Chess Opening Theory/1. a3

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Anderssen's 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.a3
ECO code: A00

Anderssen's Opening[edit]

1. a3[edit]

This opening move does little for development or control of the center. In some cases, White can transpose the game to an opening where 1.a3 might have been useful, but using a tempo on such a move already on move one seems premature. In fact, this opening is based on the idea that White is playing with the black pieces, but he has the move 1.a3 already played. If a game starts 1.a3 e5 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3, Black cannot proceed in Ruy Lopez-fashion, and if Black plays 3...Bc5, then 4.Nf3 puts Black into the Two Knights' Defence and White's a3 precludes many possibilities.

Named after the German chess player Adolf Anderssen, who played this opening a few times against Morphy. This is a waiting move that doesn't do anything useful in itself, although it allows white to play b2-b4 and move the dark-squared bishop to b2. In this sense, it can be viewed as a reverse St. George Defence (1. e4 a6) with an extra move.

There are a variety of ways for black to respond to this move, including:

  • 1...e5 or 1...d5 - The game can transpose into lines similar to the Sokolsky/Orangutan Opening (1. b4) should white eventually play b4.
  • 1...g6 - This can be annoying for white if he was planning to play b4 and Bb2 because the long diagonal is now contested.
  • 1...c5 is a relatively unexplored option.
  • 1...f5 is another relatively unexplored option.
  • 1...Nf6 - can transpose into other lines


No stats as 1. a3 occurs rarely among serious chess players.

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