Talk:Alexander Alekhine

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Good article Alexander Alekhine has been listed as one of the Sports and recreation good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
August 22, 2007 WikiProject A-class review Not approved
May 28, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article

Alcoholism - using unreliable sources[edit]

Kmoch is one of many sources that state that Alekhine had difficulties with alcohol. Kmoch knew Alekhine personally, and specifically calls him an alcoholic in the cited source. The onus is on those who want this left out of the biography to demonstrate why this source (and others that we can and should provide) are not reliable. Quale (talk) 01:27, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

The only source cited so far regarding alcoholism is some pdf file, available from some website. There is no evidence that these alcoholism allegations or the whole content of that file actually belong to Kmoch.

More importantly, alcoholism is a medical condition and can only be diagnosed by a qualified doctor. Kmoch does not fall into this category, even if he made those claims.

Finally, there are clear Wikipedia requirements on what can or cannot be considered a reliable source with regards to medical claims. Please see the article "Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources" and, in particular, its "medical claims" section. The aforementioned pdf file does not satisfy these requirements.

To summarise - if Mr X. starts distrubuting over the Internet a pdf file, in which Mr Y. makes allegations that Mr Z. is an alcoholic, this pdf file does not qualify as a reliable source. On the other hand - if Mr X. manages to procure a statement from Mr Z's doctor or a copy of Mr Z's medical records, then that source would be considered a reliable source for the purpose of making medical claims.

Cap27 (talk) 19:20, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Since Alekhine has been dead for a long time, WP:BLP doesn't apply, but I agree that this sort of biographical claim needs to be well sourced. We can and should improve the sourcing. I don't agree that a medical diagnosis is always required to use the word "alcoholic" in a biography, particularly when it is made clear who is making the claim and they have sound basis for it. Even so, if you would like the a specific change such as replacing the word "alcoholic" with something like "heavy drinking", that's worth discussing.
On the other hand, if you think Hans Kmoch is "Mr X", then there is no point in discussion. Kmoch was a respected chess player and journalist. He was very close to Alekhine, having assisted him during three matches for the world championship including the first match with Euwe. (You would know this if you had followed the link to Hans Kmoch. You would also know that he died before the Internet era, so the PDF in question is being distributed by others posthumously.) Kmoch is not the only one to write that Alekhine was a heavy drinker, nor is the only one to either speculate or simply claim outright that heavy drinking adversely affected Alekhine's play. I've trimmed these for space and because of copyright, but all are in the context of the 1935 World Championship match with Euwe:
  • "... along about 1933, something happened. He began to drink more and more. ... Stories of his drinking were freely circulated; in one simultaneous exhibition he began to urinate on the floor, and the exhibition was canceled." Reuben Fine, The World's Great Chess Games, p. 150.
  • "Always a hard drinker, he drank more and more heavily and this was the cause of his losing the title to Euwe." Harry Golombek, Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess, p. 10.
  • "There had been much speculation during the match that Alekhine was not physically fit to play and this was in fact true, as he was drinking very heavily at this time, and even played some games while he was intoxicated." Pablo Morán, World Chess Championship: Steinitz to Alekhine, p. 46.
  • "The usual explanation for Alekhine's remarkable volte-face is that he was falling-down drunk most of the time, and certainly his drinking problem was more apparent during the match than ever before. But both players held that overconfidence, rather than drink, was primarily responsible. After all, Alekhine had been drinking heavily for years before, and it never seemed to bother him much." Al Horowitz, The World Chess Championship: A History", p. 105.
  • "Other factors affecting the outcome of the match were Alekhine's lack of serious preparation and his penchant for drinking alcoholic beverages during important contests. ... His increasing problem with alcohol was noted by many. Fine wrote that during the Warsaw team tournament (Olympiad) in 1935, played shortly before the match with Euwe, Alekhine, '... went through most of his games in a state of mild inebriation'". Calvin Olson, The Chess Kings, Volume 1, p. 129.
Quale (talk) 8 June 2011 22:56 (UTC)

The quoted sources do not mention alcoholism. Obviosly these authors are more careful with their words, possibly because these are professionally edited, reviewed and properly published books, unlike some pdf file of questionable authenticity. BTW, the author of the previous unsigned comment, starting with "Since Alekhine has been dead..." is encouraged to sign his comments. This helps to keep track of who said what.

Cap27 (talk) 14:54, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

The source used in the article is Kmoch, and he mentions alcoholism. There are other possible reasons than supposed lack of editing or review for Kmoch to express himself more bluntly than the other authors. Kmoch is from an unpublished manuscript, and since both Kmoch and Alekhine were dead it might have been easier to offer an unvarnished opinion. Instead of repeatedly removing cited content, try to suggest here on the talk page replacement text that you would find acceptable and we can discuss it. I have participated at Wikipedia for about 5 years and I have never once reported anyone to WP:AN3 for edit warring, but your behavior has brought me to the verge of doing for for the first time. This makes me sad. (Thanks for reminding me to sign my earlier comment; that was an oversight.) Quale (talk) 00:22, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

That is the point - a lot of claims in this article are based on this unpublished manuscript of questionable authenticity and neutrality, which make Kmoch's pdf unsuitable for citing. Please choose your sources carefully. Encyclopedia readers need a balanced neutral poiht of view rather a tabloid style "unvarnished opinion" gossip. As explained many times earlier, alcoholism is a medical condition and such a claim must come from a medically reputable source. Please do not mention 'alcoholism' in this article until you provide a reputable source. Please re-read and make an effort to understand my earlier comments.

Cap27 (talk) 09:27, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

I've added a bit from Fine's book, a source from a reliable publisher, so you can't ignore or suppress it. As you seem to be a fan of Alekhine, I suggest you stop your war, otherwise: (a) other reliable sources can be added about Alekhine's acohohol problem, making this point more visible in the article; (b) you will be reported to WP:AN3 for edit warring, and the most likely result is that you could be blocked. --Philcha (talk) 11:33, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Fine's book is an improvement, we are making progress. This source should be properly detailed though, e.g. Chernev, I. (1995). "Alekhine". Twelve Great Chess Players and Their Best Games. Dover Publications. pp. 163–164. ISBN 9780486286747. Retrieved 2009-08-14. Also the term 'alcoholism' should not be used unless properly supported (see comments above). Cap27 (talk) 08:12, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Now no "alcoholism" but more "alcohol", apparently starting by Bled 1931. is a reliable source which publishes articles about game and opening analisys (by masters and sometimes GMs), the history of chess, etc. So Kmoch's article isn't "some pdf file of questionable authenticity". --Philcha (talk) 21:09, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
  • And I've reinstated "Salo Flohr, who also assisted Euwe, thought overconfidence caused more problems than alcohol for Alekhine in this match, ..." - again, from a reliable source. --Philcha (talk) 21:09, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I suggest you drop this business, as continuing will damage Alekhine's reputation further. I like Alekhine's games, see the "Notable chess games" section (especially Richard Reti vs Alexander Alekhine, Baden Baden 1925, a 12-move combination), and I like Chernev's "The openings consist of Alekhine's games, with a few variations" (a slight exaggeration, of course). --Philcha (talk) 21:09, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Well, with your kind efforts now an unsuspecting reader visiting Alekhine's page and hoping to learn more about this outstanding chess player, will learn more about drinking than chess. Thank you for at least not placing your contribution in the very first paragraph. I suggest that you remove your excessive rubbing of the drinking issue from the article. Balance and neutrality should be the main criteria when selecting content. is an acceptable source for chess-related content, but not for making medical claims such as 'alcoholism'. Finally - players win or loose because they play well or badly. The rest is just speculations unsuitable for an encyclopedia article. Trying to explain a win or a loss by what great players drink or eat has no value. Cap27 (talk) 14:31, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

It's call WP:NPOV, please read that policy. The article now does not use "alcoholism", and the comments by Fine, Kmoch and Flohr are attributed. All great players have limitations as well as strengths, and Alekhine drank excessively. --Philcha (talk) 21:09, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

English version of the name[edit]

Can anyone explain why the English spelling of his name has an "e" at the end? It doesn't match the Russian spelling, and it gives no positive phoenetic hints either, in fact it actually makes English speakers pronounce it horribly wrong, by sounding it out as "a-leh-eye-n" instead of the correct pronounciation "a-leh-in"

I am not contesting the veracity of the English version, I know it is everywhere, I am just curious why it is so uselessly wrong. (talk) 14:27, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

I've always assumed it was the French romanisation, which was imported into the anglosphere. That explains why we had Feodor Chaliapine (nowadays it's usually Chaliapin) rather than Shalyapin, Léonide Massine rather than Leonid Myasin, and others. Without the -e, the French would be tempted to incorrectly nasalise the -in ending. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 06:13, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
The English version is Alexander Alekhin; Alexandre Alekhine is the French spelling. --Chvsanchez (talk) 23:54, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Confusing statement[edit]

"To protect his wife, Grace Alekhine, an American Jew, and her French assets (a castle at Saint Aubin-le-Cauf, near Dieppe, which the Nazis looted)..."

If it was looted by the Nazis, how did Alekhine's actions of cooperation "protect" it? (talk) 05:27, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

  • At least the Nazis didn't destroy or takeover the castle. --Philcha (talk) 13:43, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
As a point of interest, it appears that the chateau still exists and is now a bed and breakfast: Appropriately, the rooms names have a chess theme, knight, rook, queen, king, and the "Chambre Alekhine". Quale (talk) 21:04, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Grace Freeman-Wishar, Alekhine's spouse (since 1934), was an American naturalized British. Her two first weddings in America were celebrated according to a Protestant rite. Is there any source backing she could have Jewish origins ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dteyssou (talkcontribs) 22:14, 9 October 2013 (UTC)


The rather long and speculative bit on antisemitism is inappropriate for the Alekhine page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:24, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

The article section that you referenced is supported by multiple references, so it is definitely not "speculative". Which of its claims do you consider dubious, and why? Toccata quarta (talk) 08:52, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Olympic Medals[edit]

From 1930 to 1935, Alekhine played first board for France at four Chess Olympiads, winning [...] gold medals for board one at Prague in 1931 and Folkestone in 1933, and the silver medal for board one at Warsaw in 1935.

Is that true? Were individual medals donated before WW II? I have never seen contemporary sources confirming that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:49, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it's true. It's referenced in the article and I think I can also find it in the FIDE book. Quale (talk) 04:21, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
No, it´s not true. The references do not mention any "gold medals" oder "silver medals" for best board results. It´s a misinterpretation. No serious Alekhine bio mentions these alleged medals. Where are they now? Disappeared into thin air? They are just fantasy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:33, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Aside from Olimpbase, the best source I have for the Olympiads through 1968 is Chess Olympiads, 1927–1968 by Árpád Földeák (1979 Dover edition, reprinted from a 1969 English translation of the Hungarian original). Concerning Hamburg 1930, it says on page 47 "Rubinstein, Havasi, and Flohr won the prizes for the best individual scores." Page 141, concerning Stockholm 1937, says "The prizes for the best score on each board went to Flohr, Fine, Kashdan, Danielsson, and Horowitz, while A. Steiner was awarded the prize for the highest individual score overall." That suggests to me that individual prizes were awarded at early Olympiads. On the other hand, while the book notes the top individual score on first board for Alekhine at Folkstone 1933, it doesn't say that he was awarded a prize. Unfortunately that isn't conclusive one way or the other. Maybe some other chess editor knows more about this. Quale (talk) 02:12, 17 March 2015 (UTC)