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Alexander Alekhine
George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Number of games in database: 2,153
Years covered: 1905 to 1946

Overall record: +873 -164 =437 (74.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 679 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (169) 
    C68 C62 C78 C77 C86
 Orthodox Defense (161) 
    D51 D63 D50 D67 D61
 French Defense (121) 
    C01 C11 C07 C13 C15
 Queen's Pawn Game (106) 
    D02 D00 A46 A40 D05
 Sicilian (104) 
    B20 B32 B40 B30 B62
 Queen's Gambit Declined (101) 
    D06 D30 D37 D31 D35
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (105) 
    C79 C78 C77 C68 C61
 Queen's Pawn Game (67) 
    D02 A46 A40 E10 A50
 French Defense (61) 
    C01 C11 C12 C13 C00
 Nimzo Indian (39) 
    E34 E33 E22 E21 E32
 French (34) 
    C11 C12 C13 C00 C10
 Sicilian (29) 
    B40 B20 B83 B33 B84
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 Vasic, 1931 1-0
   Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 0-1
   Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927 1-0
   Alekhine vs Von Feldt, 1916 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)
   Scheveningen (1913)
   Mannheim (1914)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   Baden-Baden (1925)
   Prague Olympiad (1931)
   Berne (1932)
   San Remo (1930)
   Bled (1931)
   Zurich (1934)
   Semmering (1926)
   Folkestone Olympiad (1933)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   Hamburg Olympiad (1930)
   Karlsbad (1911)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Alex Alek Alex Alek Fredthebear Alex Alek Alex by fredthebear
   Match Alekhine! by docjan
   Match Alekhine! by chessgain
   Match Alekhine! by amadeus
   Alekhine - My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by StoppedClock
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by brucemubayiwa
   My Best Games of Chess: 1908 -1937 - Alekhine by vantheanh
   My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by Sergio0106
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by MSteen
   My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by daveyjones01
   Alekhine - My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by Incremental
   My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by smarticecream
   book: My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine) by Baby Hawk
   My Best Games of Chess 1908-1937 by wvb933

   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 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 87; games 1-25 of 2,153  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 Isakov 1-0261907Moscow Club SpringC44 King's Pawn Game
20. Alekhine vs 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. Alekhine vs NN 1-0461907KislovodskD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Alekhine vs Nenarokov 1-0101907MoscowD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
25. NN vs Alekhine 0-1321907KislovodskB30 Sicilian
 page 1 of 87; games 1-25 of 2,153  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 125 OF 139 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-24-16  ughaibu: Beatgiant: the Mikenas game you posted is a Hippopotamus and only has hedgehog features briefly, and the Topalov game isn't a hedgehog. The Lasker game is what's usually meant by a hedgehog formation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Sally Simpson>
We agree more than we disagree here.

Yes, people always underestimate players like Janowski who ranked just below the superstars of their eras.

No, I don't think the exchange sac examples you posted are essentially the same as in the Reshevsky-Petrosian game, but I'll try to kibitz on those games themselves if time permits.

Yes, the players of the past eras built the foundations for today's players and we can all learn a lot from their games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ughaibu>
I'll defer to you on the nomenclature, but do you think Lasker would have approved of Mikenas' setup?
Jan-24-16  ughaibu: Beatgiant: No, I don't think Lasker would have. Certainly, I can't imagine anyone before Spassky playing a Hippopotamus in a world championship, so I take your point.
Jan-24-16  Sally Simpson: Hi beatgiant,

I am not disagreeing with anybody, just joining in on the fun.

Also some passing kibitizer who thought chess only got good when Deep Blue beat Kasparov might peek at some old games.

Most know and have seen just three - The Immortal, the Evergreen and Morphy at the Opera...maybe 4, Steinitz v Von von Bardeleben (and even then some think the Baron walked off in the huff.)

Jan-24-16  visayanbraindoctor: <beatgiant> You seem to want to know on what things I agree with you on tactics/principles and opening systems that were not present pre WW1 and pre WW2. These are 4 different questions. Let me summarize my thoughts on them.

1. Tactics/principle not present in pre WW1 games.

I can only think of one.

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1936

Capablanca sacs a complicated 'exchange'. He gets B + B + N vs R + R, or three minor pieces vs two rooks.

Previous to that game everyone seemed to have thought this was a definite advantage for the R + R side.

2. Tactics/principle not present in pre WW2 games.

I can't think of any. All tactics top masters have employed in OTB competitive games today have been employed before WW2 AFAIK. As I have said, I haven't come across a tactic being employed today that I haven't discovered being employed in a pre WW2 game.

3. Opening system and the resulting early middle game pawn structure pawn not present in pre WW1 games.

I would say many of the openings that came along after the hypermodern revolution of the 1920s. The hypermoderns gave birth to the fianchetto (QID, KID, Grunfeld, Catalan, etc) and the counter punching openings (various open Sicilian systems, Nimzo-Indian systems etc.) Many of the opening systems commonly used today are of this type.

4. Opening system and the resulting early middle game pawn structure pawn not present in pre WW2 games.

The Hedgehog.

I am speaking in general. There well could have been open Sicilians and KIDs present in the Lasker era, but they did not become recognized as sound enough to be put in practice by the top masters pre WW1.

Jan-24-16  visayanbraindoctor: <Sally Simpson>

The games you give do not employ the principle I gave above, which results in a N vs R where the N can jump into holes unopposed by the the R side.

I agree <Janowski displays a sound defensive scheme based on an exchange sac> They employ other principles, mainly based on increased piece activity on the N side relative to the R side.

Here is another example of Janowski employing the above principle, and unlike in the Capablanca game this time he wins.

Janowski vs Alapin, 1898

It's a very interesting and helpful principle because it can be easily defined. R vs N. Holes on your opponent's position. Sac. I can vaguely recall doing it in a quick game myself, but never in a classical tournament game.

Steinitz vs Janowski, 1898

The above game sees Janowski doing a Bishop3 exchange sac, but this time on the king side, and he takes a Bishop instead of a Knight.

I believe that if Janowski had been given the opportunity to do a traditional Sicilian c3 sac, he would have done it too. The chess principles behind the sac are the same as in the Steinitz game.

Jan-24-16  visayanbraindoctor: <visayanbraindoctor: I have say that todays players have it much tougher than in the golden olden days.>

You made several good points. In some ways present day players have it tougher than the oldies.

However, in many ways the present generation also have it easier. I will try to take up your points one by one.

<Then there were no databases>

Speaking for myself since I was active in the pen and paper era (chess computers became much more available to the general public only in the 2000s), it was much tougher to research on games precisely because there were no data bases. You had to look at informateurs and keep little chess notes. Nowadays, I can simply press buttons and in a couple of hours, I have already perused through all of Alekhine's pre WW1 games. (I recall wanting to find out how AAA did as a youngster when young Wei scored a brilliant win, and in a couple of hours, I had looked through dozens of pre WW1 Alekhine games, and even analyzed some. Impossible in the pen and paper era.)

Just imagine what a tool like that would do for a chess player like Alekhine who had an eidetic memory for all things chess related. Memorize a hundred Sicilian variations? AAA could probably do it by dinner. As it was, AAA probably had to write reams of opening analysis in his little chess notebooks.

On the other end imagine what the computer can do for a lazy Capablanca. He could play tennis until 10am, look at the some opening variations by 12 noon, take a little siesta, and be off to the tournament at 3pm.

<There are no adjournments today.>

This would work against people with poor endgame skills, but for a Lasker or a Capablanca, it would be just great. AAA himself was a pretty mean endgame player. Now both they and their opponents would be forced to solve all endgame problems over the board. With their endgame skills, they would love that.

Especially for Capablanca, the no adjournment rule coupled with quickened time controls would equal paradise. As for the World Cup quick games tie breaks, many players might even complain that it would give Capablanca an unfair advantage, since he was known to have creamed every one in quick games, from Lasker to Fine.

<You can get 5-6 a year where in the past you are getting 3-4 a decade, even less than that.

Ignoring World title matches, Alekhine only met Lasker 8 times, Capablanca 15 times and Capa played Lasker 10 times.

That is 33 games spread over 30 years.

Compare the current top three.

Carlsen has played Kramnik 23 times, Caruana 23 times and Kramnik has played Caruana 14 times.

That is 60 games in the last 10 years.
(the Kramnik and Carlsen v Caruana sequence of games started 5 years ago.)>

You are right here of course. Yet I have the gut feeling that the pre WW2 masters would welcome this system joyously. More income for them. As it was, they were often impoverished and sometimes in actual danger of starvation. How did they solve their often perilous economic states? It seems to me that they engaged in a lot of simultaneous and blindfold exhibitions. It's clear from accounts that some of the top masters had really hectic schedules, just trying to make enough money to support themselves and their families.

In all honesty I think I would prefer to be an active chess player today than in 1935. Chess life today would be easier.

Jan-24-16  john barleycorn: <visayanbraindoctor> yes, with all the database functionality of filtering etc. it is easier to absorb the amount of games today. and any played game is available minutes after it was played so to say. 80 years ago it might have taken a year or so.

I think the toughtest time for player were the 70's and 80's when a lot of games were played and published in magazines pretty soon but need to be reviewed "by hand". I think Karpov made a point when he said that it was close to impossible to review 6,000 games in a year.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Just found this game Alapin vs Tarrasch, 1898. Way back in the 19th century, Tarrasch, one of Watson's whipping boys as a dogmatist who couldn't have handled modern strategy:

* starts a wing attack while the centre is not closed.

* surrenders the ♗ pair while accepting doubled ♙s.

* his remaining ♗ is bad but protects good ♙s.

I think that if this game were played by 1990s GMs, Watson would have used this as an example of the "rule independence" that would have confounded the old masters like Tarrasch.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <vbd: Just imagine what a tool like that would do for a chess player like Alekhine who had an eidetic memory for all things chess related. Memorize a hundred Sicilian variations? AAA could probably do it by dinner. As it was, AAA probably had to write reams of opening analysis in his little chess notebooks.

On the other end imagine what the computer can do for a lazy Capablanca. He could play tennis until 10am, look at the some opening variations by 12 noon, take a little siesta, and be off to the tournament at 3pm.>

Those 2 are the epitome of the argument who'd be helped the most, and those are the 2 I always use when I consider the question.. And as polar opposites, I can't quite decide which one would be helped the most.

Anyone else familiar with the short story of the guy who decided to use time travel to go back and give Isaac Newton a hand calculator?

Jan-24-16  Sally Simpson: Hi Vishy B.

I'm not too sure if the pre computer GM's would have relished DB's and no adjournments too much. I don't think it's any mistake that the top players are young (Kramnik, Topalov, Anand accepted but these are exceptions and I can easily see a time when the top 10 will all be under 30.)

Before DB's players could keep their opening rep intact with only minor changes for years. Now days players need seconds to keep an eye on what their opponents are doing.

Jan-24-16  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: Just found this game Alapin vs Tarrasch, 1898. Way back in the 19th century, Tarrasch, one of Watson's whipping boys as a dogmatist who couldn't have handled modern strategy:

* starts a wing attack while the centre is not closed.

* surrenders the ♗ pair while accepting doubled ♙s.

* his remaining ♗ is bad but protects good ♙s.

I think that if this game were played by 1990s GMs, Watson would have used this as an example of the "rule independence" that would have confounded the old masters like Tarrasch.>

This is one of probably one of many smoking gun proof that Watson failed to study the games of the old masters well. Or he would never have said the things he said about them.

What you are really saying is that if this game were made an example in Watson's book, with the names crossed out, it would serve well as one of the rotten eggs thrown at whipping boy Tarrasch for his dogmatic attitude. It would have been fun if this game were given to Watson when he wrote his book and he was told it came from a post WW2 game. Watson would then incorporate it in his book, and use it to bash Tarrasch.

Surprise! After the book was published, it would be revealed that it was Tarrasch himself who played that game, a game used to bashed Tarrasch.

Jan-24-16  visayanbraindoctor: <john barleycorn: <visayanbraindoctor> yes, with all the database functionality of filtering etc. it is easier to absorb the amount of games today. and any played game is available minutes after it was played so to say. 80 years ago it might have taken a year or so.

I think the toughtest time for player were the 70's and 80's>

I agree with this.

I believe that this was the time when there were more chess professionals than at any other time in chess history, although most of them would not be recognized today as chess professionals. These would be the middle and lower tier master level players (not necessarily titled for lack of opportunities to play in international events) in the Eastern European countries who made their living partially on chess, supported by various institutions of their states, via salaries and frequent tournament state given monetary prizes.

Thousands of games were probably being played in state sponsored tournaments all over Eastern Europe yearly, only recorded on written scoresheets (most of which are probably unrecoverable today). These players and those in the rest of the world did not have computers, and would be researching the latest opening variations and the games of their possible opponents through the pen and paper manner. Tough job.

Jan-25-16  john barleycorn: one point that came to my mind when Anand lost an Evans Gambit to Kasparov and shortly after a Kings Gambit to Morozevich. that time the "overall" verdict was "Anand has problems with the old openings".

So why not add to the question "how long would it take the old masters to learn the modern theory?" the other question "how long would it take the modern masters to learn the old theory?"

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <john barleycorn>
Are you assuming it's the same thing to defend the Evans Gambit against Kasparov as to defend it against Chigorin?
Jan-25-16  john barleycorn: <beatgiant>
Good question. I don't know.

I guess for 95% of the chessplayers it would be the same thing by the result. :-)

Jan-26-16  visayanbraindoctor: Going back to the chess principles behind exchange sacs, here are two more that I can figure out, just from Alekhine's pre WW2 games:

Levenfish vs Alekhine, 1912

34. Qc2 and instead of the more obvious 34... Bd4, AAA played Nf5!

Chess principle: Q + N on the attack is usually more powerful than Q + R.

Notice that AAA gets the terrible Q + N combo on the attack vs Q + R.

Alekhine vs V Vasilevsky, 1910

20. Rxc5!

Chess principle: R + B + B vs R + R + B where the R side has a bad Bishop gives adequate compensation to the R + B + B side.

IMO in this particular game AAA employs it as kind of defensive exchange sac because, with his King already stuck in the middle of the board, if he had played normal moves such as the pawn grabbing line 20. Qa4+ Bc6 21. Qxa7 d4! (blocking White's Bishops and activating Black's LSB), he would have been thrown into a more difficulty defensive situation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Of course pre-WW2 masters didn't know about a positional exchange sac /sarcasm. I wonder what Watson would have done if told that this was an early Petrosian game:

Saint Amant vs Staunton, 1843

Jan-26-16  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: Of course pre-WW2 masters didn't know about a positional exchange sac /sarcasm.> LOL

Just talking about Alekhine alone, He was doing all kinds of sacs including exchange sacs all throughout his career, including the pre WW1 version.

Other examples:

Nimzowitsch vs Alekhine, 1914

28. Bd4 Rxd4! 29. Qc3 Kb8 30. Qxd4 Be5 31. Qd7 Rc8 32. Rf7 Qh1 33. Kf2 Qh4 34. Ke2 Qh5 35. g4 Qh2 36. Kf3 Qg3 37. Ke4 Bc7 (White's king is exposed and B lack has multiple threats on it, having maintained the initiative.)

Chess principle: Maintain threats, the initiative, and attack.

The above sac is probably the most common type in his games.

Alekhine vs Breyer, 1914

30. Rxf4!

Chess principle: Eliminate the strong defender piece.

Alekhine vs Marshall, 1914

20. Rxf4! Nxf4 21. Qxf4 Be6 22. Rf1 Kf8 23. Bf6 Qb8 24. Qh6 Ke8 25. ed5 cd5 26. Nf3 Rg6 27. Qh4 Qd6 28. Ne5

The one above is not only defensive, taking out one of Marshall's attacking pieces, but also falls under the same category as the Petrosian sac:

Chess 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.>

Thus like the Petrosian sac, pre WW1 AAA's sac both took advantage of the holes in his opponent's positions where he could plant his knight unopposed by another minor piece, and was defensive in nature.

Alekhine certainly understood this kind of sac as much as Petrosian did.

Jan-26-16  visayanbraindoctor: I wonder if any one has made a survey of how many exchange sacs did Janowski, Alekhine, and Petrosian make in their careers? I have a nagging suspicion that Alekhine may have made the most, only it's often overlooked because he made so many other types of sacrifices at a staggering rate. People don't even bother to say wow! if they see an Alekhine sacrifice; it's just too routine for him. On the other hand, if a 'defensive' player like Petrosian does a sac, it tends to get noticed more.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> I think it's a stretch to say that these examples of exchange sacs were part of a defensive, not offensive strategy. But, I won't have time to go over it game by game right now.

I would agree that most of the major principles of chess were established by WWII. But there are still some significant developments since that time and I may post some more examples if time permits.

The other thing that is highly significant is that understanding of the principles, and technical perfection in executing them, is a lot more widespread today than it was in the pre-WWII era.

Jan-27-16  visayanbraindoctor: <I would agree that most of the major principles of chess were established by WWII.>

We both agree here.

I summarized my opinions in a post above.

<But there are still some significant developments since that time and I may post some more examples if time permits.>

This is where we differ, since I have never seen any present day tactic employed by chess players today in competitive events that has not been played in a pre WW2 game.

<The other thing that is highly significant is that understanding of the principles, and technical perfection in executing them, is a lot more widespread today than it was in the pre-WWII era.>

Because of the practice of East European countries to allocate state sponsorship to chess events, there was an ever increasing number of chess professionals in the world beginning in the 1920s. This type of state sponsorship stopped in the 1990s. Thus in the sense of number of players, I agree there were more professionals post WW2, and so chess understanding and good technique was more <widespread>. However, I believe the top professional chess players of pre WW2 were every bit as good in chess understanding and technique as post WW2 players. For instance, I haven't really seen any one as <technically perfect> as Capablanca or as fantastically creative as Alekhine.

Jan-27-16  visayanbraindoctor: <Sally Simpson> Regarding this game

Von Bardeleben vs J Minckwitz, 1889

22. c6! bc6 23. b6! (establishing an outpost at c5 the square vacated by the pawn, a half open c-file, and opening up diagonals and squares behind the pawn)

that you gave as an example of a clearance sacrifice in order to establish an outpost where the sacked pawns once stood, I forgot to mention that in the

Alekhine vs Breyer, 1914

(which I gave as an example of a pre WW1 Alekhine exchange sac)

Alekhine makes almost exactly the same sac form-wise but on the opposite side of the board.

21. f6! gf6 22. g6!

I strongly suspect that almost all 'modern' tactics have been recurring again and again since Western chess was invented in the 16th century, but we simply do not have good records of games played before the 20th century.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <visayanbraindoctor> <defensive exchange sac> First, you posted it was <bad chess>. OK, then go to the Reshevsky-Petrosian page and point out the improvements. No?

Then, you posted that its use as a defensive strategy was due to <stylistic difference> because Petrosian had a more defensive style than the pre-WWII GMs with whom we are comparing him. OK, then go point out where a pre-WWII defensive style player like Maroczy played a defensive exchange sac. No?

Finally, you posted that the pre-WWII masters actually did play a defensive strategy based on an exchange sac. I looked at all the games, and it looks like the player making the sac followed up by trying to attack. Am I wrong?

If this is the way it will go, I'm not sure it's worth my time to post more examples of post-WWII chess innovations.

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