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The King's Own Opening

  • #1

    Where can I find a copy of the poem about the King's Own Opening?

  • #2

    I found it. If anyone is interested here it is.

    "The Tumbleweed" opening also known as the "King's Own Gambit"
    the following poem was published in the Ohio Chess Bulletin for
    December 1960. It is stated that the authour is unknown.
    I hope everyone enjoys it, for poetical reasons the notation is
    in descriptive but it is easy to follow.


    In my home town, last summer, with nothing to do
    I went to the chess club and there met a new player,
    A guest expert of great Eastern fame.
    Perhaps you met have met him or heard of the same:
    He's a player of note and his problems in chess
    Get some mighty good players in awful bad mess.
    He asked "Do you play sir" I said "Just a little."
    "Well sit down here and lets have a skittle"

    He glanced round the room. "I judge by the looks
    That you players here ane not up on the books."
    I replied with a laugh and a gentel "Ahem,"
    "No we long, long ago went far beyond them."
    With a shrug of his shoulders, the Whites he gave me,
    "Make your opening," he said, "and we will soon see."


    I played Pawn to Kings fourth, which he seemed to approve
    And replied with the same, twas a very good move.
    The Kings Bishop Pawn I put out with some force,
    He took it at once as a matter of course.
    But judge the expression that came o'er his face
    When I played my King to KB's second place.
    "Oh well" said the expert, "that looks a bit hazy.
    If I'm any judge, the King's Gambit gone crazy."

    So out with the Queen and he checked at Rook five
    With the evident purpose to flay me alive.
    With a soft gentle push, I interposed Pawn,
    He took it with his. In a moment 'twas gone.
    He thundered out "Check" in such stentorian tones
    That it gave me the shivers, a quake in the bones.
    But I slipped my King over to Knight's second square,
    Then he took my Rook's pawn with his and said "There!"
    "You must take that with with your Rook and then it is plain,
    That my Queen takes the other one out in the main;
    And with no pawns on you King's side, must say I can't see
    How you can prevent me from Queening my three-
    Should the game ever get to the point where they're needed."
    "I don't think it will." I replied, but he heeded
    Me not; and when he captured my little KP
    I brought out my Knight to King Bishop three.

    Next came pawn to Queen's four to free up his house,
    I replied with my Queen's Knight attacking his spouse,
    Which he played to Knight's third, giving check to my King
    And at the same time remarking: "I'm on to this thing."
    The King to Rooks square, I quietly played,
    And the Queen's Bishop to Knight's fifth he likewise assayed.
    Not wishing harm should come to my "hoss"
    I transferred King's Rook from his second across.
    To Knight's two. He now thought to win in a canter,
    So he took up his Queen, and at Rook's fourth instanter
    He put her and checked; but I moved to Knight's square
    And he little dreaming of the trap that was there,
    Whipped off my poor Knight, and laughingly said,
    "That horse is of no use, so off comes his head."
    My Knight, he is gone - O'h alas it is too true,
    But I'll interpose Bishop and see what he'll do

    "Well, if you want me to take all your pieces and done,
    Shove 'em out, and I'll capture them, every darn one."
    So he grabbed the poor prelate at once by the neck,
    And I somewhat suprised him with RxB, check.
    Not till then did the truth dawn clear on his brain.
    And he tried hard to save his fair Queen but in vain.

    "Now what kind of game do you call that?"
    "The KING'S OWN", I replied, "and I'll bet you a hat
    You can't find it in any or all chess books
    You have studied." And I judged from his looks
    That he somewhat doubted, when I told him the same
    Wa a notion of Pollock's, who gave it that name.


    The result of the first game was not satisfying,
    So he reset the men, and insisted on trying
    Another. "Your game is all bad," he said at the start,
    An assertation by no means he proved on his part.
    But I said "Of the opening, say what you can sir,
    Of what use are sound one's when bad one's will answer?"
    We commenced another, the same as before,
    And every move was just the same score.
    1. P-K4 P-K4
    2. P-KB4 PxP
    3. K-B2 Q-R5+
    4. P-N3 PxP+
    5. K-N2 PxP
    6. RxP QxP+
    7. N-KB3 P-Q4
    8. N-QB3

    Until he arrived at move number eight;
    Before lifting his Queen he considered her fate.
    But where should he put her, but he seemed to agree
    That the check at Knight's fifth was better than three.
    So he landed her there and I went to the corner,
    Prepared for the Plum ala little Jack Horner.
    Then his Bishop he played to King's three to defend
    Both his Pawn and his King, but I, wishing to send
    His Queen somewhere else, played my Bishop to Rook's three.
    He put her on Knight's sixth, intending, you see,
    To back up the Bishop, attacking my Rook;
    I captured his Bishop with mine. He retook.
    The Pawn to Queen's fourth, I played, with never a word.
    And he brought his Knight to King's Bishop's third.
    My Knight to King's fifth I proceeded to play
    To prevent that of his of coming over my way.
    He brought his King's Bishop to third square of Queen;
    I played Knight to King's second, and 'tis plainly seen
    That, while eighteen clear moves she has at her command,
    The Queen and the game are now both in my hand.

    A more dumbfounded expert was never, I guess
    Caught nappin like this in skittle of Chess.
    He sat there gazed at the board, then at me,
    Then laughingly said "Fiddle-dum Fiddle-dee,
    But I think I see where I made my mistake;
    Your pawn at Rook's second, 'tis wise not to take.
    Now try it again, and mind I will change,
    And endeavor to keep my Queen out of range."


    1. P-K4 P-K4
    2. P-KB4 PxP
    3. K-B2 Q-R5+
    4. P-N3 PxP+
    5. K-N2

    So we reset the pieces at his move, the fifth.
    And there he proceeded my King's Pawn to lift
    And check with his Queen; but nothing undaunted
    My Knight to King's Bishop three I immediately flaunted.
    The Pawn to Queen's fourth he played in a twinkling;
    I checked with my Bishop, which gave him an inkling
    That something was wrong; and to save his fair maid
    His King to the Queen's square he rapidly played.
    I brought my Rook up to King's, and he saw, when too late,
    If he saved his fair lady, he suffered checkmate.

    With a laughing ha, ha, and a hearty ho, ho,
    I said "The next time that you come far to go
    To talk of bad chess, just be sure that you know
    The how and the way to ward off the blow.
    I'ts all very well of sound moves to talk,
    But what is the use when you can't even balk
    the unsound ones? So then ever strive to pursue
    The gist of the thing. Look the whole matter through,
    Or some day a fellow who's not much on looks
    Will spring something on you not in the books,
    The books often tell you that a such moves are poor,
    But leave you to find out the why and wherefore.
    When I study the openings I'm always inclined
    To help out the weak and let the strong go blind.
    Now in this simple opening you've noticed, I ween
    Are a thousand and one ways of catching the Queen.

  • #3

    Nice poem, I really enjoyed it Smile

    Funnily enough after the first game is over, it's true white will lose the queen, but Rybka still likes black's chances better as his has a rook, knight, and 3 (passed) pawns for her.

  • #4

    Excellent, that goes in my trivia collection.

  • #5

    Loved it! Thanks

  • #6


  • #7

    That was great fun. Thank you.

    Now that's annotation.

  • #8
    Think I have the first game.  I presume that no matter what happens, the next thing is that the Rook goes down the file for a check, discovering the attack on the Queen, by the Queen?
  • #9
    Here is the second game, I think. Neat trap, I worked it out - the black Queen really does have no where safely to go.  Amazing!
  • #10
    Truly amazing. Here's the last of the three.
  • #11

    3rd game - 7...Kd8 is a mistake.  What about c6, Bd7, Nc6, Nd7?  All would prevent the Queen's death, I think.

  • #12
    jaypac wrote: 3rd game - 7...Kd8 is a mistake.  What about c6, Bd7, Nc6, Nd7?  All would prevent the Queen's death, I think.
  • #13
    If 7... c6 8. Re1 and the queen is gone because I he moves her then 9. Re8. Mate With Bd7,Nc3,Nd7. The qeen is taken and mate avoided. Can some1 tell me what to do with the points and do I get 'em? Hey gys go to instantchess dot com you can play 3 games daily onn your ipod touch or iphone and in the computer you can even make analisys while playing If jaypac wrote: 3rd game - 7...Kd8 is a mistake.  What about c6, Bd7, Nc6, Nd7?  All would prevent the Queen's death, I think.
  • #14

    First try to play

  • #15

    If you guys think the tumbleweed gambit is a joke.  I say from experiance i've never won against it vs a stronger friend and I've seen many players over 2k lose to it.


    Blacks main problem is actually d5, Bd5 to attack the rook seems to contradict theory as it blocks the d pawn but it's tactically correct to imediately attack the key h2 rook usually followed by

    8. Rh4 Qg3

    9. Kh1 Nh3!

    keeping preasure on white while developing pieces though tactics and unorthodox meathods.

    Afraid this is all the "book" I know.  The game tends to continue with white having a much easier time developing with ideas like d4, Bd3, Nc3, move the lady and activate the other rook to attack blacks king side!  

    Black does have counterplay ideas such as b6 Bb7 to pin the knight, Nc6 and 0-0

    But if black plays acurately he can make it to the end game up the three original pawns (easier said than done).

  • #16

    Shiang, Thank you for re-habbing this. It was interesting to see the opening given so going over.

    Hope it continues. I certainly look forward to more input.

  • #17

    I would love it if you can find some more moves in addition to mine for the refutation for black.

    The poem was a little biased towards white don't u think?

  • #18

    I'll try to research it further.

  • #19

    The Pollock mentioned is presumably this guy: http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/pollock.html.

    Edit: confirmed that it's W.H.K. Pollock and found more details on both the opening and the poem in an article in American Chess Bulletion, via Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=zKVJAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Among other things, it shows that the original second and third lines run,
    "...a Jew,

    From New Orleans, a rabbi—no matter what name—"

    which obviously scans much better than the version posted above. Apparently someone down the line censored the poem for political correctness, but didn't do a very good job of it.

    I don't see a problem with the original, anyway. Jews do have a long association with chess.

    Also, this predates the poem to at least 1915.


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