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Scotch Game

The Scotch Game is an opening that derives its name from a series of correspondence games between the London and Edinburgh Chess Clubs beginning in 1824 and continuing until 1828.  Interestingly, it was the London club that used the opening successfully against the Scottish.  The opening fell out of popularity during the late 1800s and was not seriously used until Russian chess grandmasters Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov breathed life back into it in the 1990s with a pair of games ending in a win and a draw.

The Scotch Game is characterized as an aggressive thrust into the middle causing central tension to release and allowing open game play.

The opening begins thusly:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. d4

From this position, play can go many places.  Three popular choices are the Scotch Gambit, the Goring Gambit, and the Schmidt Variation.

Mathematical analysis of the opening has a near even split between wins, losses, and draws.  The opening reached the height of its popularity in the 1870s but tapered off sharply after defeats in the 1880s and 1890s.


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