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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Alekhine’s Defense

      In this defense Black tempts White's pawns forward to form a broad pawn centre with plans to undermine and attack the White structure later. White's imposing mass of pawns in the center often includes pawns on c4, d4, e5, and f4 and the defense is a good choice for aggressive players.  It’s not very common these days but Lev Alburt plays it frequently.  In fact, it’s one of Alburt’s favorites. Other aggressive players, like Korchnoi and Shabalov, even Fischer, have used it.
      I have faced this defense only five times with one win and a loss and three draws.  I, myself, have played it four times resulting two wins, a loss and a draw.  I am still not sure if I like it or not.  When facing it I always play either 2.Nc3 (hoping to transpose into a regular KP opening) or else 2.Bc4 hoping Black will take the P so I can play 3.Bxf7+, but so far nobody has done that.
      The line 1.e4 Nf6 2.Bc4 Nxe4 3.Bxf7+ Kxf7 4.Qh5+ Kg8 5.Qd5+ e6 6.Qxe4 looks dangerous for Black, but according to the engine the position slightly favors Black.  I hate to admit this but while practicing against an engine once it played 4...Kf6 5.Qf3+ Ke5 and despite White’s big advantage, I was not able to find a win and ended up losing.
      The last time I played it was two years ago on chessdotcom and that was my first loss with the Alekhine.  Things started to go downhill at move 12 when I got my pieces gobbed up on the Q-side and in the meantime White was using his center space advantage to create threats on the other side of the board.

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