Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. Bc4/3...Nf6/4. Ng5

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Two Knights Defence
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)

r1bqkb1r/pppp1ppp/2n2n2/4p1N1/2B1P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQK2R

Moves: 1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5
ECO code: C57-C59
Parent: Italian Game

Two Knights Defence[edit]

4. Ng5[edit]

This move is interesting. While some in the past considered it ridiculous, others point out that White wins a pawn in the process.

The White Knight now threatens a fork with Nxf7, yet to do so it's broken a rule of opening development in that the same piece moves twice. Black's only sensible way to defend f7 is to block the bishop access with 4...d5, but the pawn on d5 itself is not fully defensible by Black.

Black has two sensible replies.

  • 4...d5 The best way for Black to defend is to play d5, blocking the bishop from the weak f7 square.
  • 4...Bc5. Ignoring the threat, a risky option is the Traxler Attack. Black can try a bishop sacrifice on f2 if White plays Nxf7. Instead, White will often prefer Bxf7+.

Additionally, black may choose to move the knight on f6. This opens up an attack on the white g5 knight. There are two sensible methods of achieving this:

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5


4

5

6

7

8

9

10
Two Knights Defence 1 Ng5
Bc5!?
Bxf7+
Ke7
Bd5
Rf8
O-O
d6
c3
Bg4
Qb3
Bb6
Bxc6
bxc6
+/=
2 ...
d5
exd5
Nxd5!?
d4
Bb4+
c3
Be7
Nxf7
Kxf7
Qf3+
Ke6
Qe4
Rf8
+/=
3 ...
...
...
...
Nxf7!?
Kxf7
Qf3+
Ke6
Nc3
Ncb4
a3
Nxc2+
Kd1
Nxa1
4 ...
...
...
Na5
d3
h6
Nf3
e4
Qe2
Nxc4
dxc4
Bc5
Nfd2
O-O
=
5 ...
...
...
...
Bb5+
c6
dxc6
bxc6
Be2
h6
Nf3
e4
Ne5
Bc5
6 ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Nh3
Bd6
d3
O-O
7 ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Qf3
Be7
Bxc6+
Nxc6
Qxc6+
Bd7
8 ...
...
...
b5
Bf1
h6
Nxf7
Kxf7
dxc6
Qd5
Qf3
Qc5
b4
Qxb4
9 ...
...
...
Nd4
c3
b5
Bf1
Nxd5
Ne4
Qh4
Ng3
Bg4
f3
e4
10 ...
Nxe4!?
Bxf7+
Ke7
d4
d5
Nc3







+=
11 ...
Nd5
d3











+=

Statistics[edit]

Estimated next move popularity
d5 80%, Bc5 19%, Others less than 1%

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References[edit]

  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.
  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.