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
Some gambits are good for a surprise value only. Or they are thought to be simple enough to defend; no prior research is necessary to find a win.
But what if you really had to defend such a gambit? You never seen it before, you never analyzed it, but there it is, over the board and your clock has been started. You have a feeling that you should be able to beat it. But your clock is still ticking and you know you just have win this game, if for nothing except one’s own pride.
The Lolli Gambit is one of those gambits. You just know there is a defence. But what is the strategy? What are the moves?
I call it the Lousy Lolli. I originally called it that as it seems to be lousy for White. But if Black doesn’t find the right moves, then it can easily become very lousy for him.
According to Wikipeida, Giambattista Lolli (1698 – 4 June 1769) was an Italian chess player and one of the most important chess theoreticians of his time.
Let’s first define the gambit:
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+. White has sacrificed a piece in a position that resembles the Muzio. But he sacrifices his bishop too early.
Obviously Black can decline the gambit. But he has lost a pawn, cannot castle, and his king is misplaced. White has at least a “+/-”.
So Black is forced to take the offered bishop. Now the natural 6.Ne5+, causing further disruption of Black’s defensive plans, is almost automatically played. White played 6.O-O in the following game, winning mainly, and possibly only, because of Black’s greed.
12.Bb2+! Kxb2 (If Black was to play 12…Kd3!?, then White would castle queenside to continue the attack.) 13.Qe2+ Kxa1 14.O-Omate 1-0
By now, you have probably figured out that 6…Ke6? puts the Black in the way of further harm. The alternate move, 6…Ke8 makes White’s mating efforts much hard as Black can now put his pieces in front of his king, instead of behind him where they become mere spectators.
Let’s look at a few games with the idea of seeing additional opening themes and tactical possibilities. Black can win if he can sidestep the complications. And if he can’t …
Murcey De Villette – Maubuisson Paris, 1680 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 (The most common continuation. White needs to continue his attack and maybe win some material back. This move does both.) 7…Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nc4 Qe7 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.O-O Bg7 12.d3 Rf8 13.Qg5 Be6 14.Ne3 Kd7 15.Bd2
(Black needs to either tuck his king in the queenside with 15…Rae8 and 16…Kc8 or try to simplify the board. He can’t do the first as he doesn’t have enough tempi. But his alternate plan is possible and probably even good. 15…Ng4! is his best move.) 15…Rae8?! 16.Ncd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Ne5 18.Nf5 Qf7 19.Nxg7 Re7 20.Qf5+ Kd8 21.Ne6+ Ke8 22.Nxf8 Kxf8 23.Qxf6 1-0
Blackburne-N.N. Simul Canterbury, England, June 1903 [Based on the tactical ending, there is a good chance this game was played blindfolded. But I am unable to confirm this.] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Qf6 (The less aggressive, but stronger, move is 7…Nf6. Now White has a growing advantage.) 8.d4 Bh6 9.O-O Qg7 10.Qh5+! +- Ke7 11.Bxf4 Bxf4 12.Rxf4 Nf6 13.Qh4 d6 14.Nc3 c6 15.Raf1 Rf8 16.Nf7 Rxf7 17.e5 dxe5 18.dxe5 Nd7 19.exf6+ Nxf6
Fahad A. Al Turky (1903)-Abdulrahman A. Masrahi (1863) World Rapid Ch. St. Petersburg, Dec. 26 2018 [Black defends accurately, picks up more material, and the concludes with a fine sacrifice. A Black player’s dream!] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Qe7 10.O-O Bg7 11.Nc3 Rf8! (The right ratio of defence and attacking possibilities.) 12.Qh4 Bg4 13.e5 Bxf3 14.Rxf3 dxe5 15.d3 Nbd7 16.Bg5 Qc5+ 17.Be3 Qd6 18.Raf1 c6 19.Bg5 Qd4+ 20.Qxd4 exd4 21.Re1+ Kf7 22.Ne4 Kg8! (If the king can’t find refuge on the queenside, then he should go to the kingside!) 23.Nd6 Nd5 24.Rg3 Kh8 25.a3 Be5 26.Rxe5 Nxe5 27.b3 Nf7 28.Nxb7 Nxg5 29.Rxg5 Rae8 30.h3 Rg8 31.Rf5
The term “Poisoned Pawn” appears twice in the opening naming lexicons. It can also be used in a more broader sense.
In general, the pawn on b2 is attacked by Black’s queen. If he does, he sure to face a massive, and sometimes very long, attack by the White’s pieces.
The question is, not can he take the pawn. But rather, can he withstand the attack? If he can, then he’ll be up a pawn in the endgame.
In a more literary sense, can Black eat the pawn without suffering indigestion? Now you know where the word, “poisoned” comes from.
Let’s get started.
The Poisoned Pawn in the Najdorf is defined by the moves; 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6.
White usually continues with 8.Qd2, allowing Black to take his b2 pawn. He knows that if nothing else, he’ll be one attacking. But how best to attack? And what to do when Black, as he typically does, counterattack?
Fischer was the main advocate of this Najdorf version, who played it from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. Here is Fischer in his prime.
To be sure, the response was cooked up by Spassky’s team both before and during the match. It was a quick defeat, and it’s no wonder that Fischer didn’t again in the match. Or ever again.
After winning the World Championship, Fischer disappeared for a couple of decades. During his absence several improvements were found for both sides. But without it’s chief proponent the variation is played by only a few top players.
Black can also offer a poisoned pawn. In this case the pawn is on g7.
The Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Winawer, offers a richer variation of play than the Najdorf. And it is played often.
The variation is triggered by the moves; 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Qg4. Black has a number of ways to attempt to gain the upper hand.
Escalante-NM Adaar Thematic Tournament – Winawer Variation, Round 2 chess.com, Aug.-Sept. 2018 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 (The usual route to the Winawer. All games in the tournament began with this position.) 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 O-O (Some years ago Van der Tak wrote an article in NIC 8 titled, “Castling Into It?” where he explored Black’s kingside castling possibilities in the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Winawer, and if it was a viable option for Black. I don’t think the resulting positions favor Black.) 8.Bd3 (Thanks to GM Van der Tak, and his article, I am convinced this is best move for White.) 8…Nbc6 9.Nf3 cxd4?? (This loses the game in a hurry.)
10.Bxh7+! 1-0 [Black resigns due to 10…Kxh7 11.Qh5+ (stronger than the traditional Ng5+ as the potential escape square, g6, is denied to Black) 11…Kg8 12.Ng5 and White mates.]
The term “Poisoned Pawn”, in a more general term, can be defined as a pawn on the b2 or g7 square that is offered to the enemy queen to lure her out of defending her king or deflecting her to an irrelevant area of the board.
The term can be used in the general sense.
GM Bent Larsen-IM Bela Berger Amsterdam Izt. Netherlands, 1964 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 d5?! 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.O-O Bg4?! 7.Re1 Be7 (Not 7…f6? because of 8.Nxe5! and Black is in a lot of trouble,) 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nd4!? 10.Qg4!
11…O-O [Castling into the same area as the enemy queen is already attacking is usually not a good idea (see above). One has to think about self-preservation in addition to attacking factors. But in this case, Black is forced into it. White’s queen breaks in on both the center and kingside after 10…Nxc2 11.Rxe5 Nxa1 (hopeless is 11…Nf6 12.Qxg7 Kd7 13.Qxf7) 12.Qxg7 Rf8 13.Rxd5 Qc8 14.Qxh7 c6 15.Rf5. Even worse is 10…Bf6? The move is not only passive but it also loses a piece after 11.Qxd4. So Black has to risk it.] 11.Rxe5 Nf6 12.Qd1 (White has the extra pawn and better position.) 12…Bd6 13.Re1 Re8 14.Be3 c5 15.Nd2 Bc7 16.Nf3 Qd6 17.Bxd4 cxd4 18.Rxe8+ Rxe8 19.c3 dxc3 20.bxc3 Nh5 21.Qa4 Re7 22.Qxa7 Nf4 23.Qxb7 h5 24.Qc8+ Kh7 25.h4 1-0
Here, each side can offer their poisoned pawns, but don’t as they have nothing to compensate for their lost material. Material and and tempi are the requisites for giving up the pawn.
Ashraf Salimov-Vadim Razin Ukraine U16 Ch., ½ Finals Dnipropetrovsk, Nov. 11 2004 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bb5 Qb6 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.O-O Ba6 8.Re1 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bc5 10.Be3 Bxd4 11.Qxd4 Rb8 12.b3 Ne7 13.Qc5 Nf5 14.g4 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 c5 16.Qg5 O-O 17.Nd2 Qb4 18.Nf1 f5 19.exf6 Rxf6 20.h3 Rbf8 21.Qe5 Rxf2 22.Qxe6+ Kh8 23.Qxa6 Qd4 24.Ne3 (24.Qe6 Rxf1+ 25.Kg2 Qf2+) 24…Qf4 25.Nf1 Qf3 (Black has too much pressure on White’s weak point and she has to concede the point.) 0-1