Let's Play: Rank the Bad Opening!


There are actually several possible 4 move checkmates against Black.

Here's one I was unfortunate enough to fall for back in high school. :( I was teaching my opponent how to move his pieces (he had never played the game before) and he stumbled into this mate.


But anyway, bad is a relative term in this case. We're not talking about outright terrible openings like 'bongcloud' or 1.a4 or something. Rather, this thread is about openings that show up in competitive chess, which have some real threats but also have theoretical flaws.


I'll have to think about it. For sure, the Albin has downticked and the Budapest has upticked since I started, I just don't know how far.

And if you assume the Parham is more or less equal, then it's clearly superior to anything which "jumps off a cliff", to use @Irontiger's terminology.


Yes, that was a beautiful remark of Irontiger! LOL.

ozzie_c_cobblepot wrote:

Confused as to why you picked the Parham as the one you're outraged to be in the same company, when it's clear to me that the Parham is for sure better than the Englund, at minimum. I think that after 1.d4, the two worst moves on the board are 1...g5 followed by 1...e5. And a reasonable case could be made for 1...e5 being worst.

Of course you realize I was joking in my rant about the Traxler vs the Parham...... well, maybe half-joking. But I'm curious about your cautious praise of the Parham, at least in the above comment where you compare it to the Englund. I can see the logic behind the idea: at least the Parham doesn't drop a pawn immediately. But are you saying you prefer it over the Traxler? It's kind of apples and oranges, but even so, maybe the Parham is more flexible in comparison. I've occassionally played the two knights defense, and after 4...Bc5, there's no turning back for black. Also interesting is the loosely related early queen sortee in the Sicilian, 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5. Apparently, Mr. Parham just likes that square for his queen. So, just how bad is this audacious queen maneuver in the Sicilian? How does 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5!? stack up against other suspect openings?


I'm not up-to-date on my Parham theory... but I believe the Traxler is currently surviving, in a theoretical sense. One downside of the Traxler is that white can force a draw if he wants, but I don't know how bad an issue that is...


There have been countless threads on the worst openings. I liked this thread originally because it was a discussion of just a few openings. Damiano's Opening is bad. Yeah. We get it.

kooltigger wrote:

How to save the queen ? Well, Black cannot take it without developing all his queenside first, which leaves a good deal of time to White to find a way out. And preventing Bc1-g5xf6 will consume one more tempo from Black.


How Black can win this possition?


I would be interested, cervinoyo : what subtle connection do you see between the position you ask us to analyse (BTW, it's obvious, see #81), and the topic ? Just to know...


Just how official are these rankings? I mean, is the OP planning to compile the data gleaned from these comments and then grab headlines with some article like "Parham Edges Out Englund for #1 Position!"

   Anyway, if anyone's interested, this is the one win I could find for the Sicilian Parham in GE. Note that Nakamura's rating is almost 500 points higher than his opponent, so it's not that surprising he got away with this line........   Nakamura Hikaru vs Dejmek Mark W .

macer75 wrote:

Worst opening for white is definitely Fool's mate. Worst opening for black is 4 move checkmate.

Untrue. Black can get mated in 3 in a line analogous to the Fool's. 1. e4, g5; 2. e5. f6???; 3. Qh5# is how it went in a short game I played against the kid next door many years ago.


C'mon you guys, the Englund almost wins a bishop by force at my level


@melvinbluestone I like your idea for a new forum topic title.


Bluebird, the reason I say icelandic is terrible because as a Scanadinavian player, no one has ever accepted the sac so I've been forced to play en exchange french which is the most boring crap ever. Hence nowadays I just go c6 and transpose into a caro-kann. Atleast that way I can still play chess without making it risk-free for white. I thought we're talking about otb openings not blitz openings. I've played 1. g5 and won before, that doesn't make it good.


It's kind of sad that I had to look half of those up but from worst to best:

1st Traxler - Bxf7 Free pawn for nothing and then some.

Tied for 2nd Halloween/Cochrane, free peice for not all that much, but at least theres some complications involved.

3rd Englund - Free pawn for nothing.

4th Parham - A sad way to waste your white peices.

Tied for 5th Albin/Budapest, both with dubious reputation but are legit enough as a surprize weapon and have won some top level games.

Bluebird1964 wrote:

Melvinbluestone - I wish a top GM would play that garbage against me. Black certainly "helped" his opponent. I definitely wouldnt play this way against a 1800 rated  player.

Why don't you give Nakamura a call? Wink  Just kidding, no offense intended. Hey, I'm not recommending Qh5 against the Sicilian. As I said, this was the only win I could find for the line in this site's DB. Bernard Parham probably got away with it a few times also, maybe against questionable defense. Nakamura's win may be nothing more than a curiosity, with little theoretical importance. I think he would have been only about sixteen or seventeen years old at the time, so this kind of stuff can be expected from an overzealous youth.

   Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll return to my study of the Danish Gambit, which has been conspicuously left out from this thread. Although pretty much dismissed as inferior by most high-level players, I have, incredibly, discovered a line for white in the Danish that wins in all variations! I'm just waiting for the right moment to reveal it to the world........


i dont know the parham and the cochrane doesnt look too promising to me, but i think the traxler is one cool opening. Well i havent studied and you are the master, but still something in me refuses to believe that its like that, the traxler is way to cool to be bad....


and yeah the albins countergambit it might be bad i dont know, but its fun if white plays badly you look like a genius. 


also not all bad openings are so bad, just look at the gm who played the damiano defense against fischer and managed a draw (unless ofc that video on youtube was faked and it never happened)