Chess openings – Alekhine’s Defence

Chess openings – Alekhine’s Defence

Chess Openings .com Alekhine’s Defense Welcome to Today is all
about Alekhine’s Defense, which is a dangerous reply to the king’s pawn opening.
Alekhine’s Defense begins with the moves pawn to e4, and knight to f6.
With this move knight f6, Black is trying to lure White’s central pawns
forward in order to make them into targets for his own attack. Let’s take
a look. Alekhine’s Defense begins with the moves pawn to e4, and knight
to f6. Now, for a long time no one considered this move, knight to f6, as
a serious reply to the king’s pawn opening. “After all,” they asked, “doesn’t
this just allow White to gain extra space with tempo by kicking the
knight around?” Indeed, White is already guaranteed an opportunity to bring
both of his pawns into aggressive placement in the center after the
common moves, pawn to e5, knight d5, and pawn d4. So literally, for
almost nothing White already gets two central pawns, one of the main goals of
the opening. And so, for a long time this position was
thought to just clearly favor White thanks to this big advantage in central
control, and I also want to point out that in this position, White can
increase his space advantage with even more gain of time with the move,
pawn to c4. So it really looks like Black is kind of off his rocker to play
the Alekhine’s Defense, but in the 1920s, a vocal set of players known as
the Hyper-Modernist suggested the idea that it
wasn’t necessary to occupy the center with pawns, but that instead you could
develop your pieces to attack the center from afar. It was with these ideas in mind that Alekhine,
and a group of other leading players at the time developed this defense,
which we now call the Alekhine’s Defense. In the Alekhine’s Defense
Black has three basic objectives. First, he wants to lure the White
pawns forward. Secondly, he wants to complete his development, and only
third does he want to begin a direct counterattack against the central squares.
So now, in this position Black’s standard move is pawn to d6. It didn’t
take long for White to discover three main methods of playing for
the advantage in this position. He can play pawn to c4 chasing the knight
back to b6, and then he can choose between two setups here. He can either
aggressively try to build an attack with the move, pawn to f4, which is
known as the Four Pawn’s Attack, or he can simply reply with pawn takes pawn
on d6, and this relinquishes a portion of his space advantage, but he aims
for a more solid position, which he can gradually strengthen, and this
is known as the Exchange Variation. In this position, Black can recapture with
either pawn leading to different sort of positions which are generally thought
to a little bit better for White, but nothing too overwhelming. But after
much practice, White players have more or less settled on this simple move,
knight to f3, and this is called the Modern Variation. With the Modern
Variation, White is simply adhering to classical principles of development,
and is remaining flexible about whether or not he want to play c4, or
whether or not he wants to capture on d6, and he’s going to remain flexible
about these decisions until the proper moment. Now, there are some unexpected benefits to
delaying this move, pawn to c4, which is that Black also needs to take into
account White’s ability to transfer a bishop to the square c4 if he decides
that that’s going to be the most appropriate option. In fact, this
sets Black a funny little problem, because if you would just simply
glance at this position you’d probably suggest that Black play the move,
pawn to g6, just preparing to bring out his dark-squared bishop, complete
castling, put pressure on the center.
However, White actually has a very interesting and very strong approach to
this. In this possession, he can now play bishop to c4, since he’s left
that square available for his bishop, and now after the natural retreat,
knight b6, bishop b3, bishop g7, it was discovered in this position that
White has an outstanding game after this move, knight to g5, starting an
attack on the f7 point. Now, ordinarily, Black would simply castle
in the event of something like this, but in this position White has a way
to add that extra bit of pressure to f7 by playing the move, pawn d6.
Of course, I want to point out very quickly that ordinarily it would not
take twice on f7. Giving up two minor pieces for a rook and pawn is normally
favorable for Black in this situation. So it’s not…this is not the idea
that White is counting on when he plays knight to g5. Instead, what’s
he’s counting on in this position is e6, bringing another attacker
to the f7 point, and in fact, if Black captures the pawn, pawn takes pawn,
but he has no way to avoid material loss after the move, bishop takes
pawn on e6, and now certainly if Black would capture on e6, then knight would
arrive on e6 with a fork, and after king h8 White has two excellent options;
knight f7 would win material, but probably even stronger would
be h4 trying to crack open the H file with a very, very strong attack in this
position. Of course, Black does not have to take the
pawn on e6, but he is kind of short on options. The only other strong move
would be pawn to f6, but of course, the knight will appear on f7, and
this is a really, really, unpleasant situation for Black with this knight
sitting in the heart of his position, and this pawn on e6. This is not
how Black would like to see this position play out. So, it turns out in this
position that Black really can’t afford to castle king side in this position,
and he’s got to do something to block up this attack by the knight
to the bishop on f7. Now, the move, pawn to d5, is probably a little
bit too submissive, as this is just takes the pressure right off of the center.
Now, you even lost some of the utility of this bishop development here,
and ordinarily White would just play something like the typical f4, and
he’ll always be ready to retreat the knight, keep his center very well
consolidated, and this is not exactly Black’s most aggressive option here,
or his most challenging option for White. Instead, Black normally plays the move, pawn
to e6, if he knows the traps of non- castling. Then now after this move
e6, a typical method for White to keep his initiative going is probably going
to be some move like queen f3 attacking on f7, and now after the move,
queen to e7, White plays knight e4. Excellent move, which is preparing to
bring this bishop to g5. We’re just not giving Black any moment for a breather
here. Whereas, if instead Black castles here, the idea wouldn’t be to
play simply queen to h3, an aggressive pulse for the queen, and now after
h6, knight f3 with an attack on h6, and Black is forced to weaken his king
side, and White has some prospects of attacking this position. The variations we’ve just looked at are interesting
for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we’ve shown that there is
no end in sight to the hassles that Black can expect if he plays the move,
pawn to g6, and White knows about this idea of rapidly attacking f7. Secondly,
we’ve also shown one of the key advantages of this advanced pawn on
e5, which is its ability to make its way into the attack with the move,
pawn to e6, at a moment’s notice if necessary. So for a long time in
this position, players on the Black side focused mostly on this move, bishop
g4, in this position. With this simple pin, Black threatens to capture
an important defender of the central pawns, the knight on f3, and it’s
through this means that he hopes to slightly increase his pressure on the center. Now, White usually continues with development,
and the interesting thing is that Black still can’t really get away with
this move, pawn to g6, as White still gets a sudden and overwhelming attack
after the move, knight g5, a very strong move here, and now after bishop
takes e2, queen takes e2. The threat of e5 to e6, there’s that pawn that
we just talked about is a real bummer in Black in this position. So Black
must submit himself, actually, to a combination in this position in order
to just avoid just being completely squashed with this move e6. He’s
got to play h6 here, but now White has no problems sacrificing a piece.
Knight takes f7, king takes f7, queen f3 check, king e6, and now just the
move, pawn to c4, and here he hasn’t exactly said that White is winning
in this position, but again, I think there is no question that this is not
what Black was looking for in the opening. White certainly has at least
enough compensation for his piece. Instead after this move, bishop to e2, instead
of playing pawn to g6, Black ordinarily plays pawn to e6. Then now after
castling, and bishop to e7, White will play something, for example, pawn
c4, knight b6, and knight to c3, and I think it looks pretty good, that
White’s play has gone pretty smoothly, and it’s gone harmoniously, and
Black is not developed much counterattack on the center for the space
advantage that he’s conceded to White. So this is looking, once again, pretty
nice for White. Backing up, it’s safe to say that White is looking forward
to some sort of advantage if Black plays the moves, pawn g6, or bishop
to g4 in this position, and I think it’s due to some of these factors, that
the modern Alekhine’s Defense players of today have begun preferring this
move pawn takes pawn in the center. Now, White has an option about how to recapture
this pawn, but it’s generally been found that if White takes with
the pawn, pawn takes pawn in the center. Now, Black plays bishop g4, bishop
b2, and knight d6, and because of this pressure on the e5 pawn, which
is already very uncomfortable to defend, Black already gets
a very comfortable game. So the major battleground of this line occurs after
the move knight takes pawn. With this move, White still keeps a space
advantage in the center, and he’s keeping Black’s options for development somewhat
restricted. Here also it’s important to keep in mind that White preserves
both options of either bishop to c4, or pawn to c4. There are a couple of ways he can develop
his position from here. On the other hand, the position is not too scary
for Black, since he can always look for moves, like knight d7, trying to
exchange off knights at some point, and can generally just develop his
pieces pretty solidly here. So he shouldn’t run into too many difficulties,
if he’s careful. So a standard way is to go, for example, would be pawn to
g6, and now bishop c4, of course, and playing pawn to c4 immediately
would also be an option in this position, and now pawn to c6, castling king
side, bishop g7, rook e1. All very natural moves here, and castling king
side, and now White’s typical plan that he selects here is generally bishop
to b3 looking to play the move, pawn to c4, knight to c3, and this is
all very natural, and there are a lot of games that should have been playing
in these positions, which are very interesting. Black has definitely developed some very interesting
ways to get counter- play. Whereas, there is some very instructive
examples of how White can use his spatial advantage, and it’s important
to keep in mind that Black does have a dark-squared bishop bearing down on
the long diagonal, and so the position is asymmetrical, and if White makes
any sort of misstep, it’s very easy for the game to be become very active,
and very loaded, and Black could very quickly get some counter-play in
these kinds of positions. And this is what still attracts some players
to plays the Alekhine’s Defense. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief
tour of the Alekhine’s Defense. In this video we have taken a look at some
of the key ideas in the Alekhine’s Defense, but we’ve also taken a
look at the modern variation. This is White’s most solid way to gain a slight
advantage against the Alekhine’s Defense, and I highly recommend
this if you find yourself on the White side of the Alekhine’s Defense. On the
other hand, if you play this opening with Black, you’re taking on some
big risk, but you may be rewarded handsomely, since if you play courageously,
you may be able take White down in these asymmetrical positions which arise.
You may also find that your opponent is less well prepared for the Alekhine’s
Defense as opposed to something like the Sicilian, or the King’s
Pawn game, and thirdly even if you find yourself in a few uncomfortable positions
by studying those positions, you’ll definitely learn a lot about
chess, and these can be a tremendous source of learning in the Alekhine’s
opening. Thank you for watching, and I can’t wait to
see you again.

92 thoughts on “Chess openings – Alekhine’s Defence

  1. your analysis starting 4:10 is incomplete. Black is more than fine after the moves…
    1. e4 Nf6
    2. e5 Nd5
    3. Nf3 g6
    4. Bc4 Nb6
    5. Bb3 Bg7
    6. Ng5? d5 (instead of 0-0? .. 7. e6 f5 and black is not doomed)
    .. this obvious move d5 defends well against premature attacking plans by white, where now Black has gained tempi and with focus on development, Black could easily have an advantage.

  2. btw, I realize now it sounded like I wasn't grateful for the video. I really appreciate your videos, they are very helpful, thank you!

  3. @asmengistu Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I definitely should have been clearer about a few points. I appreciate the feedback! -Dereque

  4. Great work again! You're showing more and more with every video that I know nothing about chess and that all I was doing was guessing. That's a good thing, what you're doing!

  5. Completely blocking the a1-g8 diagonal of your black bishop. Takes pressure away from the center and loses space there. and you've moved the same pawn twice and the same night 3 times in the first 6 moves…d5 is very passive and will have trouble equalizing.

  6. well the position in discussion is from Alekhine's defence.. which plays that way in the beginning (3 knight moves). It has been used in master games before.. I haven't seen 6. Ng5 in any master database however. And d5 I believe is one of the few good defensive moves for that position

  7. I'm not so sure about that? I think it's important to be objective though. Black is taking a big strategic risk with 1…Nf6 but it can and often does pay off. If you are a fan of the Alekhine's Defense and it works for you – then simply use this information to help you play it better. If it stimulates you to consider new openings, go for it! -Dereque

  8. you dont play alekhine defense for a boring QGD transposition by play D5. Lovers of alekhine defense it is because of its demonstration that you can break all the so-called rules and get a great game of chess that is complex and tactically can be very sharp! After all chess is supposed to be fun!

  9. Dereque! Your videos are very good. I like how you explain the ideas and goals of an opening. I haven't seen another channel that does this.

  10. I've seen many variations in this modern opening. There is plenty of analysis to be made going forward. Kelley provided more than enough. I mean the video would be like 3 hrs if he was going to really get into a list of lines. 8D

  11. Thank you for the video. I am 1700+ on ICC and this is the first time I've seen the e6 idea in response to g7. very cool.

  12. Every one of your videos is so well prepared. The lines you choose to go over the truest and most accurate. I have learned so much. Thank you for your contribution to chess. I can't wait to see what you go over next. Perhaps you might want to expand your video selection and go over so famous games or just some chess history. Keep up the great work!

  13. you're doing an awesome job…….how about going a bit further and describing the opening bit more deeper…….you're ideas are superb but bit more depth analysis would be appreciated…..#just a suggestion….anyways great

  14. Hehe, it turned out I was white :), must have been really confused. But I really liked this video especially the focus on what might go wrong for black
    is interesting since I have a hard time understanding these modern openings.

  15. At 9:50, after Nc3, can't black take on f3, and if Bxf3 back, then Nxc4? No, white takes on b7 and wins the rook 🙂

  16. thanks a lot kelly ,but i think we need to learn more and more about opening ,so please can you make the explanation for every defence deeper perhaps in more than one video for every defence

  17. I'm not very good at chess, so this probably sounds really dumb… but what does black do if white plays 3.c4?

  18. I'm always having a difficult time when playing the Alekhine's Defence because most of my opponents will pressure me with the threats to the knight. And after a short while, my gameplay crumbles.

    Alekhine's Defence is a strong opening, but hard to master.

  19. i'd prefer to trade black's bishop for white's knight. because that knight is a very strong. normally we don't want to trade bishops for knights. but not in this case i think.

  20. A very poor analysis and an incomplete one. Saying this cause I've studied this defence in depth and playing against strong players (2200+)

  21. I went to a mall a few hours away from where I live and smack dab in the middle of it there was a huge chess club going on! I mean, there wasn't a lot of people, but we had state champions and such there. It was a lot of fun, but helped me realize how much I still have to improve… XD

  22. Thank you very much Dereque! I played the most stupid opening I could figure out in tournament – Alekhine`s defense Scandinavian variation and barely got a draw. I wish I had watched this video previously.

  23. In Russian language the surname is pronounced as [alekheen]. [a] like "algorithm" and [ee] like "kindergarten".

  24. If you play the Alekhine's Defence, please visit my www: You can find there a lot of interesting games, some books reviews, tips and tricks, etc.

  25. I go to Dereque regularly as he is a character (rare in calculating chess minded folks) as well as logical understandable opening choices.

  26. A very good and useful lesson!You cant play strong without opening preparation,can you?Alekhine is my favourite world champion!😃😃😃

  27. I have a question though,
    Why not, after (white) e-4, (black) f-6 (white) e-5 move your black knight to g4?
    This way you attack white's pawn, and it will force white to either lose the pawn, or wreck open it's flank.
    Now, I use this opening a lot and am winning quite much with it (it has to be noted that I have an ELO of only around 900 though..)

  28. I love your air of neutrality when you explain these endings. That makes me have to ask, what is your favorite oepning, and what is your preferable defense to e4? Your nimzo video has made me bouncing back between that and the chigorin. Thanks for everything Dereque.

  29. stockfish recommends 2:c4 isnt it better to gain more tempo and space while kicking the knight further around ?

  30. Very c;ever analysis, well presented. But, Please lear how to pronounce the name of the grand master, it is Alehin, there is no "k" sound, at all

  31. RUYE LOPAZ was considered to be very best openings because it was played by Boby Fisher. Aelkeine was senior to him and at that time Capablanca was in the field. I also played that opening but game was heading longer and I don't had good moves.

  32. You should discuss black moves more than white moves since u are talking about alekhine defence. Or just change the title to – Playing against Alekhine defence.

  33. Great video. You didn't cover if white plays c4 as their 2nd move attacking the Knight again. Would this be a mistake for white?

  34. i love how u explain things from both sides….your a great communicator and teacher….will be looking for more of your analyses ..thks

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