Monday, September 12, 2016

Alekhine to Have and Hold e5

A popular version of wedding vows contains the phrase: “To have and to hold from this day forward.” Your intended spouse gives themselves for you to have. You pledge to keep them. When I performed weddings sometimes I used that phrase. I pronounced them married at the end of the service. Years later, some held on to their spouses. Some spouses left. Some didn’t.

In the Alekhine Defence Black voluntarily gives White the e5 square. White can have a pawn on e5, but it is his responsibility to hold onto it. White may swap off the e-pawn somehow. The difference between the French Defence and the Alekhine is that the French pawn is on d5 while the Alekhine pawn is on d7. The Alekhine player can challenge the e-pawn with …d6. This puts e5 in danger and under some pressure.

My game against Kafel illustrates White’s problem. The opening moves were 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6. Black challenged e5. Play continued with logical development by 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 c6 6.0-0. Black took away the e5 defenders by 6…Bxf3 7.Bxf3 dxe5 8.dxe5 e6. The next stage saw Black gang up and pick off the e5 pawn after 9…Nd7, 10…Qc7 and 11…Nxe5. Then Black used the d-file and h-file to work up a counter attack.

Kafel (2030) - Sawyer (2424), ICC 4 0 Internet Chess Club, 10.03.1999 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 c6 6.0-0 Bxf3 7.Bxf3 dxe5 8.dxe5 e6 9.Qd3!? [White plays a novelty. 9.Qe2 is the most common move.] 9...Nd7 10.Re1 Qc7 11.Nc3 Nxe5 12.Qe2? [White dropped the e5 pawn, a common occurrence in the Alekhine Defence. White should regain the pawn by 12.Nxd5! Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3 cxd5 14.Qxd5=] 12...Nxc3 [Black also remains up a pawn with 12...Nxf3+! 13.Qxf3 Bd6 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Qxd5 Bxh2+ 16.Kf1 0-0 17.Qe4 Bd6=/+] 13.bxc3 [13.Qxe5 Qxe5 14.Rxe5 Nd5=/+] 13...Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 Bd6 15.h3 0-0 16.Qg4 Be5 17.Bb2 Bf6 18.h4 Qe7 19.h5 Rfd8 20.h6 g6 21.Re3 Bg5 22.Rf3 Bxh6 [White has lost a second pawn. Unless Black blunders, White has no counterplay.] 23.c4 Bg7 24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.Re1 h5 26.Qe4 Rd2 27.g4 hxg4 28.Qxg4 Rh8 29.Qe4 Qh4 30.Rf4 Qh2+ 31.Kf1 Qh1+ 32.Qxh1 Rxh1+ White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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