Openings for Tactical Players: The Vienna Game.

Openings for Tactical Players: The Vienna Game.‎

GM Gserper
27 | Tactics

When we analysed the King's Gambit a couple of weeks ago, you could notice that even though this opening is a dream for a chess player looking for tactical complications starting right from the beginning of the game, there is still a major drawback.  White essentially burns their bridges right at move two!  I have good news for those of you who are looking for an attack, but don't want to commit that early.  The Vienna Game is in fact the King's Gambit delayed! White plays 2.Nc3 instead of the more popular 2.Nf3 in order to keep his 'f' pawn ready to jump to f4 at the best possible moment.  About 100 years ago the Vienna Game was as popular as the Ruy Lopez, but eventually went out of fashion and is almost forgotten today. Nevertheless, this sharp opening has many traps and combinations you have to be aware of in order to survive the opening.  Two famous Maestros, Rudolf Spielmann and Jacques Mieses, were the biggest fans of this opening and scored many brilliant wins there. Today we will analyse some of their masterpieces and who knows, maybe in your next tournament game your opponent will face the Vienna Game?!

Spielmann loved to push his 'f' pawn as early as possible (that's why he was the biggest practitioner of the King's Gambit), so it shouldn't come as no surprise that in the Vienna Game he usually played f2-f4 at move 3!


In the next game Spielmann's opponent learned from the mistakes Black had committed in the previous game.  He even managed to castle, but it didn't save him from a mating attack!
Jacques Mieses played the Vienna game differently.  He preferred to play 3.Bc4, and finish his development first.  Even with this innocent-looking approach, he won many short tactical games.
The next textbook example shows another dangerous attack started by h2-h4! (For more examples of similar attacks see my article "Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know. The dangerous 'h' file").
The Vienna Game is a solid, yet a very dangerous opening. You owe it to yourself to try it at least once even if it is just a blitz game.
Good luck!
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