Thursday, December 27, 2012

ChessWords Puzzles

I have been following the chess publishing of Rutgers grad and former Kenilworth Chess Club regular Devin Camenares, who has written some excellent book reviews at ChessCafe (of The Stress of Chess and Thinking with Chess so far), posed an opening question to Gary Lane, and made regular posts at his innovative Science on the Squares blog.  I have especially enjoyed his puzzle ideas for kids--including his "ChessWords" puzzles, where "Word Search" meets "Chess" as you make the moves of a Bishop, Knight, or Rook to connect the letters of words.  Like Bruce Alberston's "Chess Mazes," these are excellent challenges for young people to help develop their board vision.  I won't let it go to my head that Devin's theme for today is Kenilworthian:

My kids are enjoying solving this one as I write.  (Hint: "Goeller" is a Knight's move starting from c7.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Party

Nearly 20 members attended last night's Holiday Party at the Kenilworth Chess Club, though not all participated in the business meeting.  Outgoing secretary John Moldovan served as master of ceremonies, introducing each report and overseeing elections.  He has written a complete report on the proceedings at the KCC Minutes blog and at his Chess Coroner blog for those who are interested.  The most amusing moment of the evening was when Don Carrelli was elected president while in the restroom and accepted the results by calling through the door--presumably still seated on the throne.  


Dr. Geoff McAuliffe gives the Treasurer's report
Nearly 20 members were in attendance
Long-time members Scott Massey and Rich Falcetano

After the business meeting, I played several blitz games with NM Mark Kernighan.  As usual in our games, I got to chase his king around the board and occasionally caught it, as in this cute miniature:


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Annual Holiday Party and Business Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder to all members of the Kenilworth Chess Club that tonight is the annual Holiday Party and Business Meeting, including the election of club officers.  Please come and consider bringing some food to share.  Don Carrelli says he will take on all comers at ping pong.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Elephant Gambit (C40) Bibliography


The Elephant Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5!?) -- also called "The Queen's Pawn Counter-Gambit" by older sources -- represents an attempt by Black to seize the initiative in the opening by thrusting both his center pawns forward like the tusks of a charging bull elephant (though some writers suggest that the "Elephant" name might have more to do with the power of Black's two Bishops -- "elephants" in Russian -- in the resulting open position).  Always attracted to openings with animal names, I started studying the Elephant after playing over the games of Dr. Philip Corbin from his excellent book Calypso Chess (download Corbin-C40 PGN for details).  And when I begin to study a new opening, I like to do a literature review -- hence this bibliography.   

In the bibliography that follows, I have tried to focus my attention on important sources and those focused exclusively on the Elephant.  As always, I welcome suggestions and additions from readers.  I hope to offer up an article in the future, after I have gotten a better sense of how to steer this beast.

Books, Articles, and Online Resources

Chessgames.com Collections. Elephant Gambit Black Wins98_C40_Elephant GambitElephant Gambit VictoriesElephant Gambit MiniaturesElephant Gambit 3.d4 Black Wins, and all C40.

365Chess.com.  ECO C40: QP counter-gambit (elephant gambit).  A useful place to review the commonly played lines, see game statistics, and play over games online.  Non-members can only download one game PGN at a time.




Dana Mackenzie (2012).  "1850s Opening Theory."  Dana Blogs Chess.
I have to thank Dana for his post about the Elephant that prompted me to return to this unfinished bibliography project.  But I don't think his suggestion for renaming the Elephant is going to gain any followers, as the animal name is part of the attraction.

Philip Corbin (2011).  Calypso Chess.  Caribbean Chapters.  I reviewed the book in these pages back in August and suggested I'd be looking at the Elephant Gambit based on Corbin's games.  In collecting those games, I discovered that he had posted many with notes on his "Packed Pearls" website, and I have collected those as part of  Corbin-C40 PGN.

Scid Opening Report (2011).  "Elephant Gambit."  Scid database printout referencing a large number of games.

Scid Opening Report (2011).  "Rapporto di apertura: C40e [Elephant Gambit]."

Glenn Flear (2010).  Starting Out: Open Games.  Everyman Chess.  237-240.  Flear says that the Elephant is "borderline refuted" and -- following the recommendations of Khalifman -- offers as his main game Parligras - Gunnarsson, Calvia 2004 with extensive notes and references, including Tal - Lutikov, USSR Team Ch. 1964Kovchan - Skatchkov, St. Petersburg 2003Navinsek - Skatchkov, Zadar 2004Rukhaia - Skatchkov, Yerevan 2004Salmensuu - Vetemaa, Jarvenpaa 1999Mas - Corbin, Yerevan Ol. 1996; and Byambaa - Kromhout, Bled Ol. 2002.

Mike Splane (2010).  "Splane - Jangle."
Notes on a game that White won after 3.exd5 Bd6 4.Bb5+ c6.  LM Splane has several games with the line annotated at his website.


Michael W. Raphael (2010).  ReViewing Chess 88.1: Latvian Gambit and Elephant Gambit. Kindle Edition -- available from Amazon.com.  WARNING: this text contains no information or games related to the Elephant Gambit and is a complete waste of electrons.  It is a collection of over 8,000 diagrams that show a move per page of 125 Latvian Gambit games, with no notes whatsoever (not player names, moves in algebraic notation, annotations, or even an indication of the game results), no hypertext navigation (so that you have to play through the entire book in order without skipping games), and absolutely no reason for existing other than to make money for the author from unwary chess consumers.  It appears that the author downloaded a database of games with the C40 ECO designation, used a computer program to generate diagrams for the first 125 games in the list (all Latvian Gambits), printed one diagram per page so that you can follow the games one "picture" at a time on your Kindle, and then composed a lengthy rationalization for the existence of his "book" that was probably checked by lawyers to make sure it provided enough cover to prevent lawsuits for fraud. This would be a laughable chess book, if it were not so evil.  Maybe it is laughable in a "Bwah-hah-hah-hah" sort of way.  Fortunately, I was able to borrow it for free as an Amazon Prime member, so I guess I get to have the last laugh.  Those looking to play through a bunch of Elephant Gambits for free can do so at Chessgames.com.  You can even do that on your Kindle.  You'd be much better off than wasting your time with this crap.

Clyde Nakamura (2008). "Elephant Gambit Miniatures" at Chessville.com
A fun collection of short games won by Black starting 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5, with some useful notes (also available in Zipped PGN) and a bibliography, which includes items not reproduced here.


Peter Tart (2007). Elephant Gambit, Hitting Back with 2..d5!?  Andrew Martin Chess Academy Shop.  To purchase this e-book (about $20 US) requires registration and then some delay before you will see "Add to Basket" buttons to order this item online.  Then the order might take a few days to be processed and sent to you via email. This item is well-reviewed by Rick Kennedy.  In PDF and CB formats.  Tart has gathered together a useful collection of games and done some very positive work to construct a modern Elephant repertoire around the Bd6 lines (though the majority of the e-book is just a collection of unannotated games).  This seems like a useful addition to your electronic library as it is one of the most up-to-date sources and makes good use of the work of Jonathan Rogers, which is difficult to find.

Neil McDonald (2006).  Starting Out: 1.e4!  Everyman Chess.

Peter Leisebein (2006). "C40: Elephant Gambit - Part 8." ChessBase Magazine #112.   Correspondence player Leisebein's magnificent work on the Elephant is a must-have for anyone who wants to construct a serious repertoire around this opening.  This article and all of Leisebein's CBM surveys are included in ChessBase's Opening Encyclopedia 2012 (as well as in earlier editions, which can be had more cheaply now, if you can find them).  So if you are interested in tracking down Peter Leisebein's series on the opening, I'd recommend simply purchasing that database as the one-shot solution.  Here, Leisebein continues his survey with an examination of the position that arises after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.d3! which is practically a refutation of 3...e4.  Frederic Friedel has reviewed this CBM volume online. 

Peter Leisebein (2006). "C40: Elephant Gambit - Part 7." ChessBase Magazine #111
Leisebein puts aside 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Bd6 to examine the sharper lines that follow 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 e4!? (The Advance Variation). The report contains 88 games, 26 with annotations by the author.  This article and all of Leisebein's CBM surveys are included in ChessBase's Opening Encyclopedia 2012 (as well as in earlier editions, which can be had more cheaply now, if you can find them).

Peter Leisebein (2006).  "Elephant-Gambit C40 - Part 6." ChessBase Magazine #109.  Covers 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Bd6 4.Nc3.  

Peter Leisebein (2006). "Elephant Gambit - C40 - Part 5."  ChessBase Magazine #108 
Examines 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d5 3 exd5 Bd6 4 Bb5+.

Philip Corbin (2006).  "Short - Corbin, Barbados simul 2006."  The Chess Drum.

Leon Pliester (2005). "Filling the Chess Zoo -- Part II." NIC Yearbook #77. 
Focuses on alternatives to 3.exd5, especially 3.Nxe5 Bd6 (3...dxe4!? 4.Bc4 Qg5 is wild but the games Pliester cites favor White) 4.d4 dxe4 (note that 3.d4 dxe4 4.Ne5 Bd6 transposes) when Pleister likes the interesting 5.Qe2!? Nf6 6.Nc3 seen in Stripunsky - Skatchkov, Moscow 1995 and Baranov - Skatchkov, Krasnodar 1998 (not to mention Malakhov - Skatchkov, Russia 1996).  He also presents the unusual 3.Qe2!? dxe4 4.Qxe4 as a viable way to accept the gambit, but he ignores 3...Nf6 here.

Leon Pliester (2005). "Filling the Chess Zoo." NIC Yearbook #76. 
Deals with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5, which is widely seen as the most challenging line for Black.  Discusses the games Jenni - Duckstein, Bad Worishofen 2003; Pliester - Markus, Bussum 2005; Kotronias - Corbin, Istanbul ol 2000; Sakelsek - Corbin, Calvia ol 2004; Sariego - Corbin, Buines 1997; Parligras - Gunnarsson, Calvia ol 2004: Karlsson - Runarsson, Corr 1996; Fierro Baquero - Corbin, Bridgetown 2005; Yu - Li, Tianjin 2001; Minerva -Muir, Corr 1989; Aulaskari - Johansson, Corr 1995; Morphy - Paulsen, New York blindfold 1857Tal - Lutikov, USSR 1964;  Kadziolka - Skatchkov, Cappelle la Grande 2005; Khairullin - Skatchkov, Samara 2002; Rukhaia - Skatchkov, Erevan 2004; Kovchan - Skatchkov, St. Petersburg 2003; Schonthier - Bücker, Bundesliga 1986; Shevelevich - Pavlovichev, Podolsk 1992; Plaskett - Rogers, England 2003-2004; Xie Jun - Deep Junior, Internet 2000.

Peter Leisebein (2005).  "Elephant Gambit - C40 - Part 4." ChessBase Magazine #106 

Peter Leisebein (May 2005).  "Elephant Gambit - C40 - Part 3." ChessBase Magazine #105 

David Robert Lonsdale (2005).  The Elephant Gambit for Black – 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5!? Self-published. A 44 page, totally worthless data-dump.  This is only slightly more useful than the work of Michael Raphael listed above.  But there is really no reason for such books to exist in the digital age -- other than to make money for the author.

Peter Leisebein (2004). "The Elephant Gambit - C40 - Part 2 / Mittelgambit im Nachzug Teil 2." ChessBase Magazine #103.  ChessBase CD

Peter Leisebein (2004).  "The Elephant Gambit - C40 - Part 1."  ChessBase Magazine #102 (2004).  This article and all of Leisebein's CBM surveys are included in ChessBase's Opening Encyclopedia 2012 (as well as in earlier editions, which can be had more cheaply now, if you can find them).

The Chess Drum (2004).  "2004 Chess Olympiad: Philip Corbin produces 24-move shocker!"  See also the game link Sakelsek - Corbin.

Alexander Khalifman (2003).  Opening for White According to Anand, 1.e4 - Volume 1.  Chess Stars.  15-18.  Many subsequent writers seeking a "refutation" follow the lead of this book.  Khalifman recommends against the modern main line 3.exd5 Bd6 4.d4 e4 5.Ne5 Nf6 (5...Ne7 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 Bxe5 9.dxe5 Qa5+ 10.Nd2 Be6 11.O-O Qxe5 12.Nc4 +=) 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.Nxd7 Nbxd7 8.O-O a6 (8...Nxd5 9.Nd2 f5 10.Nxe4!) 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.c4 retaining an extra pawn and clear advantage. Games cited include Schmuck - Vogelhuber, Germany 1996Xie Jun - Deep Junior, Internet 2000Morphy - Paulsen, New York blindfold 1857Morphy - Mongredien, Paris m 1859Nilsson - Nielsen, Copenhagen 1997 Tal - Lutikov, Tallin 1964  Kotronias - Pandavos, Peristeri 1993; De Smet - Schneider, Corr. 1989; and Schweber - Alfaro, Zarate 1972 (which he takes for his main line, pointing out that White is still better after 11...Qxe2+ 12.Bxe2 with the better pawns and two Bishops).  Online.

Eric Schiller & John Watson (2003). "Against the Elephant Gambit" from Survive & Beat Annoying Chess Openings: The Open Games.  Written from the White perspective, this article offers up the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf6 d5 3.exd5 Bd6 4.d4 e4 5.Ne5 as a refutation.

Tim McGrew (2003).  "Going Fishing." The Gambit Cartel #9 at  ChessCafe.  Some discussion of the Elephant Gambit in the context of writing about a similar line in the Philidor that goes 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 h6 6.Nf3 e4 7.Ne5 Bd6.

Mauro Marchisotti (2002).  "La Difesa Cozio: Un Aggiornamento."
Covers 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qe6 which transposes to an old way of playing the Center Counter discussed by Cozio and differing from the Anderssen Counter Attack explored by Lutes (see below), to which you could transpose with 4...Qa5 instead of 4...Qe6.  I do not recommend these lines, but this article and Lutes's book make for some interesting history.  Marchisotti's article first appeared in Telescacco 2000 (February 2001): 49-53.  He joined in the discussion in Kaissiber 18.


Stefan Bücker (March - June 2002). "Diskussion Thema: Komfortable Verteidung." Kaissiber 18. 62-64.

Alexander Baron (March 2001).  "Dechant - Baron, ACT 1998."  Chess Post #216, Vol. 39:2, p. 15.  A very interesting game for exploring the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nxe5 dxe4 4.Bc4 Qg5 5.Bxf7+ Kd8!?

Gary Lane (December 2000) "The Grinch." Opening Lanes #24 at ChessCafe. 
Discusses the game John Nicholson-David Sedgwick, Port Erin 1998 beginning 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 Bd6.

Jonathan Rogers (1999).  "Zur Rechtfertigung des Elefantengambits."  Kaissiber 9.  Discusses the main line "Halasz Variation," 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Bd6, taking issue with Tim Harding's article in Chess Mail and Chris Baker's analysis in A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire.

Tim Harding (May 1998).  "Forget the Elephant."  Chess Mail 5. 28-30.  Offers the correspondence games Westlund - Berthelsen, 3rd Nordic Cup 1994-1995; Hampl - Bennett, 63rd NZ Ch 1996; and Wynkele - Thomas, 5th EU tch prelims 1995.

Chris Baker (1998).  A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire.  Cardogan / Everyman Chess.  228-231.  Recommends 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Bd6 4.d4 e4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Nc3 following the game Motwani - Rogers, British Championship, Plymouth 1989.  Against 3...e4 he offers the games Tal - Lutikov, USSR 1964 and Morphy - Paulsen, New York blindfold 1857 along with his own original analysis.  In his introductory note, Baker writes: "I know when I first met this over the board it came as a complete surprise and my opponent was no less a player than Mark Hebden!  Not wishing to be caught out unawares I played 3.Nxe5 dxe4 4.d4 Bd6 5.Bc4?!  Although this offers White almost nothing in terms of advantage after 5...Bxe5 6.dxe5 Qxd1+ 7.Kxd1, at least I had the bishop-pair and wasn't going to fall for any 'cheap' traps!  In fact I remember the look of disgust on his face when I played 5.Bc4?! and after the game (which we drew) telling me how I couldn't expect to win games with this.  Sorry Mark, but in this case I was more interested in not losing!" (228).  Presumably Baker was working from memory and got it wrong, as the game is given as continuing 5.Nc3 Bxe5 6.dxe5 Qxd1+ 7.Kxd1 by Gary Lane in Kaissiber #2 (see below).

Stefan Bücker (October - December 1998).  "Komfortable Abwehr des Standardzuges 2.Nf3."  Kaissiber 8. 27-41.  An incredibly detailed article on Cozio's 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qe6 which the author obsessively analyzes out to equality with best play.

Gary Lane (Summer 1997).  "Never Forget the Elephant Gambit."  Kingpin Chess Magazine 27.  An English-language version of Lane's Kaissiber article, with only a few additional comments on Hebden's use of the Elephant.  I have seen mention on the internet, by the way, that Hebden also wrote an article on the Elephant for the British magazine Chess.

Tim Harding (August 1997).  "We're Going on an Elephant Hunt" Kibitzer #15 at ChessCafe

Niels J. Jensen, Tom Purser and Rasmus Pape (1997).  The Elephant Gambit 2.  Blackmar Press.  Available for download in PDF for members of Chess.com.  This is probably the best overview from the Black perspective, though the assessments seem overly optimistic at times.

Gary Lane (April - June, 1997). "Als der Grossmeister zum Elefantengambit griff." Kaissiber 2. 53-57.
Discusses three games of GM Mark Hebden's playing the Elephant Gambit.  Download "hebden-C40" PGN.    Includes a page of discussion of the Elephant based on Rogers's article in the previous volume.




Jonathan Rogers (1996).  "Zum Verstandnis des Elefantengambits."  Kaissiber 1. 28-34.  Mostly an overview of the gambit, with a focus on ways that White can go wrong.  In German.

Stefan Bücker (1996).  "Theoretische Winke fur Grosswildjager."  Kaissiber 1. 34-39.  A useful survey of theory.  Black does well in most of the lines, until Bücker gets to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Bd6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3!  In German.

Mike Basman (1995). The Elephant Gambit. Audio chess from Brynn Petty, United Kingdom.  Apparently, this is an audio tape presentation on the Elephant.  It appears to be available from Audio Chess at the link given.  Online commentaries suggest that it offers a shallow overview.

John Watson and Eric Schiller (1995).  The Big Book of Busts.  192-195.

Pitt Archives (1995).  Elephant Gambit PGN Database.  A zipped PGN file from the classic Pitt Archives -- a direct file transfer.  You can find this database elsewhere on the web, including at The Pushed Pawn.  This database has clearly been superseded, but is a useful historical marker.  

Jonathan Rogers (1994).  Winning with the Elephant Gambit.  Verlag Tournament Chess.  A bright red and quite rare volume - but one relied upon extensively by Jensen, Purser and Pape in their revision (see above) and widely cited by players as their chief source of information.  Rogers has been one of the most important writers in popularizing the gambit with his book and subsequent Kaissiber articles.

Jerzy Konikowski and Milon Gupta (1994). Das Mittelgambit im Nachzuge.  Schachverlag Mädler, Düsseldorf.  Still widely available through online European chess booksellers.  This book is mentioned as useful by Leisebein (above).

Born (1993). "Das Mittelgambit im Nachzug im Computertest." Gambit-Revue 1993 - Die Schachzeitung für den Gambitspieler.

Niels J. Jensen, Tom Purser and Rasmus Pape (1988).  Elephant Gambit.  This was the first edition of the Jensen, Purser and Pape study.

W. John Lutes (1987).  Scandinavian Defense: Anderssen Counter Attack.  Chess Enterprises.  This remarkably well researched book explores 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 e5 and 4.Nf3 e5, both played by Anderssen.  Some lines can transpose to the Elephant if Black plays an early Qxd5, e.g.: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qa5 (though 4...Qe6 here might be better -- see Marchisotti above).  A good book, but not a good approach to the Elephant.


DVDs and Online Videos




FM Dennis Monokroussos (2011).  The Elephant Gambit, Part One and Part Two, at ChessCube.  For a small fee ($3 for Part One and $2.50 for Part Two), you can watch this useful overview of the Elephant.  The first part looks at ways White can go wrong, while the second half focuses on his recommendations for White.  

Valeri Lilov (2011).  Unorthodox Chess Openings.  ChessBase DVD. Video running time: 5 hrs 16 min.


  



Monday, November 26, 2012

Urusov Gambit Bibliography



I will be giving a lecture at the Kenilworth Chess Club on Thursday, November 29th, beginning at 8:15 pm on "The Tactics of the Urusov Gambit."  Admission is $5 and includes a packet of materials on the Urusov and related lines.  

In preparation for my lecture, I decided to put together a bibliography of sources on the repertoire I recommend, which is different from the one I recommended in The Urusov Gambit System website back in 2003.  The repertoire I now recommend includes the Bishop's Opening and Urusov Gambit, starting 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3; the Modern Sveshnikov Variation of the Two Knights Defense, which comes about by 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 or by transposition from the Urusov after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 (3...Nc6!? 4.Nf3) 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.e5; and the Steinitz-Sveshnikov Variation of the Giuoco Piano, which arises after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 (or 2...Bc5 3.Nf3 Nc6) 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5.  The bibliography includes books, articles, online resources, and videos for each of the variations covered.  I will probably continue adding to the material here through Thursday.  As always, I invite corrections and additions.

Bishop's Opening and Urusov Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4

Rapid mobilization of pieces; open lines to utilize White's lead in development; typical mating sacrifices on the kingside -- these factors explain why the Urusov Gambit was one of the most populr openings at the start of the 20th Century. -- Boris Alterman, The Alterman Gambit Guide: White Gambits (47).
The Urusov Gambit arises after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3.  White's idea is to develop the pieces quickly and use his advantage in mobility to create attacking chances.  This is best illustrated by the main line with 4...Nxe4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Qh4 d6 9.O-O-O  when White need only play Rhe1 to have completely mobilized his pieces to their ideal squares. 

In this position, 9...O-O? is already a grave error, and White gained a winning attack in Neishtadt - NN, Simultaneous 1950, after 10.Bd3 h6 11.Bxh6! gxh6 12.Qxh6 Nb4 13.Ng5 Nxd3+ 14.Rxd3 Bf5 15.Rg3 Bg6 16.Ne6 1-0.  A better try for Black is 9...Be6, when White completes his development with 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Rhe1 or 10.Rhe1 Bxc4 11.Qxc4 and, in either case, has excellent compensation for the sacrificed pawn due to his commanding lead in development and control of space.  There are a number of side-lines along the way, of course, and these are all discussed in the sources given below. 



Books, Articles, and Online Resources

C-24 Urusov Gambit at Chessgames.com

Stephen Dowd (2012).  The Bxh6 Sacrifice, Part Two.  ChessCafe, Skittles Room.
This two-part article (see also Part One) offers a wonderful discussion of the Bxh6 sacrifice, which is so important in several lines of the Urusov.  In Part Two, he discusses two critical positions from the Urusov in particular.


Michael Goeller (2012).  "Anderssen Counter-Gambit."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  Analyzes the game Goeller - Komunicky, KCC Championship 2012, which featured the unusual line 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 b5!?

Michael Goeller (2010).  "Boris Alterman on the Urusov Gambit."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  As part of a review of The Alterman Gambit Guide: White Gambits, I analyzed some lines, about which I was critical.  But this is truly an excellent book.

Boris Alterman (2010).  The Alterman Gambit Guide: White Gambits.  Quality Chess (see PDF TOC).  45-78.  See my review for details about this excellent book.  The second chapter is devoted to the Urusov Gambit, with special attention to some of the sacrificial lines.  Coverage is broken into a selection of games and a "theoretical overview."  Games include Polzin - Fritzche, Berlin 1996Estrin - Taimanov, Leningrad 1949Tereschenko - Rotlewi, St. Petersburg 1909Neishtadt - NN, Simultaneous 1950Hausner - Szymczak, Prague 1989Jurjevich - Carter, USA 1994Keidanski - Lasker, Berlin Simul 1891; and Avrukh - Skripchenko, Linares 2001

Glenn Flear (2010).  Starting Out, Open Games.  Everyman Chess.  Offers good general coverage of a broad range of 1.e4 e5 openings, including the Urusov Gambit.  Offers up the game Tavakolian - Gebhardt, German League 2008, for evidence of why you should play the Two Knights as Black instead.

David Robert Lonsdale (2010).  Bishop's Opening: The Berlin Defence, The Ponziani Gambit Accepted.  Self-published.  An unstapled pamphlet that attractively organizes -- but without any critical assessment, analysis or annotation -- most available database games played with the line 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4. It is 22 pages with 47 diagrams and 51 games. For sale on eBay.  If this book had been published in the 1980s, before the widespread availability of databases, it might have been worthwhile.  But today, any chess player with access to a chess database could produce something better in minutes.  I refuse to give it a link lest I encourage anyone to buy it.  Just as an example of how worthless this is, it gives the line 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5 Ng5 and offers two games where White played 5.Qh5?! and 5.f4 respectively, both won by Black.  So you might get the impression that this is a good line for Black, but nothing could be further from the truth.  White's best responses are neither of these, but might be instead 5.Bf4 (to inhibit the d6 advance); 5.Nf3 (developing rapidly); or 5.Bxg5 Qxg5 6.Nf3 developing rapidly and setting the trap 6...Qxg2? 7.Rg1 Qh3 8.Bxf7+ etc.  A halfway useful book might discuss that rather than simply giving you the full score of two badly played games that you could easily track down yourself for free -- or find discussed online at "The Tricky 3...Nxe4" (see below).

Michael Goeller (2008).  "Urusov Gambit 2008 Update."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  A collection of mostly recent games with the Urusov with commentary.  I had intended to offer an annual collection of Urusov games, but only recently have I found enough recent games to make that possible.  Stay tuned.

Michael Goeller (2008).  "Patzer Variation or Refutation?" Kenilworth Chess Club.  Discusses the line  1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.bxc3 Bc5! which is more difficult to refute than you might expect.

Michael Goeller (2008).  "The Tricky 3...Nxe4."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  Discusses the line 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5, which is clearly to White's advantage, though you need to be aware of the tricks involved with 4...Qh4!?

Michael Goeller (2008).  "Refuting 5...Qe7."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  Analyzes the game Barnard - Bishop, Correspondence 1997, which featured the line 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qxd4 Qe7.

Michael Goeller (2007).  "Urusov Gambit Notes."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  Offers a collection of relatively recent games that feature the Urusov Gambit.

Michael Goeller (2006).  "Anti-Antoshin."  Kenilworth Chess Club.  Analyzes the transposition to the Antoshin Variation of Philidor's Defense that follows 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 d6 5. O-O! Be7 6. Re1 O-O 7. Nxd4 a6! 8. a4 when White's thematic attacking idea involves Nf5 and a kingside pawn advance.

Michael Goeller (2005).  "Urusoff / Urusov Gambit Bibliography." Kenilworth Chess Club.  An earlier effort at listing recent works that covered the Urusov, after Susan Polgar's article came out in Chess Life (see below).

Susan Polgar (2005). "Urusoff Gambit." Chess Life (August 2005): 36-37.

Michael Goeller (2005). Goeller-Mazzillo, Kenilworth Chess Club Championship 2005. Annotated at the Kenilworth Chess Club site and available in various formats.

Gary Lane (2004)The Bishop's Opening Explained. Batsford 2004, especially pp. 28-41.
Offers excellent coverage of the Urusoff gambit and lays out multiple Bishop's Opening repertoires, covering all the major transpositions that can arise after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4, including paths to the Vienna as well as the Italian Game that I recommend. This is an excellent book, especially for lower-rated players, since it does such a great job of covering a broad range of lines while discussing themes and ideas. Lane also focuses on recent games which have often not been discussed elsewhere, and the games are very well chosen.  Games with the Urusov Gambit in particular include Neishtadt - Gipslis, Riga 1955; Avrukh - Skripchenko-Lautier, Linares 2001; Tereschenko - Rotlewi, St. Petersburg 1909; Laes - Zitterio, Correspondence 1971; Hausner - Szymczak, Warsaw 1989Estrin - Bykhovsky, Moscow 1964Heikinheimo - Crepaux, Dubrovnik 1950Kreiman - Shirazi, New York 1992Barnard - Steadman, Correspondence 1997Schlechter - Allies, Karlsbad 1901Caro - Janowsky, Berlin 1897; and Timoschenko - Karpov, Moscow 1969. 

Le Gambit Urusov (2004) from the Mjae website
This is mostly a French plagiarism of my own writings, but they do a fairly good job of simplifying my lines while offering good general coverage. And at least they give me some acknowledgment. FYI: The picture they have of "Prince Urusov" is actually a distant relation of his and not the man himself.

Karsten Müller and Martin Voigt (2003)Danish Dynamite, Explosive Gambits: the Danish, Goring, Scotch, and Urusov. Millford, CT: Russell Enterprises, 2003. 206-233.
This book is out of print and increasingly rare, so you are likely to see its price climbing.  Müller and Voigt offer the best recent analysis of the Urusov Gambit that you will find in a book. As the book is written in Informant-style notation with limited commentary, it offers some deep analysis of many lines. In some cases, they carry the analysis quite deep but in others they leave it as "unclear" or "with compensation," and I wish they had pushed forward a bit more. But that would be my only criticism of this wonderful effort.  The number of games cited is very large, however, and therefore makes it difficult to list citations here.

Michael Goeller (2003). The Urusov Gambit SystemThe Urusov Gambit, and the Dimock Theme Tournament
This is a complete analysis of the gambit, covering all major lines and offering some treatment also of the Two Knights Defense and other Bishop's Opening lines if Black avoids the gambit. I have not updated the analysis since 2003, but it is still quite useful. Beginning players looking for a fun introduction to the gambit might start with the games from the Dimock Theme Tournament, which I have annotated rather deeply.  I chose to focus on the Perreux Variation of the Two Knights Defense (3...exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Ng5!?) only because it seemed little discussed by theory yet frequently played in the Dimock Theme Tournament -- an almost forgotten 1924 tournament at the Marshall Chess Club where all participants had to open 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4.  I had uncovered the games from this tournament and they seemed to add a lot to existing theory on the line, even if they did not address the key variation 5...d5! 6.exd5 Qe7+! which probably favors Black.  So I'm glad to have a chance to improve upon the recommendations I had made at that site.


Tim Harding (2003). "Once more unto the Urusov, dear friends, once more..." The Kibitzer #83 at ChessCafe. April 2003.
This is probably Harding's most thorough review of the gambit to date. It includes several important games with his annotations, plus a useful critique of and addition to my own analysis (some of which I have incorporated or responded to).


Anonymous (2003). Le Gambit Urusov from the Mjae website
This is mostly a French plagiarism of my own writings, but they do a fairly good job of simplifying my lines while offering good general coverage. And at least they give me some acknowledgment. FYI: The picture they have of "Prince Urusov" is actually a relative of his and not the man himself.

Andy Soltis (2002). Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion: A Biography with 220 Games. Jefferson, NC: McFarland 2002.  Annotates some games from the Dimock Theme Tournament and the game Pillsbury - Marshall, Paris 1900.

A.C. Van der Tak (2001). "A Forgotten Gambit." New In Chess Yearbook. Volume 59. Edited by Genna Sosonko and Paul van der Sterren. Netherlands: Interchess BV 2001. 106-111.  Good discussion of relatively recent games, though most of this analysis is dealt with in my website.  Inspired by the game Avrukh - Skripchenko, this was quite a groundbreaking essay at the time and most welcome for Urusov gambiteers.

Gary Lane (2001). "Five Pawns Attack." Opening Lanes #26 at ChessCafe.  Discusses the celebrated game Avrukh - Skripchenko and an interesting game with 5...Nd6? where Black gets slaughtered.

GM Lukacs (2001). Avrukh-Skripchenko, Linares 2001. Chess Base Magazine #80.

Armin Fingerhut (2001). Das Urusow-Gambit Available online.
Rather dense analysis of the main lines, and based on some older sources. But it is easily available, so I mention it.


John Emms (2001).  Attacking with 1.e4.  Everyman.  This repertoire book covers solid (if often uninspired) lines of the Bishop's Opening, generally transposing to the Vienna Game and King's Gambit Declined.  Very little of the book coincides with my recommended repertoire, but it is worth knowing if you are looking for alternative lines.

Tim Harding (2000). "Interesting Byways in the Classic Open Games." The Kibitzer #46 at ChessCafe. 2000.

Gabriel Velasco (2000). The Life and Games of Carlos Torre. Milford, CT: Russell Enterprises, 2000.

Van Wieringen, C. A. Annotations. Dick Smit Memorial 2000. <http://www.nbc.schaakbond.nl/emailbulletin/DSMTOT.pdf> Accessed January 10, 2002.

Tim Harding (1999). "Some Opening Topics Revisited." The Kibitzer #33 at ChessCafe. 1999.




Tim Harding (1998). "Is the Urusov Gambit Sound?" The Kibitzer #29 at ChessCafe. 1998.

Tim Harding (1998). "The Eternal Appeal of the Urusov Gambit." The Kibitzer #28 at ChessCafe. 1998.

Tim Harding (1998). "What Exactly Is the Bishop's Opening?" The Kibitzer #27 at ChessCafe. 1998.

Pitt Archive FTP (1998)Bishop's Opening Zip PGN File via FTP. 1998.Pitt Archive FTP (1997). Various materials on the Urusov Gambit and on Prince Urusov, prepared by Max Burkett. 1997.  These game files were a boon to my analysis and helped greatly to advance the theory of the Urusov. (Update: These files have been taken down).


Bishop's Opening PGN File
<ftp://136.142.185.47/group/student-activities/chess/PGN/Openings/bishoppg.zip>

Max Euwe and John Nunn (1997). The Development of Chess Style. Seattle: Batsford and International Chess Enterprises, 1997.

Iakov Neishtadt (1996). Winning Quickly as White: Attack from Move One!  Everyman Chess.  Focuses on the game Uschold - Wallinger, Correspondence 1985, which is no longer relevant to theory.

James West (1996). The Dynamic Philidor Counter-Gambit. Revised 2nd Edition. Chess Digest 1996. 98-122.  Offers extensive coverage of the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4, which White can reach by transposition via 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 f5 3.Nf3 d6!? 4.d4.

Soren Galberg-Lund (1995)Urusovuv Gambit. Brno: Self published 1995. I own the original pamphlet, which was available from Chess Digest. An English translation of Galber-Lund's pamphlet was available as The Urusoff Gambit and is therefore in the Archive. It is a terrible translation of hopefully better Swedish prose, but it does actually have a couple game references of value. It is mostly supplanted by the materials above. 

James West (1994). The Philidor Countergambit. Chess Enterprises 1994.  See the revised 1996 version for details.

Gary Lane (1993). Winning with the Bishop's Opening. Henry Holt 1993.
I think that anything of value related to the Urusoff in this book has been adapted into either Lane's more recent book or my website.


Joel Benjamin and Patrick Wolf (1993).  "Theoretically Speaking."  Chess Life (December 1993): 30.  In answer to a reader's question, GM Benjamin explains that Estrin's recommendation of 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5 Qh4 5.Qe2?! (which Estrin marked as "!" in Three Double Pawn Openings) is sadly mistaken.  Benjamin notes that 5.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 6.g3 Nxg3 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.hxg3 "also looks perfectly reasonable."

Tony Kosten (1992). Winning with the Philidor Defense. New York: Henry Holt 1992.

Eric Schiller (1992)White to Play 1.e4 and Win. Chess Digest, 1992.
I recommend this with caveats galore (for which you can see my game and analysis that it inspired), especially as regards the errors in his analysis, but I like some of Schiller's discussion. I also think the overall repertoire he offers fits well with the Urusov in many cases, and the book is therefore worth knowing for that alone.  He also analyzes the Modern Two Knights.


Gyozo Forintos and Ervin Haag (1991)The Petroff Defense. New York: Macmillan 1991.
I mention this because it was once widely available and you may have a copy. I think it is the best book on the Petroff, not least because it is one of the only to offer coverage of the Urusoff Gambit.

Andrew Soltis (1991). Karl Marx Plays Chess and Other Reports on the World's Oldest Game. New York: David McKay 1991. 106-107.  Features a fantasy game submitted by a reader of Soltis's Chess Life column  where White played 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 d5 5.exd5 Bb4+ 6.c3 Qe7+ 7.Kd2? and eventually won. That fantasy game seems to have taken on a life of its own, for people have sometimes mistaken it for real theory. Greg Verville writes that he played this move because he mistakenly thought that it had been recommended in Chess Life. And Soltis himself would later make the same mistake: In annotating the game Pillsbury-Marshall, Paris 1900 in his book Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion, Soltis remarks "7.Kd2! [sic], threatening 8.Re1, would have tested Black severely" (21).


Colin Leach (1990). Bishop's Opening. Self published 1990. 

Michael Goeller (1985). "The Bishop's Opening: Swashbuckling Returns." The Castled King: The Official Publication of the New Jersey State Chess Federation. Two part article.  9.6-10.1 (November-December 1984 and January-February 1985): 8-12 and 12-17.

Nikolai Minev (1985). "Rare and Forgotten Opening Ideas: The Potter-Marshall Center Gambit." Players Chess News 9.5 (Number 39, August 5, 1985): 4.


Tim Harding (1984). Philidor's Defense: A Re-appraisal. Chess Digest 1984.


Yakov Estrin and Igor Glazkov (1982). Three Double King Pawn Openings. 1982.

Yakov Estrin (1982). Gambits. Chess Enterprises 1982.  15-19.
This book really got me excited about playing gambits and reinforced my enjoyment of the Urusov, with which former Correspondence Chess Champion Estrin played many games.  Fewer than four pages are devoted to the Urusov itself, but it is a fun book to read through for inspiration.

Larsen, Bent. Chapter C24 in Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (ECO). Beograd 1981.

Dr. S. Tartakower and J. Du Mont (1975)100 Master Games of Modern Chess. Dover 1975.
I mention this because it is probably on your shelf or the shelf of your public library. It contains analysis of Heikenheimo-Crepaux, Dubrovnik 1950, which is the focus of the French plagiarists too.



Paul Keres (1974). "Lauferspiel." Dreispringerspiel bis Konigsgambit. Berlin: Sportverlag 1974. 207-213.

Tim Harding (1973). Bishop's Opening. The Chess Player 1973.
This is a bit old now and likely unavailable. If I remember right (I don't have it handy) he calls it the "Ourousoff" here. Harding's subsequent articles at ChessCafe, all available online, offer much better coverage and improved analysis and better spelling of the name.

David Hooper (1966). A Complete Defense to 1.e4.  Offers some discussion of the Urusov.

Emmanuel Lasker (1960 - USA). Lasker's Manual of Chess. Dover.  Analyzes his recommended 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 Nc6!? when White does best to transpose to the Two Knights with 4.Nf3 as alternatives offer no advantage, as Lasker showed.


Fred Reinfeld (1950). "Dubrovnik 1950." Chess Review. December 1950. 365.  Analyzes the game Heikenheimo - Crepaux.

Dr. Savielly Tartakower and J. Du Mont (1952). 500 Master Games of Chess. 1952. New York: Dover 1975.

Dr. Savielly Tartakower and J. Du Mont (1975). 100 Master Games of Modern Chess. New York: Dover 1975.  Analyzes the game Heikenheimo - Crepaux.

Jack Collins (1949). "Postal Games." Chess Review. July 1949. 224.

Frank James Marshall. My Fifty Years of Chess. Middletown, NY: The Whitlock Press, 1942.  Excellent notes on his game against Pillsbury at Paris.

British Chess Magazine XLV (1925): 141-142, 248. Reprints several Dimock games from American Chess Bulletin (without notes).

Hermann Helms, ed. "Marshall C. C. Special Tournament." American Chess Bulletin 21 (1924): 194-197. Several games from the Dimock Theme Tournament with notes by C. S. Howell, Frank Marshall, and Carlos Torre.

_______, ed. "Marshall Winner of Tournament." American Chess Bulletin 21 (1924): 212. Results of the Dimock Theme Tournament plus the game Marshall-Forsberg.

Hermann Helms. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October-December 1924. Many games from the Dimock Theme Tournament were reprinted in Helms's chess column, which appeared on Thursdays in the Sports section of the paper for many years.  Since I did my initial library research, the paper has appeared online and I have located most of the columns related to the Dimock tournament:
The New York Times, October-November 1924. Several small unsigned articles appear in the Sports section of the paper regarding the Dimock Theme Tournament of 1924.

Paul Rudolph von Bilguer and updated by Carl Schlechter (1922).  Handbuch des Schachspiels.  This is the edition to get ahold of.  Some interesting analysis of unusual lines.  I have a copy of the parts on the Bishop's Opening and have not had time to digest it.

Paul Rudolph von Bilguer (1852).  Handbuch des Schachspiels.  


Bishop's Opening and Urusov Gambit on Video



FM Dennis Monokroussos, Openings from A-ZUrusov Gambit, Part One and Part Two, available at ChessCube.com's video store for $2.50 each.  FM Monokroussos does a good presentation, but based exclusively on a critical assessment of NCO's take on the line, with which he finds quite a bit of fault (naturally).  Not bad for $5 total, if you are looking for a video introduction to the Urusov Gambit and its themes -- and if you want to see how easy it is to refute published opening analysis with just a little computer analysis.  











Two Knights Defense, Modern Variation 

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.e5 or 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5



It is vital to remember that instead of 4...Nxe4, Black has the option of 4...Nc6 transposing to the Two Knights Defense.  In fact, the database shows that this is Black's most common choice.  So the real problem with the Urusov Gambit is that Black may not let you play it! -- Boris Alterman, The Alterman Gambit Guide: White Gambits 
Don't even think about going down that road.  Play the Two Knights!                     --- Glenn Flear on the Urusov Gambit in Starting Out: Open Games 
This formidable pressure system for White has caused many players to abandon the Two Knights Defense. --Jude Acers, The Italian Gambit System 
Against the Two Knights Defense, I recommend the Modern Sveshnikov Variation with 5.e5, which leads to the most strategically interesting play and the best chances for White to gain an advantage.  The chief alternatives 5.O-O Nxe4! (often called the Anti-Lange) and 5.Ng5!? d5! 6.exd5 Qe7+! (The Perreux Variation) give Black easy equality, though they are certainly playable at the amateur level and offer Black many ways to go wrong if he does not know his theory.  But the Modern Variation with 5.e5 not only allows Black many ways to go wrong but also promises White the chance to pursue an advantage even if Black plays it right!  The use of this line by the top finishers at the 2011 Commonwealth Open (see Short-GuptaJones - GuptaSmerdon - KobeseSmerdon - Simutowe, and Smerdon-Takawira) suggests that it is still viable even at a high level.

There are many resources on the Modern Sveshnikov Variation of the Two Knights, but the most useful is Chess Openings for White, Explained, which features GM Roman Dzindzichashvili's excellent analysis of this line along with a complete White repertoire following 1.e4.  However, for those looking to save their money, there is plenty of information to be had online for free.




Ian Simpson.  "Scotch Gambit, 4...Nf6 5.e5."  Personal website and analysis.

Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili, and Eugene Perelshtyn (2010). Chess Openings for White, Explained - Second, Revised ed.  Chess Information and Research Center.

Two Knights Defense, Modern Sveshnikov System (2007).  Fayetteville Chess Club.
A useful reference, which correctly attributes a lot of the success of this system to its adoption by Evgeny Sveshnikov.  Also titled "System for White vs. the Two Knights Defense."


Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili, and Eugene Perelshtyn (2006). Chess Openings for White, Explained.  Chess Information and Research Center.

Reinhold Ripperger (2006).  Two Knights Defense / Das Zweispringerspiel.  Chess Coach CD.

Michael Goeller (2005).  "Notes on the Two Knights with d4."  The Kenilworthian Blog.

Michael Goeller (2005).  "Two Knights Modern."  The Kenilworthian Blog.

Tim Harding (2005).  "The Two Knights Defence Revisited: the d4 lines."  Chess Cafe.  Offers a useful overview of the d4 lines, including the Modern Attack.

Nigel Davies (2005). Play 1.e4 e5!  Everyman Chess.
I like Davies's work generally, but over half this book is devoted to the intricate Keres Variation of the Ruy Lopez (with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Nd7) which bores me to tears. But the coverage of the Two Knights Modern with 5.e5 Ne4!? is interesting and the overall repertoire is solid.  Games discussed include Castany Pampalona - Narciso Dublan, Spain 1999Hector - Nunn, Vejle 1994; and Gurevich - Romanishin, Herson 1989

Gary Lane (2004)The Bishop's Opening Explained. Batsford, especially pp. 28-41.
Offers excellent coverage not only of the Urusoff gambit but of the Modern Variation of the Two Knights Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.e5), which is the best method of meeting 4...Nc6.  Games with the Two Knights include 

Jan Pinski (2003). The Two Knights Defense. London: Everyman Chess. Probably the most generally useful current book available, though analysis could be deeper.

Jude Acers and George S. Laven (2003). The Italian Gambit System. Trafford Publishing, 2003. Gives relatively recent though generally rather shallow coverage of practically every line in the Open Two Knights (with White d4), and offers some useful insights on the Modern Variation. The additional repertoire material is worthwhile for beginning and developing players.


Jacek Ilczuk and Krzysztof Panczyk (2003). "Fighting for the Centre with f7-f6." NIC Yearbook 69. 120-124.  After reading this three-part article, you might be convinced that Black has very good chances for equality even against 6.Qe2.  However, you should notice that Black has some ways to go wrong.  And, fortunately, very few players know about 5...Ng4, which is not frequently played nor well documented in the literature.

Jacek Ilczuk and Krzysztof Panczyk (2003). "Fighting for the Centre with d7-d6." NIC Yearbook 67. 136-140.

Jacek Ilczuk and Krzysztof Panczyk (2002). "Rare Moves Against 5...Ng4."  NIC Yearbook 64. 139-143.  A very thorough if Black-biased treatment of all methods besides 6.Qe2 for meeting the Lvov.  

Jozsef Palkovi (2001).  Two Knights' Defence and Traxler Counter-Gambit.  Caissa.

Vladimir Gurevich and Igor Glek (2000). "The Scotch Gambit." NIC Yearbook 57.  138-144.  This is an excellent overview of the Modern Attack in the Two Knights, based on Gurevich's own repertoire (as he includes several of his games) and dealing with all Black responses (including 5...d5, 5...Ne4 6.Qe2, and 5...Ng4 6.Qe2).  Definitely a worthwhile article, written from the White perspective.

John Emms (2000). Play the Open Games as Black: What to Do When White Avoids the Ruy Lopez. London: Gambit, 2000. Excellent coverage of all Two Knights lines from the Black perspective.  Very worthwhile.

Alexander Beliavsky and Adrian Mikhalchishin (1999). The Two Knights Defense. London: Batsford, 1999. This book seems to have been rushed to the publisher, despite occasionally strong moments.  It is not especially useful on the Modern Attack, as that line seems to have been left out of the theory section, though it is represented in the games section. 

Sunil Weeramantry (1999). "Opening Preparation." Chess Cafe's The Chess Coach #13. Download a zip file. Weeramantry uses his last colum to discuss the Two Knights Modern.

Mark Morss (1999). "Maxfield - Morss [C55]."  The Campbell Report - Hard Chess.
Analysis of a postal game of the author's from the Black perspective.


Mark Morss (1999).  "Danzanvilliers - Morss [C55]."  The Campbell Report - Hard Chess.

Mark Morss (1999). "Lost Variations."  The Campbell Report - Hard Chess.
Analysis showing why White should not try to grab a pawn with Nxc6 in a critical line of the Modern Variation of the Two Knights.


John Nunn (1997). Secrets of Grandmaster Chess. 1997. pp.77-87. Discusses the game Corden-Nunn, Birmingham 1975 in great depth, which is a good warning.

Tim Harding (1996).  Evans Gambit and a System versus Two Knights' Defense, Revised 2nd Edition.  Chess Digest.  Covers many sidelines of the Two Knights, Modern Attack, in detail.

Adrian Mikhalchishin  (1994).  "Theory of the Lvov Variation." NIC Yearbook 32.  180-197. A very thorough treatment of both 5...Ne4 and 5...Ng4 responses to 5.e5.

George S. Botteril (1986).  Open Gambits.  Batsford.

Yakov Estrin (1983). The Two Knights Defense. Trans. K. P. Neat. London: Batsford 1983. There are various versions in multiple languages and editions of Estrin's work. Estrin's analysis became widely circulated in multiple editions and languages through the 70s and 80s. It is still vital and valuable, especially since some lines he discusses receive scant treatment later.

Vladimir Zagorovsky (1982). Romantic Chess Openings. London: Batsford 1982. A classic, if now generally out of date and shallow.

Paul Keres (1974). Dreispringerspiel bis Konigsgambit. Berlin: Sportverlag 1974. 

Tigran Petrosian and Yakov Estrin (1966). Zweispringerspiel im Nachzuge. Hamburg 1966.



Two Knights Defense, Modern Variation on Video



Roman's Forum #33 -- Mastering The Opening Forum Series, Crushing Lines for White: Scotch Gambit - Giuoco Piano: Win Either Way (2005) 
If you want to learn the Modern Variation of the Two Knights Defense, there is no better instructor than GM Roman Dzindzichashvili, who has done a number of video lectures over the years, some of which are available online.  This video seems to be the most widely available version of his lectures, and it also includes interesting material on the Grand Prix Attack vs the Sicilian, Panov Attack vs. the Caro-Kann, the Two-Pawn Attack with Nc3 vs the Alekhine, French Winawer with Bd2, Scotch Gambit, Giuoco Piano, and -- most importantly for our purposes -- the Two Knights Modern (55 minutes).  Though only about an hour of this four-hour DVD is devoted to lines that can arise via the Urusov, it is still a nice video for those looking for something in this format.  The video adapts and shortens materials that appeared in earlier videos and DVDs -- including "Scotch gambit, Giuoco Piano: Win Either Way," which first appeared as a VHS video in 1995 from Multi-Media Engineering, and it makes a good video supplement to material that appeared in Chess Openings for White, Explained (Chess Information and Research Center 2006).  One of the videos given below, available on YouTube, covers much of the same material but is not identical to this presentation (nor guaranteed to be there for long!)  Excellent.

"Underrated Openings" (2009). Part OnePart Two, and Part Three at Chess.com
GM roman Dzindzichashvili returns, this time online from Chess.com.  This video series covers much of the same ground that was covered in Roman's other video presentations, focusing on the Two Knights Modern as it arises out of the Scotch Gambit.  Non-members can watch a 5-minute preview of each video, the full version of which is only available to members.  Excellent.









Giuoco Piano, Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack 

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 
or 2...Bc5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 


If you are a professional person (with very little time for chess), you could even select this one line, rather than the intricate 6.cxd4 or 6.O-O lines, learn it from A to Z, with the assurance of a playable Morphy system, [and] many wins versus the unprepared throughout your career. --Jude Acers, The Italian Gambit System (117).
To meet 2...Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 (2...Bc5 3.Nf3 Nc6 simply transposes moves), I recommend the Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack with 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5.  This line is very easy to learn and absolutely deadly at the amateur level.  It also fits well thematically with the Modern Variation of the Two Knights recommended above, as both feature a pawn advance to e5 and play against doubled pawns on the queenside after Bb5xc6.  Those interested in exploring Giuoco Piano alternatives can consult my 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 White Repertoire webliography for guidance.




Igor Lysyj and Roman Ovetchkin (2012).  The Open Games for Black: A Complete Black Repertoire with 1.e4 e5 against Everything Except the Ruy Lopez.  Chess Stars. 199-208.  (TOC PDF).  This solid repertoire book is intended to supplement the same authors' book on The Berlin Defense to the Spanish and recommends following the main line Giuoco Piano for Black.  This is a very thorough treatment and the material on the Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack alone is nearly 10 pages and addresses all White alternatives.  Their main game is Merrow - Kamanel Zamora, ICCF 2010.

Michael Goeller (2011).  The Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack Revisited.  Kenilworth Chess Club.
Focuses on Black's best defense, 6...d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb6! 9.Nc3 O-O 10.Be3, which has been seen in several recent games.

Glenn Flear (2010).  Starting Out, Open Games.  Everyman Chess. 85-88. Offers good general coverage of a broad range of 1.e4 e5 openings, including the Giuoco Piano, including the games Ninov - Rizouk, San Sebastian 2008; Ninov - Flear, Gien 2004; Ninov - Zawadzka, Kalamaria 2006; Ninov - Schlosser, French Team 2008; Macieja - Aronian, Antalya 2004; and Macieja - Vescovi, Bermuda 2004.

Giuoco Steinitz-Sveshnikov Variation from the Fayetteville Chess ClubA very useful two-page "quick-start guide" which will introduce players to the line.

"Jones Crushes Howell" at Whychess.com
Useful notes on Gawain Jones's great game with the Steinitz-Sveshnikov -- though this reference has been absorbed into my own notes above.

Mihail Marin & Yuri Garrett (2009). Reggio Emilia 2007-2008. Quality Chess.


Michael Goeller (2008).  The Steinitz - Sveshnikov Attack in the Giuoco Piano.  Kenilworth Chess Club.  An introduction to the opening for amateur players, focusing on the many ways that Black can and will go wrong after 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5, ending with coverage of the most commonly seen response, 6...d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb4+, which favors White.

Chess Zone Magazine #2 (2008).  Ni Hua - Marin, Reggio 2007-2008.  Also available at Scribd.

John Emms, Glenn Flear, and Andrew Greet (2008). Dangerous Weapons: 1.e4 e5 -- Dazzle Your Opponents in the Open Games! Everyman.  Covers the Giuoco Piano from the Black perspective.  The book was reviewed here in April 2008.

Mihail Marin (2007). Beating the Open Games.  Quality Chess.  Marin's analysis was called into question by his game with Ni Hua at Reggio Emilia.

Jonathan Rowson (2005). Chess for Zebras. Gambit.  Analyzes the game Rowson - Sokolov 2003.


Jan Pinski (2005).  Italian Game and Evans Gambit.  Everyman Chess.  This book is especially useful for its coverage of Black alternative systems, including the strong point variation with Qe7, Hungarian, and others.  Discussion of the Steinitz-Sveshnikov variation is confined to a couple of Sveshnikov games: Sveshnikov - Dautov, Pinsk 1986 and Sveshnikov - Stefansson, Liepaya 2004.  Also: Alekhine - Tarrasch, Mannheim 1914

Reinhold Ripperger (2004).  Giuoco Piano, C50-C54. ChessBase CD.

Jude Acers and George S. Laven (2003). The Italian Gambit System. Trafford Publishing, 2003. This was the most encouraging book regarding the Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack, though I have to say that all of these ideas have likely been absorbed into my own analysis.

Jozsef Palkovi (1998).  Italienische Partie und Evans Gambit. Caissa.

Eduard Gufeld, Oleg Stetsko and Murray Chandler (1996).  The Giuoco Piano.  Trans. Sarah J. Young.  Henry Holt, New York. 108-111.  This is a very solid and balanced effort on the Italian Game, with a section by Chandler on the Evans Gambit.  It offers one main game (Sveshnikov-Balashov, Volgograd 1985) covering the Steinitz-Sveshnikov Variation.  Sideline games include Sonnenburg - Livitsky, Berlin 1991Steinitz - Lasker, World Championship (4) 1894Kontic - Lazic, Podgorica 1993Steinitz - Schiffers, Vienna 1894; and Steinitz - Lasker, World Championship (6) 1894.

Andrew Soltis (1996). Winning with the Giuoco Piano and the Max Lange Attack. 2nd Revised Edition. Chess Digest, 1996 (1st edition 1992). Mostly focuses on the Max Lange, Anti-Max Lange, and Moeller Attack, but does offer some useful analysis of the strong-point variation with Qe7.  Spielmann - Shoosmith, Ostend 1907Speelman - Durao, London 1978Estrin - Zhivtsov, Moscow 1945; and Corte - Luckis, Mar del Plata 1949.

George S. Botteril (1986).  Open Gambits.  Batsford.