Chess Opening Theory/1. f3

Barnes Opening
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation (FEN)
Moves: 1. f3
ECO code: A00
Parent: Starting position

1. f3 · Barnes OpeningEdit

The Barnes Opening is a rarely-played and passive first move that gives Black a slight advantage. In fact, it is arguably White's worst possible first move. It deprives the white king's knight of the f3 square. It opens the e1–h4 diagonal, exposing the white king. While it controls e4, White could have done that by playing 1. e4 right away.

This move is usually a way for White to taunt Black, especially if White's rating is much higher, by giving Black an immediate edge. Due to this, White often follows with 2.Kf2.

Black's best response to 1. f3 is 1... e5, controlling the center and preparing to take advantage of the weaknesses along the e1–h4 diagonal. Black has an advantage. This opening can also lead to the fool's mate after 2. g4?? Qh4#.

If Black replies with the slightly inferior 1... d5, play could go into a Dutch Defence with colors reversed after 2. f4. Another possibility for White is to transpose into a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: 1. f3 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 exf3 4. Nxf3 Nf6.


No stats as 1. f3 occurs rarely among serious chess players.


  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.

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