Alapin's Opening

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Alapin's Opening
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white knight
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
Moves1.e4 e5 2.Ne2
Named afterSemyon Alapin
ParentOpen Game

Alapin's Opening is an unusual chess opening that starts with the moves:

1.e4 e5

It is named after the Russo-Lithuanian player and openings analyst Semyon Alapin (1856–1923). Although this opening is rarely used, Ljubojević (as Black) played against it at Groningen in 1970.


Alapin's Opening is offbeat, but perfectly playable for White. It is mainly used to avoid highly theoretical lines such as the Ruy Lopez, or to surprise the opponent. White intends to play f2–f4 soon. There is similarity to the Smyslov Position (Smyslov–Botvinnik, 1958) if White tries to play something in the lines of g3, Nbc3, d3, Bg2.

However, Alapin's Opening also incurs several problems for White. First, the development of White's light-square bishop, and also of his queen, is blocked, and will require another move of the knight or another pawn move, both of which go against the opening principle to develop the minor pieces quickly. Second, the knight on e2, although flexible, has no control over Black's half of the centre, and will need to be moved again to become more useful.

It is relatively easy for Black to equalise in this opening; for example, 2...Nf6, 2...Nc6, and 2...d5 all equalize, although Black should be careful to avoid being caught by surprise by an eventual f2–f4.

See also[edit]


  • John Nunn; Graham Burgess; John Emms & Joe Gallagher (1999). Nunn's Chess Openings. Everyman Publishers plc. ISBN 1-85744-221-0.