|Moves||1.e4 e5 2.Qh5|
|Synonym(s)||Kentucky Opening |
Wayward Queen Attack
The Danvers Opening, also known as the Kentucky Opening, Queen's Attack, Queen's Excursion, Wayward Queen Attack, Patzer Opening or Parham Attack is an unorthodox chess opening characterized by the moves:
|This article uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
History and nomenclature
Like many rare openings, 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 has acquired several names over the years, none of which are universally used. The earliest known appearance in print was in the Dubuque Chess Journal in May 1875, where it was dubbed the Kentucky Opening, perhaps in reference to a game played in Danville, Kentucky, which was published in the August issue of the same magazine. (This name was also applied by J. H. Blackburne to the unsound Jerome Gambit.) In the American Chess Bulletin in 1905, the opening was referred to as the Danvers Opening, so named by E. E. Southard, a well-known psychiatrist and a strong amateur chess player, after the hospital where he worked.
Bernard Parham of Indianapolis is the first master-level player known to have advocated this line. Parham is known for his eccentric theories on the game of chess, which he has developed into what he calls the "Matrix System". Parham's Matrix System advocates early development of the queen in several positions, as in his favored line as White against the Sicilian Defence, 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5?! Parham argues that just as Richard Réti and Aron Nimzowitsch pioneered the hypermodern style of chess, his own ideas which are considered strange today may well be considered viable in the future. Several internet-based sources refer to 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 as the Parham Attack or Parham Opening.
The most notable use of 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 by a grandmaster occurred in 2005, when U.S. Champion and future World Championship contender Hikaru Nakamura played it in two tournament games. The best known of these was against Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran at the May 2005 Sigeman Tournament in Copenhagen/Malmö, Denmark. Nakamura got a reasonable position out of the opening but lost the game due to a mistake made in the middlegame. He later wrote on the Internet, "I do believe that 2.Qh5 is a playable move, in fact I had a very good position in the game, and was close to winning if I had in fact played 23.e5." The previous month, Nakamura had played 2.Qh5 against GM Nikola Mitkov at the April 2005 HB Global Chess Challenge in Minneapolis. The game ended in a draw after 55 moves.
More often the opening is adopted by chess novices, as when actor Woody Harrelson played it against Garry Kasparov in a 1999 exhibition game in Prague. Harrelson achieved a draw after being assisted by several grandmasters who were in Prague attending the match between Alexei Shirov and Judit Polgár. The next year Kasparov again faced the opening as Black when tennis star Boris Becker played it against him in an exhibition game in New York. This time Kasparov won in 17 moves.
The Danvers Opening violates a conventional opening principle by developing the queen too early, subjecting it to attack (although it is relatively safe after retreating to f3). Nonetheless, the opening causes Black some problems. Left to his own devices, Black would probably develop with ...Nf6, ...Bc5, and ...Nc6. The Danvers Opening hinders this by forcing Black (unless he wants to sacrifice a pawn) to first defend the e-pawn (usually with 2...Nc6), then after 3.Bc4 to either play 3...g6 (virtually committing Black to fianchettoing his king bishop), 3...Qe7 (blocking the bishop), or 3...Qf6 (taking away the knight's best square). In 2005, the Dutch grandmaster Hans Ree called 2.Qh5 "a provocative but quite sensible move", and suspected it would have been effective because of its shock value.
As with the similar Napoleon Opening (2.Qf3?!), White hopes for the Scholar's Mate, e.g. 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6?? 4.Qxf7#. In both cases, Black can easily avoid the trap, but 2.Qf3 does not pose the impediments to natural development of Black's pieces that 2.Qh5 does.
Black's worst possible response to 2.Qh5 is 2...Ke7?? 3.Qxe5#. (This line ties with a few others for the fastest possible checkmate by White.) Because most games with the Danvers Opening have been played at weak scholastic tournaments, 2...g6?? has often been seen, losing a rook and pawn to 3.Qxe5+. The two moves that have received attention from higher-level players are 2...Nc6 and 2...Nf6!?
This is the most common continuation. Black defends his e5-pawn from the queen and prepares to meet 3.Bc4 with 3...Qe7 (followed by ...Nf6) or 3...g6. The latter move is more common, however, and after 4.Qf3 Nf6 5.Ne2 the main position is reached (see diagram). White is not worse, but also has no advantage. Black can adopt different plans, one of the most popular being 5...Bg7, where 6.0-0 is White's best try for dynamic play, as 6.d3 d5 will lead to an even position with few attacking chances, and 6.Nbc3 Nb4 is interesting but promises little for White.
Introducing a speculative gambit called the Kiddie Countergambit. It is unnecessary to sacrifice a pawn for development, since the White queen will have to lose a eventually; however, FIDE Master Dennis Monokroussos advocates the move as the "psychologically correct" response.
Another common continuation, especially at beginner level. Black defends the center pawn and simultaneously guards the f7-pawn with a simple queen move. After 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Qd1 Nc6, Black may be slightly ahead in development, but the queen remains blocking their crucial kingside bishop, producing a roughly equal position. FIDE Master Vinay Matta once played this defense during a 2017 match against Nguyen Dat in the 28th Czech Open, scoring a draw with roughly equal gameplay.
- Edward Winter, Danvers Opening at chesshistory.com
- Kentucky Opening, Dubuque Chess Journal, May 1875, page 250 scanned at Hathitrust (original from New York Public Library)
- Bronstein, David, 200 Open Games, chapter 1, page 1, Batsford 1973
- Joel Benjamin; Eric Schiller (1987). "Queen's Excursion". Unorthodox Openings. Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 113. ISBN 0-02-016590-0.
- Schiller, Eric (1998). "Wayward Queen Attack". Unorthodox Chess Openings. Cardoza Publishing. pp. 247–49. ISBN 0-940685-73-6.
- Lev Alburt & Al Lawrence,Chess for Everyone, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010
- The Chess Drum, The Talking Drum featuring Bernard Parham, 6 July 2003
- Fields-Young, Danville Kentucky 1875, Dubuque Chess Journal, August 1875, page 371 scanned at Hathitrust
- Nakamura-Sasikiran, 13th Sigeman & Co 2005. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2006-02-09.
- Nakamura on 2.Qh5. Mig Greengard. Published 2005-05-05. Retrieved on 2009-02-06.
- Nakamura-Mitkov, HB Global Chess Challenge 2005. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2006-02-09.
- Harrelson-Kasparov, Consultation game 1999. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2006-02-09.
- Hans Ree, Jake, Joe and Garry. ChessCafe.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-06.
- Becker-Kasparov, New York exhibition 2000. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2006-02-09.
- Hans Ree, Perils of the Sea. ChessCafe.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-06.
- Eric Schiller-Pack, 1969. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-06.
- Dennis Monokroussos, Nakamura-Sasikiran and Junk Openings, thechessmind.net, 23 April 2005
|The Wikibook Chess Opening Theory has a page on the topic of: Danvers Opening|