Desprez Opening

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a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
h4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.h4
ECO A00
Named after Marcel Desprez
Parent Irregular chess opening
Synonym(s) Kadas Opening, Anti-Borg Opening, Samurai Opening, and Reagan's Attack

The Desprez Opening is a chess opening characterized by the opening move:

1. h4

The opening is named after the French player Marcel Desprez. Like a number of other rare openings, 1.h4 has some alternate names such as "Kadas Opening", "Anti-Borg Opening", "Samurai Opening", and "Reagan's Attack". Gabor Kadas is a Hungarian player. According to Eric Schiller's Unorthodox Chess Openings, the last name is because 1.h4 is "thoroughly unmotivated and creates weaknesses with only vague promises of future potential", a political gibe against Ronald Reagan.

As the Desprez Opening is very rare, it is considered an irregular opening, so it is classified under the A00 code in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.


Assessment[edit]

Like 1.a4, the Ware Opening, 1.h4 is an irrelevant pawn move which does nothing in the fight over central space, and does very little for development. The only piece released is the rook, and this piece is usually not developed by moving it to h3. In addition, 1.h4 weakens White's kingside. For all of these reasons, 1.h4 is among the rarest of the twenty possible first moves for White.

Black usually responds by grabbing the center with 1...d5 or 1...e5, and simple and sound development by 1...Nf6 is also possible. However, 1...g6, intending to fianchetto Black's bishop on g7, is rare because White can undermine Black's pawn structure with 2.h5, making 1.h4 seem like a logical move.

Grandmaster David Bronstein once remarked that he knew of a Russian player who always opened 1.h4 and always won. His point was that after 1. ...e5 2.g3 d5 3.d4! exd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd1 Nf6 6.Nh3! Be7 7.Nf4 0-0 8.Bg2 the f4 knight is well placed and White has a good position.[1] However, Black does not have to be so cooperative.

Named Variations[edit]

There are five named variations in the Desprez Opening:

  • The Koola-Koola continues 1...a5.
  • The Wulumulu continues 1...e5 2. d4
  • The Crab Variation or Crab Opening continues 1...any 2. a4.
  • The Borg Gambit continues 1...g5.
  • The Symmetric Variation continues 1...h5.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ McDonald, Neil (2001). Concise Chess Openings. Everyman. p. 301. ISBN 1-85744-297-0. 

References[edit]