhine. In fact, he had hardly written a word, although he had done a vast amount of research over 17 years and amassed a large number of games. I now have his files and am working on a biography with few or no games. That decision is based on a number of factors:

(a) Skinner & Verhoeven are working on the games, and I send any I have to them where they need them.
(b) I am not strong enough to make any useful annotations.
(c) I want to finish before I die!

There is an enormous amount of new material about Alekhine's life, and I believe the Reilly/Whyld book will be a revelation.

Naturally, I took great interest in your article in Chess Life for May, and applaud the general view you have taken. One of the fascinations of the man is the way he displays so many contrary aspects. There are just a few details about which I disagree, and I mention two that involve me.

David Hooper's co-author of The Unknown Capablanca, mentioned on page 55, is Dale Brandreth, not myself. Brian Reilly did not deny "ever seeing" the Nazi articles in Alekhine's handwriting. Indeed, he told the same story to Golombek as well as myself. When we both published his comments, in different places, Reilly was embarrassed and said that while he had seen the books, and confirmed they were in Alekhine's handwriting, he could not say anything about the contents, because he did not speak German.

In other words, Reilly, who was careful and precise, did not want to be quoted as having verified the text. However, I have other authority for that verification.

Even so, I do not believe that Alekhine was fervently anti-Semitic. He often played bridge, from choice, with Jews, for example. I think he was naive about what he had written, although he was by up- bringing mildly anti-Semitic, just as many Americans are mildly anti-British without wishing any actual harm.

By the way, it is misleading to talk about "a series of three articles in the Nazi press." They appeared first as six articles, under the title "Aryan and Jewish Chess" (not the other way around) in Pariser Zeitung all in March 1941. These were reprinted, with reversed title, as three parts in Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden on 23, 28 March and 2 April 1941. The first two of these three parts were reprinted over three issues of Deutsche Schachzeitung, April-June 1941.

My 1986 booklet is the only complete translation into English, and the only publication, in any language, that is based on the original Fhriser Zeitung text.

Ken Whyld

Lincoln, England

Dec-06-22  stone free or die: Yes, I know Winter quotes Whyld extensively as well, but here you have it in full.


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <....In his day the use of racial and national stereotypes as a form of intellectual shorthand was widely considered to offer useful insights. Thus, in an article for the New York Times, Alekhine ascribed "a peculiar psychological quality" to Yefim Bogolyubov: "Strange to relate, he combines with his Ukrainian sluggishness and incidental stubbornness in pursuit of his aims an industry and zeal for scientific chess which may be due to his extended sojourn in Germany."

Our point is that 60 years ago this Step 'n' Fetchit stereotyping of Ukrainians by a Great Russian passed the "p.c." test of the world's leading newspaper.>

And later still....

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: How does Joe Chess Fan know which Alekhine games are made up, fake?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <HeMateMe>
You could check out Game Collection: Meine Besten Gefälschten Partien
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks, <stone free>.
Dec-15-22  Honest Adin Reviews: alekhine was all about chess, he was about to play botvinnik when he croaked, who would have won?> lightning strike destroyed his grave.
Apr-09-23  Ron: The pronunciation feature that goes with the player's biography I find pretty cool. I was curious how it would pronounce 'Alekhine'.
Apr-09-23  stone free or die: <Ron> you can thank user User: Annie K. for that useful feature.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Had cause recently to listen again to the 1938 BBC Alekhine interview.

He reckons (and he should know) The truly great players are born with an innate gift for the game.

Good. That means because I was not born a chess genius I can save £'s on not buying anymore chess books and hours of free time not studying chess anymore because I am not going to get any better.

Sometimes I wish I had born rich instead of handsome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Geoff>, maybe I always had an innate understanding that that was so, realising in my twenties that Dame Providence had decreed that my fate was to be a <life 1200 player>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Apparently Perfidious, or so I'm told, we are born with an exceptional skill in one field.

I've spent a lifetime without success trying to find my innate gift. Maybe I don't have one that is what makes me unique...I think that is unfair.

It's recap time.
On this site we have all these ungifted people telling those that are born gifted chess wise where they are going wrong and how to improve.

I've heard of the blind leading the blind but this the blind leading those that can see perfectly well.

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