|Moves: 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3|
White's wish is to advance the f-pawn two squares to remove Black's powerful e5 pawn and strike at the heart of his position. Now it is possible to play f4 on the second move, for the King's Gambit, but when no Black piece has yet declared its intentions is there not a degree of hit-and-hope about such a move? If you have the patience to let Black build his bridge before you blow it up: welcome to the Vienna Game, a poison-tipped opening from the nineteenth century.
If you should find yourself up against the Vienna as Black, keep your nerve. The harder White tries to checkmate you, the less time he has to develop naturally and control territory; consequently, if you survive the opening your hand is a little freer than in the Ruy Lopez.
Black for the moment has no threat to respond to, save the threat of f4 which cannot be reasonably prevented. When in doubt, develop a knight:
- 2...Nf6: Falkbeer (or Berlin) Defence
The most common reply as it prepares to counter f4 with d5, adding to the equation another variable for White to keep track of.
- 2...Nc6: Max Lange Defence
This allows Black to capture the pawn when it gets to f4, without having his active knight subsequently kicked by the e-pawn.
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3
|Falkbeer (or Berlin) Defence||...
|Max Lange Defence||...
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- Kasparov, Garry, & Keene, Raymond 1989 Batsford chess openings 2. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.