How Do I Get That 1800 Into A Fried Liver?

NM danheisman
Nov 7, 2014, 12:00 AM |
18 | Other

"Is the Fried Liver Attack good to play against players rated 1800-2000?"

This was one of the questions in this month's Chess.com TV show "Q&A with Coach Heisman. My answer: "Well, yes, but that's not the problem (and I get a similar question once in a while)..."

You see, the Fried Liver Attack depends on Black not knowing the main 5th moves of a major opening, the Two Knights Defense. So after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 the main three moves for Black have been 5...Na5, 5...b5, and 5...Nd4. Since the Two Knights Defense is not exactly a backwater opening, it would be difficult to get to 1800 if you play this line without knowing your opening this far.

In order for the Fried Liver Attack to occur, Black has to make the widely known beginner inaccuracy 5...Nxd5?! This move, while not terribly worse than the other three, isn't usually found in the repertoire of many 1800+ players, unless they are falling for it on purpose.

Sure, if you can get the 1800+ to play 5...Nxd5, then the Fried Liver Attack 6.Nxf7 is the best line. Interesting I would write that; for about 100 years it was thought that the Fried Liver Attack was fun but equal, while the Lolli 6.d4 (delaying Nxf7 in most lines) was an improvement and the recommended move.

Then, about four years ago, a theoretician was using an engine to fool around with the main lines of the Lolli when he discovered a possible offbeat defense for Black that made his chances much better. He wrote to Komodo-author GM Larry Kaufman, who confirmed his findings, which were then published in the world's leading opening theory magazine, the New in Chess Yearbook #94 and, subsequently, Chess Life. The Lolli's reputation was in descension. That theoretician? A little-known master named Dan Heisman. 

Just previous to this, multi-time US Correspondence Champion Jon Edwards had published an article for Chess Life claiming that 9.O-O in the Fried Liver was better than thought and gave White good winning chances. Engines subsequently pointed out that 9.Bb3 does, too. Ascension for 6.Nxf7.

So, in a period of a few years, century-old theory had reversed. Instead of the popular Fried Liver being considered the inferior response to 5...Nxd5?! and the Lolli 6.d4 the one that refuted it, the roles changed! The Fried Liver was placed on the pedestal and the Lolli relegated to the notes section. Ironic, since the Fried Liver, thanks to its catchy name and earlier knight sacrifice, had the cache all along.

* Someone asked me about playing against the Dutch, and I told the story of how I, as a 1600 playing tournament chess for 18 months, got paired in the first round against the only master in Philadelphia (in those days the ratings were more "compact" and it was far more difficult to become a master). My opponent was Sergei Goregliad, and it was the Liberty Bell tournament in Jan 1968.

The catch was that I was a 1.e4 player but I had lately taken up the Blackmar-Diemar Gambit, which is good against 1.d4 d5 and 1.d4 Nf6. But my opponent played the Dutch, and the only thing I could remember about playing against the Dutch as for White to fianchetto the king bishop!:


After the game, when I asked Germantown Chess Club President NM Richard Pariseau (then, like many NMs, an expert) "Mr. Pariseau, how did I beat the master?!" he gave me that funny look of his which he does when you ask a silly question and replied,

"That's easy. You played better."

Everyone's Second Chess Book sells for a high price on Amazon because it's been out of print for many years. The problem has been a dispute between the publisher and someone to whom he sold his rights, but did not exercise them - for more info on this, see my writeup at this link.

However, I let my viewers in for a little secret. My contract for the book says that the rights revert back to the author 10 years after the final edition of the book. I checked with a lawyer, and the book underwent minor typo corrections for the 2nd printing in May, 2005, so the publisher's rights revert to me in May 2015. I assume that the rights the publisher dealt were his - he can't deal mine - so in six months I plan to claim that the rights to Everyone's Second Chess Book are now mine, essentially ending the dispute. Please don't tell anyone; I want to keep this quiet to avoid any further hastle.

The show was on the eve of the World Championship, so I noted that 12 games was very short, and favored both the lower rated player and the older player. Anand happens to be both. If it were a 24 game match I would give Anand about 0% chance. But in a 12 game match the first winner of a game has a huge psychological advantage. So I raise Anand's chances to the 15-20% range. If he wins, this will still be a big upset; but I won't be completely shocked.

Looking for slow chess on Chess.com? Check out our Dan Heisman Learning Center, which, among other things, features regular slow events.

Q&A with Coach Heisman can be seen the first Friday of every month from 2-3:30 Pacific time (5-6:30 ET).

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