In 1927 Alexander Alekhine secured a match against champion Jose Capablanca for the world chess title. The match took place in Buenos Aires Argentina. Alekhine had never defeated Capablanca in any previous contest and Capablanca was heavily favored in the match. What ensued was an epic and legendary battle between two of chess' greatest geniuses. The grueling match was the longest world championship that had ever been played. Alekhine seemed to gain momentum as the match went on. In the end, Alekhine surprised the chess world by defeating Capablanca 6 wins 3 losses and 25 draws and became the fourth world chess champion. Many felt that Capablanca had greatly underestimated Alekhine. Alekhine had in fact diligently studied the games of Capablanca and thoroughly prepared for the match while Capablanca had not. Alekhine and Capablanca were poised for a rematch, but the two could never agree on terms and negotiations fell through. Capablanca became displeased by his inability to secure a rematch and the two became bitter enemies.
While Alekhine did not face Capablanca, he did successfully defend his title twice against Efim Bogolubow in 1929 and 1934. In 1935 Alekhine then faced Dutch master Dr. Max Euwe for the world championship. Although heavily favored, this time it was Alekhine who was underprepared and overconfident. Euwe narrowly won the match 15 ½ to 14 ½ .Many attributed Alekhine's alcoholism to him losing the match. Allegedly Alekhine abstained from Alcohol and trained for his rematch with Euwe in 1937. Alekhine won the match convincingly 15 ½ to 9 ½ to regain his title. Soon afterward World War II erupted in Europe and larger international tournaments stopped for several years.
During the war, Alekhine, who was now a French citizen, was forced to comply with Nazi demands that strictly limited his appearances. When the war ended in 1945 Alekhine was seen as a Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semitic and was not invited to play in international tournaments. He died under mysterious circumstances on March 24, 1946 in Estoril Portugal. He remains the only world champion to ever die while holding the title. Alexander Alekhine remains a legendary player of the golden age of chess and one of the greatest world champions of all time. His genius for attack produced countless beautiful games that served as a model for many great future world champions.
Some Quotes on Alexander Alekhine:
"Play on both sides of the board is my favorite strategy."
"II consider chess an art, and accept all those responsibilities which art places upon its devotees."
"Chess will always be the master of us all"
"Who else in chess history has won so many serious games with the help of brilliant tactical strokes?" - Gary Kasparov
"He considered that chess was closest to art, and he was able to demonstrate this with his optimistic, eternally youthful play" – Boris Spassky
"Alekhine is the supreme genius of the complicated position" – Edward Winter