The Two Knights Defence is one of the trickiest tactical openings around. If White initiates complications with either 4 Ng5 or 4 d4, play becomes extremely sharp and gambits and counter gambits abound. Anyone who enters the murky waters of the Two Knights Defence must be well prepared for the mind-boggling complications that ensue. In this book, openings theoretician Jan Pinski guides the reader through both the well-trodden paths of the main lines plus the less fashionable side variations of this most complex opening. Using illustrative games, Pinski studies the key ideas and tactics for both Black and White.
- Up-to-date coverage of a controversial opening
- Written by an openings expert
- Ideal for club and tournament players
International Master Jan Pinski is a talented player from Poland who is highly regarded as an openings theoretician. This is his third book for Everyman following the Classical Dutch and the Sicilian Kalashnikov (co-authored with Jacob Aagaard)
"You should speculate in two cases. When you have reasons to do so, or when you don't,' said Mark Twain. It is similar with the Two Knights Defence. You can play it when you have a reason for doing so, and when you don't. Why? Well, if nothing else, it leads to interesting play. For a club player it is a good weapon even against very strong players and also against weaker players. Black is just obliged to know what he is doing as soon as he has played (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4) 3...Nf6. Finally, but not lastly, the Two Knights Defence is a kind of intellectual relic in chess. Every chess player should know something about this opening - otherwise he has no chess culture. 3...Nf6 was already played in 15th century, which makes the Two Knights Defence for chess what Rome is for the Western civilization!
A few notes about the opening
4 d3 looks very innocent, but is still played by many top grandmasters; for example, World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, the 2002 European Champion Bartlomiej Macieja, Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin, and so on. The most important thing to remember is the following plan in the main line (4..Be7 5 0-0 0-0 6 Re1 d6 7 c3): ...Kh8, ...Ng8, and ...f7-f5, even if it means sacrificing pawns.
Another unforcing line is 4 d4 exd4 5 e5. This variation has, in my opinion, the greatest future of all those in this book. Here Black has two less well-known continuations (5...Ng4 and 5...Ne4), which he should try out. Secondly, White has some sidelines which gives a good basis for independent investigations.
The move 4 Ng5 rose from the dead in the 1990's, woken to life by Grandmasters Alexander Morozevich and Nigel Short. It is quite an interesting variation. If you are a hard-working chess player you can seriously hope to get your work returned by good results here for White. Almost all those who play this position as Black are not so well acquainted with the actual theory. Many variations give White the chance to win the game from home through dedicated preparation.
And then there is 4 Ng5 Bc5!?. Now what is this? Leaving f7 unguarded like a beginner falling for the fool's mate? Not really. These days nobody normal plays Traxler's attack regularly with Black. Still this is a tricky line that cannot be completely dismissed just on account of opening theory.
I hope the Two Knights Defence will bring you pleasure, be you Black or White.
Jan Pinski, Warsaw, December 2003
List of Content
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6
4 N g5
007 1 Introduction and 4...d5 5 exd5 b5!?
019 2 Fritz Variation 4...d5 5 exd5 Nd4
030 3 4...d5 5 exd5 Na5 - Introduction
042 4 4...d5 5 exd5 Na5 - Main Line
060 5 Traxler Gambit 4...Bc5!?
086 6 4...exd4: Introduction
100 7 4...exd4 5 e5 d5
113 8 4...exd4 5 0-0
138 9 4 d3
159 Index of Complete Games