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10 Best Games Of Alexander Alekhine You Must Know – ChessForSharks.com

Ever heard of “The White Russian”? This was a nickname attributed to none other than the 4th world chess champion, Alexander Alekhine. Born in 1892, the Russian-French player is known as one of the greatest chess players in history. 

Alekhine defeated former world champion José Raúl Capablanca in 1927 and held the title for two reigns defeating chess grandmasters Efim Bogoljubov and Max Euwe.

He was known to dominate chess tournaments and win them by large margins — a notable feat worthy of a world champion. Alekhine was famous for his fearless and aggressive approach in chess, done with a sprinkle of creativity. He had superb positional and endgame skills which gave him that needed edge over his opponents. 

Due to his works and involvement in chess theory, a number of openings/variations and tactical motifs are named after him. Examples include Alekhine’s Gun and Alekhine Defense. Alekhine was also a brilliant tactician, one of the best in history who had a thing for jaw-dropping combinations in complex positions.

In this article, we’ll be exploring these brilliances and combinations by looking at Alexander Alekhine games. 10 of his best games were carefully picked and analyzed to give you a feel of his playing style.

Enough talking. Let’s get started!

#1 –  Richard Reti vs Alexander Alekhine

Richard Reti was one of the top world chess players during the 1910s and 1920s. He was also a chess author and composer of endgame studies. In the 1920s, Reti became one of the principal proponents of hypermodernism, along with Aron Nimzowitsch and others. The Reti Opening is named after him.

In this game, Alekhine takes advantage of Reti’s slightly weakened king to land a successful attack. What makes this game so instructive is Alekhine’s accuracy and precision just after his rook sacrifice.

[Event “Baden-Baden”]

[Date “1925.04.25”]

[Round “8”]

[White “Richard Reti”]

[Black “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Result “0-1”]

[EventDate “1925.04.16”]

1. g3 e5 2. Nf3 e4 3. Nd4 d5 4. d3 exd3 5. Qxd3 Nf6 6. Bg2 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. 

Nxd2 O-O 9. c4 Na6 10. cxd5 Nb4 11. Qc4 Nbxd5 12. N2b3 c6 13. O-O Re8 14. Rfd1 

Bg4 15. Rd2 Qc8 16. Nc5 Bh3 17. Bf3 Bg4 18. Bg2 Bh3 19. Bf3 Bg4 20. Bh1 h5 21. 

b4 a6 22. Rc1 h4 23. a4 hxg3 24. hxg3 Qc7 25. b5 axb5 26. axb5 Re3!

This move changes the evaluation of the position. If White captures the rook with 27. fxe3, that leads to a mate in 4 after 27…Qxg3+ 28. Bg2 Nxe3 29. Qxf7+ Kxf7 30. bxc6 Qxg2#. If White ignores the potential threat and simply goes for 27. bxc6, Black goes for the sac 27… Rxg3 and mate is inevitable.

27. Nf3 cxb5 28. Qxb5 Nc3 29. Qxb7 Qxb7 30. Nxb7 Nxe2+ 31. Kh2 Ne4 32. Rc4 Nxf2 33. Bg2 Be6 34. Rcc2 Ng4+ 35. Kh3 Ne5+ 36. Kh2 Rxf3 37. Rxe2 Ng4+ 38. Kh3 Ne3+ 39. Kh2 Nxc2 40. Bxf3 Nd4 41. Rf2 Nxf3 42. Rxf3 Bd5

After many exchanges, the dust has finally settled and Black will be a piece up as White cannot save both his knight and rook.

0-1

CHECK OUT: Top 5 Underrated Chess Players In History!

#2 –  Efim Bogoljubov vs Alexander Alekhine

Efim Bogoljubov was an elite chess grandmaster and world championship contender. He earned the rights to play Alekhine for the world championship twice but lost both. Nevertheless, he won a lot of tournaments and even the Bogo-Indian Defense is named after him. 

Alekhine displayed positional mastery in this game as he was able to quickly switch to his attacking style after properly judging the demands of the resulting positions. 

[Event “Hastings”]

[Date “1922.09.21”]

[Round “10”]

[White “Efim Bogoljubov”]

[Black “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Result “0-1”]

[EventDate “1922.09.10”]

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bxd2+ 6. Nxd2 Nc6 7. Ngf3 O-O 8. 

Kg1 d6 9. Rb3 Kh8 10. Rc3 e5 11. e3 a5 12. b3 Qe8 13. a3 Qh5 14. h4 Ng4 15. Ng5 

Bd7 16. f3 Nf6 17. f4 e4 18.  d1 h6 19. Nh3 d5 20. Nf1 Ne7 21. a4 Nc6 22.  d2 

Nb4 23. Bh1 Qe8 24.  g2 dxc4 25. bxc4 Bxa4  26. Nf2 Bd7 27. Nd2 b5 28. Nd1 Nd3

29. Rxa5 b4! 30. Rxa8 bxc3 31. Rxe8 c2 32. Rxf8+ Kh7 

Black just sacrificed his two rooks to get his pawn on the c2 square promoted to a queen. It may appear as an unwise decision but Alekhine had calculated it all — it was a win for him.

33. Nf2 c1=Q+ 34. Nf1 Ne1 35. Rh2 Qxc4 36. Rb8 Bb5 37. Rxb5 Qxb5 38. g4 Nf3+ 39. Bxf3 exf3 40. gxf5 Qe2 41. d5 Kg8 42. h5 Kh7 43. e4 Nxe4 44. Nxe4 Qxe4 45. d6 cxd6 46. f6 gxf6 47. Rd2 Qe2 48. Rxe2 fxe2 49. Kf2 exf1=Q+ 50. Kxf1 Kg7 51. Ke2 Kf7 52. Ke3 Ke6 53. Ke4 d5+ 

Black exchanges all the major pieces to enter a winning endgame as White can’t pull any saving trick in this position. Alekhine’s winning plan here is to go Kf5, push the d-pawn to distract the White king, capture the f4 pawn and the one on h5, then two pawns vs a lone king will be an easy win.

0-1

#3 – Alexander Alekhine vs Yates, Frederick Dewhurst

Fred Yates was an English chess master and journalist who in his time, defeated a lot of top chess grandmasters, the likes of Alexander Alekhine and Milan Vidmar. He won the British Chess Championship six times and excelled in other local tournaments. 

In this game played in London, Alekhine demonstrates a deep understanding of positional principles such as control of the open file, knights on outposts, rooks on the seventh rank, activating the king as a fighting piece e.t.c

[Event “London”]

[Round “10”]

[White “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Black “Yates Frederick”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Rc1 c6 8. Qc2 

Re8 9. Bd3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Nd5 11. Ne4 f5 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Ned2 b5 14. Bxd5 cxd5 

15. O-O a5 16. Nb3 a4 17. Nc5 Nxc5 18. Qxc5 Qxc5 19. Rxc5 b4 20. Rfc1 Ba6 21. Ne5 

White has a very pleasant position here. His rooks clearly control the open d-file while his knight’s tentacles are extended deep into the opponent’s position. As will be seen, Alekhine skillfully handles his pieces and transfers the rook to the seventh rank while activating the king to join in the fight.

21…Reb8 22. f3 b3 23. a3 h6 24. Kf2 Kh7 25. h4 Rf8 26. Kg3 Rfb8 27. Rc7 Bb5 28. 

R1c5 Ba6 29. R5c6 Re8 30. Kf4 Kg8 31. h5 Bf1 32. g3 Ba6 33. Rf7 Kh7 34. Rcc7 Rg8 

35. Nd7 Kh8 36. Nf6 Rgf8 37. Rxg7 Rxf6 38. Ke5

White sacrifices his knight to create mating threats. After 38. Ke5, Black can do little to prevent the incoming mate as a move like 38…Raf8 leads to a mate in two after 39. Rh7+ Kg8 40. Rcg7#

1-0

#4 – Milan Vidmar vs Alexander Alekhine

Just like Reti, Milan Vidmar was one of the top chess players in the early 1900s. He performed well in a number of tournaments featuring other top players like Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, José Raúl Capablanca and Akiba Rubinstein. 

The game below was included in our list to showcase Alekhine’s endgame prowess. In what seemed to be a drawn endgame of a rook and two pawns versus a knight and three pawns, Alekhine goes ahead to ‘squeeze water out of stone’ forcing an eventual resignation from his opponent.

[Event “San Remo”]

[White “Vidmar, Milan”]

[Black “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Result “0-1”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 Ne4 7. Qc2 Nc6 8. e3 

e5 9. f3 Nf6 10. cxd5 Qxd5 11. Bc4 Qd6 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Bd2 O-O 14. Bb4 c5 15. 

Rd1 Qc6 16. Bd2 Bf5 17. Qxf5 Nxc4 18. Bc1 Rfe8 19. Kf2 Re6 20. Nh3 Ne4+ 21. Ke1 (If 21. exf3?? then Black wins the queen with 21…Rf6) 21…Ned6 22. Qd3 Nxe3 23. Bxe3 c4 

Alekhine carries out a little combination which nets him a pawn. Black is prepared to increase the pressure on the e3-bishop by playing Nf5. White makes the best decision here by exchanging queens and entering the endgame.

24. Qd5 Rxe3+ 25. Kf2 Qxd5 26. Rxd5 Rd3 27. Rxd3 cxd3 28. Rd1 Nc4 29. Rxd3 Nxb2 30. Rb3 Nc4 31. Rxb7 Nxa3 32. Ng5 a5 33. Nxf7 a4 34. Nd6 Nc2 35. Rb2 a3 36. Rxc2 a2 37. Rxa2 Rxa2+ 38. Kg3 Kf8 39. h4 Ke7 40. Ne4 h6 41. Nf2 Ke6 42. Nd3 Kf5 43. Nf4 Ra4 44. Nd3 Rc4 45. Nf2 Rc6 46. Nh3 Ke5 47. 

h5 Rc2 48. Nf4 Rd2 49. Nh3 Kd4 50. Nf4 Ke3 51. Ne6 Rd5 52. f4 Rf5 53. Kg4 Rf6 

54. f5 Rf7 55. g3 Ke4 56. Nc5+ Kd4 57. Nb3+ Ke5 

After 58…Rxf5, it’s only a matter of technique before Black throws in the towel.

0-1

#5 – Alexander Alekhine vs Tartakower Savielly

Tartakower Savielly was a Polish-French chess grandmaster and one of the leading chess journalists and authors in his time. A lot of chess openings and variations are attributed to him due to his meaningful contributions to modern chess theory. 

In this game between the Polish master and Alekhine, we’ll see an uneventful blunder by Tartakower that landed in a checkmate a few moves after.

[Event “London”]

[Date “1932.??.??”]

[Round “7”]

[White “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Black “Tartakower, Savielly”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ne4 4. Nd2 Nc5 5. Ngf3 Nc6 6. g3 Qe7 7. Bg2 g6 8. Nb1 

Nxe5 9. O-O Nxf3+ 10. exf3 Bg7 11. Re1 Ne6 12. Nc3 O-O 13. Nd5 Qd8 14. f4 c6 15. 

Nc3 d6 16. Be3 Qc7 17. Rc1 Bd7 18. Qd2 Rad8 19. Red1 Bc8 20. Ne4 Nc5 21. Nxd6 

Na4 22. c5 Nxb2 23. Re1 b5?? 24. cxb6! 

Tartakower probably miscalculated here with the blunder 23…b5??. White simply captures the pawn exposing the weak c6 pawn that’ll be captured next. This prompted Black’s next move though things have gotten quite bad here already.

25…Qxd6 25. Qxd6 Rxd6 26. bxa7 Bb7 27. Bc5 Rdd8 28. Bxf8 Kxf8 29. Bxc6 Bxc6 30. Rxc6 Ra8 31. Rb6 Rxa7 32. Rb8# 

A final crushing mate!

1-0

ALSO CHECK OUT: Top 10 Openings Named After Popular Chess Players

#6 – Alexander Alekhine vs Hoelscher

There are still speculations regarding the identity of the Black player in this game, which is Hoelscher. Without paying much attention to this, we’ll just go straight to the game and see how Alekhine was able to defeat his opponent in just 16 moves!

[Event “Semmering sim”]

[Date “1933.??.??”]

[Round “1”]

[White “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Black “Hoelscher”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 exd4 5. Qxd4 Bd7 6. Bxc6 Bxc6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. 

Bg5 Be7 9. O-O-O O-O 10. h4 h6 11. Nd5 hxg5 12. Nxe7+ Qxe7 13. hxg5 Nxe4 14. Rh5 

Qe6 15. Rdh1 f5 16. Ne5 

By taking advantage of the open h-file, Alekhine makes this crushing move that immediately seals the game. If Black continue with 16…Qxe5, White play 17. g6! with an incoming mate on h8. 

16…dxe5  (17. g6! Qxg6 18. Qc4+ cutting off Black’s only source of escape and Black can resign)

1-0

#7 – Vasja Pirc vs Alexander Alekhine

You may have heard of the Pirc defense. Yes, you guessed right — That opening was named after Vasja Pirc. Pirc was a Yugoslavia champion and grandmaster who won the title on five different occasions. Against Alexander Alekhine, Pirc had a minus record though he once beat him in a recorded blitz game. 

Now the game below happened to be one in which the Yugoslav master fell to the tactical brilliance of Alekhine. From sacrificing a pawn for development to maintaining the initiative, this is definitely a model game you should take note of.

[Event “Bled”]

[Date “1931.??.??”]

[White “Pirc Vasja”]

[Black “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Result “0-1”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. cxd5 cxd4 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxd4 exd5 7. Qxd5 Nc6 8. 

Bg5 Nf6 9. Qd2 h6 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. e3 O-O-O 12. O-O-O Bg4 13. Nd5 Rxd5! 14. Qxd5 Ba3!!

Alekhine keeps the initiative going. Black threatens to checkmate White on b2 and if White decides to go 15. bxa3??, Black goes all in with 15…Qa1+ and 16…Qxd1+ with overwhelming activity.

15. Qb3 Bxd1 16. Qxa3 Qxf2 17. Qd3 Bg4 18. Nf3 Bxf3 19. Qf5+ Kb8 20. Qxf3 Qe1+ 21. Kc2 Rc8 22. Qg3+ Ne5+ 23. Kb3 Qd1+ 24. Ka3 Rc5

What a final position! White is still underdeveloped and the poor king sits in the open awaiting judgement. Black’s plan is to go Ra5+ and with the help of the queen, checkmate the White king. 

 0-1

#8 – Alexander Alekhine vs Salomon Flohr

Flohr was known as one of the world’s strongest players in the mid-1930s and a leading contender for the world chess championship. In fact, FIDE nominated him as the official candidate to play Alekhine in the world championship match but due to some reasons, the match was not possible. In 1950, he was among the first recipients of the International Grandmaster Title organized by FIDE. 

In this chess tournament held in Bled 1931, we see an interesting game between Alexander Alekhine and Flohr. While there were no spectacular tactical brilliance or mind-blowing combinations, this game is a classic example of gathering small advantages till it becomes big enough to convert.

[Event “Bled”]

[Date “1931.??.??”]

[White “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Black “Flohr Salo”]

[Result “1-0”] 

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. Qe2 a6 8. Rd1 

b5 9. dxc5 Qc7 10. Bd3 Bxc5 11. a4 b4 12. Nbd2 O-O 13. Nb3 Be7 14. e4 Nd7 15. 

Be3 Nde5 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. Rac1 Qb8 18. Bc5 Bxc5 19. Nxc5 Qb6 20. Qh5 Nd7 21. 

Be2 g6 22. Qg5 Nxc5 23. Rxc5 a5 24. h4 Ba6 25. Bf3 f6 26. Qe3 Rad8 27. Rxd8 Rxd8 

28. e5 f5 29. Rc8 

Black has no way of defending the rook because his queen is also hanging. The previously played 28. e5 effectively stopped a possible 29… Qd6 and now Black has no other choice but to resign.

1-0

#9 –  Alexander Alekhine vs Marco Georg

Marco Georg was an Austrian chess player who had a funny nickname — “The strongest player in the world” and this was due to his huge physical size. 

Alekhine himself regarded this game as one of his best games in his book: My Best Games Of Chess 1908-1937. White conducts a successful attack on Black’s kingside with all pieces working harmoniously.

[Event “Stockholm”]

[Date “1912.??.??”]

[Round “2”]

[White “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Black “Marco Georg”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Qe2 c6 8. a4 

h6 9. Bb3 Qc7 10. h3 Kh7 11. Be3 g6 12. Rad1 Kg7 13. Nh2! White understands the demands of the position and immediately launches an offensive on the kingside. 13…Ng8 14. f4 f6 15. Qg4 exd4 16. Bxd4 Nc5 17. f5 Nxb3 18. Qxg6+ Kh8 19. cxb3 Bd7 20. Qg3 Rf7 21. Ng4 Qd8 22. Ne2 Rg7 23. Nf4 Qe8 24. Qh4 Qf7 25. Rd3 Kh7 26. Ng6 Rxg6 27. fxg6+ Qxg6 28. Bxf6 Bxg4 29. Bxe7 Re8 30. Rxd6 Qg7 31. Bf6 Nxf6 32. Rfxf6 

With a bishop hanging on g4 and unable to stop 33. Rxh6+ followed by 34. Rdg6, Black promptly resigned.

1-0

#10 – Alexander Alekhine – Vasily I. Romanov

This is another of Alexander Alekhine games that was played against a not-too-known opponent. The game however is one to check out and learn from.

[Event “Moscow”]

[Date “1907.??.??”]

[Round “?”]

[White “Alexander Alekhine”]

[Black “Rosanov Vasily I”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. Bd3 d5 7. exd5 cxd5 

8. O-O Be7 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Bg5 c6 11. Qf3 Bg4 12. Qg3 Bh5 13. Qe5 Bg6 14. Bxg6 

hxg6 15. Rad1 Bd6 16. Qd4 Qc7 17. Qh4 Nh7 18. Be3 f5 19. f4 Kf7 20. Bd4 Rh8 21. 

Rde1 Nf6 22. Qg5 Ng4 23. Re6! 

This move changes the balance of the game, Any other move loses as black intends to get Be7 in next. But by sacrificing the rook, White gets two pawns and a knight in return.

23…Kxe6 24. Qxg6+ Kd7 25. Qxf5+ Kd8 26. Qxg4 Bf8 27. Re1 Qd7 28. Qg5+ Kc7 29. Re3 Kb7 30. Na4 Re8 31. Rb3+ Ka8 32. Qg3 Rh6 33. Qd3 Rhe6 34. Be5 c5 35. Rb5 Rc8 36. c4 a6 37. Nb6+ Rxb6 38. Rxb6 Ka7 39. Qg6 Qa4 40. Rb3 Qc6 41. Qf7+ Ka8 42. cxd5 

It’s interesting to note how the king travelled from g8 all the way to a8. Now Black cannot avoid an inevitable mate.

1-0

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Was Alekhine A World Champion?

Alexander Alekhine defeated the then reigning world champion, José Ral Capablanca of Cuba in 1927 to take up the title. He successfully defended this title in 1929 and 1934 before losing it to Max Euwe of the Netherlands in 1935. He however reclaimed it from Euwe in 1937 and remained world champion until his death in 1946.

Who Was Better: Jose Capablanca Or Alexander Alekhine?

This is still debated by chess experts. Some argue that Capablanca had more natural talents but took his championship match against Alekhine with a pinch of salt. He was reported to be drinking and womanising before the match, underestimating the potential of his opponent. 

Some also argue that Alekhine knew this fact, so when Capablanca offered a rematch, Alekhine refused it on the basis of insufficient funds from the challenger. Both players avoided themselves in subsequent tournaments so we never got to see more interesting games between these men.

What Was Alexander Alekhine’s Style Of Playing?

Alekhine had this attacking style of playing and is known for creating complications out of simple positions. He also had a deep positional understanding which enabled him to spot attacking opportunities in a position. 

How To Improve Your Endgame Skills?

The best way to improve your endgame knowledge and skill is by carefully studying the games of endgame legends such as Alexander Alekhine games and the games of Capablanca or Vasily Smyslov. Doing this will equip you with a practical knowledge of the endgame.

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