Openings for Tactical Players: The Transformer Defense

  • GM Gserper
  • | Nov 22, 2009

OK, I have to admit that I totally made up the name of this opening.   If after the moves 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Black doesn't want to play the Italian Game (3...Bc5), the Two Knights Defense (3...Nf6) or the Hungarian (3...Be7) and instead plays 3...d6 then  I don't know the official name of the resulting opening. It looks a little bit like all of the above mentioned openings, but in reality, it's closest relative would be Philidor's Defense (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6).  In fact, this position can be reached via 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Nc6.

This opening can be recommended to the chessplayer who hates to memorize long opening variations (and there is plenty of such long theoretical lines in the Italian Game or Two Knights defense). Probably the only theory you must know is the notorious Legal's mate which, despite it's old age (200+ years!), still appears on a regular basis in club tournaments:


So, if you successfully avoided the above-mentioned trap, then just develop your pieces and grab the initiative whenever possible. A very young Tal did just that in the next game:
Surprisingly, this off-beat opening was played by such great players as Capablanca, Alekhine, Bronstein, Tal, Keres , etc.  In the next game the future World Champion created a brilliant miniature:
Two modern Grandmasters decided to check if Alekhine's pawn sacrifice from the previous game could withstand a test of time.  As a result, their game was extremely wild!
There is not much theory of this opening, so if you like uncharted territories and new challenges you might want to try the Transformer Defense.
Good luck! 


  • 3 years ago


    I think it's called the Paris Defense.

  • 5 years ago


    The game which you have shown is definitely of legal's mate but I wish to show you the original one.



  • 6 years ago


    This is not very good defense.

  • 6 years ago


    actually whites proper response to this is d4 and it gets rather interesting at this point depending on what black plays

  • 6 years ago


    cool opening for black. I may use this sometime. thanks much! gotta memorize the leghal's mate! I LIKE IT!!!Money mouth

  • 6 years ago


    On the first puzzle, what if 6. .... NxE5 instead of taking white's queen with the bishop?  Doesn't that put white in a losing battle?


    If 6. Nxe5, then Qxh5.

    If 7. NxBc4, then Qb5! threating QxNc4...


    If 6. pawn takes knight, then Qxh5 threating Qxf7+ following.

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    it's wonderful to see Rodzinski-Alekhine again.The Tal game is a reminder to those early years of budding genius.One important point.There is often some distortion of Russian names in transliteration.Tal's first name should read Mikhail rather than Mihail.That's the standard usage in English, any way.

  • 6 years ago


    I loved it! *memorize, memorize*

  • 6 years ago


    thanx,i rather enjoyed that....

  • 6 years ago


    This is a nice opening. I think I'll use it.

  • 6 years ago


    Thanks for this. I play the Italian and Two Knights quite alot, so this is interesting. Besides, good enough for Keres and Capa = good enough for me :)

  • 6 years ago


    That Alekhine line would be hard to see and pull off.   Also, move 13 d3 should get a ??.  If white takes the knight the game looks pretty much even.

  • 6 years ago


    the first is easy to analyze.  certainly i put that into my memory!

  • 6 years ago


    Note that, against 4. c3, a more solid continuation than 4...Bg4 is 4...Qe7, which according to's Game Explorer, sports 50%, 6.5 out of 13, for Black.  It's nice to have a choice between wild and tame lines in one's repertoire.

  • 6 years ago


    It's not the Steinitz Defence, that's 3...d6 against the Spanish, not the Italian

  • 6 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    Its called the Steiniz defense

  • 6 years ago


    Good article - enjoyed the games - more of the classical variety

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