Sunday, 22 March 2020

How to deal with the openings Part 3 of 3

In this final part we will examine some of the 'unorthodox' openings in more detail.  I intend to cover:

For White

  • Grand Prix Attack
  • The Scotch Game 

For Black:

  • Kings Indian Defence
  • Budapest Defence

Grand Prix Attack

Typical starting position 

This position arose after:  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. f4 Nc6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bb5 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. Qe1 *

Scotch Game 

Typical starting position

This position arose after:  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nxd4 5. Qxd4 *

Kings Indian Defence

Typical starting position

This position arose after:  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 *

Budapest Defence

Typical starting position
The above position arose after:  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bf4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 Qe7 *

In the next post I will be looking at the Grand Prix Arrack in some detail ... 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

How to deal with the openings - Part 2 of 3

As Black ...what do you like to play?

If White plays e4 - then we can choose our favourite response ... It depends as to what type of player you are as to which response you choose. Here are some examples of some very specific responses to 1.e4 that are typically played ... but they may not be everyone's bag?

   - 1. ..c5 Sicillian Defence (E.g. use the Najdorf to travel down sharp and theoretical lines)

And what about d4?
  - Kings Indian (very theoretical)
  - Budapest Defence (surprise value!)

These are my personal favourites ... but whichever opening you choose to respond with, I recommend drilling down into sub-variations either with a computer or with a book to gain an understanding of the possible positions that you will typically reach in the middle-game.

As White - what do you like to play?

As White you will have to decide upon whether or not you are an e4 or a d4 player (or neither of these). I was once advised that playing 1.e4 leads to more tactical games - whereas playing 1.d4 takes you into a more strategic opening with a slow thematic build-up. For instance - you can drive down tactical lines with 1.e4 ..

Here are some typical openings that arise after 1.e4 at club level ...   - Scotch Game/Gambit
  - Sicillian Defence - Grand Prix Attack (worth learning for surprise value if your opponent plays 1. ..c5! - play 2. Nc3)
  - Scandinavian - an interesting line to play is the Leonhardt Gambit
  - French Defence (Note: if your opponent plays the French then you can steer the game into the Exchange Variation because in doing so you get out of book pretty quickly)
  - Caro-Kann (Note: if your opponent plays the caro kann then play the Advanced Variation, which is especially effective in a blitz game I find!)

The above openings are some of my personal favourites and which I have spent some time learning and practicing. The bottom line is that you need to make a choice of opening - then do the homework and drill down into the lines for this chosen opening!

The ones I have given here are just examples and by no means the best :) Interestingly, The Budapest and the Sicillian - Grand Prix Attack are both classified as unorthodox openings in one particular Batsford reference book I once read through !!! The key is to 'be ready and prepared' in chess for what is coming next ... the less time you need to spend analysing a position over the board (because you've already encountered it before) then the more likely it is that you will win, given that you can spend more time analysing the game in those critical positions that demand your concentration ...

So in summary you can see how it is possible to build a little repertoire of openings with 1.e4 and after 1. d4 is played. In the final part of this little series of Blog posts I will drill down into a few of the variations that can be played using these openings and the typical middle-game positions that can be reached.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

How to deal with the openings - Part 1 of 3

I think that many beginner to intermediate players make the same common mistake of 
trying to learn too many openings ... It is true that after 1.e4 then Black actually gets to choose the opening :) I think that many beginners are actually unaware of this fact!

For instance you have to know what your going to do against 

1 .. d5, The Scandinavian, 
2 .. e6, The French 
2 .. Nf6, Alekhines Defence
2 .. g6 or d6 Pirc Modern
2 .. e5, Kings Pawn
2 .. b6, Queens Indian
2 .. c5, Sicilian

If you play 1.d4 then expect: 

2 .. Nf6 3. c4 g6 Kings Indian Defence
2 .. Nf6 3. c4 e5 Budapest Defence
2 .. d5 3. c4 e6 Queens Gambit
2 .. d5 3. c4 c6 Slav/Semi-Slav Defence
These are only a subsection of the most popular openings ... As White ... My old chess coach used to remind me that as White, you should decide whether you are a d4 or an e4 player. Generally speaking e4 leads to potentially more tactically rich openings and d4 leads to more strategic lines. Obviously both styles of opening can lead to tactical positions of course ...! As Black ... If White plays e4 then you need to decide which one of the above openings to follow up with ... If White plays d4 then you have to decide whether you are going to play:
2 .. Nf6 leading to Kings Indian, Budapest, Gruenfeld, depending on each players second move.  

2 .. d5 can lead to Queens Gambit or Slav / Semi-Slav Defence, Catalan
etc. etc. etc. Whatever you choose it is important to stick to learning one or two openings for each colour, before going into the depths of every opening ... Once you have learnt one or two key openings then you will see similar ideas / patterns in other related openings ... Part 2 of 3 to follow.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

When 1690 plays 1390

what are the differences between the styles of play in this game? The difference is that of technique - development and the conception of a plan. The lower graded player is not properly developed whereas the higher graded player considered development very carefully and capitalised on the 1390s lack of development.

The 1690 has managed to plan an attack against their opponents king, no matter how simplistic... 
Finally they used tactics to issue the knockout blows and checkmate the king!

The lessons for the 1390 player should be:
1) Bring all your pieces into play as expediently as possible.
2) Look out for enemy attacks and tactics against your king.
3) Plan your own attacks and make threats - the tactics will follow!

As usual, any comments welcome ...

Kings pawn

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Accepting Chess Losses

Become "robot-like" and objective. How would a computer accept a loss? The answer is quite simple: It would not care. Nor should you. Computer's don't have emotions. Nor should you. Ignore the number of losses and the magnitude of the decrease in rating. Analyse how the losses were made. If, from a human perspective you're blundering, then stop playing for a while. You are either tired, chasing your grade, trying too hard, or bored of chess at the moment and lost for inspiration. Computers possess some of the strongest skills in the world of chess and the strongest ones learn from previous games of which there are millions - why shouldn't you imitate their behaviour if you want the same results? Start your new chess career from now: Become a chess-terminator!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Grand Prix Attack game leads to draw

I tried to use the Grand Prix Attack in my first club game of 2018.  I had a huge time lead during the 'middle game', but my opponent found what looked like a simple way to equalise by doubling rooks on the f file .... I was a pawn down, so accepted the draw that was offered!

As usual, any comments welcome ...

Grand Prix Attack

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Monday, 22 January 2018

How to defeat Scotch Terrorist Attack

I had an interesting game online this evening.  It reminded me of a game I played in the Portsmouth Chess Congress some years back.  I enjoy playing the Scotch game and my opponent played 4.Qh4 - "The Terrorist Attack".  This can get quite sharp and White has to play it accurately to not let Black  get an advantage!  The trick is to sacrifice the e4 pawn early on ... The result being that black has a lone Queen in play with the hope of being assisted ONLY by a bumbling pair of Knights ... White should win if they manage to get all their pieces in play, whilst Black struggles to develop their Bishop and Rook, partly due to forfeiting their right to castle.

You'll note from this game that I could have won my opponent's knight earlier on with a simple f4 pawn push, but failed to spot this ... It was only after replaying the match that I realised!!

Enjoy the game .... !

As usual, any comments welcome ...

Scotch Game

PGN Viewer courtesy of