10 Unusual Chess Openings

Chess Openings That Aren’t Typical

While many players may choose to stick with the most popular chess openings, others like to venture out and try some chess openings in a new light.
These unusual openings may not be often used at the grandmaster level, but they’re useful tools at all levels of play—and can even provide a club player a significant advantage over an unprepared opponent!

The Sokolsky case is a case in point.

While 1. b4—also called as the Sokolsky, the Polish, or even the Orangutan—has never been a very popular opening, it does have a following. Of course, b4 has no effect on the center, which is contrary to most traditional opening ideas. The pawn move, on the other hand, establishes some early territory on the queenside while letting a fianchettoed bishop to go to b2 and provide pressure to the black kingside.

Game in the Center

White usually responds with 2. Nf3 after 1.e4 e5 (or less commonly, 2. Bc4 or 2. Nc3). 2. d4 is, however, another feasible choice. In most cases, black will take with 2…exd4. White can then join the Center Game by capturing with 3. Qxd4. While this move places the queen in the middle of the board and makes her open to attack, there are lines that provide a strong position for White, if not one in which White may hope to gain a significant advantage.

The Gambit of Denmark

White can play more aggressively with 3. c3, sacrificing a pawn, instead of the more solid Center Game. If Black captures with 3…dxc3, White can immediately counterattack with 4. Nxc3 or gambit another piece with 4. Bc4, allowing cxb2 and 5. Bxc2! This hyper-aggressive beginning used to be quite popular, but it is no longer used at the highest levels. Despite this, many amateur players prefer playing the Danish Gambit because they know it can help them win quickly and tactically.

The Arrival of the Bird

While 1. f4 isn’t unheard of at any level, it isn’t one of the most common opening moves. At any given time, a small number of grandmasters will take up the mantle of Bird’s Opening, drawn to an opening that is off the beaten path but still has some theoretical guideposts to follow.

Gambit of Blackmar and Diemer

For 1. d4 players, the Blackmar-Diemer gambit is a popular choice. White will get to take advantage of a short development lead in exchange for a pawn after 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 and a quick f3. In the hands of a player who is knowledgeable with the Blackmar-many Diemer’s lines and traps, it can be a dangerous weapon.

Gambit in Latvia

The Latvian Gambit, perhaps the most famous of all Black gambits, has a long history of generating theoretical debate. While most authorities currently consider the Latvian (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5) to be unsound, there’s no denying that it’s a difficult opening to meet for unprepared opponents.

Gambit on Elephants

In the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5, the Elephant assaults the e4 pawn from the opposite direction, similar to the Latvian Gambit. The Elephant Gambit, like the Latvian, helps Black can create issues even if they do not receive adequate recompense for their pawn in theory.

Albin’s Counter-Offer

The Albin Countergambit is one of the most severe counterattacks in chess, and it frequently leads to crazy battles in which both sides can attack the adversary king. After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4, Black has given up a pawn for a central space advantage and the possibility of rapid victories if White is reckless.

Budapest’s Bet

The Budapest Gambit is another aggressive option for Black after the opening moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5. The most frequent line, 3.dxe5 Ng4, transforms the game into a war for the e5 pawn, however both sides have many of other tactical and strategic options.

The Grob is a fictional character.

The Sokolsky is the polar opposite of the Grob —1. g4. The Sokolsky, on the other hand, generally leads to solid (though unique) positions, but the Grob is extremely risky for both sides. It can be the start of a furious kingside onslaught for White, but it also creates a significant kingside weakness right away. In fact, some players see 1. g4 as White’s worst potential opening move, while others relish using it as a surprise weapon!

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