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Black Knight's Tango

The Black Knights' Tango (also known as the Mexican Defense or Kevitz–Trajkovic Defense) is a chess opening beginning with the moves:

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 Nc6

This position can also be reached by transposition, for example 1.c4 Nf6, 1.d4 Nc6, or 1.c4 Nc6.

The opening originated in the 1920s, when it was played by both the Mexican grandmaster Carlos Torre (hence the name "Mexican Defense")[1]and the American master Alexander Kevitz (the "Kevitz" in "Kevitz–Trajkovic Defense"). Torre famously used it to defeat then-U.S. Chess Champion Frank James Marshall in only seven moves.[2] It was later played by the Yugoslav master Mihailo Trajkovic[3][4] and the Soviet grandmaster Anatoly Lutikov.[5][6][7][8]

After decades of obscurity, the opening was revitalized by International Master Georgi Orlov, who published a booklet and a book about it in 1992 and 1998, respectively. Orlov rechristened the opening the "Black Knights' Tango".[9]

Since 1992, the opening has been employed by a number of strong grandmasters, including Victor BologanJoel BenjaminLarry Christiansen, and Alex Yermolinsky.[10] Yermolinsky has even ventured it against Garry Kasparov.[11]

Although fairly uncommon, the "Tango" has a sounder positional basis than most other offbeat openings: Black develops quickly, has a flexible pawn structure, and is prepared to strike back in the center with 3...e5, or with ...e6 and ...d5. The opening has some distinct variations but it is highly transpositional, and may transpose to the King's Indian DefenseNimzo–Indian DefenseBogo–Indian DefenseChigorin DefenseRagozin SystemCatalan Opening, and English Opening.


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