Openings for Tactical Players: Center Game.

Openings for Tactical Players: Center Game.

27 | Tactics

Last weeks we discussed the King's Gambit as an ideal opening if you want to beat your opponent in 20 moves or less.  Of course if your opponent defends very well and your blitzkrieg fails... well then you might question your decision to sac a pawn as early as move 2! (To really appreciate the value of these little guys, please read my article "Unsung heroes").  Besides, not everyone plays the King's Gambit and it wouldn't be the best idea to drastically change your openings in order just to get a chance to beat your opponent quickly. Here I start a new series of articles about openings that assure the 'fire on board' as quickly as possible.  If you don't play the particular opening covered in an article then... just wait patiently. I'll try to cover all of them and sooner or later you'll find an article about your favorite opening variation!

Today we will talk about another ancient and a very sharp opening: Center Game. The goal of this article is not to give you a historical development of the opening since you can easily find it elsewhere (for example here:  Also, just like I explained last week in the article about the King's Gambit, if you want to seriously study the theory of an opening, you better look at a book devoted to the opening.  Here I just want to show you opening traps and combinations typical for the opening. This is more like a starting point for learning an opening. If you get interested, you might want to do more detailed research.

One of the key features of the Center Game is that White usually castles on the Queen's Side and Black castles on the King's Side. As a result in many cases White pushes his 'h' pawn to create an attack. In the next game the first World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz was miniaturized this way (also the game could be a good addition to my previous article " Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know. The dangerous 'h' file")


It is after games like this that Black came up with an idea: why not bring an extra defender for his King by a fianchetto.  Besides, the Bg7 can be useful not only for a pure defense as the following game proves:
One of the most positional players of all time, the great Akiba Rubinstein shows a classical Central break in the next game.
A very recent game played just two weeks ago shows how a modern super-Grandmaster solves his defensive task in the Center Game. (Hint: Offense is the best defense!)
The bad news for White is that Black managed to find many reliable ways to fight in the old main line.  The good news is, the Center Opening is still relatively unexplored (compared to, say, the Sicilian Defense!), so you can find many lines where the opening knowledge is not as important as your creativity and tactical skills.  The next game features a very rare 4.Qa4 sideline:
If you are a skillful tactician and have done your opening homework, then play the Center Game and I guarantee you a lot of excitement!
Good luck!
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