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b_irie 38 ( +1 | -1 )
Who likes Alekhine opening?? If you do, join this MT: ->
In the process of inviting people to the MT, however, I've encountered some very strong opinions about the opening (mostly bad)! I don't know much about it, that's why i signed up. Just curious if it polarizes everyone, or just the folks I spoke with.
Cheers / Jeff
tugger 31 ( +1 | -1 )
i like the opening as white... that four pawns attack gives white lots of space, and it suits my game... i have tried it as black, and despite the database suggesting it is an opening slightly in black's favour, i haven't had much success... let's hope that changes in this tourny...!

coyotefan 6 ( +1 | -1 )
The opeing is bad for black White wins over 60% of the points. Average is around 54%
ganstaman 60 ( +1 | -1 )
More stunning analysis from coyotefan. If you think an opening is bad, show us how to beat it. Quoting stats shows that you don't understand a thing about the opening.

Alekhine's Defense is a fine opening if you truly understand what you're doing. It provides decent winning chances while moving the game to a particular type of position (so if you're comfortable with hypermodern openings, you'll do fine, otherwise you'll be squeezed to death).

This is a great site that explains the opening and the variations well: ->
tim_b 26 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman I sympathise with your point, but coyotefan didn't win his high rating in a diplomacy contest, but over the chess board.

I'm not au fait with this defence, but it feels to me that black has to compromise his development doing a frenzied knight tango?
fmgaijin 92 ( +1 | -1 )
Read Statistics Correctly! Statistics for low-rated players in ANY database are irrelevant and should be discarded. Don't leave 1000-rated players in your ChessBase searches, please. Among stronger players, Alekhine's does just fine. For example, in the GK database for players over 1900, Alekhine's D. has 39% White wins and 31% Draws. That's a total of 54.5%, which is no worse than the French, the Caro-Kann, and other "mainstream" openings. and it scores more wins for Black than anything except the Sicilian. The Alekhine remains a viable fighting defense that is NOT suited for everyone, but a certain core of aggressive players have used it repeatedly and successfully as a primary or secondary defense for Black at the GM level for the past 30+ years. Personally, I have OTB wins against GM's and IM's and actually achieved an equal position out of the opening vs. Anand (who then proceeded to beat me because he's Anand and I'm me, not because the Alekhine lost by force!)
zenbum 99 ( +1 | -1 )
Statistics... that coyotefan is right on this one. In fact, if anything, he's understating the case.

In my over-2400Elo-since-1986 database I have about 700,000 games (including tens of thousands of correspondence games). After 1.e4 Nf6, White's score is 69%. Only 2% of top-level Black players facing 1.e4 are crazy enough to try the Alekhine. I would call that "refuted".

Fmgaijin, perhaps we need to ask Anand about your assessment of equality. ;) At any rate, anecdotal evidence and small sample sizes don't prove much. Maybe your mojo was just unusually strong that day. ;)

The Alekhine is no doubt an effective weapon in OTB games against mediocre opponents, due mainly to its surprise value. Most mere mortals can't memorize the best variations of every opening. But many IM's and GM's can. And any competent CC player with a decent database can do even better.

If I ever have to play White against Cyrano, my only hope of winning is that he chooses the Alekhine. ;)
fmgaijin 38 ( +1 | -1 )
Upping the Ante Gee, I just searched MY database which has over 3,000,000 games including correspondence for Alekhine's Defense by over-2300 rated players since 1996 and found . . . 54% for White.

P.S. That was ANAND'S post-mortem and published assessment of the position, borne out by my defeat a year later of GM Thipsay and draw with IM Liew (where I had the advantage) FROM THE SAME POSITION . . .
ganstaman 75 ( +1 | -1 )
zenbum "In my over-2400Elo-since-1986 database I have about 700,000 games (including tens of thousands of correspondence games). After 1.e4 Nf6, White's score is 69%. Only 2% of top-level Black players facing 1.e4 are crazy enough to try the Alekhine. I would call that "refuted". "

Ok, if it's refuted, please give me the losing line. Can you show me where best play by black leads, and convince me that black is worse off in that position?

I'm pretty sure the answer is no. You don't win a game just because the stats say that others have won more in the past. You win a game by actually achieving the better position. And if you check out the link I posted or material on the Alekhine's Defense, you will see that black isn't at a disadvantage over other openings.
bogg 72 ( +1 | -1 )
Database stats My ultra-clean 160,000 game database of games where both players are rated over 2450 contains 818 Alekhine defense games, a significant sample for statistical evaluation. Black scores 43% with an elo delta of -49. The average when defending against e4 is 45% with an elo delta of -40. Black seems to give up a small amount of expectancy based upon a statistical analysis but the Alekhine defense is clearly playable form a statistical standpoint.

CTC (Bogg)

Translating the above into player rating information:
I would expect a person who consistently plays the Alekhine defense would have a rating approximately 3 points lower than if they played an "average" defense against 1. e4.
zenbum 79 ( +1 | -1 )
fmgaijin... Obviously you have very strong feelings on this subject! I meant no offense and hope none was taken.

I might very well be wrong about your beloved opening; maybe it's the best thing since buttered toast. I'm just passing on what I found in my research. In the interests of correcting my ignorance, I'd love to read the published analyses of your games. Please tell me where I can find them.

I'm a little skeptical, however, that anyone has more than 3 million non-duplicated games by over-2300 players since 1996. Again, I might be wrong, but I naturally have to wonder if that figure is inflated. If you can show us any reputable citations that such a thing exists, I'll happily eat my hat. ;)

Best wishes...
zenbum 87 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman... "Ok, if it's refuted, please give me the losing line. Can you show me where best play by black leads, and convince me that black is worse off in that position? I'm pretty sure the answer is no."

The level of proof you demand is absurd. One can no doubt find lots of games in which Black wins after playing 1...a6 2...h6, even against higher rated opponents. That doesn't suggest, however, that one should recommend it as a sound opening.

All the objective evidence we've seen posted here (including fmgaijin's report that Anand crushed him) suggests that Alekhine's Opening statistically increases Black's chances of losing. If you're convinced that you can overcome that deficit because of your deep intuitive understanding of the opening, then by all means play it. But please don't expect me to call it a sound opening.

kewms 36 ( +1 | -1 )
Why don't you all join the MT and see what happens? Databases don't play games, people do. The only way to refute an opening is to beat it over the board.

FWIW, NCO evaluates most of the Alekhine lines as unclear or equal. A few are +/= for White, which translates as "an edge so small only GMs can find it." Maybe one or two are +/- for White, which is an edge we mortals might be able to exploit.

ganstaman 74 ( +1 | -1 )
zenbum I'm not claiming to be great at this game. All I'm saying is that you can't show any real disadvantage to black in this opening. That's not an absurd request. I'm not saying, "here, look, the Alekhine Defense can win a game." I'm saying, "here, look, the Alekhine's Defense gets you a good game every time unless you don't know what you're doing."

I also can't believe you think it's unsound. That is absurd. It's offbeat, risky, double-edged, yes. But perfectly sound. It invites white to overextend without providing targets for white to attack (the knight is never in any real danger, it just travels around to bait white forwad). It accepts a spacial disadvantage for good counterattacking chances. And it works. How is that unsound.
ganstaman 52 ( +1 | -1 )
ah, i get it now Reading your profile, zenbum , I can see why you don't like the Alekhine's Defense. You just don't like hypermodern openings in general. The Pirc and Modern are fully playable and sound openings. Yet you don't trust them either. Just because you don't understand and/or like the openings doesn't make them unsound.

For example, I don't enjoy playing the black side of the Sicilian, and also can't really play it well. Should I conclude that the Sicilian is unsound?
ccmcacollister 242 ( +1 | -1 )
In d-base opening statistics ... there is only One that matters. The quality of the position resulting from the play in the Best line of an opening. And That Stat does not exist! Therefore it has to be relegated to being Result for the Best Line(s) of play, that comes closest to having any meaning in estimating soundness. Almost invariably the BEST play will Not be the most popular and most played line. Rather it will most often be a seldom played line ventured by the best players of an opening, unless it becomes very well known and established over time. And such lines are almost invariably not "unsound" for either side. Rarely does a mainline go from Mainline to Unsound in one swoop of miraculous improvement. In Chess d-bases increasing the sample size usually only increases the content of mediocrity.
If Alekines were unsound, GM's would not be playing it in competition with peers. [Or they will not be GM's very much longer if it is unsound and they are playing it.] Granted it is a difficult opening to fathom, as its nature is different from most all other openings. Its difficulty to understand is no doubt part of the charm to adherants. Most players cannot play it well, and this may well skew even the relatively meaningless statistic of popularity vs result ratio.
Additionally, as touched on above, if seeking to determine the "soundness" of an opening, even Result may have little to do with that factor.
For EG endgame losses are meaningless unless WT has maintained a steady pull thruout the game and forced an endgame win. Such a pull rarely exceeds 20 moves. If you figure a liberal 20 moves as opening, and add another 20 moves for the "pull" WT might get toward a win result, then losses by Alekhines of longer than a (again, liberal #) 40 move game probably have nothing to do with the opening choice. Again only an estimation, and the assessment of actual position in
a game is the only really valid measure of the openings soundness. Any game in which the position was ever Equal or better for BL is clearly not the openings fault if a loss was taken. imo. If Alekines IS unsound then there should be virtually NO Master-plus level losses to it. And virtually all Wins against it at that level, particularly in Corr. play. For even if they do not Know the refutation line, it should become visible to most such players in the course of play.
zenbum 92 ( +1 | -1 )
you *almost* get it now Ganstaman, you apparently didn't notice a detail in my profile that's very relevant here: I said that in OTB games, the Pirc/Modern is almost all I play as Black. So, contrary to your insinuation, I'm not allergic to hypermodernism. (BTW why do we still use that name for a 100-yo idea?)

In all honesty, I have no antipathy towards Alekhine's Opening. In fact, if I were in zany mood and wanted to get chased all over the board while counterattacking White's central pawn wall, I might very well play it. If you peruse my past games here, you'll see I play the Grunfeld as Black from time to time, which has some similar themes.

Anyway, I have no intention of disparaging anyone's pet opening. If you enjoy playing it, then fine. And if you do well with it, then even more fine. But if top-level players shy away from it, then don't jump all over someone for pointing that out.

fmgaijin 96 ( +1 | -1 )
zenbum: you misread part of my post Read carefully: I searched my database OF 3 million plus games FOR AD games by over-2300 rated players since 1996. Read carefully before getting sarcastic.

Oh, BTW: that Anand game was in Chess Informant and is cited in ECO. You can find many more of my famous losses floating around in Alekhine Defense books, where some of my worst games serve as stem lines for chapters--but thus far I have always managed to keep afloat by looking for new and better lines.

Bogg has it right--AD is an opening that sacrifices a few % points overall in order to play for more wins with Black. It's a good opening for SWISS events, but a risky one for Round-Robins except in a late round where you absolutely need a win. Players who grew up with Swisses are more likely to have an opening like this in their repetoire than those who graduated to the elite tournaments early.
fmgaijin 67 ( +1 | -1 )
zenbum II A further note: you altered my statement that Anand beat me from an equal position because he's Anand and I'm me to "Anand crushed fmgaijin," which is NOT at all the smae thing. I actually made him think (one time for over 15 minutes!) and the game ended with a mild time scramble on both sides, somewhat rare for Anand, particularly back then. "Crushed" better describes my loss to GM Johansen who came in with a prepared novelty and I found all of the worst ideas in response over the board. But I'm not afraid of that line, either--in the post-mortem and subsequent analysis, we found improvements that I used successfully later . . .
loreta 21 ( +1 | -1 )
Salt in our cup You've to eat a pound of salt before you'd truly enjoy it. Ir requires good understanding of main principles of its positions. Maybe, more deeply, than in some other (and "mainstream") openings. regards, yours ....
bogg 113 ( +1 | -1 )
What I like about Chess ... is that weak players customarily listen to stronger players. They may ask questions, they may even challenge on occasion (searching for a more understandable answer), but they almost never insist that they are correct just because they say so. It is very hard to improve if you ignore the thoughts and ideas of those that are more knowledgable than you.

CTC (Bogg)

While the science of statistics may help to narrow your search for truth in chess it will not answer any questions. Chess is not a game of chance, probability does not enter into the equation in any fashion. A database could have millions of games from some specific position all won by White with Black having a forced win that hasn't yet been found. How many times has some variation of the Dragon been refuted for one side or the other until someone finds the correct idea? These frequently show up in databases with statistical evaluations favoring the side that loses by force, people quit playing and winning with the variation once it has been refuted!
stendhar 47 ( +1 | -1 )
IMHO I stopped playing the Alekhine because of the followinf variation: 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 de5 5.Ne5 g6 6.Qf3. This is regarded as a side line and it isn;t played very often, but the move that is forced 6...f6, is too unaestethic for my taste. I'm not saying that this refutes the defense in question, merely that this isn't my cup of tea. I like hypermodern defenses, like the Grunfeld, but that has no "ugly" lines, so far.
I strongly belive that you should play what fits you, not what is necesseraly considered best or fashionable.
futile 19 ( +1 | -1 )
stendhar I am interested in the line you brought up, particularly in black's move 4. ... dxe5. I'm not familiar with it, as the main lines are either 4. ... Bg4 or 4. ... g6. Could you lead me through the ideas behind exchanging on e5? Thank you.

masros 31 ( +1 | -1 )
My over 500,000 high rated computer vs computer games say 49% white and 29% black.My GK's 40,000 games with player rating over 2000 say 48% white and only 28% for black.Corr 2004 database say 47% white and 29% black.So what can I say white is much better with 10% in Alekhine Opening.I never play it.
fmgaijin 66 ( +1 | -1 )
I Can't Help But Point Out . . . . . . that my good friend Masros regularly plays ANOTHER opening variation with Black that shows White with over 60% among 2300+ players in my database. Guess we all have our dirty little opening secrets *LOL*! Maybe his computers do better? Of course, it's a type of position that computers don't play particularly well on either side, much like the Alekhine (when I put Fritz on post-mortems in this opening, its evaluation frequently jumps all over the place). BTW, I happen to think that the line Masros employs IS perfectly playable, just difficult unless you know it well.