"All in one": A crazy Alekhine

by ChessBase
9/22/2022 – In the ChessBase Magazine column "All in one" you can learn everything you need to know about a specific opening variation on the basis of a single, extensively annotated game in order to be able to add it to your repertoire or even try it out directly in practice! In the current CBM #209, for example, the Ukrainian GM Yuriy Kuzubov presents a surprise weapon against the Alekhine Defence. 4.a4 followed by 5.Ra3 - have you ever seen that before? You can find a short version of his analysis here.

ChessBase Magazine 209 ChessBase Magazine 209

2022 Candidates Tournament with videos by Rogozenco and Ris, "Special" on Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, opening videos by King, Marin and Sokolov. 11 opening articles with new ideas for your repertoire and much more.


Record-breaking rook development

Yuriy Kuzubov provides a complete overview for the variation 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.a4

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

An interesting and unusual attempt for White to cause a crisis in the opening. Now Black has 3 ways to defend against the a4–a5 threat.

4...a5 The most logical move.

4...d6 5.a5 N6d7 6.exd6 (6.e6 At first glance this typical sacrifice looks very promising for White but after deep analysis I have concluded that Black is ok here and even can claim some advantage. Anyway, this line could be used as White in blitz or rapid games especially if you are sure that your opponent is not well prepared. 6...fxe6 7.d4 e5!) 6...exd6 (Worse is 6...cxd6 7.d4 g6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.Be2 0–0 10.0–0 Nc6 11.d5! Nxa5 12.Ra2N Qc7 13.Be3 b6 (13...Nxc4? 14.Qc1 b5 15.b3 and White is slightly better) 14.Na3 a6 15.Nd4 White has more than compensation for the pawn.) 7.d4 Be7 8.Bd3 0–0 9.Ne2 (9.Nf3 seems more natural to me.) 9...d5 10.0–0 (10.c5!? Nc6) 10...dxc4 11.Bxc4 Nf6 12.Nbc3 The position took a familiar shape. Hard to assess if the few "extra" tempos (a4+a5) are good or not for White. The position is playable for both sides.

 4...d5 First of all White can transpose to the line with 4...d6 after 5.exd6 or play more ambitiously! 5.c5 N6d7 6.d4 (In this version 6.e6? looks too optimistic: 6...fxe6 7.d4 e5 and Black is slightly better) 6...e6 7.b4N with the idea after 7...b6 8.a5! to prevent in advance the typical break a7–a5 8...bxc5 9.bxc5 I think White's perspectives - to prepare active play on the kingside - are clearer here, for example 9...Be7 10.Qg4 (10.Ra3!?) 10...g6 11.Nc3 and White is better.


5.c5 This move looks very tempting, but unfortunately it's not optimal. 5...Nd5 6.Nc3 Nb4! (No reason to help White developing with 6...Nxc3 7.dxc3) 7.Bc4 d5 8.cxd6 exd6 9.Qb3 The right way was shown by correspondence chess players in the game 0–1 (61) Skorna,U (2274)-Reichert,T (2364) ICCF email 2019 9...Bf5! 10.Bxf7+ Kd7 11.Nf3 Nd3+ 12.Kf1 Kc8 Now White has big (probably unsolvable) problems with the development

5...d6 Promising for Black seems 5...e6!?N 6.Rg3 Nc6 7.Nc3! (after 7.d4 d6 White cannot hold their pawn center.) 7...d6! (7...Nxe5? 8.c5! Bxc5 9.d4+– Nice trap!) 8.exd6 Bxd6! 9.Rxg7 Hard to believe that white's a1–rook is on g7! IMHO Black can pretend for some advantage after the simple 9...Qf6 10.Rg3 e5 followed by Bf5 or Be6 and then 0–0–0

6.exd6 exd6

he easiest way to equalize. A few games were played at the Titled Tuesday tournament featuring 6...cxd6 7.Rg3 g6 8.h4 h5 9.d4 (9.Bd3?! Maybe not bad for blitz, but absolutely unacceptable for classic or rapid. 9...Bg7) 9...Bg7 10.Nf3 Most probably White has to concentrate all pieces on the kingside and optionally stabilize position in the center with the move d4–d5. Black has to try push d6–d5 or e7–e5 to get a counterplay in the center. The position is very unusual and absolutely unclear!

7.d4 7.Rg3 Now this move does not look as strong as in case of 6...cxd6. 7...d5!N (The game Hauge - Agdestein 2017 continued 7...Bf5!? 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.d4 Nb4 10.Be2 d5 (10...Nc2+?! 11.Kf1 Ha! The rook is not on a1!) 11.c5 Nd7 12.Bg4 (12.Nf3!? g6 13.0–0 Bg7 14.Bg5 I suppose White can claim some advantage.) 12...Qe7+ 13.Nge2 Bxg4 14.Rxg4 Nf6 15.Rg3 Qd7 16.Bf4 Be7 17.Be5 0–0 18.Qd2 Kh8 19.Rxg7 Kxg7 20.Qg5+ Kh8 21.Bxf6+ Bxf6 22.Qxf6+ Kg8 23.Qg5+) 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nf3 Bf5 Looks like Black can easily solve their opening problems.

7...Be7 8.Rg3 0–0 9.Bd3 Re8 10.Nf3! Bf6+! A nice trap awaits Black in the line 10...Bh4+?? 11.Kf1 Bxg3 12.hxg3 f5 (12...h6 13.Bxh6 gxh6 14.Qc1! Qf6 15.Rxh6 Qg7 16.Qf4 N8d7 17.Bh7+ Kf8 18.Qh4+– with the killing threat of Bf5.; 12...g6 13.Ng5 h5 14.Nxf7! Kxf7 15.Bxg6++– with a decisive attack.) 13.Nc3

Variation diagram

followed by g3–g4 with big advantage for White - all their pieces are concentrated on the kingside and there are no black pieces there! (Immediate 13.g4 also gives White a clear advantage.)

11.Kf1 d5 12.c5 N6d7

With decent counterplay for Black.

Conclusion: The idea with 4.a4!? doesn't guarantee real advantage in the Alekhine Defence, but I am sure that this move could be a huge surprise for your opponents, especially in blitz or rapid. Most of the positions are rare and not well explored. It means that your knowledge gained in this article can help you to beat your opponents over the board!

You can find the complete and far more extensive analysis by Yuriy Kuzubov in the current ChessBase Magazine #209!

ChessBase Magazine #209


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Highlights of ChessBase Magazine #209

The start page of ChessBase Magazine #209 gives you direct access to the editors' recommendations: the highlights of the issue!


"Special": Anna and Mariya Muzychuk

CBM authors analyse their favourite games of Anna and Mariya Muzychuk. Look forward to an exclusive collection of 21 annotated games!

Top games and master analyses

FIDE Candidates Tournament 2022: Dorian Rogozenco shows two games of the clear winner, Ian Nepomniachtchi, in the video. Anish Giri analyses two selected games.

Prague Chess Festival 2022: The winners of the Masters, Pentala Harikrishna, and of the Challenger, Vincent Keymer, comment on one of their games. Plus analyses by David Navara, Vidit Gujrathi and Sam Shankland.

More annotated games: Anish Giri analyses two brilliant games from Norway Chess 2022.

Pracitical tips for the tournament player (II): Must-win-situations

Jan Markos devotes Part II of his video series to the topic of how to play in a "must-win situation" - a task that arises time and again not only in individual tournaments but also in team matches. To complement the video, our new author provides a small collection of five training exercises that you should go through after the video lecture!

All in one

Renato Quintiliano explores a provocative idea for Black in the Queen's Gambit Accepted, while Yuriy Kuzubov presents "a crazy Alekhine" with 5.Ba3!

Opening videos

Daniel King shows "a shocker": the gambit 4.e4 in the Jobava London System, often tested by GM Hans Niemann. Ivan Sokolov in the second part of his video analysis of the Queen's Gambit Ragozin Variation with 8...h5 deals with the main move 9.h4. And Mihail Marin presents new developments in the English Opening based on the game Ding Liren-Nepomniachtchi from the Candidates Tournament.

Daniel King: Jobava London System
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e4!?
Mihail Marin: English
1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.Nf3 e4 4.Nd4 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6.Nc2 Nf6 7.Nc3 Qe5
Ivan Sokolov: QG Ragozin Variation 8...h5 (II)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Bb46.e3 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 h5 9.h4

New ideas for your Ideen for your repertoire

CBM #209 covers a broad spectrum of opening systems with 11 opening articles:

Evgeny Postny: English Four Knights 4.e4 Bb4 5.d3 d6
Petra Papp: Trompowsky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Ne4
Martin Lorenzini: Scandinavian 3...Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3
Alexey Kuzmin: Sic. Moscow Variation 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4
Yago Santiago: Sic. Najdorf Variation 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0
Krisztian Szabo: Centre Game 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.Nc3
Sergei Grigoriants: Spanish 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 5.0-0 Ng6
Roven Vogel: QG Ragozin Variation 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3
Christian Braun: Gruenfeld Fianchetto 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Nc3 d5
Andrey Sumets: Catalan 8.a4 Nc6 9.Qxc4 Na5 10.Qc2
Spyridon Kapnisis: King's Indian Petrosian Variation

Topcial opening traps

"From Sicilians to the Queen's Gambit" - Rainer Knaak takes a close look at eight traps from current tournament practice, three of which he also presents in video format. 1.e4 players beware: In the French Advance our expert has come across "a very promising, completely new trap"!

Move by Move

Ian Nepomniachtchi is a master of the Petroff. His victory against Alireza Firouzja with the black pieces is the topic of Robert Ris' interactive training session. Can you find the moves of the winner of the 2022 Candidates Tournament?

Strategy: The Muzychuk sisters

Mihail Marin highlights a few typical aspects of the positional play of Maria and Anna Muzychuk. The material is classified in the categories "Positional attacks", "Positional sacrifices", "Static play" and "Dynamic decisions".

The Classic

Dorian Rogozenco presents Pillsbury-Lasker (St. Petersburg 1896) - "a beautiful game" by the then world champion, Emanuel Lasker, with a number of sacrificial motifs worth seeing.

Tactics: Queen sacrifices of all kinds

Oliver Reeh's tactics contribution consists of 39 games with many training questions. Don't miss solving his favourite combinations in interactive format with video feedback!

Endgame: Endgame highlights from Prague

Hamburg endgame expert Karsten Müller has again found plenty of illustrative and training material. Do you already know the "Troitzky endgame"? In addition, Mueller provides a selection of the most beautiful endgames of Anna and Mariya Muzychuk (incl. video)! 

ChessBase Magazine #209

 Order now in the ChessBase Shop !

Subscribe to ChessBase Magazine and win twice over

Single issue: 19,95€ or annual subscription (6 issues) 99,70€. You can find the ChessBase Magazine subscription (incl. ChessBase USB stick for new subscribers) on the CBM homepage! Or subscribe to ChessBase Magazine in the ChessBase Shop right away! 



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