The Alapin Opening

1.e4 e5 2.Ne2

MCO (Modern Chess Openings) says that the Alapin Opening is a unorthodox curiosity from the turn of the century.

What they mean by that is that the opening is just not a good opening and is mostly used now days by amateures in blitz games.

To day the overwhelming majority of these games are played by amateurs, which means that their defensive skills are not up to the task of handling the protection of their king as you will see in our, The Games.

It is often used against amateurs to catch players in some of its subtle traps that we will go into.
If Black plays carefully in the opening he can avoid them.

The Chessbase Report
According to the Chessbase Report on the Alapin many games were played in 1896 with over 13,500 games played. Then dropped off to very few played, Then in 1998 it soared again to over 14,000 games and then dropped off to a trickle again in 2003 and beyond.

Simon Alapin from Lithuania, born Nov 11 1856 to 1923 at 66. He played 26 Alapin games as White in my Chessbase database, playing the first one in 1892. Winning 10, drawing 7 and losing 6 playing as White. Out of the 26 games he played.

The earliest Alapin game played was between Alapin, Simon and Loman, Rudolf 1-0 in 1892 shown below.

Of the 99 Alapin games in my database; White wins 41%, Draws are 24% and Black wins 34%

In less than 20 move games, the drawing quotient is low at only 3%

White wins are of average length of 38 moves.
Black wins are of average length of 41 moves
Draws are of shorter than average at 36 moves.

Strong Grandmasters who used this line as White
Frerik Hanz ELO 2284 2 Games Won 1 Draw 1
David Gertler ELO 2265 1 game he won
Andreans Dueckstein ELO 2346 3 games Lost 1 Draws 2
Jyrki Kytoniem ELO 2240 1 game Draw
Eric Cheah ELO 2270 1 game Lost

Other notable players
Claydua Almagner 7 games won 5 lost 1 draw 1
Stefan Briem 4 games Won 3 Lost 1
Thomas Neumann 3 games Won 3
Kazimierz Plater 5 games Won 2 lost 2 Draw 1
Gyorgy Raboyszky 4 games Won 2 Lost 2
Elek Bakonyi 3 games Won 1 Lost 1 draw 1

Earliest Alapin Game Played in 1892
Alapin - Loman

The Traps
1. Alapin Opening

2. Alapin Opening

3. Alapin Opening

4. Alapin Opening

5. Alapin Opening

The Gambit
Alapin Gambit

The Games (Black Wins decisively and conclusively)
1. Mieses - Janowski

2. Pahl - Saemisch

3. Fourtney - Surtan

4. Rabovszky - kozlova

5. Torrent - Easton (Latest Game 2001)

The Summary
The rarely played Alapin Opening 1.e4 e5 2.Ne2, is designed to enable White to build a broad pawn center by not blocking White's f-pawn, as the normal Ng1-f3 does.

However its bad enough that White develops his King-Knight only to the second rank, but now his Queen-Bishop is ineptly blocked on the back rank, so now White winds up having to move his Knight again to free his Light Squared Bishop so he can castle. This places him behind in his development and results in a loss of tempo to get his other pieces out quickly as well. To block his White squared Bishop so that he can not castle quickly is just bad development and against sound opening principles.
In the opening to quickly give your opponent a developmental advantage with a hapless horseman is asking for trouble.

Check out (The Games) on our page and see the problems that White has with his King safety.