Alexander Alekhine - The Arrogant Genius
Alexander Alekhine is not only considered a great chess player or a mythical character, but his works between the squares made him be considered an artist at the board, being several of his games, memorable works of art such as the match with Capablanca that won him the world title.
The figure of this Russian chess player, nationalized French, unfolded in a confusing historical period, that is to say, he not only suffered the ups and downs of his native Russia involved in the Bolshevik Revolution, but he also suffered the two World Wars, which affected all the citizens of Europe.
His personal life would also be plagued with ups and downs and moments of rebirth, Alekhine was born into an economically privileged home; however, as the ancient Greeks point out, happiness is not forever.
Alexander Alekhine early years
This great chess genius was born on October 31, 1892 in Moscow, in the bosom of a Russian noble family.
His father bore the same name and was a governor in the Caucasus, as well as a man close to Zar Nicholas II. On the other hand, his mother, Inés Prójorova, was part of a family of prominent Russian industrialists, so the family did not lack money.
In spite of this economic bonanza, Alekhine parents left their children in their grandmother's care, due to their long working days and their personal pleasures; it is said that his father was a gambling addict and his mother suffered from alcoholism, something that the world chess champion would live in his own flesh.
His grandmother taught him to play chess in childhood, but it would be in his adolescence that he would complete his knowledge of the game, sneaking into chess clubs, playing by correspondence and practicing with his brother.
Alexander Alekhine first steps in chess
Alexander Alekhine first stroke on the table was at the age of 17, when he came first in an amateur tournament in Russia, acquiring the rank of Master soon after.
In 1914, at the age of 22 in the prestigious St. Petersburg Tournament, he achieved the rank of Grandmaster in a tournament that brought together figures such as Lasker and Capablanca; his future rival with whom he disputed the world crown.
During the Mannheim Tournament in Germany, World War I broke out, and Alekhine, along with other Russian chess players, were interned on German soil, although he would leave through his family's mediation with the International Red Cross.
Upon his return to the Russian homeland, Alekhine enlisted in the Red Cross, was wounded in Poland and received several military decorations.
1917 was a difficult year for him and his family, some chronicles say that the family lost almost all their fortune. In 1920 he managed to win the Soviet Tournament, leaving for Paris in 1921, where he would later acquire French nationality.
Preparations for the Capablanca - Alexander Alekhine Match
José Raúl Capablanca was the greatest chess exponent of the time, but Alekhine was on the rise.
He first defeated Max Euwe, the Dutch champion, in the Baden-Baden tournament, and then went on to the New York Tournament, where Capablanca would be the clear winner; however, Alekhine came very close, taking second place.
Little by little the conditions for a match for the world championship between Alekhine and Capablanca were being prepared, although the latter had set several complicated conditions, among which was to deliver a large amount of money that the French Russian chess player could not pay; however, he sought the support of patrons that would allow him to hold the match, obtaining the resources of the government of Argentina.
Capablanca - Alekhine for the World Championship 1927
The Argentine government would disburse the necessary amount under the condition that the tournament would be held in Buenos Aires.
Capablanca was the clear favorite to win the contest, but Alekhine prepared exceptionally well, both mentally and physically, analyzing the Cuban's games and style of play, which gave him a great advantage on the board.
The Match was decided in 35 games, being drawn 25 times, the champion winning 4 games and losing 3.
Game 35 was a battle of power between two Grandmasters, where Capablanca tried on several occasions to set traps for Alekhine, who avoided them with majestic moves.
Alekhine would end up becoming the new world chess champion, leaving a great surprise to the whole world and, above all, to Capablanca himself.
Alexander Alekhine - World Champion and Other Tournaments
Capablanca wanted a rematch on numerous occasions, but the French Russian genius always avoided it; he would again dispute the world championship in 1929 and 1934 against Bogoljubov, although he would lose the crown in 1935, against the Dutchman Max Euwe.
In this Match and period of his life, Alexander Alekhine had succumbed to alcoholism due to numerous difficulties he had; in addition to facing the fact of being world champion, something that this select group says everyone handles differently.
In 1937 he would be crowned champion again against Euwe, after undergoing an intense training and having quit drinking; when he died in 1946 in Portugal, he still held the world chess championship.
The last years of Alexander Alekhine
In 1939 the Second World War broke out, and although Alexander Alekhine was in Buenos Aires, he left for Paris to serve in the French army.
In 1940 Alexander Alekhine situation would worsen personally, since in addition to facing the political events of his time, such as the entry of the Nazis into Paris, Alekhine was ill with scarlet fever and was captured by the Nazis.
In a situation of enormous poverty, the chess Grandmaster played several tournaments in Germany and Poland, as well as Spain, which made him be seen as an ally of the Nazis, although he always made it known that it was because of his precarious economic situation that he participated in those tournaments.
In 1946 preparations were being made for a new match for the world championship against Botvinnik. Alexander Alekhine was preparing for the match and had stopped drinking, but during his stay in the Portuguese city of Estoril, he died shortly before the match.
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