I Love making my opponent have a hard time, and one of the ways I make them have a hard time is by playing unusual openings. One of my main Weapons against 1.e4 is the One the only 1...b6!
Know to have a dubious reputation, The Owen's is rarely seen in top level play. However most chess players are not top level. We have many 1700's and 1800's who probably don't know anything about Steinitz theory or some general principals, and just play Italian games for most of their chess careers and blow through the rating system. So that's why i play Owen's, it keeps people on there toes.
Now I'm going to go over some ideas of the Owen's.
The Owen's first move almost does nothing to claim the center, but it's what you do next that helps you destroy whites center. When I first heard "destroying whites center " I thought the bishop would go flying through whites pawns in the center. This diagram shows what "destroying the center" means.
Of course that is just if you playing an opponent who moves quickly; A "wood pusher" as Bobby Fischer says.
Now, what if You opponent has now respect for you and attempts to three move checkmate you ? I created my own way of dealing with that.
One thing that everyone must know is that the Owen's Defense is a Defense. When I hear the word Defense in chess I think of slow attack;and that is the case in the Owen's. After the first 10-12 move you'll find you self finally pushing d5 or maybe even e5.
Let's take a look at the Second (in my opnion) most important piece in the Owen's. The King side knight.
In order to play the Owen's One must be extremly fleixble, That is why I love it because those guys who have move preset always get annoyed when they have to think.
I don't want this Topic to long so I'll stop it for now then I will start a part two in about 2 weeks. Till then.
Feel free to comment
Fix the diagrams!
No! I like that new game smell!
I apologize for the diagrams
I actually own that Bill Wall book on the Owens Defense, there is a lot of material in that book that really got me into this opening if you want to play as black. I still love this opening but sometimes can find it challenging when white plays d5 trying to block the center of the Bb7 bishop.
I actually just played that in a recent game , works well when the c5 pawn is out too next to the d5 pawn. I just love having that b7 bishop as a sniper later on in the game after d5 breaks open which makes it nice considering that light squared bishop is usually not very strong in the french lines.
In your third diagram, after 8.a3 Be7 White can take the bishop 9.Nxe4. So 8...Bxc3 is needed. Aside from that I enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work.
Had this one played against me in a recent game. Didn't go well for Black.
I tried 1 ... b6 many times, and the key move of white i am afraid is Bg5 expecially in your third diag 5 Bg5
@ Coneheadzombie It's a General plan. You continue to develop, maybe castle, then start pushing for the center.
6.Bg5 h6 and white must relenquish his DSB. The best lines for white are the ones where white plays 3.Bd3 and delays Nc3. The result is advance french-ish position after 3...e6 4.Nf3 c5 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qe2 d5.
This defense is named for the Rev. John Owen, a.k.a "Alter," a friend of Howard Staunton who was active in the second half of the 19th century.
Owen is somewhat infamous to Americans for his attitude toward Morphy who was visiting England after his success at the 1st American Chess Congress. Morphy and Owen played a game, which Owen won as Black, employing no less than the Owen Defense itself. However, Morphy won the next four games. A month later, Owen agreed to a match with Morphy at the odds of Pawn and the Move with the winner of the first five games receiving a set of ivory Staunton chessmen. Before the match Owen was reported as having said: "Were it not for my position [as a religious leader], I would willingly play for £1000!" Lucky for him the stakes never materialized since Morphy won easily with 5 wins, 2 draws and no losses. Owen ignored an offer to play Morphy at Pawn and 2 Moves odds.
Below is Morphy's loss to the Owen Defense.
Personally, I don't know anything about the lines of the Owen Defense. I'm sure that member Bill Wall, if asked, could be enticed to give a few insightful comments though.
I am usually puzzled what to do here when playing black owen . It seems white has a strong center with so many plans such as e5 (a tempo and weak kingside defence if black O-O) d5(two c pawn and a opened rook supporting the queen side play) push.
Well first of all, Bxc3 is not your only idea. You can play 8...0-0, keep the bishop pair, and work to open the center with c5, d5, or e5 depending.
But ok, taking is not bad either. Now you'll 0-0 of course and strike at the center.
e5 and d5 are the most natural tries. With d5 white can go e5 and it's his kingside stuff vs your c5 break and queenside stuff. I'm guessing black's a bit faster than white's attack. So white may not lock it and maybe white's a bit worse for his pawn structure? Open b file and solid though. No worries for black I think.
If you choose instead e5 then you're holding the strong point. You may have to support it with d6 and or Nc6. I like this better because your pawns are on different color than bishop, and I don't see anything obvious that white can try. Black can exchange in the center when and if he feels ready (strong point means you wont ever exchange as a rule) so I feel like he's holding more cards.
If white pushes d5 in response to e5 it's an unhappy structure with no breaks staring ahead into an unhappy endgame. So the tension will probably remain until black makes the call.
Oh, by the way white will never play d5, it dissolves his center, and highlights the weakness of his structure (and is bad for his bishop in principal anyway). This is what black will be trying to do not white!
e5 with a kingside attack is certainly something to be aware of. It's slow going though, 3 attackers vs 2 (and easily +1 for 3) defenders. Meanwhile black will focus on his task at hand which is breaking up the center with any combination of e, d, and c pawn moves that can do the trick. Ignore the kingside "threats" until they become real.
Owen's Defense is always a good surprise and a solid defense with lots of traps. I could easily do 500 Owen's miniatures in 20 moves or less. Here is one miniature I played here.