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GM Yermo Teaches You Openings! - Alekhine Defense - Part 5

Opening: B05: Alekhine Defense

Player(s): Yermolinsky, Smirin

I took up the Alekhine under the influence of the two great games from Larsen's book of his best games. What attracted me was the originality of the concept, of how easily White can be misled into thinking that he's doing everything right, only to find his position overextended and very difficult to play. Another big help came from the opening monograph on the Alekhine Defense, written by a great theoretician and a devoted practitioner of this opening, GM Vladimir Bagirov. The rewards came immediately, as I was able to win a couple of nice games, shown in Video 2. I do not regret spending time on studying some sidelines, as they're quite likely to occur in your games (see Monin-Yermolinsky), and, also offer an easier path to understanding some of the ideas present in typical structures. I even managed to improve, or at least, offer an alternative, in the line from the Tsinis game. Video 3 introduces two systems I tried as Black in reply to the Four Pawns Attack. Neither one is 100% reliable, but they both offer some chances. I am particularly encouraged by Carlsen's choice of the Bb4 line, which I discarded (perhaps prematurely) when I was 15, in his recent game against Nakamura. Video 4 is a bit of a cold shower, as I show my losses against better quality competition I suffered in the late 1970s. All three games are similar in the way how Black fell behind in development and was given to chance to recover. An aspiring Alekhine player should take notice of that and cut down on experimenting in that already slightly suspect opening. From the 1980s on, when I raised my game to the 2450-2500 level, I continued to play the Alekhine, but not so frequently, mainly reserving its use for a surprise factor or games against lesser opposition. The next two videos in this series will illustrate the problems I had to deal with in the mainline 4.Nf3 Bg4. Video 7 introduces the modern treatment of the Exchange Variation and explains why Black has to stay away from recapturing with the c-pawn.

Teacher's library (684) B05 Yermolinsky Smirin

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