Attacking the Two Knights' Defence

There are three main ways you can try to attack against the Two Knights' Defence.

(A) 4.Ng5 is the most obvious, but I don't recommend it.  White can win a pawn, but if Black knows the book moves, you will have to defend against very active Black pieces.

e.g. 4.Ng5 d5! 5.exd5 b5!? 6.Bxb5 Qxd5

4.d4 is the move I recommend.

(B) There is a fun line which Black can equalise against but it's White who is attacking: Max Lange Knight Variation

Chess and Maths

Our esteemed colleague Dan Frean asked me recently about teaching chess in Maths lessons. In the spirit of BBC's Any Answers, I don't think ignorance should be any barrier to trumpeting my ideas...  I'll just dump the e-mail here, and add the links and the examples in later when I've got a bit more time.

I'm anxious not to use chess in a way that emphasises existing differences
in chess ability...

The trouble with writing books

is not what you put in them, but what you have to leave out.  I've written a series of chess books with Tim Onions, the latest of which will be published next week.  But oh, the pain I go through when we decide to leave out important ideas and examples.  Anyhow, if you're curious about what we might have put in if the books were a bit longer, we have some free extra examples.

Logical Chernev

I've just come across two splendid swipes at Irving Chernev.

Here is John Nunn, in the introduction to his Grandmaster Chess, Move by Move. He quotes a very illuminating annotation by Alekhin, and then goes on to say:

"Lesser annotators are often fond of propounding grand general principles, but these are often totally misleading. A typical example occurs in Logical Chess, Move by Move (Simon and Schuster, 1957) by Irving Chernev (I have converted the descriptive notation to algebraic). His Game 3 ...

    Playing 1.d4 for juniors

    This could be a short handout, of just one word: "Don't!" But you know I won't stop at one word when a couple of thousand will probably do.

    Part I - for starters

    Most people suggest that beginning chessplayers should play 1.e2-e4 and aim for a open, attacking style of game.

    Some players may like to try 1.d2-d4. I wrote this piece after I watched 3 out of 4 boards at a match open with 1. d2-d4, and in my opinion, played it poorly.

    Why might you want to play 1.d2-d4?

    A disaster in the Stonewall

    Alsop,A - Blundell,J [D00] East Devon Minor (Exeter) (4), 05.03.2000

    1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 Nc6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.0-0 Re8 8.Ne5 Bd7 9.g4 Nb4 10.Be2 b6 11.c3 Nc6 12.g5 Ne4 13.Rf3 Nxd2 14.Bxd2 a5 15.Rh3 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Be7 17.Bd3 g6 18.Qg4 f5 19.exf6 e5 20.f5 gxf5 21.Bxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Qc8 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Qg7# 1-0

    What went wrong here? Play over this game twice, once fairly quickly to see how it went, and then again slowly to see what went on in more detail, and think of other ideas.


    Lessons from this game:

    Minor Opening Mistakes

    Here's another trawl of typical mistakes, this time from the first 20 moves of each game of the WECU Minor Championship at Exmouth in Easter 1999.

    The games are appended with notes mostly from DR: "out of book" is Fritz' comment, and Fritz has also blunderchecked the games. Let’s first have a look at which openings were played:

    No More Old Stodge!

    This club is a GP-free zone

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3 d6

    [No more Old Stodge!]

    Support the campaign for d2-d4

    by playing 4. c3, 4. b4 or 3. d4!

    The position above is the Giuoco Pianissimo.

     "Giuoco Pianissimo" is an old Italian phrase meaning "very quiet game"; if you can't remember that you might prefer if we just call this line "Old Stodge"...


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