Skip to main content


is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

5 Traps in the Bird’s Opening: From’s Gambit

We have seen in previous articles how the f-pawn has always been the target of attacks and that’s because it is the only pawn whose lone defender is the king. Oftentimes, you would steps and measures to defend and secure that pawn so that it would not be easily attacked.

However, in the Bird’s Opening, White goes ahead and simply moves that pawn forward. That wouldn’t really be an issue except in the From’s Gambit, Black offers up at least two pawns in order to pry open White’s king position, sacrifice more of his pieces, and quickly mate the king.

Usually, the diagonal leading to the king, the e1-h4 and the e8-h5 diagonals can easily be weakened by removing the g-pawn. At which point, either side needs to be careful not to get mated by a bishop or a queen. So instead, developing pieces especially those that could counteract the attack on that diagonal would be the best course of action.

For this article, we will look at several games in the From’s Gambit where White fell for the trap and became entangled in Black’s tactical combinations.

NN – Du Mont, 1802

As I said, White should have been careful about the diagonal. He shouldn’t have moved the g-pawn forward as a way to preempt the attack on his king. Instead, he should have developed his knight which would delay the attack for one move, enough time for White to regroup and come up with a good defense plan.

But since White already made the mistake, it would only take some time before his position collapses. However, he could have also made an escape square for the king so that he can at least prolong the game a little bit further. Although White would still be at a disadvantage but there are chances for white to survive the onslaught.

Alas, as we have observed from this game, the motif of these traps would be removing the kingside pawns and delivering checkmate with either the bishop or queen. We will continue to see this tactic in the following games. There will be some variation but the end will always be the same.

Warren – Wall, North Carolina, 1975

After taking some measures to prevent the further weakening of his king position, White made the mistake once again of pushing his g-pawn forward. Black pushed his h-pawn in order to provoke White and it worked. Things became worse when White took the bait as Black pushed the pawn, and before he knew it, White was already caught in the trap.

NN – Bier, Vienna, 1905

In this game, Black was a bit more aggressive and pushed his own g-pawn in order to kick the knight away from the defense of the king. White tried to retaliate and attacked Black’s dark-square bishop. However, that was not enough to avert Black’s attack as the White king had no other square to hide from the checks and the eventual mate.

Barney – McCrum, Dayton, 1969

In most of the previous games, I have been criticizing White for pushing his g-pawn forward thereby weakening his kingside. However, the same is true when White pushes his h-pawn. In fact, he only further accelerates his own doom by opening the diagonal and giving a square for Black’s queen or bishop to checkmate.

Greenwalt – Wall, Dayton, 1983

White was able to develop a piece but it was the wrong piece. Either he didn’t see the attack coming or he probably just gave up because he couldn’t find a way to stop it. But neglecting the threat is far worse than defending poorly. In the end, the results are the same though so it wouldn’t have made any difference.

Protect the king

It may seem obvious but one should never do anything that would endanger the safety of the king. Something as reckless as the Bird’s opening should never be done unless you know what you’re doing. There are various risks that go along with this opening as it would open up the king to threats of mate and other attacks involving the diagonal.

However, if you just focus on development and give the king some breathing space, then perhaps you can use the Bird’s Opening or even the From’s gambit as a weapon of surprise for those who are unsuspecting with the nuances of the position. If you can prepare variations and lines that would address the weaknesses of this opening, then it wouldn’t be a problem.


Popular Posts