Explore the Kings Pawn Game


Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: 1.e4

The Kings Pawn Game has a proud history as the leading first move in chess. That is to say that 1.e4 is the most commonly played first move. Four other moves have a slightly higher success rate for White. Two of these at least transpose to 1.e4 openings.

Many of the best known openings in chess come under the 1.e4 umbrella. The two we've already considered at length are joined by the Italian Game, the Scotch Opening, the Caro-Kann Defense, the French Defense to name but a few.

The Spanish Game, as we saw, sees Black answer with 1...e5. This reply features in many 1.e4 openings.


Italian Game - A Blast from the Past




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Italian Game - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4

The Italian Game is one of the grand old openings of the KPG. For centuries, when the Italians, the Spanish and the French were at the forefront of the chess world, this was the answer to 1...e5.

Things changed in the middle of the 19th Century. The Ruy Lopez pushed it's way to the front. It became the automatic treatment of 1...e5 and the Italian Game was pushed into the shade.

It was the Sicilian Defense, not the Italian, that would challenge the Spanish Game in the 1920s. 3.Bc4 has enjoyed a partial recovery in recent decades but still remains humble.

All the same, an opening that was so important for so long must have something to it. The two main replies for Black are the Giuoco Piano (3...Bc5) and the Two Knights Defense (3...Nf6). A third less critical line is the Hungarian Defense (3...Be7).


Sharp Start in the Scotch




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Scotch Opening - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4

White returns in the Scotch Opening or Scotch Game to an open center with the kind of piece play seen in the Sicilian. In the Ruy Lopez and the Italian Game, White prepared d4 meticulously, often with c3 to support the creation of a big center.


Here though you liquidate your d-pawn for a spatial advantage and active pieces. The advantages include easy and quick development. That's to say nothing of the dynamic structures that lend themselves to sacrificial play and clever tactics.


If you face this opening as Black there's no need to shake in your boots. You will also get easy development and the resources to respond to anything White can throw at you.


Attack with the Secure Four Knights Game




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Four Knights Game - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6

The Four Knights Game takes it's name, surprise surprise, from the four noble steeds developed to their favorite squares in the center. This old opening was a sideline during the Romantic Era when apparently more daring openings were in vogue.

It became more prominent when Steinitz ushered in the age of positional chess in the Classical Era. It's obvious solidity appealed to many players at this time.

It's fall from grace in the early 20th Century stemmed from it's reputation as a plain Jane. It was seen as safe and dependable, but dull and drawish. The Sicilian with all it's dynamic variations was taking off. Openings like the Four Knights Game were getting the cold shoulder.

It gained a reprieve in the 90s when fresh eyes looked at it. Sure this opening was solid as a rock but that didn't mean White's attacking potential was sacrificed. It was found that White does have scope to play for a win after all.


Petroff Defense - Dueling in the Center




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Petroff Defense - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6

Black responds to a threat with a threat in the Petroff Defense or Russian Defense. It's okay because White can't gain an advantage by taking on e5. This is the most common continuation. The symmetrical pawn formation after Black takes back suits the second player just fine.


White's other main idea is to challenge the pawn by playing d4. If 3...dxe4 is played 4.e5 follows, kicking the Knight. Both players can hold an even game with good technique. You must watch yourself though. It's easy to err and find yourself in a passive position.


This opening appears every so often in top level competition. They seem to be much more comfortable walking the tightrope. You don't see it so often online or down the club. Another good reason to add this string to your bow.


Play for a Solid Start with the Ponziani




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Ponziani Opening - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3

The Ponziani Opening was popular in the early 1800s before the rise of the Ruy Lopez. This opening if you look at it is like a Ruy Lopez except there's no light square Bishop causing Black problems.


This allows Black to attack White's center with the pawn break 3...d5. Clearly with a Bishop on b5 this move would not be on. The only critical test of ...d5 is 4.Qa4 but Black has enough resources in the position to be okay with this move.


Many players who are not familiar with the Ponziani may not trust 3...d5. 3...Nf6 is another playable option. Now Black is attacking the e-pawn which he cannot so easily do in the Spanish Game. Still White, albeit without a good edge, has some ways and means to get ahead. The Ponziani gives White, if not as good a start as the Spanish, a playable game.


Challenge White for e4 in the Philidor Defense




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Philidor Defense - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6

Andre Philidor told the chess world that pawns are the soul of chess. A study of his games show that they were central to everything he did. He successfully proved his assertion.

It is little wonder this his opening would be true to his beliefs. His pieces were not developed in front of his pawns where they would obstruct them. Rather his infantry were advanced, annexing territory with his officers operating behind them. The pieces would use the space claimed by the pawns.

After 1.e4 e5, White would play 2.Nf3. Philidor dismissed this move as a mistake! He would reply with 2...d6 and after the Scotch-like 3.d4, attacking e5, the counter-attack 3...f5!?

This opening sequence was popular for 100 years after Philidor's death. It has never been decisively refuted but it faded out of common practice because not many players had the nerve to play such a provocative move.


Vienna Game for a Turbo Charged King's Gambit




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Vienna Game - 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3

The Vienna Game gets underway with 2.Nc3. This is not the most earth shattering move in the world, it's true. But it's a useful developing move and White can get serious with his next moves.

The next move could well be the Vienna Gambit, 3.f4. The Vienna Game gained popularity just as the King's Gambit was losing some of it's sheen. Black's main replies are 2...Nc6 or 2...Nf6. He is expecting White to play the aforementioned 3.f4, 3.Bc4 or 3.g3 next.

The Vienna Gambit was like a souped up King's Gambit. Paul Morphy used to give odds of a Queen's Knight to his less illustrious opponents. The absence of this piece on b1 meant that in the King's Gambit, Morphy would save a tempo.

He could swing the a-Rook across to the f-file without losing time moving a Knight out of the way. In a funny way with a Knight less Morphy was even more dangerous. The Vienna Gambit is kind of like one of Morphy's King's Gambits at the odds of a Queen's Knight.


Play Sound Positional Chess in the Bishops Opening




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Bishop's Opening - 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4

The Bishop's Opening is another of the old guard that lost it's place at the top table. Before the arrival of the Ruy Lopez, c4 was considered the obvious post for the light square Bishop.


During it's heyday the Bishop's Opening had an absolute jungle of variations, sub-variations and sidelines all based on tactical considerations. When positional chess became the new normal this once mighty system disappeared almost without trace.


It has made something of a comeback in recent years. The old dog has learned new tricks. New variations have been developed giving 2.Bc4 more of a positional feel. It's now quite similar to the Italian Game. It's advantage over the Italian is the Bishop's Opening eliminates Black's option of playing the Petroff Defense.


Center Game for Slips and Tricks




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Center Game - 1.e4 e5 2.d4 dxe4

The whole point of 1...e5 is to stop White playing 2.d4. Just the same, White plays it anyway in the Center Game. You're basically trying to open the position straight away and get space for your pieces.


You can recapture with the Queen. This will allow Black to develop the b8-Knight with tempo. Your best bet is to withdraw the Queen to e3. Maybe you'll be able castle Queenside and build some pressure that way. All the same you will have to work hard to get an edge.


If you feel like you're in the mood for a bit of tactics you can head for the Danish Gambit instead and play c3. If Black takes you can reconsider and develop your Knight with the recapture or continue with the gambit. This is done by 4.Bc4 and if Black accepts the Danish with 4...cxb2, you will have a powerful Bishop pair after 5.Bxb2.


Cut-throat Lines in the French Defense




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: French Defense - 1.e4 e6

Of course as Black you do not have to play 1...e5. You have other options if you want them. The French Defense takes it's name from a correspondence match between London and Paris in 1834. The French players played 1...e6 in many of their games with the Black pieces.

Why ...e6 over ...e5? Black is allowing White to get his dream center with 2.d4. You are conceding a definite spatial advantage with this new move. What does this move give Black?

The first thing is it eliminates any hopes White had of targeting f7 with his light square Bishop. Secondly Black's compact structure gives White nothing to attack. The e5-pawn is the subject of much attention in other openings but White has nothing to shoot at here.

Black's apparently meek opening move is not as defensive as you might think. After 2.d5, you will plan a campaign against White's center in most lines. This will kick off with ...c5, ...Nc6 and ...Qb6, all ganging up on White's nervous d-pawn.


Stay Standing the Longest in the Winawer




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Winawer Variation - 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4

The Winawer Variation has to be the wildest line in the French. It was given to us by of Simon Winawer, a player from the Romantic Era of the 19th Century when tactical combinations held sway.

No talk from Black here of containing White and saying come and try break me down. No. Black wants to fight! This variation is a rejection of safe, solid, positional certainty.

If you like dynamic positions with chances for both sides, the Winawer is for you. The Bishop comes to b4 with the expressed intentions of taking out the White Knight and giving White doubled c-pawns plus a weak, isolated a-pawn.

You know that White will have a fierce attack on the Kingside but you're okay with that because you're threatening too. Both players must decide how to solve the dilemma of their unsafe Kings.


Let the Bishop Loose in the Caro-Kann




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Caro-Kann Defense - 1.e4 c6

Just as in the French Defense, the Caro-Kann's main purpose is to support 2...d5 and an attack on White's e-pawn. This time you do it with the c-pawn instead of the e-pawn. This takes care of one of the main difficulties Black incurs in the French Defense.


I neglected to mention one of the main setbacks for Black when you play the French Defense. You block in your light square Bishop and in many lines this piece becomes your problem child. It can be quite difficult to bring the cleric into the game in a meaningful and productive way.


Not so in the Caro-Kann as the c8-a3 diagonal is left open for the Bishop to leap into action at any moment. This is the factor that has made the Caro-Kann a really popular opening at all levels over the last 40 years.


Knight Does a Tango in the Alekhine Defense




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Alekhine Defense - 1.e4 Nf6

There was no respect for this move before Alekhine played it in 1921. It's time had come as the old unquestioned wisdoms of the Classical Era were finally being challenged.

It had been stated that Black was handing White opportunities to steal tempi for precisely nothing. The White pawns rush forward poking and prodding at the Knight, gaining space and a lead in development.

Alekhine looked at it from a different angle. His reasoning was that the Knight is purposefully baiting the pawns forward, merely doing a dance. White's not developing pieces, only pawns.

These pawns far from being a strength, he argued, were actually a weakness. The thing with pawn centers is, the bigger they are the harder they fall. Alekhine wanted to tempt the pawns forward because he saw them as targets.


Top the Hypermodern Class in the Pirc Defense




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Pirc Defense - 1.e4 d6

In the Pirc Defense Black answers 1.e4 with 1...d6. It first showed it's face in the 1920s when Hypermodern theory was tearing down the Classical dogma. At this early stage it did not catch on as quickly as the other Hypermoderns.

It was seen as too one-dimensional. This move prepares 2...e5 and that's it really. This was the charge. The move didn't do enough. Vasja Pirc came along in the 1940s and 50s to analyze this opening thoroughly.

He developed the opening into a fully fledged, credible defense to 1.e4. Complete with at least three branches. Resources were found to show that the Pirc could hold it's own with the other Hypermoderns after all. Black could allow White his center on d4 and e4.

The Pirc has ways and means of undermining this center with the defining move ...g6 and the fianchettoed Bishop. ...e5 and/or ...c5 would apply the hammer blows to the center at the appropriate moment.


Fight from the First Move in the Scandinavian Defense




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Scandinavian Defense - 1.e4 d5

The main idea behind the Scandinavian Defense is to get rid of White's e4-pawn. What you give in return when you choose this opening is your own d-pawn plus some time. The Queen or the Knight will have to round up the pawn. Either way White is getting a lead in development with 3.d4.


White is forced to trade. If he plays 2.e5 to keep his pawn then you have 2...Bf5 followed by 3...e6 which gives you a Caro-Kann Advanced position except with an extra tempo. Remember you never played ...c6.


It has been argued long and hard if Black has given too much for the e-pawn. Some say yay, some say nay. Either ways this is an interesting opening with fun variations. The Queen's triangular return to base after taking on d5 and playing ...c6 is one of the hallmarks.


Nimzowitsch Defense - Play Rough from the first Bell




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Kings Pawn Game: Nimzowitsch Defense - 1.e4 Nc6

The Nimzowitsch Defense has never been a really popular choice for Black. It's an option to take White out of book and into unfamiliar positions. You want to ask questions that your opponent has never had to answer before.


If you're going to play it you need to do your homework first. Learn the variations and the concepts thoroughly. Otherwise you may create more problems for yourself than your opponent.


Play usually continues with 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5. This puts the d4-pawn under considerable pressure as White does not have time to play 4.Nc3. The Nimzowitsch Defense is characterized by this kind of tactical play where your calculating skills will be needed from quite early in the game.


Moving On




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Queen's Gambit Declined

Chess theory really began with endless studies and analyses of play on the Kingside. The Kings Pawn Game was regarded as the only logical choice to start the game. So much so as to be self-evident.

Stunning combinations were all players strived for all through the centuries and into the Romantic Era of the 19th Century. This kind of play needed 1.e4.

Wilhelm Steinitz pioneered new ideas based on positional chess. This new concept promoted defensive solidity lending itself in the long run to greater attacking chances. In other words you had to earn the right to attack.

These ideas met fierce resistance at first. But consistent results forced a re-evaluation and they were accepted into the mainstream. Then they became mainstream. It was then that 1.d4, once a far more humble opening move, shot to stardom. It eventually came to rival 1.e4 for the title of the best first move. The QGD and others were analyzed in depth and theory on each grew exponentially.


> Kings Pawn Game