The Chess Variant Pages

Some Openings with Different Teams

I have a tendency to start all my example openings with 1. e4 e5, which might not be the best idea for some of these matchups. In any case, some of the openings here are deliberately very bad choices (but instructive choices, I hope).

Some of the openings here are likely to be "book", and have names:

(1) Nutty Knights versus Remarkable Rookies

1.  (fhNfrlRK)d1-c3?       (HFD)c8-c6
The crude threat of checkmate [by 2. (fhNfrlRK)c3:c7] is of course incorrect Chess. An unprepared and unsupported attack by one's most valuable piece should be beaten back with loss of time.

White has no good place to put the unfortunate fhNfrlRK.

(2) Fabulous Fides versus Colorbound Clobberers

1.  e4                     e5
2.  Qd1-h5?!               (NB)d8-f6
3.  Qh5-f3                 (WA)f8-d6
4.  Ng1-e2
By attacking both e5 and f7, White forces the potentially clumsy response (NB)d8-f6. White hopes to regain a tempo with an eventual Nc3-d5, but (WA)f8-d6 prevents that and threatens (WA)d6-f4.

Neither side has any clear advantage.

(3) Colorbound Clobberers versus Remarkable Rookies

1.  e4                     e5
2.  (WA)g1-e3              (WD)g8-g6
3.  (WA)e3-f3?!            (WD)g6-e6
4.  (FAD)f1-e2             c7-c6
5.  (WA)b1-d3              d7-d5
6.  (WA)d3-e3              d5-d4?
7.  (WA)e3-g5!
With 3. (WA)b1-d3, White would block the d-Pawn and therefore weaken e4 and invite c7-c6 followed by d7-d5; White thinks that the Rookies are slow to develop, and so there might be time to solve the problem of the "other WA" by bringing it to d3 and then e3.

Black's problem is always that the WD is not really developed yet when it gets to g6, so it has to be moved once more to e6 [but on e6, it is very strong, so it's okay]. But the what to do with the other WD?

After the strategic blunder 6...d5-d4?, White could lose a Pawn with 7. (WA)e3-d3? (HFD)f8-e7!. The funny-looking move (WA)e3-g5! avoids this, and prepares to position the WA better via either f5 or g4.

Because 6...d5-d4? creates a closed position which is better suited to White's pieces, Black now has a severe disadvantage.

(4) Remarkable Rookies versus Fabulous Fides

1.  f4?!                   e5
2.  f:e5                   d6
3.  e:d6                   Bf8:d6
After a fair amount of analysis, I decided that White simply has a lost game here. The attack takes a few moves to develop, but is simply unavoidable.

One interesting move would be 2. e4!?...

(5) Nutty Knights versus Fabulous Fides

1.  e4                     e5
2.  (fbNF)g1-f3            Nb8-c6
3.  (fbNF)b1-c3            Ng8-f6
4.  d4                     e:d4
5.  (fbNF)c3:d4            d5
6.  e5                     Nf6-e4
7.  (fbNF)d4:c6            b:c6
8.  (fbNF)f3:e4            d:e4
9.  (fhNfrlRK)d1:d8+       Ke8:d8
10. (fhNrlbK)f1-g3
White is winning a Pawn. One can question all of Black's choices.

Probably 6...Nf6-g8!? was better....

If 5...Nc6:d4 6. (fhNfrlRK)d1:d4 d7-d6, the fhNfrlRK is not well placed because of its inability to retreat, so White might seek to trade it off with 7. e4-e5

Certainly, 3...Ng8-f6 cannot be a bad move, but 3...Bf8-c5 is also logical, and if 4. (fhNrlbK)c1-d3, d7-d6! is the forced and adequate response. After 3...g7-g6, 4. (fhNrlbK)c1-e2! Bf8-g7 5. d2-d4 looks good for White.

(6) Colorbound Clobberers versus Remarkable Rookies

1.  e4                     e5
2.  (WA)g1-e3              (WD)g8-g6
3.  c3                     d5
4.  e:d5                   (RN)d8:d5
5.  (FAD)f1-f3             (RN)d5-d8
6.  b3                     (WD)b8-b6
7.  (WA)b1-b2              (WD)b6-d6
8.  (WA)e3-e4              f5
9.  (WA)e4:g6+             h7:g6
10. (FAD)c1-e3             e4!?
11. (FAD)f3-e2
Black is pressing for an advantage, but his lack of development is dangerous. White can play d4 without getting an isolated Pawn, but has no forced advantage.

(7) Fabulous FIDEs versus Remarkable Rookies

Because the Rookies may be slow to develop, I have looked a lot at the games where they also have Black.

1.  e4                     e5
2.  Ng1-f3                 (WD)g8-g6
2...(HFD)f8-e7 develops and threatens mate; probably a good move.

2...(WD)g8-g6 3. N:e5 (WD)g6-e6 looks okay.

3.  Nb1-c3                 (WD)g6-e6
4.  d4                     d6
5.  d5                     (WD)e6-f6
Black seems cramped and undeveloped, but my impression is that the position is playable. 5. d4:e5 might be better.

(8) Nutty Knights versus Colorbound Clobberers

1.  e4                     e5
2.  (fbNF)g1-f3            (WA)g8-e6
3.  (fbNF)b1-c3            (WA)b8-d6
4.  d4                     e:d4
5.  (fbNF)c3:d4            (WA)d6-f4
6.  (fhNrlbK)f1-e3         b6
Black threatens 7...(WA)f4:f3 8. (fhNrlbK)e3:f3 (BD)a8:e4 as well as simply 7...(WA)f4:e4; White could have avoided this with 6. (fhNrlbK)f1-g3, but one doesn't like to put the fhNrlbK there because it has little mobility.

7.  (fhNfrlRK)d1-d3        (FAD)f8-d6!?
Now 8. (fbNF)d4-e5? (FAD)d6:e5 9. (fbNF)f3:e5 (WA)f4:e4 would be strong.

8.  e5                     (BD)a8-a6
9.  c4                     (WA)f4:f3
10. g:f3                   (FAD)d6-e7
An overplay would be 10...(NB)d8-h4 11. e:d6 (NB)h4-g2+ 12. Ke2 (NB)g2:h1 13. Kf1, trapping the NB.

In the following, not 11. b3? g5? 12. (fhNrlbK)e3-f5, but 11. b3? c5!

11. f4                     g6
12. b3                     c6
13. (fhNrlbK)c1-e2         d5
We are out of the opening and Black is happy.

(9) Cakewalk: Remarkable Rookies versus Fabulous Fides

Because the other pieces are slow to develop, perhaps the Remarkable Rookies should try to develop the HFD quickly. True, the general principle is that is better to develop weaker pieces first, but in this case that conflicts with the need to develop at least something.

I have looked at this opening quite a bit, and have the following analysis to present; when a move is annotated with an exclamation mark, it means that there is at least one other move that looks logical but is not as good (and in most cases it also means that I analyzed the wrong move first).

This is called the Cakewalk Opening, mostly because it can't be called the King's Gambit.

1.  e4                     e5
2.  f4                     Bc5
There are at least 5 other moves that could be played here.

3.  f4:e5!                 Qd8-h4+
4.  (WD)g1-g3              Qh4:e4+
5.  (HFD)f1-e2             Qe4-h4
6.  (RN)d1-c3!
This surprising move avoids the problems of 6. c3? d5! 7. d4 Bb6!, when the tactical threat of ...Bc8-g4 is easier to meet than the strategic threat of ...c7-c5.

Note that 6. (RN)d1-c3 Nb8-a6?! does not threaten 7...Bc5-d4?? because of 8. (RN)c3-f3!

6.  ...                    Bc5-b6
7.  (RN)c3-f3              Qh4-e7
8.  (WD)g3-g5              Qe7-f8
9.  (RN)f3-g3              g7-g6
10. e5-e6!?                f7:e6
There are other moves for both sides, but this example is about the tactical consequences of the sacrifice (e5-e6) and its acceptance.

When you see, as here, how embarassing the attack on g7 can be, you understand that the defense with 1. e4 e5 2. f4 e:f4 3. (HFD):f4 f7-f6!? is not unreasonable.

The following moves are the product of considerable calculation:

11. (HFD)e2-e5+            Ke8-d8
12. (R4)h1-f1              d7-d6
13. (R4)f1-f4              Qf8-h6
14. (RN)g3-f3              Nb8-d7!
15. (HFD)e5-e2             Ng8-e7!
16. (HFD)e2-e4(!?)         Nd7-e5!
17. (WD)g5:e5              d6:e5
18. (HFD)e4:e7+!?          Kd8:e7
19. (R4)f4-f7+             Ke7-d8
20. (R4)f7:c7              Qh6-f8!
21. (R4)c7-f7              Qf8-c5
22. (R4)f7:b7              Qc5-f2+
If 22...Qg1+, simply 23. (HFD)c1-f1.

23. (RN)f3:f2              Bb6:f2+
24. Ke1:f2                 Bc8:b7
Black is better now; White may have better moves 16 or 18 or 22.

(10) Duckwalk: Remarkable Rookies versus Fabulous Fides

The move 1.e4 is not that logical for the Remarkable Rookies; it merely opens up a diagonal that embarasses the NR. However, 1. d4 opens up a diagonal for a deadly check: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 3...Bb4+!

Therefore, an intermediate move is used in preparation for the advance of the c-Pawn.

1.  d4                     d5
2.  (HFD)f1-f4!            f7-f6!
The sequence 1. d4 d5 2. (HFD)f4 is hereby given the name of "the Duckwalk Opening".

White's move threatens the awful check on e5, and at the same time provides a flight square for his own King. Black's move controls both e5 and g5, and threatens an eventual ...Bf8-d6, when the HFD on f4 will have no good retreat.

I believe that Black's 2...f7-f6! is the best move; of course, 2...Bc8-d7 would be the worst move (no other move allows checkmate).

3.  f2-f3!                 Bc8-f5!?
4.  (HFD)f4-f2!            Qd8-d7!
After 4...e6 5. (NR)e3! Kf7 6. (HFD)f4+ Ke7, Black has narrowly avoided the loss of a Pawn, but his position looks funny.

Instead, ...Qd7 defends e6, f5, and b5 all at once, and if White simply develops with 5. (WD)b3 Nc6 6. (WD)g3 O-O-O 7. O-O e5 the position seems to favor Black.

5.  c2-c4!                 e7-e6
6.  (NR)d1-e3!             Bf5-g6 (Bf5:b1!?)
7.  c4:d5                  Qd7:d5
8.  (HFD)c1-c4!
Not 8. (HFD)c1-d2?? Bf8-b4; but now the fork on e6 defends the Pd4.

8.  ...                    Bf8-b4+
9.  Ke1-f1                 Qd5-d7
10. (NR)e3-b3!
The constant embarassment of the Knight's Pawn...

Now if 10...Nc6 11. (HFD)c4:c6 gives White a small material advantage; and 10...c7-c5? 11. a3 wins at once.

On second thought, it was a bad idea to play ...Bf8-b4+. Let's go back a few moves.

8.  (HFD)c1-c4!            Qd5-d7
9.  (NR)e3-b3!?            c7-c6
10. e2-e4                  Nb8-a6
11. (WD)b1-d1!?
So that if 11...Bb4+ 12. (WD)d2 O-O-O 13. O-O-O, everything is defended. However, 11...Bg6-f7! looks tough to answer.

Enough of this; it should be enough to say that the Duckwalk seems to be a good opening, with chances for both sides.

(11) Outgrabe: Colorbound Clobberers versus Nutty Knights

The opening 1. g4 in FIDE Chess is named "Grob's Angriff".

1. g4 with these armies is interesting because the fbNF at g8 may be pretty well oppressed by a Pawn at g5, and of course it opens the diagonal for the BD at h1; the following analysis is probably full of mistakes:

1.  g2-g4                  (fbNF)g8-f6!?
2.  (NB)d1-e3!?            e7-e6!? [a]
3.  g4-g5                  (fbNF)f6-e7!
4.  h2-h4!?                (fbNF)e7-f5?!?
5.  (NB)e3-d4              (frlRbK)h8-g8
6.  e2-e4
Both sides have played provocative moves wherever possible. In particular, 2.(NB)d1-e3!? seems odd but is quite logical.

[a] A mistake would be 2...h7-h5? 3. g4-g5 (fbNF)f6-g4? 4. h2-h3, and the fbNF, which does not attack e3, is trapped.

(12) Helicopter: Colorbound Clobberers versus Nutty Knights

The opening 1. b4 in FIDE Chess is "Sokolsky's Opening".

1. b4 with these armies is interesting because the fbNF at b8 may be pretty well oppressed by a Pawn at b5, and of course it opens the diagonal for the BD at a1, with an immediate threat of 2. (BD)a1:g7

No analysis here for now...

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