Saturday, November 26, 2011

Alekhine's Defense

I love Alekhine's Defense, specifically the Brooklyn Defense, which wins me games in part due to its obscurity. There is considerable shock value in resetting Black's position on the second move. It is quite natural for White to feel contempt for the opening, which apparently achieves nothing after the second move, but is the contempt justified? In the following game, my opponent underestimated it--and me--and was shocked to find himself on the losing end.

I am not sure whether I played the best moves in this game, but I have no complaint with the result. I would hazard a guess that my opponent played too passively. Alekhine's is a scrap, nothing else to say about it, and those who expect the initial peace and calm of something along the lines of a Benko's Opening are in for a surprise.

[White "anon"]
[Black "igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1856"]
[BlackElo "1882"]
[TimeControl "900"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ng8 3. d4 d6 4. exd6 Qxd6

To recapture with a pawn is just too passive for Black in my opinion, although it may appeal to players of the Sicilian.

5. c4?

A mistake, in my opinion, albeit a tempting move for White because it resembles the usual pawn structure of the Queen's Gambit.

5. .. e5?!

I don't see why I can't play this move, but I have a strange feeling there could be a refutation out there. Until someone shows me the error of my ways, I intend to continue. Perhaps 6. d5 is White's best response, but I'm not quite sure yet.

6. Nf3? exd4!

White's center takes a hit. I believe I have at least equalized. White's pawn on c4 merely deprives his King's bishop of a good post. I actually tried 6. .. e4? in the past, but it's a bad idea to leave White's center intact, and defending the pawn on e4 is not really feasible.

7. Qxd4 Nc6 8. Qd3?

White would be better off trading Queens rather than giving me more tempos.

8. .. Bg4

No unnecessary pawn moves for me. After my first two 'crazy' moves, I adhere to the maxim of rapid development.

9. Nbd2?

Just too passive and reactionary. White needs to play bolder moves and sooner rather than later.

9. .. O-O-O!

Not looking good for White. I imagine he is sweating now.

10. Qxd6

Finally White wises up and gets rid of my irritating Queen.

10. .. Bxd6 11. Be2?

Again, just too passive. One does not win games through defense alone.

11. .. Nf6 12. O-O Rhe8

My development is complete, but White has a bishop stuck on the bottom rank and his rooks are idle.

13. Re1 Nb4!

Threatening a fork.

14. Nd4

I found this position complicated and spent three minutes pondering it, which seems excessive. I hadn't drunk enough tea this morning. White's potential Bxg4+ kept coming up again and again in my calculations. In the end, I decided I had to take the bishop and be done with it or else risk giving White a critical tempo.

14. .. Bxe2 15. Rxe2 Bf4!

My dark-squared bishop was idle, so I found employment for it. White's weak spot is clearly the knight on d2. White wants very much to move it to a more profitable square, but I do not wish to allow that. If 16. N2f3, then 16. .. Rxe2 17. Nxe2 Rd1+ and mate in the next move.

16. Rxe8 Rxe8 17. Kf1 Nd3 18. N2f3?

My opponent was moving too fast, angling for a time advantage, since I was down by four minutes. 18. N4f3 seems better for White. 18. .. Ne4 can be countered by 19. g3! and I don't get much more than a pawn for my trouble.

18. .. Bxc1 0-1

He could have played on, but I think he was annoyed at losing a piece to such an "inferior" opening. At any rate, with almost eight minutes remaining, I think I could have won. He challenged me to a rematch immediately after, but I don't like to play rematches immediately. I need downtime after a game to collect my thoughts. I like to engage in post-analysis of my games as well.

I must admit the chief appeal of Alekhine's for me is that it is not the Sicilian. Playing the most popular openings exposes one to prepared lines and novelties. Alekhine's lures White into playing Black's game. I feel that the Brooklyn Defense may be the optimal variation of the Alekhine's, if for no other reason than shock value and breaking out of book early. One of the things I never liked about the traditional Alekhine's was how White gets another free tempo (c4) and exiles Black's knight to Siberia over on b6, where it is of minimal use.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

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