11 April 2015

A Plate of Fried Liver

A Tasty Dish
The Fried Liver Attack scores about 75% for White, which helps explain why chess coaches everywhere urge the Traxler Counter Attack (4...Bc5) or 5...Na5, which seems to go by several names. Despite Black's abysmal record, I am of the opinion that Black is no worse with correct play. In fact, I believe White's sacrifice of a knight is unsound. My view is not universally shared.

Practically speaking, accurate defense of the Black side can be tortuously difficult under time pressure. In correspondence chess, I have not lost to the Fried Liver. Nor have I courageously faced it in serious over the board play. Occasionally, however, I invite the Attack in blitz. This post presents a game that I played yesterday in a three minute game.

Nomen Nescio -- Stripes,J [C57]
Online Playing Site, 10.04.2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5

Inviting the Fried Liver Attack. 4...Bc5 sacrifices a pawn if White chooses the safer route: 5.Bxf7+ Ke7 6.Bd5. White is more likely to play the double-edged 5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kf1.

5.exd5 Nxd5

Black steps to the edge of the abyss. 5...Na5 appears to equalize.

6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Ncb4

White to move


I don't recall playing against this move in the past.

9.a3 is considered a mistake, but was played in one of my memorable games. In that correspondence game, I spent well in excess of two hours per move through the critical portion of the game and was happy with a 22 move draw.

9...Nxc2+ 10.Kd1 Nxa1 11.Nxd5 Kd6 12.Re1 (12.Ne7!? is interesting. 12...Kxe7 would be a blunder. 13.Qf7+ Kd6 14.Qd5+ Ke7 15.Qxe5+ Kd7 16.Qe6#).

9.0–0 scores well for White.

9.Qe4 was played against me in another memorable correspondence game.

9...Nxd5 10.d4 Be7

I considered 10...c6 which was the correct move.


11.Qe4 was played in the sole game in the database after 10...Be7. The players were unrated.

11...Rf8 12.Qe4 c6

White to move


13.Qxh7 maintains the vulnerability of the Black king by making g8 somewhat more exposed.

13...Kf7 14.Re1 Bf6 15.Bxd5+ Qxd5

White to move


16.Qc7+ Kg8

16...cxd5 17.c3

Black to move

Black has a material advantage and no longer faces the abyss. Hence, Black has a clear advantage. The rest of the game holds less interest.

17...Bf5 18.Bf4 Rae8 19.Bd6 Be7 

19...Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Re8

20.Be5 Kg6 21.h3 h5 22.f3 h4 23.Kf2 Bf6 24.f4 Be4 25.g4 hxg3+ 26.Kxg3 Bxe5 27.fxe5 Rf3+ 28.Kg4 Rd3 29.Rf1 Rh8 30.h4 

Black to move


Throwing away a nice position

30...Bg2 was stronger.


31.Rf2 exploits Black's inaccuracy.

31...Re8 32.Rf7 Rxe6 33.Rxb7? Rg6+ 34.Kf4 Rf3+ 35.Ke5 Rf5# 0–1

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