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Five Best Sacrifices by Alekhine


Alexander Aleksandrovich Alekhine (1892 – 1946) was a renowned chess player from Russia, who held the esteemed title of the fourth World Chess Champion for two consecutive reigns. His exceptional talent was evident from a young age, and by the time he was 22, he had established himself as one of the strongest players in the world. Throughout the 1920s, Alekhine dominated numerous tournaments, consistently emerging victorious.

In 1921, Alekhine made the decision to leave Soviet Russia and relocate to France, where he subsequently represented his newly adopted country in international chess competitions starting from 1925. His crowning achievement came in 1927 when he defeated José Raúl Capablanca, claiming the title of World Chess Champion.

What set Alekhine apart was not only his formidable attacking style, characterized by a fierce and imaginative approach, but also his profound mastery of positional play and endgame techniques. He was not only a formidable player but also a respected chess writer and theoretician, renowned for his contributions to various chess openings.

Alexander Alekhine’s legacy in the world of chess is profound, as he left an indelible mark not only through his remarkable gameplay but also through his intellectual contributions to chess theory. His name remains synonymous with strategic brilliance and creative ingenuity, inspiring generations of chess players and enthusiasts worldwide.

In this blog, we are highlighting five of his best sacrifices that gave him a winning advantage. But first let’s understand what a sacrifice in chess means.

In the realm of chess, a sacrifice occurs when a player consciously gives up material (a pawn, piece like bishop or sometimes even a queen) in pursuit of a greater objective such a winning endgame or opponent getting checkmated.

Popular streamers of chess today call it a ‘Sac’. You might have seen clips like this:

Sac may be cool today, but Alekhine happens to be the OG of it. Here are five best Sacrifices by Alekhine:

1. Alexander Alekhine – Gutkevitsch, Moscow (simul) 1910


White to play and win.

Hint: Give up the bishop on g5 on h6
Solution: Alekhine played 1.Bh6 here (1. …gxh6. 2.Qxh6 +-) black responded with 1. …Ne8 defending g7 but it was useless as Alekhine played 2.Bxg7 Nxg7 and then 3.Qh6+- there was a forced checkmate in 4 moves.

2. Nikolay Tselikov – Alexander Alekhine, Moscow 1915


In the above position white is about to enter the seventh rank and win.

Alekhine’s pieces are aiming at the White king and he played a brilliant move.

If you found the move rook takes knight, good job, but can you find the continuation?

Hint: Open a discovered check
Solution: Alekhine played 1. …Rxg2!! 2.Kxg2 d4+. 3.Be4 Rg8+. 4.Kf1 Qf4+. The white king is exposed and blacks hunts the king. 5.Ke2 Qe3+. 6.Kd1 and this long combination comes to an end with Qxd3#.

3. Alexander Alekhine vs Fred Dewhirst Yates


In this position white (Alekhine) is clearly better but needs a proper finish. Can you find the move for white?

Hint: Give up the knight on f6 to create a winning advantage
Solution: 1.Rxg7! Rxf6 and now 2.Ke5! Rff8. 3. Rh7+ Kg8. 4.Rcg7#.

4. Alexander Alekhine – G. Resser, The Hague (simul) 1921


White to play and win. How will you continue as white?

Hint: Use the dark square weakness and show the power the bishop
Solution: Alekhine played 1.Qf6+ Ke8. 2.e6 Black’s counterplay is too slow 2. …Qf5. 3.exf7+ Kf8. 4.Bc5+ Rxc5. 5. Qxd8+ Kxf7. Black king will be mated.

5. Joaquin Torres Caravaca – Alexander Alekhine, Spain (simul) 1922


Black to play and win. Can you find the winning combination for Black?

Hint: Queens are overrated!
Solution: 1.… Qxh3!! 4.gxh3 Nf2+ double check. 5.Kg1 Nxh3#


Hope you had fun solving these incredible sacrifices?

Always remember to calculate all the way through to the end before sacrificing, wrong sacs or one move threats may end up being counter productive and you will end with less material for no reason and lose the game.

To conclude, we have a fitting quote from Alekhine himself about sacs: