When Was Alekhine Born?

Edward Winter


Alexander Alekhine (C.N. 6191)

Alekhine’s birth-date is often given as 1 November 1892, but we are aware of no authoritative book published in the past 20 years or so which deviates from the ‘established’ date of 31 October 1892 (Gregorian calendar); this is the equivalent of 19 October 1892 in the Julian calendar, the gap in the nineteenth century being 12 days, and not 13.

The Alekhine entry in Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia states that page 20 of the 21/1972 issue of Shakhmaty gave a copy of Alekhine’s birth certificate; since we do not have that issue, perhaps a reader could kindly submit a copy. Alekhine’s birth-date used to appear mainly in the old-style version (19 October 1892), examples being on page 561 of the Teplitz-Schönau, 1922 tournament book and the ‘biographical note’ in his first volume of My Best Games (London, 1927). However, the equivalent note in his second Best Games collection (London, 1939) had the date as 1 November 1892. That could be dismissed as a conversion error by his British editors, but the real surprise comes in a feature article about Alekhine on pages 395-407 of issue 13 of Les Cahiers de l’Echiquier Français (1928). It began:

‘Les biographies du nouveau champion du monde sont presque toutes remplies d’inexactitudes. Celle qu’on va lire est rigoureusement exacte. C’est la traduction d’un article de l’annuaire biographique Who is who [sic] avec quelques rectifications par le maître lui-même.

Alexandre Alekhine naquit à Moscou le 1er novembre 1892 ...’

Why would that birth-date appear in an article said to have been verified by Alekhine himself?


Leonard M. Skinner (Cowbridge, Wales) sends the Alekhine item referred to in C.N. 4719 (pages 20-21 of the 21/1972 issue of Shakhmaty):


Our correspondent adds:

‘I also have an English translation of the vital parts. Briefly, “Alexander was born on 19 October 1892 and was baptised on 10 November of the same year. The parents were Alexander Ivanovich Alekhine and his lawful wife Anisiya Ivanova, both orthodox. The god-parents were Staff Captain Ivan Yefimovich Alekhine and the wife of high-born citizen Anna Sergeyevna Prokhorov”. The translation continues by giving details of the priest who performed the baptism and information certifying the authenticity of this extract from the Civil Register. Also in my possession are the marriage certificates of Alekhine with Nadezda Fabritsky and Grace Wishaar. I have too a copy of his naturalization certificate. All these documents give his birth-date as 19 October 1892.’

We shall be grateful if a reader can provide a detailed scan of the birth certificate from the Russian magazine.


C.N.s 4719 and 4739 discussed Alekhine’s birth certificate, as reproduced in a Russian-language magazine in 1972. Now Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) specifies that the periodical was Shakhmaty (Riga) and provides a more detailed scan of the document:


For a large version, click here.

Since the reproduction in Shakhmaty (Riga) was of poor quality, we are still looking for a good, fully legible copy of the certificate.


From Denis Teyssou (Paris):

‘I have consulted the 38 files of Alekhine’s naturalization record at the French national archives in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine and have posted a facts page.

Alekhine tried several times to become a French citizen between 1924 and 1927 and finally obtained citizenship with the support of Fernand Gavarry, who was the President of the French Chess Federation and a Plenipotentiary Minister at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. On 20 April 1927 Gavarry sent a letter on the Federations stationery asking the French authorities to grant Alekhine French citizenship so that he could lead the national team at the first International Team Tournament, to be held in London in July 1927. However, Alekhine had to await the promulgation of a new Law on naturalization to obtain a French passport.

My page also comments on Alekhine’s date of birth (C.N.s 4719 and 4739). I report too that in April 1922, three months after his arrival in France, Alekhine was suspected of Bolshevism, which, besides his frequent trips abroad, contributed to delays in the processing of his naturalization application between 1924 and 1927.’


The date of birth on Alekhine’s tombstone in Paris was discussed in C.N. 4043.

Alternatively, from page 241 of the Complete Book of Beginning Chess by Raymond Keene (New York, 2003):


Writers still go astray, and below is the poor start to a section on Alekhine on page 78 of The Big Book of World Chess Championships by Andre Schulz (Alkmaar, 2016):


Regarding the final sentence, no discernible purpose is served by mentioning what Alekhine’s father ‘is supposed to have lost on one occasion’.



Permission from Alamy.com for us to reproduce this photograph of Alexander Ivanovich Alekhin (1856-1917) has been obtained by Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore).


Latest update: 2 June 2022.

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Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.