Alekhine Defense Exchange Variation

How to Play the Alekhine Defense Exchange Variation

The Alekhine Defense Exchange Variation is an opening in chess characterized by bold and strategic moves. Here, each move and its purpose in this variation is detailed:

  1. 1. e4: White starts with a classic move, controlling the center and preparing the development of their pieces.
  2. 1… Nf6: Black responds with the Alekhine Defense, challenging the white central pawn and aiming to disrupt the pawn structure.
  3. 2. e5: White advances their pawn, attacking the knight and gaining space in the center.
  4. 2… Nd5: The black knight retreats to a safe square, maintaining pressure in the center.
  5. 3. d4: White continues their development, controlling the center and preparing the entry of their minor pieces.
  6. 3… d6: Black seeks to undermine the white pawn center and open lines for their pieces.
  7. 4. c4: White protects their central pawn and aims to gain space on the queen’s side.
  8. 4… Nb6: The black knight repositions, targeting central squares and preparing the development of other pieces.
  9. 5. exd6: White opts for an exchange, simplifying the center and opening lines for their pieces.

Variations of the Alekhine Defense Exchange Variation

Variation with 4… g6

In this variation, Black prepares the fianchetto of their king’s bishop, aiming for a more dynamic game and a solid pawn structure in the center.

Variation with 5… exd6

With this move, Black chooses to recapture the pawn immediately, maintaining a more symmetrical pawn structure and opening lines for their pieces.

Opening: Alekhine Defense – Exchange Variation

Current Position:

The current position arises after the following moves:

1. e4 Nf6

2. e5 Nd5

3. d4 d6

4. c4 Nb6

5. exd6

In this position, the white pieces have occupied the center with their pawns and initiated an early attack against Alekhine’s knight, forcing its movement. With 5. exd6, White opens lines and seeks to capitalize on space and initiative.

Strategies and Tactics for Both Sides:

For White:

  • Center Control: With pawns on d4 and c4, White controls the center and has more space to maneuver their pieces.
  • Development and Attack: White should focus on developing their minor pieces (bishop and knight) and preparing castling to safeguard their king.
  • Exploit Weakness: Target weaknesses in Black’s pawn structure, especially on the queen’s side.

For Black:

  • Recover the Lost Pawn: Black can choose to recapture the pawn with cxd6, maintaining a solid pawn structure.
  • Counterplay in the Center: Black must seek to activate their pieces and create counterplay in the center to compensate for White’s spatial advantage.
  • Development and King Safety: It’s important to develop the minor pieces (bishop and knight) and consider castling to protect the king.

Next Best Moves:

cxd6: This move maintains a solid pawn structure and paves the way for the development of the dark-squared bishop.

exd6: Less common, it can lead to an asymmetrical pawn structure and more dynamic positions. Precise play by Black is required to avoid positional disadvantages.

Bf5: A more aggressive move. The light-squared bishop becomes active and targets the center. This move also prepares the development of the other bishop and possibly long castling, aiming for a more dynamic and unbalanced game.


At this stage of the opening, Black’s choice will significantly influence the character of the game. While White aims to maintain and expand their spatial and positional advantage, Black needs to play with precision and seek opportunities to counterbalance and equalize the game.