Learn the Alekhine's Defense: Books, Courses, YouTube Videos

Alekhine's Defense Picture

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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Popular Variations

  1. The Four Pawns Attack: 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6
  2. The Modern Variation: 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3
  3. The Exchange Variation: 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6
  4. The Scandinavian Variation: 2.d4 d6

The Four Pawns Attack: 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6

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: 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3

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.

The Scandinavian Variation: 2.d4 d6

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.

Common Strategy for Black

  • Rook Lifts: Rook lifts are a common strategic theme in Alekhine’s Defense. By maneuvering your rooks to open files on the kingside, you can create threats against White’s king while supporting your central and queenside play. Carefully coordinating your pieces and rooks can lead to decisive attacks and breakthroughs.
  • King Safety: As you unleash dynamic counterplay, don’t forget about king safety. Alekhine’s Defense can lead to sharp and tactical positions, and both kings can come under attack. Consider castling early and maintaining a solid defense around your king while remaining vigilant for potential threats.
  • Using Imbalances: It’s essential to exploit the imbalances created by Alekhine’s Defense to your advantage. The main imbalances usually involve pawn structure, central control, and piece activity. Look for opportunities to attack weak squares, create threats against White’s position, and launch counterattacks.

Common Strategy for White

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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Video Courses

1.e4 - How to tame the Alekhine, Scandinavian and Pirc
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