Ware Opening

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Ware Opening
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
a4 white pawn
b2 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
Moves 1.a4
Named after Preston Ware
Parent Irregular chess opening
Synonym(s) Meadow Hay Opening

The Ware Opening, also known as Meadow Hay Opening, is an uncommon chess opening for White beginning with the move:

1. a4

It is named after Preston Ware, a U.S. chess player who often played uncommon openings. The Ware is considered an irregular opening; it is classified under the A00 code in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.

Opening idea[edit]

The Ware Opening attacks the b5-square and prepares to bring the a1-rook into the game. The b5-square is non-essential and if Black plays 1...e5, the f8-bishop prevents the development of the white rook for the moment. The reply 1...e5 also gains space for Black in the center, a typical objective of most openings but one completely ignored by the Ware Opening. Noting all this, the Ware Opening is normally seen played only by players completely new to chess.

An experienced player using the Ware Opening will usually meet a response of 1...d5 or 1...e5 with 2.d4 or 2.e4, respectively, since a reversed Scandinavian or Englund Gambit would be unsound here. After 1...d5 2.Nf3, 2...Nf6 is recommended, since a reversed Fajarowicz can arise after 2...c5 3.e4!? dxe4 4.Ne5 where a4 has some utility.[1] At some point the move a5 will be played, followed by Ra4 (as Ra3? invites ...Bxa3 with a definite advantage for Black).

In the 2012 World Blitz Championship, 1.a4 was employed as a little joke by Magnus Carlsen against Teimour Radjabov, who during the blitz championship two years earlier had told him "Everyone is getting tired. You might as well start with 1.a4 and you can still beat them." The game soon turned into a sort of Four Knights Game where Carlsen finally prevailed.[2]


There are several named variations of the Ware Opening. The best known of these are:

  • 1...e5 2.a5 d5 3.e3 f5 4.a6 (Ware Gambit).[3] In this variation, White attempts to create an open a-file in exchange for a pawn.
  • 1...e5 2.h4 (Crab Variation). This does nothing to help White, but instead weakens his position even more.[citation needed]
  • 1...b6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nd7 (Cologne Gambit).[4]
  • 1...b5 2.axb5 Bb7 (Wing Gambit of the Ware Opening).[3]
  • 1...a5 (Symmetric Variation).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Benjamin (1987), pp. 100–01.
  2. ^ "Grischuk wins 2nd World Blitz title in Astana". ChessVibes. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b Schiller (1998), p. 475.
  4. ^ Schiller (1998), p. 474.