The Fabulous 10s: The Case of the “Forgotten” Move in the 2 Knights

Black Can Play Better in the 2 Knights!

Recently some games have appeared in the 2 Knights – they all share the same characteristic that a principal move for black is not mentioned!

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5!? The venerable, if somewhat time-wasting and primitive, attack on f7.

4….d5 5. exd5 Na5! The only good move.  Friedel has had some good results with the crazy Ulvestad lunge 5….b5?! but that looks unsound.

5....b5? Ulvestad's move just doesn't work!

6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3!?

Obviously self-blocking but white does have an extra pawn.  This is how Nakamura suprised Friedel in the competitively important last round of the US Championship last year.

8…Ng4! The best move!  Not played or MENTIONED in any of the recent games that have graced the virtual pages of Chess Life Online!

8...Ng4!, without a doubt the best move and unfairly ignored in recent press!

Why is it systematically ignored by:  Nakamura (in his notes to the Friedel game), Friedel (in HIS notes to the Nakamura game) and Molner and others in the Molner-Mitkov NAO 10 game? The move 8….Ng4! has history on its side.  It was tried out by none other than…. OK readers look it up!  Friedel played some slow Be7 and O-O and just lost due to white’s extra pawn.  Mitkov played 8….h6 and ….Nd5 and gained some activity but in the end Molner had, well, superior activity and the extra pawn.  I am baffled why it went without passing in ANY of the recent games’ annotations.

Stay tuned, I will post here further analysis on 8…Ng4!.  It has the distinct advantage of forcing white into passive situations, often with a compromised pawn structure.

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2 Responses to “The Fabulous 10s: The Case of the “Forgotten” Move in the 2 Knights”

  1. Michael Goeller Says:

    Yes, I think you are right about Ng4 being best. Stellwagen suggests as much in his SOS article, and I give it an “!” in my analysis of Nakamura – Friedel. The game Bird – Lasker, England 1892, is certainly discouraging though Bird’s Nf3 may actually be worth a closer look, since I am hardly convinced by Stellwagen’s 9. Ne4 f5 10. Be2 h5! 11. h3 fxe4 12. hxg4 Bc5 13. b4!? What a mess.

  2. Richard Reich Says:

    Bird was equal until 20. Ne2 [20. Qc6 improves] and was actually winning after 33 …Ra8 and now 34. Re1+-. but he patzered it up and hung a rook with 41. Qe6??

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