Chess Opening Theory/1. h3

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Clemenz 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. h3
ECO code: A00
Parent: Starting position

1. h3 · Clemenz Opening[edit | edit source]

This opening move achieves nothing in terms of development or control of the center. However, this can actually be used as an effective waiting move, though 1. Nf3 is clearly better. Also, if White knows a lot of theory for both sides, this can be useful. 1. h3 also blocks a possible …Bg4 by Black. This may be quite a playable opening despite being inferior to many other openings (like 1. e4, 1. d4, etc). Because it is inferior, and most players want to exploit their first move advantage, however small it may be, as White, this is rarely played. Transpositions are possible, albeit not usual. Black can now exploit the fact that White has wasted time by playing in the centre, or by gaining a slight lead in development.

Black's responses[edit | edit source]

  • 1... e5 is a solid, sensible move, which places pressure on d4 and f4. Now the strange 2. a3?! is the Global Variation, and if 2... d5 is played after that, it transposes to the creepy-crawly formation of the Anderssen Opening (1. a3). However, the best follow-up for White after 1... e5 is 2. c4, transposing into the King's English Variation of the English Opening. 2. d4 can be tried too, transposing into a "reversed" Scandinavian Defense, also playable.
  • 1... d5 is another fine move, with similar ideas to the previous one. This is best followed by 2. d4, 2. f4, or 2. c4, all moves that give White a portion of the centre. 2. b4 is unusual but interesting. Another interesting (though very likely inferior) option is 2. g4 transposing to the Killer Grob Attack.
  • 1... f5 is not recommended, as White can play 2. d4, transposing into the Korchnoi Attack of the Dutch Defense (another way to try to exploit kingside weaknesses created by Black, but Black has enough resources to withstand it after 3. g4 [the original plan after h3, especially after 3... d5. Black gets at least their fair share of the chances, so White has to exploit the weaknesses later on in the game]). Nevertheless, it is playable as long as Black is careful.
  • 1... c5 is an unexplored option. It would lead to uncharted territory in the Sicilian Defense after 2. e4.
  • 1... Nf6 is a good response. If White plays 2. d4 or 2. c4, the game could take upon a character typical of the King's Indian Defense.
  • 1... Nc6 is an interesting option, simply developing a piece. This is probably playable as well.

Statistics[edit | edit source]

No stats as 1. h3 occurs rarely among serious chess players.

All possible Black's moves[edit | edit source]






References[edit | edit source]

  • Eric Schiller (2002). Unorthodox Chess Openings (Second Edition ed.). Cardoza. ISBN 1-58042-072-9. {{cite book}}: |edition= has extra text (help)

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