Philippe Jaulin-Frederic Coudray Avoine Open, 1996 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d3 (A move that is often overlooked.) 6…Ng5 7.Bxf4 Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 d6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.O-O (Even better is 10.Qf3! as White gains a tempo or two.) 10…dxe5 11.Bxe5 Bd6? 12.Bxg7! Qh4 13.Qe2+ [Black’s best is 13…Be6. (not 13…Kd7? 14.Rxf7+). But even stronger is 13.Qe1+! as 13..Qxe1 14.Rxe1+ is check and the White’s has the attack and the material advantage.] 1-0
Black also has 3…Qh4+. And like in the Bishop Gambit, the White is dislodged from a good hiding square. The downside, again copying from the Bishop Gambit, is the Black queen is slightly out of play and facing all of White’s pieces on her own.
Mr. Sutton-Blackburne Simpson’s Chess Divan London, 1884 [Blackburne, “Blackburne’s Chess Games”, #176] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f5 (Although a favorite defence of mine I do not recommend it to the young amateur.) 5.Nc3 (Qe2 is stronger.) 5…Nf6 6.d3 g5 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 9.Kg1 g4 10.Ne5 Rh7 11.Ne2 (An attack on the Queen persistently followed up in White’s succeeding play.) 11…fxe4 12.Bxf4 Qf5 13.Qc1 d5 14.Bb3 Nbd7 15.Ng3 Bc5+ 16.Kh2 Nxe5 17.Nxf5 (Now White has attained his object, but the fruit is of the Dead Sea.) 17…g3+ 18.Bxg3 (Any other move is equally fatal.) 18…Neg4+ 19.Kh3 Ne3 20.Bf4 Bxf5+ 21.Kh2 Neg4+ 22.Kh3 Nf2+ 23.Kh2 N6g4+ 24.Kg1 Nxd3+ 25.Kf1 Nxc1 26.Rxc1 O-O-O 0-1
But perhaps the best response is 3…d5, aggressively opening up more lines for an attack. White meets this best with 4.exd5 Nf6, and usually 5.Nf3.
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 (5.Nf3)
Tartakower-Capablanca New York 1924 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.Kf1?! (7.Bd2) cxd5 8.Bxf4 dxc4 9.Bxb8 Nd5 10.Kf2 Rxb8 11.Bxc4 O-O 12.Nf3 Nf6 13.Nc3 b5 14.Bd3 Ng4+ 15.Kg1 Bb7 16.Bf5?! (White’s king needs some breathing room and a chance for activating his rook. He can do both, and even attack a piece, with 16…h3!) 16…Bxc3 17.bxc3 Ne3 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 (Even after 18…Kxh7? 19.Qd3+ Kg8 21.Qxe3 Black still has the advantage due to his more secured king.) 19.Qd3 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Nd5 21.Be4 Nf4 22.Qd2 Qh4 23.Kf1 f5 24.Bc6 Rf6 25.d5 Rd8 26.Rd1 Rxc6 27.dxc6 Rxd2 (Even Capablanca is known to make mistakes as Black does even better with 27…Qh3+ 28.Kf2 Qg2+. ) 28.Rxd2 Ne6 29.Rd6 Qc4+ 30.Kg2 Qe2+ 0-1
Mark F. Bruere (2250)-J.M. Vaassen corres., WT/M/GT/284 ICCF, 1990 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.dxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 Bd6 8.O-O (Castling seems to be overdone in the King’s Gambit Accepted. Better is 8.c4 claiming a stake in the center and still holding the possibility of castling on either side.) 8…O-O 9.c4 Bg4 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.b3 (12.d5!? needs to be investigated.) 12..a6 13.Na3?! (13..Nc3) 13…Re8 14.Nc2 Qc7 15.Bb2 Ba7 16.Kh1 Ne7 17.d5? (Opening attacking lines where Black is the only one who profits. And it also drops a pawn.) 17…Nexd5! 18.cxd5 Qxc2 19.Bxf6 Rxe2 20.Bd4 Bxf3! 0-1
C. Sánchez-A. Alexander IECC 2000 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.c4 O-O 7.d4 b6 8.Ne5 c5 9.dxc6 Qc7 (9…Ne4, threatening, …Qh4+ is a possibility.) 10.Bxf4 Nxc6 11.Nc3 a6 12.Nxc6 (12.Bf3!?) 12…Qxc6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.O-O Bb7 15.d5 Rae8 16.Qd2 Ne4 (> 16…c5.) 17.Nxe4 Rxe4 18.Bd3 Rh4? (Black is having problems and he needs to play 18…Re5. The text is simply a waste of time.) 19.g3 Rd4 20.Bxh7+ 1-0
I briefly touched on the Hennig-Schara Gambit in my last post (an opening named after two players).
But after I reviewed it, I thought it might be a fascinating subject to share. So here are some surprising opening moves for you, the good reader.
The gambit starts with the moves, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4. White gets an early advantage while Black develops. The game can easily enter lines where tactics and unclear continuations come into play.
Basically, with the c-file and d-file open, Black’s dream position would be one that he would castle queenside and have the enemy king stuck in the center. This obviously cannot happen in all games as can White castle kingside and Black often has a problem developing his b8-bishop, necessary for him to castle queenside.
But before going over the main lines, let’s first take a look at well-known trap that many Black players fall into, especially in speed chess.
Which leaves White with taking the pawn. He can either take it immediately with 5.Qxd4 or the move after with 5.Qa4+ Bd7 (played to disrupt Black’s development and close the d-file, at least for the moment).
White’s first plan, 5.Qxd4 is an obvious move. Black’s response is overwhelmingly in favor of 5…Nc6, if only because 5…Nf6 fails.
One line which we DO NOT recommend for White is: 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3? Qe7 11.a3 O-O-O 12.Be2? Bh3!
The following games demonstrate the reasons why.
Dr. A. A. Mengarini-M. Radoicic Third Forum Open New York, 1967 [Hans Kmoch, “Games from Recent Events”, Chess Review, July 1967] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3 Qe7 11.a3 (11.Be2 is urgent.) 11…O-O-O 12.Be2 (Now White returns the Pawn for no obvious reason. 12.Bd2 is indicated. White has a difficult job then but does after the text move also.) 12…Bh3 13.Qc2 Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bxf3 15.Qf5+ Kb8 16.Qxf3 Ne5 17.Qf5 g6 18.Qc2 Rd7 19.b4 Bb6 20.Bb2 Rc8 21.Rd1 Rdc7 22.Qb3
22…Bxe3!! (This brilliant breakthrough destroys whatever dreams of safety White has.) 23.fxe3 (On 23.Nb5, Black probably continues with 23…Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Ne4+) 23…Nf3+! 24.Bxf3 (Or 24.Kf2 Rxc3! 25.Bxc3 Rxc3 26.Qxc3 Ne4+, etc.) 24…Qxe3+ 25.Be2 (White has nothing better.) 25…Qxg1+ 26.Kd2 Qg5+ 27.Kc2 (Or 27.Ke1 Qh4+ 28.Kd2 Rxc3! or 28.Kf1 Qh3+ 29.Ke1 Ne4 30.Rd3 Qh4+ with a winning attack.) 27…Ne4 28.Rd3 Rxc3+! 29.Bxc3 Rxc3+! 30.Rxc3 Qd2+ 0-1
Eric Marathee (2068)-Herve Daurelle (2230) Paris Ch. France, July 24 1999 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.a3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3 Qe7 11.Be2 O-O-O 12.Nf3 Bh3 13.Qb3 (13.Qa4 may be the only move here – RME.) 13…Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Ne5 16.Bh1 Rhe8 17.Na4 Nd3+ 18.Ke2 Ne4 19.Bxe4 Qxe4 20.Bd2 Nf4+ 21.Ke1 Qf3 22.Qd1 Nd3+ 0-1
White has better luck with 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 as Black’s counter attack is slowed down by his bishop on d7.
“weiran” (1775)-“mrjoker” (1778) Blitz Game ICC, September 6, 2008 [The reason not to grab the “b” pawn, part 2. Louis Morin is presumably “mrjoker”.] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qxb7 Nc6 9.Bf4 Nb4 10.O-O-O (10.Rc1! was much better.) 10…Rc8 11.Kb1 Rxc3 (A little too fancy. I saw 11…Bf5+! 12.e4, but simply missed 12…Qxd1+! 13.Nxd1 Bxe4+.) 12.bxc3 (I was expecting 12.Rxd7. Even with the help of Fritz I cannot find anything better than a perpetual check after 12…Qa5 13.a3 Qf5+ 14.e4 Nxe4 15.Ka1 Nc2+ 16.Ka2 Rc5 17.Bb5 Nc3+ 18.bxc3 Nb4+ 19.axb4 Qc2+ etc.) 12…Bf5+ 13.Kb2 Qxd1 14.Qb8+ Kd7 15.Qxa7+ Kc6 16.Qc7+ Kb5 17.c4+ (Again it seems as if a perpetual check should be the logical outcome after 17.Qb7+ Kc4 18.e4+ Qxf1 19.Nf3 Nd3+ 20.Kc2 Nb4+ 21.cxb4 Qd3+ 22.Kc1 Qc3+ 23.Kd1 Nxe4 24.Nd2+ Nxd2 25.Qxf7+ Kd3 26.Qxf5+ Ne4 27.Qh3+ etc.) 17…Ka6 (Sorry, no more checks.) 18.Kc3 Qc2+ 19.Kd4 Qb2+ 20.Ke3 Qc3mate 0-1
Sometimes the opening is named after the pieces. The King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4), the Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4), the Two Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6), the Three Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6), the Four Knights Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6), the Bishop Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4), and the Bishop Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4).
Pawns are featured in the Two Knights Variation of the Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3), the Three Pawns Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.g3 fxg3 6.O-O), and the Four Pawns Variation in the King’s Indian Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4) and the Four Pawns Attack in the Alekhine’s Defence (1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4).
1-0 (White has a piece, two pins, and all the attacking chances; Black has nothing.)
But this, the opening names – not the opening play – can get boring.
Some openings are named after the first person who was successful with the opening moves. Others are named after a player or student of the game who first published the analysis.
Opening names such as Alekhine’s Defence (1.e4 Nf6), Fischer’s Defence in the King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 and now 3…d6 instead of the usual 3…g5), Larsen’s Opening (1.b3), the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 Bb5), the Marshall Attack (a variation of the Ruy Lopez going 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5), the Albin Counter- Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5), Anderssen’s Opening (1.a3), the Najdorf (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6), and the Benko Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5).
And that’s just for starters.
We also have the Smith-Morra (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 – actually named after two players), the Caro-Kann (1. e4 c6, another opening named after two players), the von Hennig-Schara Gambit (yet another opening named after two players):
The Greco-Counter Gambit, by the way, is named after Greco who the first known person to write about the openings. The opening moves are 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5!?. And the opening is also known as the Latvian Gambit.
This is a good time to segue into another area where chess openings are named after not just one or two players, but after a group of localized players who studied and popularized these openings. Not only do we have the Latvian, but also the Budapest (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5), the French (1.e4 e6), and the English (1.c4).
Making things interesting is that some openings are named after cities and countries. We have the Catalan (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3), the Saragossa (1.c3), the Italian (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4), the Berlin Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6), the Vienna (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3), and the London (1.d4 Nf6 and White will play an early .Bf4).
Openings are also named after animals. Most players know of the Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 and Black will soon play …g6, …Bg7, and usually …Nf6).
And some might even know the Chameleon (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nce2, and now White can continue with the Closed Sicilian with .d3 and .g3, or the Open Sicilian with .d4 cxd4 .Nxd4).
But how many players are familiar with the Elephant Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5), the Orangutan (1.b4), the Pterodactyl Variation (1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 c5 5.Nf3 Qa5), or the Vulture Defence (1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.c4 Ne4)?
Some players would mistakenly add the Bird (1.f4). But this opening was named after the English player, Henry Edward Bird (1830–1908).
But there are some opening names that are mysterious.
For example, the opening moves 1.d4 Nf6 are collectively known as the Indian Defences, such as the King’s Indian Defence, the Queen’s Indian, the Nimzo-Indian, the Old Indian. But why? We don’t know either.
And who knows where the Fried Liver Attack (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7)? It is said that Black, playing this variation, is dead as a piece of fried liver But, why Fried Liver and not, say, Fried Chicken or even Fried Zucchini? Surely, more people know what chicken and zucchini than Fried Liver? Maybe Fried Liver is less desirable or digestible? And Black is surely not dead after taking the knight on f7 – there are ways for him to fight on, and even to win. Ok, back to tropic.
We also have the Benoni (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5). Where did that name come from and how did it become popular? We know the latter comes from “a Hebrew term meaning “son of my sorrow” (cf. Genesis 35:18) – the name of an 1825 book by Aaron Reinganum about several defenses against the King’s Gambit and the Queen’s Gambit”, as least according to Wikipedia. But why and how did it become popular if it concerns itself with the Queen’s Gambit?
Finally, we have the Halloween Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5), where it is said that this gambit is scary. We agree – but to which side?
I enjoy researching chess openings. There are many opening positions where the other side may falter, fall into a trap, or even just find himself in bad position. Knowing how to take advantage of these mistakes is essential in correspondence. So, yeah theory and knowing well-researched lines are important.
But occasionally, a player may want to venture into the unknown, or create a new line. There are many reasons for this.
One is that the competing players may eventually know what lines a player excels in and try to learn his favorite lines. For example, a dedicated Najdorf player may avoid playing in the Sicilian, just to throw one player out of sync. Another is that sometimes a player can get tired playing the same lines, even if he does well with them. Just how many times can one play the Euwe variation of the Advance French? Or perhaps he wants to enjoy a game, fresh and unburden with theory. He may study this new thought with analysis or not, depending on his confidence.
One quick and easy way to try out a novelty is a blitz game. There is less stress, and one does not have to worry about losing some well-earned rating points.
Escalante-“Avila83″ (1643) Blitz Game chess.com, Feb. 17 2021 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 (A move I have been experimenting.) 3…a6 (3…Qe4+? 4.Be2 and White has a small lead in development.) 4.Be2 b5?! (Flanking in a Center Counter game!? Doesn’t seem consistent.) 5.d4 Bb7 6.Nc3 Qd8 7.Be3 [White has an interesting gambit here: 7.Ne5!? Bxg2 8.Rg1 Bb7 9.Bf3 c6 (not 9…Bxf3? 10.Qxf3 +-) 10.Ne4 and his development outweighs his pawn minus. This is something to research!] 7…Nf6 8.O-O g6 (> 9…e6.) 9.Qd2 Bg7 10.Rad1 O-O 11.Bh6 Re8 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Rfe1 (13.Qe3!?) 13…Nbd7 14.Ne5 Qc8 15.Ng4?! (With the idea of 15..Nxg4? 16.Bxg4 with a pin on the d7-knight. But White has no good continuation. Only if the f6-knight moves does White have anything positive. Better is 15.b4 which blocks any queenside expansion with …c5.) 17…Nd5?? (Incredibly the f6-knight moves!) 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 (Please forgive the next few moves. It was blitz game.) 18.Ne5 (18.Rd3! with the idea of Rh3 is hard to stop. In fact, it wins!) 18…Nf6 19.h3 (Bad, as it stops a future Rd3, Rh3. White can try a later Re4, Rh4. But why should he wait?) 19…e6 20.Bf3 Bxf3 21.Nxf3 Nh5 22.Ng5 Qd8?? 23.Qxh7+ 1-0
Escalante-“chessNrun” Practice the French Thematic Tournament, Round 2 chess.com, 2020/1 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Be7
[White got a very good game in Kvick-Thuring, Sweden, 1978, which reached this position by transposition: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Ne7? (Black makes the best move by blocking, but with the wrong piece.) 6.Nf6# 1-0.]
[White 5…Be7 has been seen before, this move, 6.h4 is a true, almost untested gambit. Previous moves included the tempo wasting 6.Be3?!, which doesn’t give White anything to cheer about. I should be honest here. While preparing this game for this week’s post, I came across this game.
Imagine, my gambit idea was tried and tested in tournament 18 years before I ventured it. And by someone who is less than 16 years old! Ah, chess is hard enough even if you do not come up with original ideas!]
6…Bxg5 7.hxg5 Nc6 8.Nf3 Nge7? 9.Nf6+! (This is again a natural move. Black is in trouble, although it is hard to see to the end.) 9…Kf8 10.Qd2 Nd5 11.Ne4 Kg7 12.O-O-O a5 [Black, who can’t castle (on either side), has a blocked h8-rook, and doesn’t want to open the center, makes for a break on the queenside.] 13.c4! (If Black is not going to open the center, then White must.) 13…Ndb4 14.a3 Bd7 15.d5 exd5 [White is winning, but still has to be careful. 16.Nf6? Bf5! 17.Qc3 (or 17.axb4? axb4 and Black threatens 18…b3 and 19.Ra1#) 17…Na2+ and Black wins.] 16.cxd5 [Now two Black pieces are under attack, White has all the attacking possibilities, will win material, and Black is lost. 16…Bf5 is Black’s best. But he still loses after 17.axb4! (White gets rid of Black’s biggest threat) 16…Bxe4 (17…Nxb4 18.Qd4+ Kg8 19.Nf6+ Kf8 20.Nxh7+! Rxh7 21.Rxh7 Na2+ 22.Kd2 Qe7 23.Rh8#) 18.Qc3+ f6 (18…Kg8 19.dxc6 Qe7 20.Rd7 axb4 21.Qxh8+! Kxh8 22.Rxe7 Ra1+ 23.Kd2) 19.dxc6 Qe7 20.Rd7. Consider this position a +-.]
First, let’s talk about the name of the gambit. Many players are convinced that AMAR is an acronym for Absolutely Mad And Ridiculous. And they are at least half correct, it is an absolutely mad and ridiculous opening. But the opening is named after Charles Amar, a 1930s player from Paris.
What makes this opening so bad? Well, the opening starts with 1.Nh3. And with this move White gives up his claim for the center, loses a tempo with his knight, and retards his own development.
Black probably has the advantage after either 1…e5 or 1…d5.
After 1.Nh3 d5, the game can continue with 2.g3 e5 3.f4, and the position of the AMAR gambit has been reached. Let’s see what White has done. With 2.g3 and 3.f4, he not only has the same problems as before, but has also tacked on a few more problems. His kingside is considerably weakened, he has open lines to his king, namely the d8-h4 diagonal (the same one used in Fool’s Mate), and he has sacrificed (lost?) a kingside pawn.
What has White gotten for all this mess? If Black plays 3…exf4, then White can win back the f-pawn with 4.Nxf4. He then has an OK position for his knight. And White can try castling.
Black, however, doesn’t have to play 3…exf4, leaving White with an entirely lost position. White can still try to castle kingside and maybe have some play along the f-file. But he usually doesn’t have the time to castle or make any long-term plans.
Really, White does better with the King’s Gambit.
1) 3.f4 2) 3.f4 exf4 4.Nxf4 3) 3.f4 Bxh3
Black can decline the gambitted pawn. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, Black has stronger moves.
Certainly Black can take the pawn. Well, he ends up with a much better position than White, who finds himself on the defensive. It is not known if this is a forced win for Black, but it is close to one.
You might not find it in a magazine. And you might not find it in a book. But there is a gambit that seems appropriate for Halloween. It is known as the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation (or FDV for short).
In this gambit (perhaps attack would be more descriptive), Black gives up a rook and a few pawns and then proceeds to gain control over a large portion of the board and threatens White’s queen in numerous ways.
Is it any good? Let’s check it (sorry, bad pun) out.
L. Janse-GM J. Hector Paskturneringen Open Sweden, Apr 20 2019 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.d3 (White wants to develop his Bc1. As events will show White will not have the time to develop this bishop. 12.Ne2 is the better choice.) 12…f4 13.Qf3 Nd4 14.Qd1 Bb7 15.Nf3 Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Nf5 17.h4 Nxh4 18.Rh3 Qg5 19.Qe2 Bc5 20.Kd2 Qh5 21.Rxh4 Qxh4 22.Qxe5 Re8 23.Qb8+ Bc8 24.Bc4 Bb4+ 0-1
Ray Bott-Roger D de Coverly Match, Game 7 London, 1988 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.Qf3 Bb7 12.Qh3 Nd4 13.c3 Bg7?!
14.Bd1? (White has to play 14.cxd4 and while Black runs wild over the board with his pieces, he is doing so with one less piece. White’s sole developed piece, his queen, is stuck in the open and becomes a target. The end is swift.) 14…Ne6! 15.d3 Bxa8 16.Ne2 f4 17.Kf1 Ng5 18.Qh4 Nf5 0-1
(Black could obviously try 7…O-O but I usually like to castle to the opposite side of my opponent – it opens more possibilities to attacking their castled king. R. Norman-M.Varner, corres., 1991 continued with 6…O-O 7.O-O Be6 8.Nc3 Nd7 9.b3 Nde5 10.Ne4 Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 Bd5 12.Bb2 Bxe4 13.Bxe4 Qh4 14.Rf4 Bxf4 15.exf4 Qxf4 16.d3 Rad8 17.Qe1 Rfe8 18.Qc3 Nd4 19.Re1 Kh8 20.Bc1 Qxc1 21.Rxc1 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nxc3 23.Bf3 c6 24.a3 g6 …0-1.)
7.O-O h5 8.Nh4?! (8…c4!?) 8…Be6 9.Rxf6? (This might work if Black was forced to play 9…gxf6? and now either 10.Bxh5 or 10.d4. But even then Black has the advantage.) 9…Qxf6 10.g3 g5 11.Ng2 h4 12.g4 h3 13.Ne1 Qe5 (>13…O-O-O! which will save Black a tempo or two.) 14.Nf3 Qf6 15.Nc3 Bxg4 16.Ne4 Qf5 (>16…Qg6!) 17.Nexg5? (This can’t be good. Much better is 17.Nxd6+ cxd6 and White rids himself of an annoying bishop. The text move, moreover, freely opens the g-file to Black’s rooks without him having to work for it.)
17…O-O-O?! (A reasonable move. But not the best. Black should immediately use the open file that was freely given to him with 17…Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Qxg5+ or 18.Nxf3 Qg4+.) 18.Qf1 Bxf3 (A move best described as better late than never.) 19.Nxf3 Rhg8+ 20.Kh1 Rg2 21.Bd3 Qg4 22.Ng1?? Rxh2mate 0-1
I have used some chess dictionaries I found on-line and even some printed books. But I was unsatisfied with what I have read. Too often, it seems that many writers simply copy what has been printed, even if what has been printed is incorrect, misleading, incomplete, or confusing.
So, I created my own. Produced from an editor’s point of view, with many spelling mistakes and other errors removed, important information added to make the definitions more complete, and even updating recorded moves from Descriptive Notation (DN) to Algebraic Notation (AN).
This dictionary, like every other dictionary is not complete, nor can any dictionary be complete. This dictionary is meant to include only the most common terms used by players, writers, teachers, and those who study the game.
But I have the satisfaction know that if I am missing something important, a kind, gentle reader would let me know.
My kind, gentle reader, please take some time off this Independence Day, shooting off fireworks, eating a hot dog, and enjoying your time at the beach. And let me know what I am missing.
On second thought, go ahead, enjoy your holiday, your weekend, your family and friends, and the fireworks. Come back when you are ready.
Have a wonderful and warm holiday!
Rob’s Chess Dictionary
ACTIVE [adj. (1) describing a piece that has movement, (2) describing a type of defence that involves counterplay, (3) describing a game that has time limit of 30 minutes per player.]
ADJOURN (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to take a break from a game to continue later.]
ADJUDICATE (+D, ADJUDICATING, +S) [v. to make a judgment made by an impartial person to determine the result of a game.]
ADJUDICATION (+S) [n. the act of making a judgment made by an impartial person to determine the result of a game.]
ADVANCE (+D, ADVANCING, +S) [v. to move forward, esp. with a pawn]
ADVANTAGE (+S) [n. a lead in material, time, space, or position, in a game or study. See DISADVANTAGE.]
ALBINO (+S) [n. a classification of studies that specify a specific white pawn move a problem or study ; adj. referring to specific white pawn moves in a problem or study.]
ALGEBRAIC [n. the most popular chess notation for recording moves.]
ANALYZE (+D, ANALYZING, +S) [n. to work out alternate or better moves or plans.]
ARISTOCRAT (+S) [n. a study or problem which has no pawns in the initial position]
ATTACK (+ED, +ING, +S)
AUTOMATON (+S) [n. a mechanical device that appeared to make moves in a game by itself during the 18th and 19th centuries but were controlled by a human player concealed inside the machine. The most famous automaton was the Turk.]
BAD BISHOP (+S) [n. a bishop blocked by his own pawns]
BATTERY (BATTERIES) [n. a rook and a rook or a rook and queen, of the same color, on the same file.]
BIND (+S) [n. a situation or a position that has restrictive movement.]
BISHOP (+S) [n. a diagonally moving piece.]
(CLASSICAL) BISHOP SACRIFICE (+S) (n. AKA “the Greek gift”, it is a typical sacrifice of a bishop on an opponent’s kingside castled position which forces the king out which he may be attacked. See game below.]
Greco-N.N. Rome, 1620? 1.e4 e6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bd3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.h4 O-O 6.e5 Nd5 7.Bxh7+! (The classical bishop sacrifice. Black’s king has take the bishop and come out to face the upcoming attack, or he loses a pawn with a worse position.) 7…Kxh7 8.Ng5+ Bxg5 9.hxg5+ Kg8 10.Qh5 f5 11.g6 Re8 12.Qh8mate 1-0
BLACK (+S) [n. the side with the darker pieces that moves second in a game, (2) the defending side in a study.]
BLINDFOLD [n. a game which at least one of the players cannot see the board.]
BLITZ [n. a very fast game, esp. one with a five-minute time control.]
BLOCKADE (+D, BLOCKADING, +S) [v. to stop a piece, esp. a pawn from moving.]
BOARD (+S) [n. same as CHESSBOARD.]
BODEN’S MATE [n. AKA a Criss-Cross Mate, is a checkmate that occurs when the two bishops mate the enemy king, with each bishop coming from an opposite diagonal from the other.]
BOOK [n. a position or series of moves so well known it can be found in books.]
BRILLIANCY (BRILLIANCIES) [n. a game with a beautiful combination or with spectacular moves.]
BUGHOUSE (+S) [n. same as SIAMESE.]
BULLET [n. a game with a one-minute time control.]
BYE (+S) [n. a pre-arranged score of ½ for not playing a game in a tournament.]
CAISSA [n. the goddess of chess]
CAPTURE (+D, CAPTURING, +S) [v. to take a piece or pawn]
CASTLE (+D, CASTLING, +S) [v. to move the unmoved King two squares to the kingside or queenside and placing the rook on the other side of the King. You may not castle while in check, through check, or end with your king in check. See also CASTLE, LONG and CASTLE, SHORT.]
CASTLE, LONG [n. queenside castling. Written as O-O-O.]
CASTLE, SHORT [n. kingside castling. Written as O-O.]
CENTER [n. collectively, the squares e4, e5, d4, d5 that reside in the middle of the board.]
CHECK (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to threaten the enemy king with an immediate capture. It is common in casual play to announce check, but forbidden in tournament play.]
CHECKMATE [n. same as MATE]
CHESSBOARD (+S) [n. a piece of material (wood, plastic, vinyl, etc.) that is meant to have pieces placed on it for study or play.]
CHESSMAN (CHESSMEN) [n. a piece in a set]
CLOCK (+S) [n. a timer used in a game]
COMPENSATION [n. possession of having other advantages, such as an open file, for a piece or pawn that has been gambitted, sacrificed, or lost.]
COMPOSER (+S) [n. one who creates problems or studies]
COOK (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to find another solution to a problem or study.]
CORNER (+S) [n. the squares a1, a8, h1, and h8.]
CORRESPONDENCE [n. a chess game played through the mail or email.]
COUNTERPLAY [n. potential or actual aggressive moves by the defender designed achieve equality or an advantage] DECLINE (+D, DECLINING, +S) [v. to not accept a gambit or sacrifice.]
DECOY (+S) [n. a pawn or piece that lures away an attacker.]
DEFEND (+ED, +ING, +S)
DEFENDER (+S) [n. pawn or piece that thwarts an enemy attacking piece.]
DESCRIPTIVE [n. an old-fashioned notation used in English speaking countries until the 1980s.]
DEVELOP (+ED, +ING, +S) [n. to put a pawn or piece on a more useful square.]
DISADVANTAGE (+S) [n. being behind in material, time, space, or position, in a game or study. See ADVANTAGE.]
DOUBLED [adj. describing two pawns of the same color on the same file. See also TRIPLED.]
DRAW1(+S) [n. a game ending in a tie.]
DRAW2(+N +S, +ING) [v. to end the game in a tie.]
DRAWABLE [adj. describing a position in which a tie is the likely outcome.]
DUTCH [n. the opening 1.d4 f5.] ECO [n. short for Encyclopedia of Chess Openings.]
EDGE [n. a small advantage]
ELO [n. the rating system most widely used. It was named after its inventor, Arpad Elo (1903-1992).]
EN PASSANT [n. French for “in passing”, it is a move that occurs when a pawn moves two squares from its starting position and passes an enemy pawn that has advanced to its fifth rank. The advanced pawn on the fifth rank may choose to capture the pawn as if the pawn had only moved forward one square.]
EN PRISE [n. a French term meaning “in a position to be taken”, “exposed to capture”, or simply, “a piece left hanging”. It is a piece or pawn that is unprotected and can be captured, usually the result of an oversight.]
ENDING (+S) [n. although it can be synonymous with ENDGAME, it is a term more likely to be used in a study rather than a game.]
ENDGAME (+S) [n. the stage of the game where few pieces, or no pieces, remain. Also known as the ENDING.]
ENVELOP (+S) [n. a flat paper cover in which a scoresheet of a game and a separate piece of paper that indicate a player’s next move (but unknown to anyone else) is inserted, sealed, and then presented to the tournament director for safekeeping until the game is resumed.]
EPAULETTE (+S) [n. a mate occurring when the opposing King is caught on the side of the board with both of his rooks preventing his sideward movement. The queen giving the mate stands in front of the king, close enough to mock and mate him but not close enough to be captured. See example below.]
EXCELSIOR (+S) [n. a pawn that promotes in a problem.]
EXCHANGE (+D, EXCHANGING, +S) [v. to trade pieces]
EXHIBITION (+S) [n. a chess game played for the public to promote the game, a tournament, a player, a group, or used as a fundraiser.]
EXPERT (+S) [n. a title just below a MASTER.] EVALUATION (+S) [n. the analysis and assessment of a position.]
FAN [n. an acronym for Figurine Algebraic Notation.]
FEN [n. short for Forsyth–Edwards Notation, a concise method of recording a position.]
FIANCHETTO (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to develop a bishop on b2 or g2 for White; or b7 or g7 for Black, and usually protected by three pawns; two on the sides, and one directly in front.]
FIDE [n. short for Fédération Internationale des Échecs, the international organization of chess, founded in Paris in 1924.]
FILE (+S) [n. a column of eight squares going from rank #1 to rank #8.]
FLAG (+S) [n. an indicator on a mechanical clock that moves (falls) when a certain time has elapsed.]
FLANK (+S) [n. the right and left files of the center.]
FOOL’S MATE [the shortest game that can end in mate. 1.f3 e5 2.g4? Qh4# 0-1]
FORK (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to attacking more than one piece or pawn with a single piece.]
FM [n. short for Federation Master.]
GAMBIT (+S) [n. a move, typically in the opening and planned prior to the game, in which a player freely gives up a pawn, piece, or exchange, in the hope of either obtaining a tactical or positional advantage. See also SACRIFICE.]
GAME (+S) [n. the actual play of chess as opposed to problems, studies, and analysis.]
GM (+S) [n. short for GRANDMASTER.]
GRANDMASTER (+S) [n. the highest title in chess]
GRANDMASTER DRAW [n. a quick, uninteresting, listless, and even boring, draw.]
HOLE (+S) [n. a weak square which may easily be occupied by an enemy piece.]
HAUPTTURNIER (+S) [n. a German word that is freely translated as “candidates’ tournament”, or a tournament that one needed to win to be considered a master in Germany.]
ICCF [n. short for International Correspondence Chess Federation.]
IGM [n. short for International GrandMaster, an old term. It has mostly been replaced with GRANDMASTER or simply GM as “International” is implied.]
INFORMANT (+S) [n. well known periodical from Yugoslavia.]
INTERZONAL (+S) [n. a tournament to determine candidates to play in the World Championship.]
IQP [short for Isolated Queen Pawn. See ISOLANI.
ISOLANI [n. an isolated pawn on the d-file.]
ISOLATE (+D) [n. a pawn that does not have any other pawns of its own color on an adjacent file.]
J’ADOUBE [n. French word for “I adjust”. Spoken just before a piece being adjusted on its square. Used in “TOUCH MOVE” situations.]
KEY (+S) [n. correct first move in a problem.]
KIBITZ (+ED, +ES, +ING) [v. to give Illegal, and usually unwanted, advice given from one who is not a player in the game.]
KIBITZER (+S) [n. one who kibitzes.]
KING (+S) [n. the most important unit on the chess board. Losing the king means losing the game.]
KING PAWN OPENING [n. a game that opens with 1.e4.]
KINGSIDE (+S) [n. the “e”, “f”, “g”, and “h” files. The kings reside on the “e” file at the start of the game, hence the name. See also QUEENSIDE.]
KING’S GAMBIT [n. an opening that begins with 1.e4 e5 2.f4. White is willing to give up his f-pawn to gain an advantage in the game. Black sometimes has difficulties keeping his extra pawn but he can try to attack as well.]
KNIGHT (+S) [n. the piece that can leap over other pieces and moves in an “L” shape.]
KNIGHT’S TOUR [n. an exercise in which a knight starting on any square on an otherwise empty board makes 63 consecutive moves, touching each square exactly once.]
LUFT [n. German word for “air.” Moving a pawn forward so the king has an escape square is an example of LUFT.]
MATCH (+ES) [n. a series of games between two players for a championship, prize, or bragging rights]
MASTER (+S) [n. a player who obtains a rating over 2200]
MATE (+D, MATING, +S) [n. a position in which a player’s king is in check and there is no way to remove the threat. Checkmate is a win for the player delivering the mate.]
MINIATURE (+S) [n. a game lasting than 25 moves or less, usually with a win for one of the players, (2) a problem with less than 7 pieces.] MOBILITY [n. freedom of a piece or the pieces.]
NAJDORF, Miguel [n. a Polish-Argentinian chess grandmaster (1910-1997).]
NAJDORF [n. a complex Sicilian arising from the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6. It was named the GM who popularized it.]
NORM (+S) [n. a score a titled player would be expected to earn in a tournament.] NOTATION (+S) [n. a system of writing down the moves.]
N.N. [n. a player in a recorded game whose name is not known. It may be short for No Name, Not kNown, or even the Latin phrase, “nomen nescio”, but there is no agreement.]
ODDS [n. a game in which a stronger player removes his pieces and/or pawns prior to game to make the game more equal. A stronger player may also offer time odds, when he would play when less time than his opponent.]
OLYMPIAD (+S) [n. a world team event held every two years.]
OPEN (+S) [n. a tournament which anyone can join]
OPPOSITION (+S) [n. the ability to force the other side to move into a disadvantageous position. See also ZUGZWANG]
OTB [n. short for Over The Board. As opposed to CORRESPONDENCE.]
PAIRING (+S) [n. a notification in a tournament informing the player what color he will be (Black or White), who is his opponent, and what board number they would play on.]
PATZER (+S) [n. slang term for a weak player.]
PAWN (+S) [n. a unit that moves forward and can promote to a more powerful piece upon reaching the eighth rank.]
PAWN CHAIN (+S) [n. two or more pawns of the same color diagonally linked. A pawn chain’s weakest point is the base.
PERPETUAL (+S) [n. a position on the board that a player is forced to repeat by his opponent.]
PGN [n. short for Portable Games Notation, a coding system that allows a game to be played on a computer or laptop.]
PIECE (+S) [n. the rook, knight, bishop, or queen. Sometimes the king is considered a piece.]
PIN (+NED, +NING, +S) [n. an attack on a piece that is in line within another, and usually more important piece, and cannot move without the piece behind it being liable to be captured.]
PLAYER (S) [n. a competitor in a tournament, match, or casual play.]
PLY (+S) [n. one-half of a whole move. The opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 involves three PLYS.]
POINT (+S) [n. (1) a numerical evaluation given to each piece. For example, a rook is worth 5 points, (2) A single point given to the winner of a tournament or match game. A draw means each player receives ½ of a point. The winner of a tournament or match is the player with the most points.]
POSITION (+S) [n. the arrangement of pieces and pawns on the board.]
POSITIONAL [n. a type of play that avoid tactics, instead relying on applying, maintaining, and increasing pressure on a position.]
POISONED PAWN (+S) [n. an unprotected pawn that, if captured, causes problems for the side that took the pawn, including positional problems, mating threats, and/or material loss. The two most common examples of a poisoned pawn can be found in 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 (The Poisoned Pawn in the Najdorf) and 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Qg4 (The Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Winawer).]
POSTAL [n. old term for correspondence chess]
PROBLEM (+S) [n. a puzzle where one side, usually White, can force mate or otherwise obtain a winning position]
EXAMPLE OF A PROBLEM
Morphy New York Clipper, 1856
White to mate in 2
PROMOTE (+D, PROMOTING, +S) [v. to advance a pawn to the 8th rank and exchanging it for a queen. See also UNDERPROMOTION]
PROMOTION (+S) [n. the act of advancing a pawn to the 8th rank and exchanging for a queen.]
PROPHYLAXIS [n. a technique of preventing a move, or series of moves, designed to prevent an opponent from developing his pieces on ideal squares or otherwise improving his position.]
QUAD (+S) [n. a tournament with four players]
QUEEN1(+S) [n. a piece that combines the powers of a rook and bishop. It is considered the strongest piece in chess.]
QUEEN2(+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to promote a pawn]
QUEENSIDE (+S) [n. the “a”, “b”, “c”, and “d” files. The queens reside on the “d” file at the start of the game, hence the name. See also KINGSIDE.]
QUIET MOVE (+S) [n. a move that does not attack or capture an enemy piece but does increase the pressure to one’s opponent sometimes enough to force resignation.]
RANK (+S) [n. a row of eight squares going from the “a” file to the “h” file.]
RATING (+S) [n. a numerical estimation of a player’s strength.]
RECORD (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to write down the moves of a game]
RESIGN (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to formally give up a game]
RESIGNATION (+S) [n. the act of resigning.]
ROOK (+S) [n. a piece that moves vertically and horizontally and is involved in castling.]
ROOK LIFT (+S) [n. a move that places a rook in front of its own pawns, often on the third or fourth rank, in order to speed up an attack.]
ROUND ROBIN (+S) [n. an all-play-all tournament.]
SACRIFICE1(+S) [n. a move in which a player freely gives up a pawn, piece, or exchange, in the hope of either obtaining a tactical or positional advantage or a drawn position (if losing). See also GAMBIT]
SACRIFICE2(+D, SACRIFICING, +S) [v. to freely giving up a pawn, piece, or exchange, in the hope of either obtaining a tactical or positional advantage or a drawn position (if losing). See also GAMBIT.]
SCHOLAR’S MATE [n. a short game known by most scholastic players. 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4? (> Nf6!) 4.Qxf7# 1-0.]
SCOREPAD (+S) [n. a collection of bound SCORESHEETS.]
SCORESHEET (+S) [n. a piece of paper especially made to record moves in a game. See also SCOREPAD.]
SECOND (+S) [n. one who helps and supports a player in preparation and analysis before and during a tournament or match]
SIAMESE [n. a variation with two boards, four players, and general mayhem.]
SIMULTANEOUS [n. an exhibition where one player plays many others at the same time. Often abbreviated as SIMUL.]
SKEWER (+S) [n. an attack upon two (or more) pieces in a line.]
SKEWER (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. to engage in the act of setting up a SKEWER.]
SMOTHERED MATE (+S) [n. a mate in which a knight is attacking the enemy king who is surrounded by his pieces or pawns and cannot escape.]
A SMOTHERED MATE
SPRINGER (+S) [n. German word for “Knight”. The symbol “S” is sometimes used in studies in place of “N” (for Knight) in studies.]
STALEMATE1(+S) [n. a position in which one side has to move but that has no legal moves and is not in check. The game is drawn.]
STALEMATE2(+D, STALEMATING, +S) [v. to create a position in which one side must move but that has no legal moves and is not in check.]
STRATEGY (STRATEGIES) [n. long term gain]
STUDY (STUDIES) [n. an analysis of an actual or composed endgame with a stated goal in mind. White always moves first in a study.]
SWINDLE (+D, SWINDLING, +S) [v. gaining a victory from a lost position, usually playing on the overconfidence of the opponent.]
SWISS (+ES) [n. a type of tournament where players play others with similar scores.]
TABIA (or TABIYA) [n. a common position where analysis or play would start.]
TACTIC (+S) [n. short term gain]
TACTICAL [adj. describing a position or play that mainly features tactical play, which can include threatened forks, queen traps, promotions, checks, and mating threats.]
TD [n. short for Tournament Director]
TEMPO (TEMPI) [n. unit of time associated with a move, i.e., one move equals one tempo.]
THEMATIC TOURNAMENT (+S) [n. a tournament with all the games starting with the identical moves. Such tournaments are used for practicing or testing a variation or because it is a favorite opening among the participants.]
THEORY (THEORIES) [n. explanation of how to gain an advantage or save a lost position.]
TIME CONTROL (+S) [n. time allotted to each player to make his moves. The time controls need not to be the same for both players. See also ODDS.]
TN [n. short for Theoretical Novelty, a new move or idea in the opening.]
TOUCHED PIECE RULE [n. a player who touching a piece must move that piece on his turn if it is legal to do so.]
TOURNAMENT (+S) [n. a series of games between numerous players to determine a winner.]
TRANSPOSITION (+S) [n. a move, or a sequence of moves, that changes a recognizable position into another recognizable position. Most common in the opening stages of the game.]
TRÉBUCHET [n. mutual ZUGZWANG in which either player would lose if it were their turn to move.]
TRIANGULATION (+S) [n. a technique used in king and pawn endgames to lose a tempo and gain the opposition.]
TRIPLED [adj. describing three pawns of the same color on the same file. See also DOUBLED.]
UNDERPROMOTION (+S) [n. a promotion to a knight, rook, or bishop as opposed to a QUEEN.]
A REASON FOR UNDERPROMOTION
UNRATED [n. one who has no rating ; adj. describing a tournament where no ratings are at stake.]
USCF [n. short for United States Chess Federation.]
VARIATION (+S) [n. alternate moves or lines from a main line]
WALLBOARD (+S) [n. a printed posting, usually attached to a wall of a tournament room, that displays the pairing, results, etc.]
WGM [n. short for Women’s GrandMaster]
WHITE (+S) [n. (1) the side with the lighter color pieces that moves first in a game, (2) the attacking side in a study.]
WIM [n. short for Women’s International Master.]
WINDMILL (+S) [n. a series of checks, alternating between a protected checking piece and a discovered check by another piece, ending with a material gain or mate.]
WING GAMBIT (+S) [n. the name given to variations of several openings in which one player gambits a wing pawn, usually the b-pawn. The two most common examples can be found in the French Advanced (1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4) and the Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.b4).]
ZWISCHENZUG (+S) [n. a German word for “in-between move”, which is unexpected and usually changes the evaluation of a combination or position.]
ZUGZWANG (+S) [n. a German word for “the compulsion to move”, where any move would result in loss of position, material, or game.]
Martin Severin From (Apr. 8 1828-May 6 1895), an English player, came up with an intriguing gambit to deal with Bird’s opening (1.f4). It has proven to be so popular that it now the most common response to 1.f4 and is played in blitz chess, OTB games, and correspondence games.
But why this gambit so popular after 150 years? For one, it can lead to a quick mate for Black. Second, even if the game does not end in a quick mate, the initiative can quickly pass to Black. And all for the price of a pawn.
Many players have studied From’s Gambit and contributed to the it’s theory. It’s a labor of love, and because it’s chess, it is a complicated and forever friendship. Some players actually do fall in love with this opening.
Here is one of the earliest games played by it’s creator.
Mollastrom-From Copenhagen, 1862 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e4 Ng4 6.g3? (White falls into a thematic trap of the From’s.)
6…Nxh2! 7.Rxh2 Bxg3+ 8.Ke2 Bxh2 9.Nxh2 f5 10.Bg2 fxe4 11.Bxe4 Qh4 12.Qh1 O-O 13.Bd5+ Kh8 14.Qg1 Qh5+ 15.Bf3 Rxf3 16.Nxf3 Bg4 17.d3 Nc6 18.Bf4 Rf8 19.Bg3 Rxf3 20.Ke1 Qh6 21.Nc3 Nb4 0-1 Let’s look at some problems and early traps that can trouble and entrap White.
[White does not need to accept the offered pawn. He can play 2.f4 and the game is now a King’s Gambit. Which is another opening White having to learn. In any case, he is no longer playing a Bird’s. Or he can attempt other moves. But declining the gambit, unless it’s 2.f4, usually backfires.
Klaus Bernhard-F. Felgentreu Bundeswehr Ch. Stetten, 1988 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 f5 6.e3 Qf6 7.Nc3 Ne7 8.Bc4 h5 9.Rf1 h4 10.g4 fxg4 11.Ne4 Qg7 12.Nfxg5 Bxh2 13.Nf6+ 1-0 [But 5…h5, applying more pressure on White’s kingside, seems to work to keep the balance, with Black still having a slight advantage in the Initiative department and White still keeping his extra pawn.]
Guischard-Gedult Paris, 1972 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Ng4 6.Nc3 Bxh2 7.Bg5 Bg3+ 8.Kd2 f6 9.Bh4 Nf2 10.Qc1 Nxh1 0-1 [He can play 5.g3, which is more complicated, but still equal in chances.]
Recently I had an opportunity to analyze to the Dilworth variation of the Open Ruy Lopez.
To begin, let us look up the moves that lead up the Dilworth.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 (This move defines the Ruy Lopez, named after the 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura.) 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 (The Open Variation of the RL. Black’s objective is to get good piece play by advancing his d-pawn and giving his pieces the freedom to roam across the board as well as pushing and protecting his d-pawn.) 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 (9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5 leads to interesting Karpov Gambit. I’ve researched this line and IMHO, White’s attack is almost worth the pawn he sacrificed.) 9…Bc5 (Black can also play 9…Be7, which will give him a more closed game.) 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2!? (With this move Black gives up a knight for White’s f2-pawn and in return, gets a pinned White Rook and misplaced White King. And the Dilworth fight is on!) 12.Rxf2 (A forced move. The real analysis begins here.)
Black can certainly play 12…Bxf2+ at this point. But better is delaying this capture as not only is rook pinned, but it’s fixed position temporarily hinders the movement of White’s pieces.
Bobby Fischer-W. Stevens US Open Oklahoma City, July 24 1956 [White gets a small advantage but can’t do anything with it.] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 13.Kxf2 f6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8!? (15…Bg4 16.Nf1 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qxf3 18.gxf3 Rxf3 19.Be3 Ne7 20.Bg5! +/- ECO.) 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Ne3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd1 Rf7 1/2-1/2
Black must play 12…f6, or at least transpose into it.
We now continue.
Two moves White should now avoid are 13.Nb3 and 13.Qe2. Again, not necessarily bad, but he has a better alternative.
13.exf6! And now Black has to play 13…Qxf6 or 13…Bxf2+ .
We’ll look at 13…Qxf6 first.
White’s best is 14.Nb3! He wins most of the games as his knight move solidifies his position.
Ramon Ardid Rey-Jan Kleczynski X25 Paris Ol. France, 1924 [This game appears to be the first time the Dilworth variation was played in a master game.] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6
But 15.Kf1 Ne5 keeps the game going. It is doubled-edged and White just has to find the correct 16th move. He didn’t in this game.
Lee-Hanley La Palma C.C., 1982 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Ng3?! (Too slow.) 16…Rae8! (Taking advantage of the extra tempo.) 17.Kg1 Bg4 18.Qxd5+?! (It is not a good idea to open lines when your opponent is the one doing the attacking, even if it is a check.) 18…Kh8