Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alekhine's Defense

Alekhine's Defense was named after Alexander Alekhine, who introduced it in the 1921 Budapest Tournament.  It begins with the opening 1. e4, Nf6.

This opening runs counter to the tenets of the classical school, allowing the Knight to be driven away about the board in the early stages of the game, in the expectation that White will create a weakness in its central pawn structure.  White's imposing mass of pawns in the centre often includes pawns on c4, d4, e5, and f4. Grandmaster Nick de Firmian observes, "The game immediately loses any sense of symmetry or balance, which makes the opening a good choice for aggressive fighting players."

Des Moises, 1950

1. e4, Nf6
2. e5, Nd5
3. d4, d6
4. c4, Nb6
5. f4 .....

In the opinion of the author, this is the best way to solidify White's central pawn structure.

5. ..... dxe5
6. fxe5, g6
7. Be3, Bg7

Black plan is to undermine White King's Pawn with .....c5, but it does not take account the possible tactical complications.

8. Nc3, c5

Black should have castled first at this point to safeguard the King against unpleasant eventualities.

9. d5 .....

Comparatively best for Black now is 9. ..... Bxe5, 10. Bxc5 etc., although the prospects for his Knights would have been rather poor.

9. ..... Qc7

Black is too ambitious; he wants to win White's King Pawn without parting with his own Queen Bishop Pawn.  White immediately seizes on the opportunity to create favorable complications.

10. d6!, exd6
11. Nb5!, Qe7
12. Nxd6+, Kf8
13. Nxc8!, Nxc8
14. Bxc5!!, Resigns

For if Black captures the Bishop, White replies with 15. Qd8 mate.  Black has been made to pay a heavy price for his faulty plunge into tactical complications before safeguarding his King.

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