The Alekhine is arguably the most forcing and aggressive reply to 1 e4. Black immediately forces the pace and drags the game onto his own favoured territory. This strategy is not without risk, but those who specialize in the Alekhine find that the opening has a real practical sting and quick-strike potential.

This book describes the main positional and tactical themes unique to the Alekhine, and the principal directions of play in modern practice. The coverage is even-handed, and there are abundant ideas presented to both sides, including ways for White to seek to consolidate his space advantage, or else to try to blast Black off the board.

The author, Valentin Bogdanov, has a wealth of experience with the Alekhine, having played it over the course of more than three decades. Moreover, he was active in Odessa chess at the time when the Alekhine was extensively developed by a group of players including GM Semion Palatnik and three-time US Champion Lev Alburt. Thus he provides us not only with the benefit of his own accumulated wisdom, but also with insights gleaned from work with some of the greatest Alekhine devotees of all time.

International Master Valentin Bogdanov has over thirty years' experience as a chess trainer, and is from Ukraine. His pupils include Moskalenko, Savchenko and Drozdovsky, and he has acted as a second for the well-known grandmaster and theoretician Viacheslav Eingorn since the late 1970s. This is his third book for Gambit.

Gambit books by Bogdanov: Chess Explained: The French (Eingorn & Bogdanov), Chess Explained: The Grünfeld, Play the Alekhine.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"For those players who are interested in finding a book that refreshes Alekhine's Defence [this] is an excellent choice." - Sthig Jonasson, Ålandstidningen

"...probably the best book on the Alekhine" - Andrew Green, Scottish Chess

"If you are looking for a reference for this opening which is up to date and explains the overall strategy behind the defence or how to play against the defence, this would be a good place to start." - Paul Dunn, Australasian Chess

"...even though some attention is given to sidelines, this is no jungle of variations, or Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. This is Bogdanov's third book for Gambit, showing that this quality publishing house trusts the author - and why wouldn't they? The language is fluent and informative, and the sample games are well chosen and instructive. In usual Gambit style the layout is clear, and there are enough diagrams to peruse the book without a set..." - Marko Tauriainen, Suomen Shakki

"The chapter on the Four Pawns Attack is done well, with all the plans and ideas explained in a coherent way, while White's sidelines, such as 2.Nc3 and the Chase variation are given just enough respect." - Munroe Morrison, Open File

"Play the Alekhine! That's the battle cry from Valentin Bogdanov in his fascinating book published recently by GAMBIT. The first move of the Alekhine for black is 1.Nf6 in reply to 1.e4 by white. It's provocative and uncompromising and leads to some tremendous positions. The opening bears the name of the fourth world chess champion, Alexander Alekhine. I decidedto test it out on the Internet and enjoyed many wild and wonderful games. ..You would be surprised how many super grandmasters have used this opening. The likes of Short, Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Adams and Nakamura have all employed it. There are some great games as examples in the book and the positional and tactical themes are fresh and playable. It's not biased towards black however and you will need to analyse ways for white to seek to consolidate the space advantage that this opening affords. It's brilliant and I love playing this opening for fun. It is well worth adding to your repertoire as a surprise weapon." - Carl Portman, Defence Focus

"...everyone, who is playing with or against the Alekhine will benefit from the content" - Frank Große,

"...a fine introduction to this opening ... Bogdanov does a good job of explaining the ideas for both sides and explaining what lines are popular and why. Even stronger players will appreciate some of the trends he points out" - IM John Donaldson

"Bogdanov presents an up to date repertoire on this tricky, hypermodern defence to 1.e4. There's a huge amount of explanation and it's clear the Bogdanov is extremely focussed on providing annotations that will develop the reader's understanding, rather than just rattling off variations with a symbol at the end. I'm sure there's plenty of ideas in here to help out existing exponents of the opening and if you're looking for an aggressive way to combat 1.e4 then this may well be the book for you!" - IM Stephen Gordon

" the reader everything he needs, in order to learn the ideas and main lines of the opening." - Uwe Bekemann, Fernschachpost

"The author ... has played the Alekhine for more than three decades, so he is well placed to write about the opening. Knowing this, one might expect him to write a repertoire book from Black's perspective, but in reality he has taken a more even-handed approach with no apparent bias to either side. The book consists of seven chapters, and the material is presented via twenty six illustrative games, mostly taken from modern praxis. Obviously the coverage cannot be comprehensive in such a small number of games, and the basic aim is to present the main positional and tactical themes which are unique to the Alekhine. I suspect that the book will appeal to the already converted, but whether or not it will add to the number of devotees remains to be seen." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"Valentin Bogdanov covers nearly every possible line of the Alekhine,as for example ones you only see in Gambit magazine as 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6, where he writes: '4….Nc6 is considered a risky approach, but it leads to tense, concrete play that appeals to quite a number of Alekhine players. The fact that it has been played quite a lot in high-level correspondence games over many years shows that it needs to be taken seriously.' Conclusion: A very instructive read on the Alekhine!" - John Elburg,

"Bogdanov explains everything expertly, and of course it is not such a bad opening - or else future World Champion Carlsen would not have used it in his game against Topalov in Linares 2008. A real study book for the Alekhine practitioner and 1 e4 players" - Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

" the 62nd Russian championship in Moscow, Alexander Grischuk scored a wonderful victory with the exchange sacrifice in the Alekhine defense. The popularity of the opening was on the rise recently, and several top players adopted it with black. Moreover, new trends are being discussed by Ukraine's International Master Valentin Bogdanov in his book Play the Alekhine, recently published by Gambit Publications. Grischuk's opponent, Alexander Riazantsev, must have been surprised by the force of the exchange sacrifice and was slowly suffocated." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post