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 A.J.'s Opening School, Page # 2 

This is a page that was very old and was posted on one of my very first chess web sites. (It is actually a re-done page from a defunct site that I had.)  I have received literally DOZENS of e-mails about the  first page, so I decided to add another one.  (With many more to come?)

(I plan on eventually having dozens of pages like this. Hopefully. Keep your fingers crossed.) 



All the relevant ideas are both discussed and expounded. I think this is a very good way to learn the opening. 
(This page was originally available ONLY as pure text.) 

Click  here  to see an explanation of the symbols I commonly use. 

 The dangers of facing a mobile pawn center. 

(There are few diagrams, you will need a chess board.) 


  Player #1 (1300) - Player #2 (1600)  
The Pawn Fork 
Anywhere, AL  (Rd # 2), 1975.

[A.J. Goldsby I]


I have caught so many opponents in this trap, (or some variation of it); 
that I thought would incorporate it into my opening course.  

A good game to study - for beginners.  
(Once again, the message is: BEWARE the mobile center!!!) 

This is very close to - or exactly matches - a game that I played 
 in Alabama in the early to mid-1970's. 


A good move, and a favorite of all classes of players ... 
for over 250 years. 

White gains space, controls the central square, d5; and he also 
releases many pieces for a quick and unhindered development. 
(Notably his KB and his Queen.) 

Now a reasonable scenario is for White to play Nf3, Bc4, and then 
to simply castle. He would then have a very good and playable game. 

     [ 1.Na3? ]. 

Basically Black says if it is good for my opponent, it is good for me! 
(And he is correct.) 

{See the first example of my Opening School for a quick review 
 of the four basic opening principles.} 

     [ Pointless is: 1...a5? ].  

2.Nf3, ('!')  
One move that does it all. 

White controls the center, develops, and threatens a pawn. 
And after he moves his KB, the first player will be all set to 
castle as well. 

     [ 2.c3!? ].   

Black says ... "Ditto!"  

Notice he developed a piece. At the same time, this Knight hits 
key central squares and also protects his important e-pawn as well. 

     [ Much worse is:  2...a6?!; 3.Nxe5, "+/"  (White is clearly better.) 
       Black can  (maybe)  win the pawn back, but will lose very   
       valuable TIME in doing so. ].  


White controls the center, he develops a piece, and he is ready 
to castle. Additionally, he eyes the sensitive f7-square, which is 
a big problem for Black in many opening lines. 

     [ White could also play the move:  3.Bb5,  {Diagram?}  which leads 
        to the respected opening known as ...  "The Ruy Lopez." ].  


Blacks says: "I can dig it."  (Space/Time/Force.)  

Now we have entered on of the oldest and most respected of all 
opening set-ups. This particular one is known as  ........ 
"The Giuoco Piano."  (Italian = 'Quiet game.')  

I have played the White side of this opening, (in tournaments); 
since the 1960's. 

Now if my opponent cooperates, we could play the line known as:  
  (See the book"Winning With The Giuoco Piano and 
    The Max Lange Attack,"
  by  GM Andy Soltis.  
     {Revised second edition.}  Chapter Four {4}, page # 59.)  


There is nothing wrong with this move, it accomplishes many useful things. 
(Mostly, my King is a little safer, and the Rook - which had been unavailable 
 in the corner - is brought into play.)

But maybe better is c3 or even d3. 

     [ 4.c3!? ].   

Reasonable development. This one move does all 4 of the 
opening principles. Additionally, White will now have to concern 
himself with threats to his King-Pawn. 

     [  Black could also play:  4...d6  ].   


A simple move. I guard my threatened unit, and also 
bring a Rook to the center of the board. 
(This is where Rooks are usually needed.) 

     [  White could also play:  5.d3, "="  with a fair game.  
         Or even  5.Nc3, "="   with equality. ].  


5...d6;   {See the diagram just below.} 
Probably the best move, and also the most flexible. 

Black is free to develop without having to worry about having 
to protect his KP again. 

   So far, so ... ***  "YAWN." ***     (opn_schl2_pos1.gif, 17 KB)

The actual position here after Black's fifth move, a solid position thus far. 


     [ Also good was: 5...0-0; "=" {D?}   or even:  5...a6!?; "~"  ].   


I want to prevent a pin of my Knight on f3. I also want to stop 
any nonsense that might begin with ....Ng4; which (also) threatens 
my f2-square. 

     [ Probably a trifle better was: >=  6.c3!, "+/="   
        with a fair position for the first player here. ].  


Black too wants to stop pins with Bg5.  But it was probably 
better to simply play ...0-0; or even ...a6.  

     [ Much better than the game was: >/=  6...0-0!; "="   
        with pretty much an equal game.  ].  


A standard double-KP opening idea, often seen in this line 
and in the Ruy Lopez. White prepares a big center with d4.   

Another thing to note, is that in this position - because of the 
Black Bishop on the c5-square; the pawn advance of d2-d4 
will probably win a tempo.   

     [ Too tame for White is the move:  7.Nc3!?, "="  {Diagram?} 
        when it will be very hard for White to gain any advantage at all. ].  


Black castles to safety, he could not delay this idea very 
much longer. 

(Not without running into problems. You definitely do NOT 
 want your King stuck in the center if the game should get 
 blown wide open!) 

     [ 7...a6!? ].   

I wanted to play d4, but did not want to worry about a possible  
 ...Bb4  by Black.  (But this was the correct course.) 

Please remember! I was NOT always a Master! 

     [  Best had to be:  >/=   8.d4!,  "+/="  {Diagram?} 
        with probably a small advantage to White from this position. ].   


8...a6!?(Maybe - '?!')    
Overly sophisticated ideas.  (And unnecessarily so.)   

The simple ...Nxe4!; gives Black at least equality. 
(The idea is if White captures with the Rook, Black regains 
 his piece with his own PAWN FORK (!) - of ...d5.)  

      [ MUCH better was:  >/=  8...Nxe4!;  "~"  with an unclear position. ].   


9.Bf1!?,   {See the second diagram, just below.}    
A tricky move, preparing the trap. 
(I thought this was good at the time, and even later - gave myself an exclam on my score 
 sheet. I also avoided any ideas associated with ...Nxe4; Rxe4, d5!)  

    Both sides have developed in an accepted manner. But now Black plays a move that quickly runs him into trouble.  (opn_schl2_pos2.gif, 17 KB)

  Black is getting set to play a fairly simple developing move ...  
 that will land him in all kinds of hot water.  WHY? 

     [ Probably the move   9.d4!,  "+/="   was a little better than the actual text. (More forcing.) ].  


Now the scene is all set for Black's big debacle.
9...Be6?; ('??')  
Virtually anything was better than this silly lemon of a move. 

(Black develops, and even threatens the strong central advance, 
 ...d5! So why is this move so bad?) 

     [ Nearly forced was the move: >=  9...Bb6; "="  when Black should be OK. ].   


The next few moves clearly show why Black's ninth move was wrong. 
10.d4 exd4!?
11.cxd4 Ba7!?;     
Black said after the game that this move was forced.  

12.d5, "+/-"   
This is it, the much dreaded ...  PAWN FORK. (!!!)    
(Which beginners and very inexperienced players fall for almost 
 constantly. I have caught more players in this trap than I care to 
 try and count.)

The look on my more experienced opponent's face was priceless. 
He slumped in his chair then cradled his head, (and rocked 
slightly back- and-forth); as if he were in great pain.  

My opponent in this game was rated at least 200 points above 
me, if my memory serves me. 
(I remember him telling a friend - before the game -  
 that this would be:  "An easy point.") 

One pawn expands with a gain of time, and a fork soon follows. 

     [ Not nearly as good was:  12.Nc3?!  ('?')  12...d5; "~"  {Diag?}   
        with an unclear position. ].  


Black hopes by being non-chalant, White will lose the thread of 
what he is trying to do here. 

     [ A tad trickier was: 12...Ne5!?{Diagram?}  
when if White gets careless, the open f-file 
       could be costly. ].   


13.Nc3!, (very nice)  
As long as neither piece can run away, I prefer to develop. 

     [ Also winning was: 13.dxe6 fxe6; 14.Nc3, "+/-" with a won game for White. ].  


Now Black completely out - smarted himself by playing: 
Losing a piece ... and KEEPING the pawn fork. 

I can tell you quite clearly what causes this. It is a form of panic; 
almost a type of cerebral shock; when you realize you have made 
a bad move ... and perhaps you now have a lost game. 

My advice in such positions is to get up and walk around. Stretch, 
and take deep breaths.  Then say to yourself
 "OK. I messed up. I have what is probably a LOST game.    
   Now the question is:  How can I set as many traps for my    
   opponent as is humanly possible?"    
  (And avoid further mistakes!!)  

Also - another point is: Try to be as tricky as possible when you 
have a lost game. Avoid unnecessary exchanges. Very often, 
your opponent will let their guard down and make a mistake of 
their own. (Especially if they are not a really experienced player.) 

What happened in this game was Black analyzed - for what 
seemed an eternity - than quickly banged out this clunker of 
a move. He might have thought he was avoiding any material 
loss, altogether.  {Wishful thinking?}  
(All the move does is put Black into a MUCH worse situation.) 

     [ Much better was: >=  13...Rae8; 14.dxe6, "+/"  {Diagram?} 
       This is probably winning for White. ("+/-")  ].  


Now play continued: 
14.exd5 Rae8
15.Be3 Bxe316.Rxe3 Bxh3??;   
17.dxc6! Qg4{Diagram?}  
Notice that g2 is protected ... something my opponent may 
have forgotten about. 

18.Rxe8 Rxe819.cxb7,  ("+/-")  {Diag?} 
and Black resigned just a few moves later.  

There is an old saying amongst tournament players:  
  "One blunder is often followed by another."     
( Try to avoid making any more errors, once you have realized you 
   have a lost game.  Make your opponent win the game!   
   Don't lose it ... or make it easy for that person! )  

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I;  2002.  

   (Code Initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8.0 

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   Click  HERE    to go to the next page  ( Page THREE {# 3} )  of my  "Opening School."  
    This page is  NOT  in this web site, but a part of my web site for the best "Game of The Month." 
    However, there is a great deal of explanation and there is enough hand-holding that I feel that even 
    a raw beginner could follow this game ... or at least the first ten or so moves.  

Click  HERE  to return to the learning course. (The Beginner's Chess Course.)

Click  HERE  to  return  to the page you were (probably) on. (A.J.'s Opening School, Page #1.)  

Click  HERE  to go (or return) to my page on  ...  "My System In Chess."  

Click  HERE   to go to, (or return to) ...  my  "Annotated Games, (#1)"  Page.

Click  HERE   to go to, (or return to) ... my  "Annotated Games, (#2)" Page.

Click  HERE   to go to, (or return to) ... my  "Chess Opening Traps"  Page.

Click  HERE  to go to, (or return to) ... my  "Chess TRAINING Page."  

Click  HERE  to go to, (or return to); my  HOME PAGE.  

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1985-2010.  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2011.  All rights reserved.  


(I did a very short article - like 2 paragraphs - on this topic, for the
AL  'Chess Antics'  - sometime in the VERY early 1980's.)

Page first generated in (approximately) 1993. 
 Updated and redone, sometime in 1998.
 Posted here:  December, 2002. 

  Last update:  Saturday, July 14, 2012