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Three Knights (C46)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3

Number of games in database: 1153
Years covered: 1841 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 41.2%
   Black wins 35.5%
   Draws 23.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Grigor Minchev  26 games
Igor V Glek  16 games
Varlam Vepkhvishvili  14 games
Paul Keres  16 games
Wilhelm Steinitz  15 games
Alexander Alekhine  12 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
W Donisthorpe vs Mundell, 1892
W Pollock vs E Hall, 1890
G Minchev vs D Miraschiev, 1986
Gomes vs J Caetano Netto, 1942
S Rosenthal vs Steinitz, 1873
Tylor vs Sultan Khan, 1932
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 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,153  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Staunton vs Cochrane 0-129 1841 London m1C46 Three Knights
2. Staunton vs Von Der Lasa  0-147 1853 BrusselsC46 Three Knights
3. Paulsen vs Morphy 0-123 1857 New YorkC46 Three Knights
4. Paulsen vs Morphy 1-034 1857 1st American Chess CongressC46 Three Knights
5. Arnhem vs Leiden 1-041 1862 City MatchC46 Three Knights
6. E Zoltowski vs Zukertort  0-126 1869 BerlinC46 Three Knights
7. Paulsen vs Steinitz 0-137 1870 Baden-BadenC46 Three Knights
8. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker 0-146 1870 London m1C46 Three Knights
9. Paulsen vs Anderssen  1-035 1870 Baden-Baden mC46 Three Knights
10. Paulsen vs Anderssen ½-½56 1870 Baden-Baden mC46 Three Knights
11. H D Smith vs F H Elder  0-127 1871 2nd American Chess CongressC46 Three Knights
12. A Skipworth vs J N Burt  1-017 1871 Challenge CupC46 Three Knights
13. A Skipworth vs C E Ranken 1-020 1871 Challenge CupC46 Three Knights
14. A Schwarz vs Bird 0-147 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
15. Blackburne vs Meitner 1-032 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
16. S Rosenthal vs Steinitz 0-138 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
17. J Heral vs Meitner 0-123 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
18. J Heral vs Gelbfuhs  0-143 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
19. Paulsen vs Steinitz 1-017 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
20. S Rosenthal vs M Fleissig 1-018 1873 ViennaC46 Three Knights
21. S Rosenthal vs Robert 1-018 1874 Simultaneous displayC46 Three Knights
22. S Rosenthal vs Dermenon  1-036 1874 Simultaneous displayC46 Three Knights
23. Paulsen vs Anderssen 1-0104 1876 Leipzig mC46 Three Knights
24. Paulsen vs Anderssen ½-½83 1876 Leipzig mC46 Three Knights
25. Paulsen vs Anderssen 1-060 1876 Leipzig mC46 Three Knights
 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,153  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-23-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: My sincere apologies for steering this thread off course.

1) Breyer-von Balla finished with 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Nxg6! hxg6 10. Qxg6+ Kd7 11. Bxd5 (Threat = 12. Qe6++ - if 11 ... Nxd4 12. Bg5 Be7 [12 ... Qe8 13. Bf7 Qe5 14. 0-0-0] 13. Be6+! Nxe6 14. Rd1+.) so Black chose 11 ... Qe8 12. Bf7 Qe7 13. Bg5 Ne5 14. Qf5+ 1-0 (14 ... Kc6 15. Qxe4+ & 16. Bxe7; 14 ... Kd6/Kd8 15. Bxe7+). Improvements could be posted here, also under this specific reference game.

2) I mentioned 4. Bb5 because Black must always consider transposition possibilities in opening play. Sure White might do want you want (3. Nc3 f5!? 4. Bb5) but usually they do what they want (3. Nc3 f5!? 4. d4!). Refutor, I admire your zeal, but let's debate the Schliemann in another format.

Nov-18-04  Swapmeet: Anyone play or have an opinion on the 3. ... g6 line? According to the explorer its the second most played response to Nc3. I always play this line but lately I seem to be having trouble with it, because when white eventually plays Bg5 it seems very strong.
Apr-16-05  chessnewbie: What do you guys think of the Halloween Attack?
Oct-31-05  visceral infestation: Halloween attack is solving many problems for me. I use Nc3 to start and come across a similar position often. I'm not sure how sound the attack is, but at least it has some flare.
May-19-06  Kwesi: Apparently, a refutation of the Halloween attack is (from above position) 3...Nf6 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Nc6 6.d5 Bb4! 7.dxc6 Nxe4 8.Qd4 Qe7
May-19-06  borisbadenoff: <Kwesi> You're pretty quick a saying that.

Where is the refutation here?
I just play on with 9. Be3

May-19-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: I don't know, I've played the Halloween Gambit for a while. To me, it seems that black wins as long as he doesn't blunder away his extra piece. Otherwise, I think he can hold on to it and win an easy game once white's attack dies down. As white, the variation I hate the most is 4. Nxe5 Nxe5 5. d4 Ng6 6. e5 Ng8 etc. White then plays Qf3 and Bc4, but nothing really comes of it. Black just plays ...d5 and ...Be6, if memory serves me correctly. There's really no reason not to fully accept the gambit unless you are that unsure of your defensive play (but then you probably never stood much chance to begin with -- believe in yourself!).
May-21-06  WTHarvey: Here are 10 puzzles from Three Knights Game miniatures: http://www.wtharvey.com/c46.html What's the best move?
Sep-04-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Robin01: After the following line, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Bc5, white played g3. Does anyone know whether this is good for white? What is black's best continuation now? Thanks.
Sep-04-06  NateDawg: <Robin01> It is unusual for White to fianchetto in the classical openings such as the King's Pawn Game. However, Black's best continuation after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Bc5 4. g3 is probably simply 4...Nf6. Then after 5. Bg2 d6 6. d3 0-0 7. 0-0, Fritz 9 evaluates the position as = (-0.17).
Sep-05-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Robin01: I appreciate the answer. Thanks.
Oct-31-06  Castle In The Sky: The Halloween Attack is one of my favorite blitz game openings. You sac a knight for a lot of initiative. I have won a large number of games in under 20 moves using the Attack. White's ideas are to try to get your pawn to d6, prevent black from castling and develop a blistering center attack. In longer games, many times, my opponent has returned the piece plus to try to develop.
Oct-31-06  WarmasterKron: I like the Halloween Attack, even though I've never won a game with it! It's about the only interesting thing that can come out of a Four Knights, really.
Feb-23-09  WhiteRook48: actually the best way to avoid the 4 knights opening is to play the Sicilian Defense!
Apr-30-09  WhiteRook48: are there any games from this opening continuing 3...Nf6 4 Bc4 Nxe4! ?
Nov-23-10  Monoceros: I recently stumbled into a Three Knights Opening in a casual game, tried the 3...g6 line, and after 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Nge7 6. Bg5 I got torn open on the Kingside, although my opponent mishandled the attack and permitted me to survive. I've never had much luck as Black with Kingside fianchettos in open games, e.g. Larsen's line in the Philidor; one or two reasonable-looking but weak moves and I get ripped to shreds.
Nov-23-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Monoceros: I recently stumbled into a Three Knights Opening in a casual game, tried the 3...g6 line, and after 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Nge7 6. Bg5 I got torn open on the Kingside, although my opponent mishandled the attack and permitted me to survive. I've never had much luck as Black with Kingside fianchettos in open games, e.g. Larsen's line in the Philidor; one or two reasonable-looking but weak moves and I get ripped to shreds.>

Interesting. I had the same unpleasant experiences with the 3Kn fianchetto and also Larsen's Philidor. Black's positions seem really very loose to me... I gave up the Open Game defences early on, went to Sicilian (Kan and Pelikan) and Robatsch (because I still liked the fianchetto in-and-of itself).

Nov-23-10  Monoceros: <parisattack: Black's positions seem really very loose to me... I gave up the Open Game defences early on, went to Sicilian (Kan and Pelikan) and Robatsch (because I still liked the fianchetto in-and-of itself).>

I normally play semi-open defenses, although I favor the Caro-Kann and (I'm a little afraid to admit) the Scandinavian. But if I've played several games with the same opponent I find myself thinking that maybe he's sick of seeing the same things from me, so I'll venture something that I'm not used to just for variety. I groaned inwardly a little when I saw 3. Nc3 though.

Mar-14-11  Penguincw: Opening of the Day:
Steinitz Variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6
Apr-14-11  Cruezchess15: Well when l played this line 1e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3Nc3 Bc5 for the first time, l was beaten badly but then l realise why not play 4.d3 a6 5.Be3 Ba7
Oct-14-11  meppi: Against Halloween i have been playing an exchange sacrifice counterattack line as black.

It is like this;
1.e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nxe5 Nxe5
5. d4 Nc6 (haloween players as white usually like this line) 6. d5 Ne5
7. f4 Ng6
8. e5 Ng8
9. d6 (thematic white move establishing strong Halloween d-pawn) cxd6 10. exd6 - Qf6 (the beginning of the sacrifice variation) 11. Nb5 Nxf4 (lol)

Now most common is Bxf4 or Nc7+ both lead to the same position usually

12. Nc7+ Kd8
13. Nxa8 (white thinks they won) Bxd6 (grabbing white d pawn)

Now if you see this position who do you like? It is true white is up the exchange but only as long as that horse on a8 can escape, if it cant and black can get the horse with b6 and Bb7 then black has 2 horse for 1 rook and 1 (or 2) pawns.

Also i have been noticing that if white tries too hard to extract the horse from a8, black can get some nice attacks down the e -file and also lateral attacks with the queen and dark bishop along the lines of Qh4+, Qe4 and/or Qb4+ (if white plays Bxf4 which they often do)

Kizbaters what do you think of this opening variation?!

Feb-03-12  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Three Knights
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3


click for larger view

Mar-31-12  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Steinitz Variation
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6


click for larger view

Oct-19-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

Steinitz Variation
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6


click for larger view

Opening Explorer

Oct-31-13  gezafan: I once played the Chicago Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nxe5) against a player rated 1750 in a tournament and won. It was a last round meaningless game and I did it for fun.

The gambits where white gets a strong pawn center aren't as easy to play against as one might think.

Here's another one. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7.

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