Alekhine’s Defense is a hyper-modern opening popularized by Alexander Alekhine in 1921 that starts with the moves: 1. e4 Nf6. Contrary to the classical school of thought, Black allows white to create a formidable pawn center in order to undermine it later in the game. The central battle revolves around White trying to show the pawn center is a strength, while Black tries to prove it’s a weakness. Alekhine’s defense is a relatively offbeat and aggressive choice for black, with good counterattacking chances for Black.
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One of the main lines that arise after 1.e4 Nf6 is the Four Pawns Attack (2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6). In this variation, White aggressively pushes the e-pawn, aiming to establish a strong central presence. However, Black can counteract this with 3…d6, attacking the e5 pawn and beginning to exert pressure on White’s center.
The Modern Variation is a popular continuation from the Four Pawns Attack. After 4.Nf3, White develops their knight, reinforcing the e5 pawn and preparing for further central expansion. In response, Black can consider various moves, such as 4…Bg4, 4…Nc6, or 4…dxe5, each leading to different pawn structures and plans.
The Exchange Variation: 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6
In the Exchange Variation, White captures the knight on d5 with the c4 pawn (5.exd6). By exchanging pieces early in the opening, White aims to simplify the position and reduce the potential for Black’s counterplay. As Black, you can choose between 5…cxd6 or 5…exd6, both leading to different types of positions.
An alternative to 1.e4 Nf6 is the Scandinavian Variation (1.e4 d5), where Black immediately challenges the e4 pawn. After 2.d4 d6, Black seeks to transpose into Alekhine’s Defense (if White plays 3.Nc3) or continue with other lines like 3.c4 Nb6, 3.exd6, or 3.f4.
Overall, White’s strategy in Alekhine’s Defense often revolves around central control, quick piece development, and preparing for a dynamic middlegame. White needs to prove that his pawns are not a weakness but contribute to a crushing space advantage.
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