Sokolsky Opening

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Sokolsky Opening
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
b4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 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. b4
ECO A00
Named after Alexei Pavlovich Sokolsky
Parent Irregular chess opening
Synonym(s) Orangutan Opening
Polish Opening
Hunt Opening

The Sokolsky Opening (also known as the Orangutan, Polish, or Hunt Opening) is an uncommon chess opening that begins with the move:

1. b4

According to various databases, out of the twenty possible first moves from White, the move 1.b4 ranks ninth in popularity.[1] It is considered an irregular opening, so it is classified under the A00 code in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO).


Details[edit]

The opening has never been popular at the top level, though a number of prominent players have employed it on occasion (for example, Richard Réti against Abraham Speijer in Scheveningen 1923 and Boris Spassky against Vasily Smyslov in the 1960 Moscow–Leningrad match). Soviet player Alexei Pavlovich Sokolsky (1908–69) wrote a monograph on this opening in 1963, Debyut 1 b2–b4.

Perhaps its most famous use came in the game Tartakower versus Maróczy, in the New York 1924 chess tournament on March 21, 1924.[2] The name "Orangutan Opening" originates from that game: the players visited the Bronx Zoo the previous day, where Tartakower consulted an orangutan named Susan, and she somehow indicated, Tartakower insisted, that he should open with b4. Also Tartakower noted that the climbing movement of the pawn to b5 reminded him of the orangutan. In that particular game, Tartakower came out of the opening with a decent position, but the game was drawn.[3][4] Alekhine, who played in the tournament and wrote a book on it, said that 1.b4 was an old move, and that the problem is that it reveals White’s intentions, before White knows what Black’s intentions are.[5]

The opening is largely based upon tactics on the queenside or the f6- and g7-squares. Black can respond in a variety of ways: For example, Black can make a claim on the centre (which White's first move ignores) with 1...d5 (possibly followed by 2.Bb2 Qd6, attacking b4 and supporting e7–e5),[6] 1...e5 or 1...f5. Less ambitious moves like 1...Nf6, 1...c6 (called the Outflank Variation, preparing ...Qb6 or ...a5), and 1...e6 are also reasonable. Rarer attempts have been made with 1...a5 or 1...c5. Black's reply 1...e6 is usually followed by ...d5, ...Nf6 and an eventual ...c5. After 1.b4 e5 it is normal for White to ignore the attack on the b-pawn and play 2.Bb2, when 2...d6, 2...f6, and 2...Bxb4 are all playable. After 1...a5 White will most likely play 2.b5 and take advantage of Black's queenside weakness. Black's 1...c5 is much sharper and more aggressive and is normally used to avoid theory. After the capture Black will generally place pressure on the c5-square and will develop an attack against White's weak queenside structure.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ See for example ChessBase, 365chess opening explorer, and ChessGames.com opening explorer
  2. ^ "Savielly Tartakower vs Geza Maroczy". Chessgames.com. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  3. ^ Weinreb, Michael. "Kings of New York". Gotham Books. 2007
  4. ^ Danelishen, Gary; M. “The Final Theory of Chess”. Phillidore Press 2008 ISBN 978-0981567709
  5. ^ Alekhine, Alexander. “New York 1924”. Russell Enterprises, Inc. 2009 p. 64 ISBN 978-1888690484
  6. ^ Martin, Andrew (2004). "How To Meet The Polish & Grob". www.jeremysilman.com. 

Bibliography

External links[edit]