Is anything better for me than the Parham?


Recently, I have been in arguements in nuerous threads with many of you about the Parham Attack. For those of you who don't know about it, here it is:

1. e4 e5 2. Qh5

To most this seems like an amateur move, but I believe it is much more, and has even been employed by high level players (Hikaru Nakamura, and Bernard Parham who always played it).  Many of you have tried to convince me this sucks, but as you know, I full-heartedly believe it is good.

So here is my question to you, is there a better opening? Here's what I want out of my opening:

1. Fairly Aggressive

2. Not forfeiting material (so no gambits)

Are there any openings you know of that meet those specific requirements? The Parham meets both of those for me, but you all still insist it is bad, so give me something better that meets those requirements.

Two openings I like are playing 4. Ng5 against the two knight's defence, and playing 5. Nb3, against 4... Bc5 in the scotch. However, the alternate popular lines, such as the giuoco piano after the italian game, and the mieses variation in the scotch game (4...Nf6), are drawish, and I have trouble meeting those aggressively but sound. If there are anymore direct ways to reach these, where there aren't many alternative lines, those would be very much appreciated.

So to conclude, can any of you provide an opening that is aggressive, without giving material? Two I like are 5. Nb3 in the scotch, and 4. Ng5 in the two knight's defence, though I don't have a direct way to reach those.


I don't understand certain things about your post.

You seem worried about openings that are "drawish," but nothing you name is drawish below a certain masterly level.  Yet if you were worried about stats at and above the masterly level, surely it's worse that 2.Qh5 scores over 57% for BLACK at that level?

If you want aggressive, sound, and no gambits, the Scotch is a good way to go.  As is the Center Game.  (Which is equal but scores better for white all the same, but that's more than you can say for the Parham.)  Ditto for the Bc4 Vienna.  Or the Bishops game featuring a repertoire with lots of early f4's, as recommended by John Emms in his aggressive white club repertoire book.

If e4 isn't your bag, lots of good choices with d4, c4, or even f4 that would meet your criteria of being sound, aggressive, non-gambity, and better than the Parham.


you want agressive without gambiting (which means that you get some sort of dynamic advantage in return for your sacrifice) material and begins with 1. e4

lets see, um I would consider learning the Sicilian, but since you like open games, lets try the Bishops opening, you don't go stupid agressive, and if you want you can transpose into whatever Italian you want.

also I would suggest also learning the Ruy, it is not passive if you think that it is, I don't play it because of the amount of theory you need to learn. I would also suggest the Four Knights Spanish Variation, but to get truly agressive you need to play the Halloween Gambit, which is fun, but since you seem to want to get everything for free that is out of the question.

the Scotch is fine. But to get truly seriously agressive, you need to play either a gambit line, or play some stupidly simple minded move like Qh5 but to be serious the gambit line is safer because with all those queen moves you can accidentally drop it on the wrong square


wait why do you need advice on openings? what happened to the irrefutable queenside fried liver?


You see, that's a little too good, I gotta be fair at least :P


But in seriousness, I might look at the veresov, is it aggressive? It'd be nice not playing against the sicilian.


Yes, but I am not the greatest chess player of all times, if you had an aggressive and sound reply to the giuoco piano I'd be happy to hear it :)


Yes, but I'm not kasparov. I'm going to look into the veresov, anybody here who plays it and has any recommendations?


But if he's not comfortable with it, then it woudln't be good for him to play regardless of how theoretically strong it is.

My question would be what kinds of games you like in terms of pawn structure.  Closed, semi-closed, open.  Probably post a game you were comfortable playing (even if you lost)...  not one where you were comfortable just because you were kicking the crap out of them :)

Then as a side note, it might be helpful to think about what makes the relative value of the pieces just that... relative.  Take any position and ask, are both rooks worth the same?  Are both worth 5?  Is a bishop trapped with no scope worth 3?  You don't have to make a direct threat to have an advantage... sometimes your pieces are simply doing more for you, and are worth more than your opponent's.

I'm not saying go for a positional style and study Karpov here.  But great attacks (and attackers) incorporate sacrifices... if the cornerstone of their defense is a knight, why not sac a queen for it?  And how do they even think of these sacrifices?  Because they see their remaining pieces are better than their opponents :)  Anyway it's something to think about while you continue with your chess.

The two knights has some explosively aggressive lines, but they often involve sacrifices.


The Parham must be strong, Nakamura played it!  He can't have just been messing around or picking a garbage opening out of boredom, right...?  The funny thing is that Nakamura went on to lose the game - at least the people that play 1... a6 type garbage can say that Miles beat Karpov with it once.  Here's a quote from Nakamura on his choice of what is commonly referred to as "the Patzer Opening":

"I truly believe that one only has one life to live, therefore one must enjoy this world. What does one loss mean in the scheme of life?"


......not sure what is "better",

Napoleon Opening is said to be worse (still interesting but a lot less effective) .....


The Kasparov game is a Philidor, not an Italian.


try the Evan's Gambit, you get a massive center at the price of a pawn, and will probably get either an attack, or the pawn back, and it will get you to tactics which you adimit you need practice on.


Nakamura also stated that the game he lost with the Parham was due to a MIDGAME error. He made a poor move and lost the advantage.

Wafflemaster, I do see the good in sacfifices, if I see that I can get a good mating attack then I can usually go for it. However, I dont' see the good of hanging material for position.

I think in the fried liver attack, after you sack the knight white can force compensation? Once again, I really like that but I can't seem to respond good to the giuoco piano.

Jetfighter, I said I'm not going to try gambits. I actually did play the evan's gambit, but I found it akward to do things such as control the center, because the c-pawn is pinned, and castling gives black time to move. Also, the c3 pawn is right where I want to develop my b-knight :(


alexlaw, please read the OP, don't tell me the Parham is bad, give me a better opening...


yeah those you listed are sound, and perfect for drawing...


No, maybe you misunderstood, that is WHITE that plays the parham... And those openings do nothing other than create drawish positions...


The Parham would be a far better scorer if it were more drawish.  Its winning % is only slightly worse than most other white openings.  Big problem is that with no draws, that only leaves one category in the W/D/L table to pick up the slack.

Bigger issue by far is that the Parham is far, far worse than the stats would seem to indicate if you're not playing somebody with a pretty good chance of choosing 2...g6.  That line scores huge for white, but all others score way, way worse than average.


As a longtime Parham player, I can say white dominates in almost any line. It is about equal in the main line you talk about, but white still can pin the f6 knight, and to stop it, black needs to wreck his kingside.

The_Gavinator wrote:

As a longtime Parham player, I can say white dominates in almost any line. It is about equal in the main line you talk about, but white still can pin the f6 knight, and to stop it, black needs to wreck his kingside.


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