Let's Play: Rank the Bad Opening!


Order these, from worst to first: Traxler, Budapest, Cochrane, Englund, Halloween, Albin, and the Parham.


Halloween, Parham, Budapest, Traxler, Cochrane...Are you refering to the Albin Counter-Gambit? Because that is solid gold!

mhchess13 wrote:

and why are all your posts a diffeent color?

Because he is a titled player. One of the perks on Chess.com for being one! :)

I have heard of some of those opening names but most of them I couldn't even demonstrate their first few moves much less the mainlines.


No Grob?


@TheGrobe you're biased


I play the Albin,its awesome.


I play the traxler, is a good opening for blitz xD


if i had to order from worst... Halloween, Parham, Englund, Albin, Traxler, Budapest. I think. Laughing


I think the worst opening is damiano defense 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6??


most of those arn't that bad, but:

Englund (nothing going for it)
Halloween (at least its tricky)
Parham (bad, but at least it doesnt give away material)
Traxler (decent opening imo, lots of tricks)
Albin (i think this opening is ok)
Budapest (not great, but still sound)


My ranking: Englund, Halloween, Traxler, Budapest, Cochrane, Albin, Parham.


Worst to "Least Bad":




Albin (I beat this in round 1 at Land of the Sky weekend before last in 29 moves.  Started out up 2 pawns, then 1, then 0, then down 1 pawn, then down 2, and Black had no way to stop mate!)



Budapest (ASSUMING 3...Ng4, if you do the Fajoriwitz, 3...Ne4, this goes between Halloween and Englund)




Englund, Parham, Halloween, Cochrane, Traxler, Albin, Budapest

Budapest is the most sound of the lot, but it's not great.

Albin appears to have the highest win rate of Black's responses to 1.d4 d5 2.c4, at least if you're comparing all the possible second moves for Black. You're also more likely to lose than draw than you would from a quieter defense. It's a very "live by the sword, die by the sword" kind of opening, but then if you're a gambiteer, that's the creed you've already eagerly sworn to.


I agree, the Albin is a common opening nowadays, especially amongst intermediate players. Gambits are always contraversial, but so are Gambiteers. I liked how back then, when you "had" to accept your opponents Gambit, as a sign of respect. Ah, the Romantic players!

ozzie_c_cobblepot wrote:

Order these, from worst to first: Traxler, Budapest, Cochrane, Englund, Halloween, Albin, and the Parham.

from whoms point of view? I love the Halloween,..wel...if I am black that is..

ozzie_c_cobblepot wrote:

Order these, from worst to first: Traxler, Budapest, Cochrane, Englund, Halloween, Albin, and the Parham.

The Traxler, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5

is still played in correspondence chess. If there's a refutation, it's really complicated. I've seen some amazing analysis of the Traxler, and I still don't know whether it's been refuted. 

The Budapest 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5?! appears in GM games occasionally. While I prefer White, I definitely respect it. It's not "refuted". 

The Cochrane Gambit,1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nxf7,  is barely playable. Yes, Topalov used it against Kramnik in 1999, but it doesn't hold much hope for White. Black has several defenses that are good enough, and some that probably win with best play. 

The Englund Gambit, 1.d4 e5? is just bad. Tim Harding once wrote that it's not playable above 2000 level OTB. I've had titled players use it against me in blitz, but that's about it. It's not worth playing outside of blitz.

The Halloween Gambit,1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nxe5 , is completely unjustified and is refuted with simple play: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Nc6 6.d5 Bb4! 7.dc6 Nxe4!

The Albin Gambit (notice, there's more than one Albin Gambit line) usually refers to: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5. Boris Avrukh considers this Black's worst legal move in the position! There are several ways for White to get a major advantage, but it may not be absolutely losing.

The Parham, 1.e4 e5 2.Qh4? is a joke opening, but it's not losing.

So, I rate them, from best to worst:

1. The Budapest
2. The Traxler
3. The Parham
4. Cochrane Gambit
5. The Albin 
6. Englund Gambit
7. Halloween Gambit

From worst to best, as Ozzie requested:

1. Halloween Gambit
2. Englund Gambit
3. Albin Gambit
4. Cochrane Gambit
5. Parham
6. Traxler
7. Budapest


Note that there's another Cochrane Gambit:

Pretty strong, btw.


Isn't the Albin (yes I meant d4 d5 c4 e5) played most often at the high level of all the above? I think it's better than the Budapest.

Hey I know who I will invite for their thoughts.


In my databases, The Budapest is played about twice as often as the Albin by players rated +2500. Neither is played very often. Morozevich is mostly responsible for a brief bit of popularity in the Albin. He won a few good games showing some cool tactical tricks. But once White came to grips with Morozevich's genius, the opening has slipped back into obscurity. I would rather face the Albin in a correspondence game than the Budapest. I think White is close to winning after 2...e5, but I don't think the Budapest with 3.dxe5 Ng4 is refuted. (The Fajarowicz variation of the Budapest with 3...Ne4? probably is refuted though!)

The real problem with the Budapest is that Black has almost zero winning chances against a really strong opponent. I don't think it's actually losing, it's just really hard to play and has very little up-side.