Why have I been encountering the Bowlder attack?

extremeblueness wrote:

Now that I have a bit more experience playing chess, I think I finally see why the Bowlder Attack is decent (and in my opinion, the only viable defense against Sicilian, at least at mid-level play). It allows for mostly normal development:


5.d4 is an interesting idea that could catch a lot of people off guard. It looks like it transposes into some kind of Bc4 Scheveningen. I don't know if this is always theoretically dangerous for Black but it has to be playable.


I end up playing this as white.  What is a stronger option to the sicillian then?  Knight to F3?

viswanathan wrote:

According to Wikipedia:

"2.Bc4 (the Bowdler Attack), though once played at the highest level, is popular today only among club players or beginners who are unfamiliar with the Sicilian and are looking either to attack the weak f7 pawn or to prepare for a quick kingside castle. However, after a move such as 2...e6, Black will soon play ...d5 and open up the centre while gaining time by attacking the bishop."

This should help answer the "Why" question.

Bowdler, as in "bowdlerized".  After Thomas Bowdler, the man who bowdlerized Shakespeare in the 19th Century by publishing an edition for families that eliminated certain objectionable words, actions or characters.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bowdler


In addition to his talents as an "improver" of Shakespeare, Bowdler was known as a strong chess player, playing Philidor.

/ Not Bowlder. Bowdler.



This is usually what happens in my games when I see this line. I've been seeing it less and less, but it still shows up from time to time. I feel pretty comfortable in this position as black.


re the Bowdler, Black can easily screw up by playing a6, b5 and an automatic Bb7, and then get sunk by the weakness on e6 if the d7 pawn is moved, so there is a point to it. It isn't as bad as it may look for white. I would say that white shouldn't play a4 but a3 instead. Then white also gets to counter attack against b5. I think Bowdler played it wrongly. 3.Qe2 is horrible, surely.


re #84, surely white has to play 3. Nc3.

Optimissed έγραψε:

 3.Qe2 is horrible, surely.


There are a handful of Grandmasters which are occasionally employing the Bowdler.

Guess what? ALL of them meet 2..e6 with 3.Qe2.


According to the engine Nc3, Nf3, and Qe2 seem to be the top 3 moves. Qe2 has a discovered pin on blacks e-pawn. This prevents d5. I think I'd probably have plans to get a bishop on e7 removing the pin and proceeding with d5 after that. Nf3 doesn't seem that great to me since It allows black to attack the center right away. Nc3 seems like the ideal defense since it forces you to take another approach to scare away the bishop.

If grandmasters are playing Qe2, then there are probably good reasons behind doing so that I'm not aware of.

I think Bowdler attack is inferior, but I wouldn't consider it a blunder either as others have mentioned. I think it makes for more interesting games which is fun. Isn't that what chess is about? Scandinavian Defense isn't optimal by any means, but it isn't so bad that you're destroying yourself.


I've had 3. Qe2 played against me. I would suggest that white could allow ...d5, play exd and follow it up with c4. I don't seem to get into trouble when white commits the Q so early. But most players go with 3. Nc3 to hold up ...d5. I'd then play a6. They then have the choice of a4 or a3. a3 seems the more principled approach since a4 seems to let black get pieces into white's q-side. against a3 I usually try to get b5 and d5 in and the idea for black is to try to block the B on a2 temporarily and get in some kind of central/kingside attack. I would suggest that centralising white's Q with Qe2 is therefore more defensive from white's p.o.v., in the medium term at least. But black will naturally try to open the e file against white's Q. Hence the central attack from black.


I had no idea the Bowdler of 2.Bc4 was the same person who censored Shakespeare. He really has a lot to answer for.


To me the Bowlder is horrible, utterly horrible...and fascinating