Initial Position

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  • "AMONG players of equal or nearly equal force, he who plays first has four methods of beginning the game; the first is, to play K. P. two squares; the second, Q. P. two squares; the third, K. B. P. two squares; and the fourth Q. B. P. two squares; any other opening is not deserving of commendation; the above are made with the view of confining the adversary's Pieces, and giving free room to one’s own, which is not obtained by moving any other of the four Pawns" (Carrera, p.52).
  • "The very best Way of all, in my Opinion, is to begin by pushing the Queen’s Pawn two Steps, your Adversary will do so to, then you are to push your Queen’s Bishop’s Pawn two Moves; this is called here The Queen's Gambett" (Stamma, p. xviii).
  • "In my opinion there are only two really good opening moves, viz, : Pawn to King's fourth and Pawn to Queen's fourth ; both good because they open upon the centre of the board and prepare for speedy development of Queen and Bishop. In the analyses first place is given to the Queen's Pawn Openings; particularly to the play which arises after 1 P—Q 4, P—Q 4 ; 2 P—Q B 4 , P - K 3 ; 3 Kt—Q B 3, etc., as I consider this the soundest of all the openings and one which affords a player having original ideas ample scope for the exercise of his powers ; every chess player should make a study of this opening. The mid-game abounds with attacking possibilities, with plenty of opportunities for the exercise of chess strategy of the highest order. Notwithstanding my high opinion of the Queen's Gambit Declined for the first player, I consider that Black can maintain the balance of power by adopting free developing tactics with the early advance of Pawn to Queen's Bishop's fourth ; a move which I have put to severe practical tests with satisfactory results, which have further strengthened my opinion that with correct development White has no move in any opening to which Black has not an adequate and satisfactory reply" (Marshall, pp. 23-24).


"Using a full 20-line broad search, I have gone to depth 40 (40 complete for the first 11 lines, 39 for the rest) with the StockFish latest release. 70+ hours @8175kn/s 5-man tb and less. Given that Stockfish tends to gain strength in longer time controls, I thought this might be of interest. What exactly 40 means, I am not sure. It used to mean plys but things are slightly more hazy with modern pruning methods. It says 40/66. At one point I accidentally stopped it so it restarted. This was at approximately at hour 30 and seven of the lines at depth 39, but there was enough in the hash to recover in a couple hours to the previous depth. I probably should have used more than 8 GB of hash if I was planning to get this deep, as going from 39 to 40 appears to be fairly slow. The "g" I added to the name as Fritz requires a name change when I added the endgame tables.
Analysis by Stockfish PA_GTB 010713 64 SSE4.2 g:
The foregoing quoted text was posted to the Rybka Chess Community Forum on 2013-07-09 by mindbreaker.

Computer Analysis

  1. = (0.22): 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 0-0 7.Bd3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Ne4 9.Rc1 Nxc3 10.Rxc3 d6 11.0-0 Nd7 12.Re1 Nf6 13.e4 c5 14.d5 Re8 15.Qb1 Qd7 16.Rcc1 h6 17.Qc2
  2. = (0.22): 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.c4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 0-0 7.Bd3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Ne4 9.Rc1 Nxc3 10.Rxc3 d6 11.0-0 Nd7 12.Re1 Nf6 13.e4 c5 14.d5 Re8 15.Qb1 Qd7 16.Rcc1 h6 17.Qc2
  3. = (0.12): 1.e3 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.exd4 Nf6 4.Be2 d5 5.Nf3 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Ne5 Qd6 9.f4 Qb4 10.b3 Ne4 11.c4 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd6 13.Nd2 Nxc4 14.Ndxc4 Qb5 15.Nxc6 Qxc6 16.d5 Qg6
  4. = (0.12): 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.d4
  5. = (0.06): 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e4 Bb4 5.d3 d6 6.Be2 Bc5 7.0-0 0-0 8.Be3 Bb6 9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.exd5 Ne7 11.d4 exd4 12.Bxd4 Nf5 13.Bc3 Nh4 14.Re1 Nxf3+ 15.Bxf3 Bf5 16.Bd4 Re8 17.Rxe8+ Qxe8 18.Qd2 Qe7 19.Re1
  6. = (0.00): 1.a3 e5 2.e3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.exd4 d5 5.Nc3 Bd6 6.Bd3 0-0 7.Nge2 c6 8.0-0 Qc7 9.h3 h6 10.Re1 Re8 11.Be3 Nbd7 12.Ng3 Bxg3 13.fxg3 Qxg3 14.Bf2 Qc7 15.Qf3 Rxe1+ 16.Rxe1 Qb6 17.Na4 Qa5 18.Nc3 Qb6 19.Na4 Qa5 20.Nc3 Qb6
  7. = (0.00): 1.c3 Nf6 2.d4 c5 3.dxc5 e5 4.Nf3 e4 5.Nd4 Bxc5 6.Bg5 Nc6 7.e3 0-0 8.Be2 h6 9.Bh4 d5 10.Nd2 Be7 11.0-0 Re8 12.N2b3 Ne5 13.Nd2 Nc6 14.N2b3 Ne5 15.Nd2 Nc6
  8. = (0.00): 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e4 5.Nd4 Nxd4 6.Bxd4 Be7 7.c4 0-0 8.Nc3 c5 9.Be5 d6 10.Bg3 Bf5 11.Be2 d5 12.cxd5 Nxd5 13.0-0 Bf6 14.Rc1 Rc8 15.Nb5 Be7 16.Nc3
  9. = (-0.02): 1.h3 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.d4 e6 5.c4 Be7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.dxc5 0-0 8.b4 a5 9.b5 Bxc5 10.Bb2 Be6 11.Bd3 Nbd7 12.0-0 Bd6 13.Nc3 Rc8 14.Ne2 Nc5 15.Nf4 Bxf4 16.exf4
  10. = (-0.02): 1.Nc3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 a6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Ne5 Bxe2 9.Nxe2 e6 10.c3 Nxe5 11.Bxe5 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.0-0 0-0 14.Nc1 Qc7 15.Nd3 Ne4 16.f3 Nd6 17.Re1
  11. = (-0.10): 1.f4 Nf6 2.e3 e6 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Be2 0-0 5.0-0 d5 6.c4 c5 7.b3 b6 8.Ne5 Bb7 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Bb2 d4 11.Na4 Rc8 12.Bf3 Rc7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Bxc6 Rxc6 15.Qf3 Rc7 16.Rae1 Qd6
  12. = (-0.18): 1.d3 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 Bd6 5.Bxd6 Qxd6 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Be2 c5 8.d4 Nc6 9.0-0 a6 10.dxc5 Qxc5 11.Nd4 Bd7 12.a3 Ne5 13.Nf3 Nc6 14.Qd2 Qb6 15.Na4 Qa7 16.Nc3
  13. = (-0.21): 1.g3 e5 2.c4 Bc5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bg2 Nf6 6.d3 0-0 7.0-0 h6 8.Be3 Bb6 9.Bxb6 axb6 10.d4 exd4 11.Nxd4 Bd7 12.e3 Re8 13.Re1 Nxd4 14.exd4 Rxe1+ 15.Qxe1 Bc6 16.Qf1 d5 17.Re1 dxc4 18.Bxc6 bxc6 19.Qxc4 Qd7 20.a3 Rd8
  14. = (-0.23): 1.a4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 Nf6 4.e3 Bd6 5.b3 0-0 6.Ba3 Bxa3 7.Nxa3 c5 8.Bd3 a6 9.0-0 Nc6 10.c4 b6 11.Ne5 Bb7 12.Nc2 dxc4 13.bxc4 Rc8 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 15.f3 cxd4 16.Nxd4
  15. =/+ (-0.30): 1.Na3 e5 2.e3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.exd4 Bxa3 5.bxa3 Qe7+ 6.Be2 d5 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.0-0 0-0
  16. =/+ (-0.31): 1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.e4 Nc6 6.Bg3 Bb4 7.Bd3 Bxc3 8.dxc3 0-0 9.Ne2 Re8 10.f3
  17. =/+ (-0.39): 1.h4 e5 2.e3 d5 3.d4 exd4 4.exd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4
  18. =/+ (-0.42): 1.Nh3 e5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Ng5 Bg4 8.d3 h6 9.Nf3 a6 10.Be3 Nd4 11.Bd2 Bxf3 12.exf3 c6 13.f4 Ne6 14.Be3 exf4 15.gxf4 Nd4 16.Ne4 Re8
  19. =/+ (-0.47): 1.f3 e5 2.e3 d5 3.d4 exd4 4.exd4 Bd6 5.Be3 Ne7 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Qd2 c6 8.0-0-0 Nd7 9.Kb1 b5 10.Bd3 Nb6 11.Bf4 a5 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.Re1 Re8 14.g4 b4 15.Nce2 Nc4 16.Qc1 f5 17.Nh3
  20. -/+ (-0.86): 1.g4 e5 2.Bg2 h5 3.gxh5 d5 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 Rxh5 6.Bf3 Nc6 7.Qd1 Re5 8.Bf4 Rf5 9.e3 Nf6 10.Nc3 d4 11.Nce2 Nd5 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 Nxf4 14.Qxd8+ Kxd8 15.exf4 Rxf4 16.0-0-0+ Bd6"


(Additional Analysis of the Position)

  • 1.a3 (Anderssen's Opening)
  • 1.a4 (Ware Opening)
  • 1.b3 (Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack)
  • 1.b4 (Polish Opening)
  • 1.c3 (Saragossa Opening)
  • 1.c4 (English Opening)
  • 1.d3 (Mieses Opening)
  • 1.d4 (Queen's Pawn Opening)
  • 1.e3 (Van't Kruijs Opening)
  • 1.e4 (King's Pawn Opening)
  • 1.f3 (Barnes Opening / Gedult Opening)
  • 1.f4 (Bird's Opening)
  • 1.g3 (Benko's Opening)
  • 1.g4 (Grob's Opening)
  • 1.h3 (Clemenz Opening)
  • 1.h4 (Desprès Opening)
  • 1.Na3 (Durkin Opening)
  • 1.Nc3 (Dunst Opening)
  • 1.Nf3 (Réti's Opening)
  • 1.Nh3 (Paris Opening)
Image:chess zhor 26.png
Image:chess zver 26.png a8 rd b8 nd c8 bd d8 qd e8 kd f8 bd g8 nd h8 rd Image:chess zver 26.png
a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 pd f7 pd g7 pd h7 pd
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3
a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 pl f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl
a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 kl f1 bl g1 nl h1 rl
Image:chess zhor 26.png
The Initial Position
Image:Chess_zver_27_2.PNG a8 rl b8 nl c8 bl d8 kl e8 ql f8 bl g8 nl h8 rl Image:Chess_zver_27_2.PNG
a7 pl b7 pl c7 pl d7 pl e7 pl f7 pl g7 pl h7 pl
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3
a2 pd b2 pd c2 pd d2 pd e2 pd f2 pd g2 pd h2 pd
a1 rd b1 nd c1 bd d1 kd e1 qd f1 bd g1 nd h1 rd
The Initial Position

The Elusive Quest for the Correct First Move

Weaver Adams (1901 – 1963) wrote White to Play and Win in which he tried to demonstrate White had a forced win after 1.e4. Earlier in his chess career, Adams believed White had a forced win by playing the Bishop’s Opening. Later he refined his ideas and claimed that the Vienna Game led to a win for White. Whereas Weaver Adams thought White’s proper first move to be the king’s pawn, Berliner believes 1.d4 to be White’s best first move. The vast majority of chess players do not feel White’s initial half-move advantage is sufficient for a win. Robert “Bobby” Fischer once said: "I think it's almost definite that the game is a draw theoretically."

In his 1999 book, The System, Berliner wrote of Weaver Adams (p.40): "He showed me how the moves of the chess opening can hang together to make a plan for the smooth development of the pieces. However, he made the mistake of applying these ideas to 1.e4, which is not the correct first move. ... Adams thought that after 1.e4 e5 the correct move was 2.Bc4 (later he changed his preference to 2.Nc3). However, neither of these moves addresses the most important problem; namely, how to challenge the center. The correct move, if there is one, must be one of d4, f4, Nf3, all of which attack the centre. Without this, the initiative will gradually fade, as Black is not forced to make any concessions. White must use his tempo advantage to attack, and beginning with the second move, the centre is the logical place to attack."

Hans Berliner’s advocacy of 1.d4 stems from the following reasons. From d4, the pawn controls the e5 square. After 1.d4 the central pawn already stands protected by White’s queen, whereas after 1.e4 the pawn is unprotected and subject to counterattack. Berliner wrote: Board Control alone was enough to determine the best first move: 1.d4 controls three centre squares, while no other move controls more than two."

"Under the above title [Gyula] Breyer some years ago published an article in which he tried to prove that 1.P-Q4 [1.d4] was better than P-K4 [1.e4]." - Richard Réti, Modern Ideas In Chess, p.122

After 1.d4, White must be prepared for 1...d5 and 1...Nf6. In both cases, Berliner advocated 2.c4. Berliner saw theoretical and/or thematic merit in 2.e4, in which play often leads to the Blackmar-Diemer gambit, but ultimately rejected it writing "2.e4 would be wonderful if it were tactically sound. As it is, it just loses a pawn, that can at best be recovered with a very much inferior position." Elsewhere, Berliner wrote that after 1.d4 Nf6, "2.Nc3 seems to be logical, but after 2...d5 we have a position in which it is mandatory to attack the centre with the 3.c4 lever, and this is now not possible. ... White could now continue his idea of e4 by playing 3.f3. This move can be met by 3...Bf5, and the further 4.Bg5 by 4...Nbd7. This is an appealing-looking way of playing; very thematic. There is only one thing wrong. It does not lead to any advantage for White" (p.69).

Each of Berliner's quotes in the above paragraph appear to suggest that the Blackmar-Diemer gambit is at least superficially consistent with System principles, but that it fails due to the unwise investment of pawn. Berliner, however, did not provide detailed analysis to demonstrate the inferiority of a Blackmar-Diemeresque application of System principles. Furthermore, the willingness to sacrifice a pawn in exchange for time is an inherent part of Berliner's System. System Principle 1: Tactics is King, b) reads: "White should be willing to sacrifice a pawn if there is a gain in several tempi, and/or it furthers the achievement of important strategic goals that cannot be achieved otherwise. In general, three tempi are worth a pawn..."(pp.34-35).

A book, The Final Theory of Chess (FToC), explored an alternate, Blackmar-Diemeresque interpretation of Berliner's System. Whereas Berliner dismissed 2.e4 (after 1.d4 d5), FToC explored the resulting variations with the help of computer analysis. FToC noted that reasonable play can lead to a standard tabiya after either 1...d5 or 1...Nf6, i.e. 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 or 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3, at which point Black can capture the pawn on f3 and be a pawn ahead in material though at a loss of time/development.


  1. Berliner, Hans (1999), The System: A World Champion's Approach to Chess, Gambit Publications, ISBN 1-901983-10-2
  2. Carrera, Pietro. A Treatise on the Game of Chess. LONDON: J. M. RICHARDSON. (1822) [1617].
  3. Danelishen, Gary (2008), The Final Theory of Chess, Phillidor Press, ISBN 978-0981567709
  4. Marshall, Frank (1904). Chess Openings. Leeds: WHITEHEAD & MILLER, 38, PARK CROSS STREET.
  5. Philipp Stamma. The Noble Game of Chess; Or, a New and Easy Method to Learn to Play Well in a Short Time ...: Together with a Curious Account of Its Antiquity, Derivation of Its Terms, &c. London : Printed for J. Brindley. (1745).
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