Napoleon Opening

Napoleon Opening


This article isn't a deep theoretical research. You shouldn't take it too serious – this is rather a funny tale, though about a real game. Things like this don't occur too often in a player's career and usually stick to his memory very well.

Men's European Individual Championship is a tough tournament. The one in 2008 was no exception. The situation after 7 rounds (of 11) wasn't too optimistic for me: my score was very mediocre as well as the quality of my games. I felt that something had to be changed.

During brief preparation to the next round I suddenly found out that after 1.e4 e5 my opponent, an International master from Bulgaria, liked 2.Qf3. Well, I thought; the intention is rather clear – 3.Bc4 and mate next move! Maybe a little impudent, but still curious plan. Even if Black doesn't blunder the mate, White gets pretty decent play; for example, his queen can go to g3, in order to support f2-f4 after Ne2, and so on.

Still, I somehow decided that it was exactly what I needed. My opponent's creativity would mean an excellent chance to play an inspiring game and to change the course of events.

After the search in the Megabase I realized that this "novelty" was in fact 200 years old and had been played first by no other than Napoleon Bonaparte! While conquering Europe, the Emperor of the French decided also to make a contribution to the theory of chess openings and moved his queen to f3 in the game against The Turk, a well-known prototype of modern chess cheaters. Napoleon was crushed terribly; however, as the analysis showed, through no fault of his second move. There was a rest day before the next round, so I had enough time for thorough preparation. The improvement was eventually found as early as on move 3!

This amusing game indeed gave me a positive impact: I managed to win also next two games (against Grandmasters) and to finish the tournament decently, even despite the loss in the final round vs Ilya Smirin.

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