Chess Openings: Explained

TD-I-Prevail

Welcome to my first article about chess openings. I just joined Chess.com, and I've decided that a fit way to join the community would be to share some of my tips with you. It has been a long time since I have played chess, but I believe my articles will still help some of you. Without further ado, I present to you:

~The Scandinavian Defense~
~Tennison Gambit~


Foreword: This gambit is not for the weakest, but not for the strongest either. In order to play this gambit, you must be an intermediate to advanced player and you must be very careful and observant in the way you play. This gambit is not meant for use against very strong players. I would recommend this gambit to players with a Chess.com rating of 1600 – 1800 and for use against players around the same.   

Overview of this opening:

            The Tennison Gambit is a risky and challenging opening to play. This gambit, unlike many others, is not to seize control of the game early by sacrificing a piece. This gambit relies on weakening Black’s overall structure to leave them vulnerable to attacks later in the game. The Tennison can be played with any time presets, but I would never use it outside of a bullet or blitz game. To play this gambit correctly, you must set up for success and then wait for your opponent’s position to crack. Patience is key!

 Opening Moves:
1.Nf3  d5
2.e4

 

Assuming that Black plays 2...dxe4 (if Black plays anythings else, you have a commanding lead), we play 3.Ng5.

 

Then, Black has some options:
1: 3...Nf6
2: 3...e5
3: 3...f5!?
4: 3...Qd5
5: 3...Bf5

Option 1, Explored
3...Nf6

3...Nf6 is probably the most common response, simply because it is a very obvious move. It is played simply to protect the pawn on e4. This response is very common and, in my opinion, the easiest response to exploit. We can follow his by playing 4.Bc4. After playing Bc4, Black's will most likely respond with 5...h6.

 

To this we have two equally valid responses.
1: 5.Nc3
2: 5.Qe2!?

If White plays 5.Nc3, White is clearly more developed than Black.

 

If you play 5.Qe2!? instead, you will also find yourself in a strong position. If Black plays Nc6, you can take advantage of that by following this line:
5.Qe2 Nc6
6.Nxe4 Nd4
7.Nxf6+ Qxf6
8.Qe4

 

After Black responds, you can easily continue with c3 and d4 to pressure the Knight and gain control of the center.

If Black responds with 5...h6 instead, you can still end up in a favorable position.
5...h6
6.Nxe4 Nxe4
7.Qxe4

 

This is already a good position for White. White has two pieces developed while Black is suffocated by it's own pawn structure. The Bishop on c8 will not be able to enter the game for quite some time. This line continues:
7...Nd7
8.d3 Nf6
9.Qf3 Bd6
10.Nc3 0-0
11.0-0

 

White is secure here with many pieces developed. Having already castled, White can now bring it's Rooks into the game which will end favorably for White in the end.

 

 

Option 2, Explored:
3...e5

This is quite possibly Black's best response. This move allows Black's dark-square bishop to develop, it starts controlling the center squares, and Black's Queen pressures the Knight.

To this, we can respond with Nxe4. This recaptures the pawn we lost earlier and creates a temporary safe-haven for your Knight to reside. This should be your response to 3...e5.

After 4. Nxe4, the mainline follows:
4...f5
5.Ng3 Nf6
6.Bc4 Nc6
7.0-0

 

While your Knight is not in the greatest postition, your opponent is more developed than you, this is a great situation for bullet or blitz games because it makes it very challenging for Black to castle Kingside. From here, if Black pushes it's f-pawn, you can retreat your Knight to e2. If you reach this position, your strategy should ultimately to take control of Black's inability to castle as well as the poor pawn structure that you've provided them.

 

Option 3, Explored:
3...f5!?

This move may look like a poor choice for Black, but it is still played. I don't believe that there are as many benefits as the previous move option for Black, but this is still played on occasion.  

This usually continues:
4.Bc4 Nh6

 

Here, White should play 5.d3.

5.Nxh7?! May seem like a viable option but will usually result in a poor outcome for White.

Assuming that White plays 5.d3 this line will probably follow:

6.0-0! dxc2
7.Qxc2

Here Black is again presented with two acceptable options:

1: 7...Nc6
2: 7...e5

If Black plays 7...Nc6, the line should follow:

8.Rd1 Nd4
9.Rxd4! Qxd4
10.Be3 Qf6
11.Nc3 c6
12.Rd1 f4?
13.Nb5! Qe5 (If Black plays 13...cxb5??, White responds 14.Bxb5+, mate in 3)
14.Qe4!

 

What seems to be a very poor position for White is actually very successful in the intermediate bullet games. Down a few points, you must be careful with your moves. The goal from here on out is to abuse Black's poor structure.

Black's other option at move 7 follows the line:
7...e5
8.Rd1 Qf6
9.Nc3 c6
10.Qb3

 

 

Option 4, Explored:
3...Qd5

From here, we have a few options:
1: 4.d3
2: 4.h4

If we play 4.d3, the main line is as follows:
4...exd3
5.Nc3 Qe5+
6.Be3 dxc2
7.Qd5

 

 

 

The following is analysis of this position by FM Jakobetz, FM Somlai, and FM Varnusz:

What an amazing sight! White has sacrificed three pawns and now offers an exchange of Queens. But Black cannot accept! 7...Qf6 (7...Qxd5; 8.Nxd5 h6; 9.Nxc7+ Kd8; 10.Nxa8 hxg5; 11.Bxa7 Nc6; 12.Bb6+ Kd7; 13.Rc1 and White has an extra exchange.) 8.Bd3.

If 4.h4 is played, the main line is as follows:
4.h4  Nf6
5.Nc3 Qe5
6.Bc4 e6
7.Qe2 Nc6
8.Bb5 Bd7
9.Ngxe4 Nxe4
10.Qxe4 Qxe4+
11.Nxe4

 

 

Option 5, Explored:
3...Bf5

This response from Black enables you to take hold of the center and capture the pawn on e4 easily.

4.g4 Bg6
5.Bg2 Kf6
6.Nc3 Nc6
7.Ngxe4 e6
8.Nxf6+ Qxf6
9.d3

 

accord2

wow, thanks man. that was so thorough ! i appreciate you putting in the work to lay that out there like that for all who need to learn it,very helpful.

bjazz

Welcome yury. It's good to get new members who are active and have something to share. I hope you enjoy getting back to chess.