The Scariest Chess Moves You've Ever Seen

The Scariest Chess Moves You've Ever Seen

| 103 | Fun & Trivia

Chess is just a game, but as long as it is played by humans, emotions will be a factor. Sometimes we are faced with moves by our opponents that may ratchet up our sense of fear, even if they are not 100 percent sound.

We've all played games where an opponent's move made us uncomfortable, and even if we survived the aberration, similar moves can produce a lasting phobia.

As much of the world celebrates Halloween, let's take a look some of these vilified variations.

Here are the five scariest chess moves you don't want to face.


You know that if your opponent plays this as White, you're probably in for a long, positional slog.

Most intermediate chess players have a plan for both 1.e4 or 1.d4, but it takes a lot more work to add another chapter to your opening repertoire.

Who has the time for that? Apparently even top chess masters are afraid of 1.c4.

As you can see above, Bobby Fischer once played the move 1.c4 in a famous game, and his opponent resigned.

Of course, there is more to that story, as the opponent had planned to forfeit the game anyway. But the story is technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.

Fischer Best By Test


Uh oh. Usually when this moved is played, someone missed something. Did your opponent just blunder a piece for nothing, or did you miss a crushing attack?

One thing is for sure: Once that bishop takes the pawn on f7, it's time to wake up and pay attention—if it's not already too late.


Whoops. Looks like you just lost the pawn-promotion race—one way or the other. Even if you promoted your pawn on h8 the move before, you could still be in for a frightful surprise.

Bonus points in the comments if you can tell us the provenance of the example game above.


You were hoping for a nice, normal game, and then your opponent uncorks the Grob. Maybe you know the basic ideas, or maybe you can figure them out in real time as your clock ticks down, but unless you're one of those Certified Grob Weirdos, the game is almost certainly going in an uncomfortable direction for as long as it lasts.

Even when you survive all the opening traps, the resulting late middlegames and early endgames are often unnatural abominations where it is easy to go astray.

Here's a very strange win with this scary opening by someone with a spooky name, "Claude Frizzel Bloodgood."

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5

Appropriately, this terrifying opening is called the Halloween Gambit. White gives away a knight for a crushing phalanx of central pawns ready to march up the board in very scary fashion.

There's a whole article on the Halloween Gambit and the game above. Don't miss how Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated a very unintelligent opponent with this opening. 

Which chess moves scare you? Let us know your spookiest moves in the comments.

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