C57: Fried Liver Attack

Nov 24, 2009, 11:28 AM |

I have been studying this opening also know as the Fegatello Attack because it is extremely agressive which suits my style of play.  So I thought I would create a quick blog about it and open it for discussion.

I copied from wikipedia what it says about the Fried Liver Attack and added my thoughts.

"The Fried Liver Attack, also called the Fegatello Attack (named for an Italian idiom meaning "dead as a piece of liver"), is a chess opening. This colourfully named opening is a variation of the Two Knights Defence in which White sacrifices a knight for a superficially (I disagree with that) impressive attack on the enemy king. The Fried Liver has been known for many centuries, the first known game score being from a game played in Rome in 1610.  The Fried Liver Attack is classified in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) with the code C57.

After usual opening moves of the Two Knights (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6), White goes on the offensive (Yes!  ATTACK!) the game continuing 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5. This last move is considered to be risky since it gives White a strong attack. (Black usually plays 5...Na5 (Chigorin's move) instead; other moves are 5...Nd4 (Fritz's move) and 5...b5. (Ulvestad's move)) White can now get a small advantage with 6.d4 (the Lolli Attack). However, there is an extremely violent variation called the Wilkes Barre Variation (Ohhh, love it!), in which after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Nxf7 Bxf2+ plays for unfathomable complications. This variation has been extensively studied in the past 40 years, and is definitely a risky attempt to take over the initiative.

However, The Fried Liver Attack involves a far more speculative knight sacrifice on f7, with the defining moves 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 (See diagram.)

Chess zhor 22.png
Chess zver 22.png a8 rd b8 c8 bd d8 qd e8 f8 bd g8 h8 rd Chess zver 22.png
a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 e7 f7 g7 pd h7 pd
a6 b6 c6 nd d6 e6 kd f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 nd e5 pd f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 bl d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 nl d3 e3 f3 ql g3 h3
a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl
a1 rl b1 c1 bl d1 e1 kl f1 g1 h1 rl
Chess zhor 22.png
Position after 8. Nc3

Play usually continues 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 (see second diagram). Black will play 8...Nb4 or 8...Ne7 and follow up with ...c6, bolstering his pinned knight on d5.

White has a strong attack, but it has not been proven to be decisive (very true against the Latvian, this opening SUCKS!). Because defence is harder to play than attack in games with short time limits (BINGO!  I noticed this right away!  In timed games, an aggressive attack can cause extra stress for opponent who is looking at the clock), the Fried Liver is dangerous for Black in over-the-board play. It is also especially effective against weaker players who may not be able to analyse the correct defences in detail (that goes for any opening really). Sometimes Black invites White to play the Fried Liver Attack in correspondence chess as the relaxed time limit affords Black a better opportunity to refute the White sacrifice."