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Alexander Alekhine

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Alexander Alexanderovich Alekhine (October 31 or November 1, 1892 - March 24, 1946) was a Russian chess player. Alekhine was a world chess champion known for his sparkling tactical combinations.

Alekhine was born into a rich family in Moscow, Russia: his father was a landowner and a member of the Duma, his mother, who along with his brother taught him chess in 1903, was the daughter of a rich industrialist. In 1914, after playing a tournament in Saint Petersburg, he was among the first chess players to gain the title of grandmaster.

He spoke Russian, French, German and English.

Following the Russian Revolution, in 1919 he was suspected of espionage and imprisoned in Odessa. He was eventually freed and soon moved to France where in 1925 he became a French citizen, entered the Sorbonne Law School, and gained his doctor title by writing a thesis on the Chinese prison system.

In 1927 he won the title of World chess champion from Capablanca; subsequently, he refused to grant Capablanca a rematch. In 1935 he lost the title to Euwe, a loss that is often attributed to Alekhine's alcohol abuse. He gave up alcohol and regained the title from Euwe in 1937. He held the title until his death.

During World War II, Alekhine collaborated with Nazi Germany, serving as German chess representative and writing articles critical of Jewish players. As a consequence, he was not invited to tournaments after the war.

While planning for a World championship match against Botvinnik, he died in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal, probably because a piece of meat got stuck in his throat. He is buried in the Cimetiere de Montparnasse, Paris, France. His gravestone was paid for by FIDE.

Some openings and variations are named after him. The Alekhine Defence[?], 1.e4 Nf6, is the most important. There is also the Alekhine-Chartard attack, a pawn sacrifice in the French Defence: 1 e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4.

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