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Alekhine's Defense, Modern (B04)
1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3

Number of games in database: 3517
Years covered: 1923 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 42.5%
   Black wins 25.1%
   Draws 32.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Michele Godena  25 games
Michael Adams  17 games
Joseph G Gallagher  16 games
Lev Alburt  68 games
Edvins Kengis  46 games
Rafael Vaganian  39 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Short vs Timman, 1991
Alekhine vs Reshevsky, 1937
Kasparov vs S Palatnik, 1978
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972
Topalov vs Carlsen, 2008
E Jimenez Zerquera vs Larsen, 1967
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 page 1 of 141; games 1-25 of 3,517  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E T Jesty vs A Vajda  ½-½81923BCF Major OpenB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
2. L S Leif-Jones vs Alekhine 1-0281923Simul, 12bB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
3. A S Sergeev vs Y Vilner  1-0481925USSR ChampionshipB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
4. P Sherman vs H Sutherland  ½-½51192549th Oxford - Cambridge Varsity mB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
5. Bogoljubov vs Tarrasch 1-0231925BreslauB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
6. A Kubbel vs P Romanovsky  0-1341926Ch Trade UnionB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
7. E Steiner vs Gruenfeld  ½-½211926Budapest 1st FIDE MastersB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
8. Showalter vs Ed. Lasker 1-0581926ChicagoB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
9. A Becker vs Gruenfeld 0-1841927Trebitsch MemorialB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
10. E Berman vs Kashdan  0-1211927Junior MastersB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
11. Rubinstein vs S Bernstein 0-1241928Simul, 15bB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
12. Colle vs A Kraemer 1-0241928DortmundB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
13. J de Souza Mendes vs W O Cruz  0-1401928BRA-chB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
14. S Mlotkowski vs Ed. Lasker 0-14019282nd NCF CongressB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
15. Kupchik vs A Kevitz  1-0431929Manhattan CC Championship 1928/29B04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
16. H Borochow vs C L Bagby  1-0271929Californian State ChampionshipB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
17. G A Thomas vs A Vajda 1-0221929BudapestB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
18. H Wagner vs L Rellstab 1-0221930SwinemuendeB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
19. R P Michell vs Gruenfeld ½-½301930ScarboroughB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
20. G Stoltz vs L Rellstab 0-1281930Stoltz - RellstabB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
21. F Meller vs S Boros  ½-½581930GyorB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
22. A Becker vs J Schindler  1-0301930Vienna-Munich (m)B04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
23. G Stalda vs L Singer  1-0371931Italian ChampionshipB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
24. I Koenig vs S Beutum  1-0291931Trebitsch MemorialB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
25. J Balogh vs A Cruusberg  1-0341931Prague OlympiadB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
 page 1 of 141; games 1-25 of 3,517  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ganstaman> or
May-29-07  Knight13: <ganstaman> Repertoire Explorer: Lev Alburt (black) seems to be doing "OK" with that line...
May-29-07  Knight13: <1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bc4 Nb6 6. Bb3 <Bg7> 7. Ng5>

Maybe 6...Bg4 is okay.

Jun-02-07  ksadler: What's the big deal? I'd recommend .. e6 here or even .. d5. The thing people have to remember about the fianchetto is that it is a long-term strategy. If the center is closed until about move 20 it is ok! An example is: Ljubojevic vs Alburt, 1990 (a very messy game for both sides). If you want more of a traditional mix, play 4. Nf3 dxe5 5. Nxe5 c6, followed by .. Nd7, .. g6, .. Bg7, .. O-O, and there is no way to get at the Black king.
Aug-16-07  Where is my mind: me (1921) - black (2095) [B04]

This is a recent correspondence game played at two days a move.I was white.I got an incredible advantage in the opening and didn't realize it. 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 c6 6.0–0 Bg4 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Bg7 10.Nc3 e6 11.Ne4 Qc7 12.Bb3 Bxd4 [12...0–0 was played in the game Watson,W -Wohl,A ½–½ ] 13.Bxd5?? I thought this move and the line I played were good, preventing black from castling and gaining the initiative,but that wasn't what happened at all. [I missed this line.I didn't realize white had such a big advantage from the opening. 13.c4 Qe5 14.Re1 ] 13...cxd5 14.Nf6+ Bxf6 15.Qxf6 Rg8 16.Bg5 h6 17.Bxh6 Nd7 18.Qd4 g5 19.f4 gxf4 20.Qxf4 Qxf4 21.Bxf4 Nf6 22.Rad1 Rc8 23.c3 Ne4 24.Rfe1 b5 25.a3 f6 26.Rf1 Ke7 27.Be3 a5 28.Bd4 [28.Kh2 Kh2 is better here,I didn't see any trouble for my king until the next move,when I thought black was going to double his rooks.Black has a better plan.] 28...Rg6 29.Kh2 b4 30.cxb4 Rc2 31.Rg1 axb4 32.axb4 e5 33.Bc5+ Ke6 34.Rc1 [34.Ra1] 34...Rgxg2+! and white is finished. 0–1

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <where is my mind>

Two question marks for 13. Bxd5 seems awfully harsh, since after 13....cxd5 14. Nf6+ Bxf6 15. Qxf6 Rg8 Black has lots of weaknesses and is lagging in development. How about following up with 16. c4 Qe7 (16....Qxc4 17. Bg5 Qc7 18. Rac1 Qd7 19. Rc8+) 17. Qf3 and if 17....d4, then 18. Bg5?

I have lost some interesting Alekhines that I should post, especially the last game with you.

Nov-10-07  Where is my mind: Thanks <Keypusher> I like your suggested follow up. <some interesting Alekhines..> That would be great I'd like to have a look at them.
Mar-31-08  Knight13: A 1467 played Bc4 Bxf7+ after I played g6. He lost two pieces and eventually resigned, but does this sac really work? He did e6 d5 Qd5 and all that and my pieces were like immobile because of that e6 pawn.
Mar-27-09  offtherook: A couple years ago, when I first started to develop an interest in chess, I took up the Alekhine as an obscure opening that I hoped would throw off my opponents. Now, it is the opening I play best with black. No matter how much I try the Sicilian, French, Open Games, or Caro-Kann, I still don't get the same results I have had with Alekhine.

The "modern variation" with 4 Nf3 is by far the hardest thing to counter. The Exchange variation gives black no real problems, and in fact allows me to set up my position like a Sicilian Dragon, but without threats of White's usual kingside attack in the Dragon. The Four Pawns Attack (which I, in my foolhardy arrogance, employ as white) plays directly into black's Hypermodern plans. Such an overextended position as it leads to is extremely difficult to maintain. Other White options typically transpose into Classical French (which is pleasant enough for black) or dull lines of the Scandinavian defence. There's also the Chase variation, not particularly threatening.

Mar-27-09  refutor: <offtherook> what about the voronezh variation in the exchange? it gives players of all levels problems

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 O-O 9.b3

click for larger view

not too easy to play from the Black side

Mar-27-09  offtherook: <refutor> Perhaps it's because I only play against fellow patzers, but I don't really run into the Voronezh variation in practice. From my experience in my own games, the exchange Alekhine is where I score best as black. Anyways, if it were that huge a problem, it's always possible to play 5 ...exd5 for a more drawish position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offtherook> <refutor>

Here are some statistics from the gameknot site.

On gameknot overall,

12,692 Alekhine Defenses
641 5...cxd6's
128 examples of the position in Refutor's diagram.

On the gameknot "World" database (1.7 million games, players rated 2000 and up; not sure how far back it goes)

20,189 Alekhines
1,932 5....cxd6's
567 of Refutor's diagram

Me on gameknot:

66 Alekhines
8 examples of 5....cxd6 (I haven't played 5....exd6)
4 Voronezhs.

I scored two wins and two losses; I don't think the opening had much to do with the results.

In the World and Gameknot databases, White scored well with the Voronezh, but that's true of a lot of variations in the defense. The dedicated Alekhinist must expect to encounter a range of challenging lines. :-) The Voronezh is challenging, but you won't see it that much, and as offtherook notes you can avoid it if it really bothers you.

Mar-28-09  chessman95: <keypusher>

How'd you get those stats? I just joined gameknot so I'm new to all the features. Thanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <chessman95> On your game pages there is a Game DB link at the bottom. If you click on it you will find sub databases for World, Gameknot and yourself. You may have to be a premium member to look at the databases for more than a few moves, though.
Mar-28-09  refutor: <keypusher> i play the alekhine myself as black so i'm not saying that the voronezh has busted the alekhine by any means! i was responding to offtherook's comment that the "The Exchange variation gives black no real problems, and in fact allows me to set up my position like a Sicilian Dragon...". by statistics and by playing the position i would say that the exchange variation gives Black lots of problems
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <refutor> Fair enough. John Cox's Alekhine book argues that the Voronezh is overrated. I am not sure he's right, though.
Aug-20-10  rapidcitychess: I pretty much gave up the Alekhine because of the exchange variation. I always got stuck in a passive position with zero counter play.
Nov-24-10  rapidcitychess: I'm thinking of re-taking the Alekhine up. As a extra thing to play with my beloved Sveshnikov.

Is there a good, non-passive line to the Voronezh?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <rapidcitychess> If I were to pick up the Alekhine, I would start with this offbeat system:

J Benjamin vs Alburt, 1990

With an early ..Nb6, black avoids the exchange variation and Bc4 in one move, while allowing for the two-square push of the d-pawn. I feel Alburt went wrong with capturing on f3 when he could have retreated with ..Bh5

Nov-25-10  rapidcitychess: <Everett>

Interesting. I'll test it out.

It looks like the strategic idea of the line is a quick and blazing queenside attack, not unlike the French, but with our LSB problems. The question is: is the knight misplaced on b6? That will light the fire of the battle until the middlegame.

This doesn't solve my problem though.

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 and we get that evil idea again!

I don't find any other line besides the 4 pawns challenging. So either (gulp) I man up and face it, or I back down.

Or I ask again! :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Well, let Bronstein suggest another path.

Krogius vs Bronstein, 1971

Nov-26-10  rapidcitychess: <Everett> Insane, offbeat, and something none of my opponent's will know!

Thanks. :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Good luck <rapidcitychess>!
Mar-09-13  Rick556: I love playing the Alekhine, and love to study all of his openings and tricks - for those who want to dig even a little deeper - check out the Emory Tate Variation, those games are wild and crazy for both sides..
Mar-14-13  DcGentle: Currently I am researching the Modern Alekhine Defense, and I'd like to know the strongest variant White can muster against it. A friend of mine mentioned the following line:

<1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 g6 5. c4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be2 O-O 8. Be3 Nc6 9. O-O Bf5 10. exd6 cxd6>

click for larger view

This looks indeed strong for White, but as I already figured, Black should rather play <8... dxe5 9. Nxe5 Be6> and Black looks fine.

What are your experiences?

Currently I think Black has good chances, but perhaps I am too optimistic.

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