Alekhine's Defense Guide

Alekhine's Defense Guide

The Alekhine’s Defense is a chess opening for Black that starts with the moves 1.e4 Nf6. It's a hypermodern opening, where Black allows White to gain central space initially with the intent to undermine it later. The opening is named after Alexander Alekhine, the fourth World Chess Champion.

Alekhine's Defense moves

Typical plans in the Alekhine’s Defense for Black include targeting the center with moves like ...c5 or ...f6, rapid development and castling to bring rooks to central files (e.g., Re8 or Rc8), and looking for opportunities to counter-attack on the queenside or the center.

Key Ideas in the Alekhine’s Defense

  • Counterattack: Black's knight attacks the e4 pawn immediately, provoking White to advance their pawn to e5.
  • Flexible Defense: Black can adopt various pawn structures and counterattacking plans.
  • Piece Activity: Often leads to open and dynamic positions with active piece play for Black.

Common Maneuvers and Pawn Breaks

  • Knight Maneuvers: Nd5-b6 or Nd5-c6 depending on White's response, looking to counter the center.
  • Central Breaks: ...d6 and ...c5 are critical breaks for Black to challenge White's center.
  • Early Tactics: Be cautious of tactics like knight forks or double attacks, especially in the Four Pawns Attack.

Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the main advantages is the surprise factor. The Alekhine's Defense is less common, which can potentially catch opponents off guard.

Also, it leads to unbalanced positions, offering chances to play for a win.

The disadvantages are that Black can fall behind in development if not careful, and that if White manages to maintain the central pawn structure, Black might struggle for counterplay.

Most Played Line in the Alekhine’s Defense

The Modern Variation is the most played variation in the Alekhine’s Defense:

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5

Alekhine's Defense moves

White has attacked the knight, which has jumped to the most natural square.

3.d4 d6

Alekhine's Defense moves

White consolidates the center. Black challenges immediately with 3…d6.

4.Nf3 Bg4

Alekhine's Defense moves

White continues developing pieces. Black pins the knight with their bishop.

5.Be2 e6

Alekhine's Defense moves

White unpins their knight. Black makes space for their dark-squared bishop.

6.O-O Be7

Alekhine's Defense moves

7.c4 Nb6

Alekhine's Defense moves

White expands in the center, black retreats their knight to a safe spot.

Variations in the Alekhine’s Defense

Modern Variation

We just saw the Modern Variation in action with 4…Bg4 for black.

Black can also play 4…g6.

Alekhine's Defense moves

Also 4…dxe5.

Alekhine's Defense moves

Or the solid 4…c6.

Alekhine's Defense moves

Four Pawns Attack

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4

Alekhine's Defense moves

White establishes a wide center.

Exchange Variation

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.exd6

Alekhine's Defense moves

Chase Variation

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.a4 a5.

Alekhine's Defense moves

A less common but intriguing line aiming for queenside play.

Model Games

Related Chess Courses

Fighting 1.e4 – The Complete Repertoire for Black with FM Yuriy Krykun

Other Interesting Articles

Pirc Defense Guide

Modern Defense Guide

Scotch Game Guide

B02 Sub-variants:


Games on Database: 41762
Last Played: Jul 2024
Overall score:
37.8% 29.1% 33.1%

Played frequently by:

Eduardas Rozentalis 35 games
Heikki MJ Westerinen 34 games
Gyula Sax 32 games
Zoltan Varga 204 games
Vladimir Sergeev 184 games
Alexander Baburin 179 games

Possible continuations:

2. e5  30614
39.8 % 29.6 % 30.6 %
2. Nc3  9486
32.1 % 28.3 % 39.6 %
2. d3  1334
34.9 % 25.3 % 39.8 %
2. Bc4  193
37.8 % 20.2 % 42 %
2. Nf3  38
26.3 % 60.5 %
2. Qe2  32
31.3 % 56.3 %
2. d4  15
80 %
2. c4  14
35.7 % 28.6 % 35.7 %
2. f3  12
41.7 % 58.3 %
2. Bd3  9
22.2 % 66.7 %
2. Qf3  7
57.1 % 14.3 % 28.6 %
2. g3  3
33.3 % 66.7 %
2. c3  2
100 %