Learn from Alekhine

At present I am going through some of Alekhine’s games; I believe he had very unique ability to build the attack and this is something I am not very good at. Here I would like to share few examples:

Alekhine vs Rubinstein, 1923 – White to Play

Here Alekhine played Ne4! This offers c5 pawn for h7 pawn. This trade will open h file which White can use later on for a direct attack against enemy king.

16. Ne4 Nxc5 17. Nxc5 Bxc5 18. Bd3 b6

Black can hold the game with Be7 followed by Kf8.

19. Bxh7+ Kh8

An automatic move. It was better to play Kf8 here.

20. Be4

When you are attacking, gaining time is very important; it will speed up your attack and give your opponent fewer opportunities to bring back forces to defend with.

20…Ra7 21. b4! Bf8

The only move. Any other move loses the piece for instance Bxb4 then Qxc8.

22. Qc6!

Attacking the rook and at the same time preparing to bring the queen to the h-file.


If 22… Bd7 then Qxb6 is winning.

23. g3 Qb8

It was better to keep queen near to the king.

24. Ng5

Threatening Nxf7.

24… Red8

Exercise for readers : How could you bring the queen into the attack? White to play

When I was trying to solve this, my first candidate was Bb1 followed by Qe4 or Qg2, but that fails to 25…Qe5!

Hint : As we have already seen, gaining a tempo is very crucial while attacking.

25. Bg6!!

Here Rubinstein played Qe5 giving up an exchange and resigned after few more moves. In case of fxg6, Alekhine can bring queen to h file via Qg2. Here is the line given by him.

26.Qg2 and now:

a) 26…. Bxb4 27.Qh3+ Kg8 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qxg7+ Kd6 (30…Ke8 31.Qg8+ Ke7 32.Qf7+ Kd6 33.Qxe6#) 31.Rfd1+ Bd2 32.Rxd2#
b) 26…Bd6 27.Qh4+ Kg8 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qxg7+ Ke8 31.Qg8+ Bf8 32.Qxg6+ Ke7 33.Qxe6#

Few more exercises for the reader:

Note : These exercises are not focusing on finding winning move but rather on attacking technique.

Alekhine vs Lasker, 1934 – White to Play
Hint : Bringing new forces into the attack often scores.

Tarrasch vs Alekhine, 1923 – Black to Play
Hint : Before attacking you should fix the weaknesses of your opponent.

Alekhine vs Marshall, 1925 – White to play
Hint : In case of opposite side castles, attack with your pawns play an important role and you can speed up your attack if you can attack opponent’s pieces with the pawns.

Ashvin Chauhan