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Two Knights (C58)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5

Number of games in database: 1006
Years covered: 1846 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 42.3%
   Black wins 37.5%
   Draws 20.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Enrico Paoli  15 games
Nigel Short  7 games
John van der Wiel  7 games
Markus Ragger  7 games
Mark Hebden  6 games
Bassem Amin  6 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Bronstein vs E Rojahn, 1956
Anderssen vs Falkbeer, 1851
Morphy vs A Mongredien, 1859
de Riviere vs Morphy, 1863
O W Field vs O Tenner, 1922
O Balk vs R J Barnes, 1926
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 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,006  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Anderssen vs von der Lasa 0-1341846BreslauC58 Two Knights
2. Dufresne vs von der Lasa 1-0201850BerlinC58 Two Knights
3. W Wayte vs E Williams 0-1211851Casual gameC58 Two Knights
4. Anderssen vs Zytogorski 1-0341851LondonC58 Two Knights
5. Anderssen vs Falkbeer 1-0411851BerlinC58 Two Knights
6. Kieseritzky vs Anderssen 1-0381851Casual gameC58 Two Knights
7. Duncan vs Horwitz  0-1291854Southampton CCC58 Two Knights
8. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0371856CalcuttaC58 Two Knights
9. F Graef vs Paulsen  0-1371857Blindfold simul, 2bC58 Two Knights
10. Fiske / Fuller / Perrin vs Morphy 1-0511857Consultation gameC58 Two Knights
11. Allies vs Paulsen 0-1181858Blindfold consultation simul, 2bC58 Two Knights
12. F Burden vs Bird  1-0251859Casual gameC58 Two Knights
13. Morphy vs A Mongredien 1-0291859Morphy - MongredienC58 Two Knights
14. Morphy vs S Boden 1-0501859Casual gameC58 Two Knights
15. Morphy vs G Maude 1-0341859Blindfold simul, 8bC58 Two Knights
16. de Riviere vs Morphy 0-1541859Simul, 5bC58 Two Knights
17. C Eliason vs Eichborn 0-1261859Breslau, GermanyC58 Two Knights
18. F Deacon vs Kolisch 0-1241860LondonC58 Two Knights
19. Smith vs E Pindar 0-1311860Liverpool - Manchester mC58 Two Knights
20. de Riviere vs Anderssen 1-0391860ParisC58 Two Knights
21. J Kipping vs Kolisch  0-1241860Casual gameC58 Two Knights
22. Anderssen vs Dufresne 0-1321861RotterdamC58 Two Knights
23. Anderssen vs NN  1-0331861RotterdamC58 Two Knights
24. James Stanley Kipping vs Horwitz  0-1581861ManchesterC58 Two Knights
25. Horwitz vs E Pindar 0-1231861Manchester CC ch mC58 Two Knights
 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,006  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>
Feb-14-06  Bobak Zahmat: Interesting. When the above position arires on the board White wins 42,7% and Black 40,1%. So there is a tiny chance to draw the game after reaching the mentioned position.
Feb-14-06  refutor: <bobak> that's mostly because half the games were from pre-1900. and the other half are played in the brazilian girls U10 championship :)
Feb-14-06  Bobak Zahmat: <refutor> Still, this position should be analysed well, before we judge too fast about the it.
Feb-14-06  Bobak Zahmat: Even the great Adolf Anderssen had some trouble with playing this Defense with White. Out of six games he has lost two.
Feb-14-06  micartouse: <Bobak> If you haven't already, take a look at 5 ... Nd4!? (right into the center) instead of the above 5 ... Na5!? There are many fun and respectable lines springing from the "Fritz Variation."

A common snare: 6. d6?! Qxd6 7. Nxf7 (7. Bxf7+ Ke7 intending ... h6) Qc6 8. Nxh8? (8. 0-0 is still much better for Black) Qxg2 9. Rf1 Qe4+ 10. Be2 Nf3#.

There are many other wild variations as well after 6. c3 b5. Very good practical opening I think and it doesn't require too much prep.

Feb-14-06  Bobak Zahmat: <micartouse> I like 5. ... Na5 more than the move Nd4. Because after 6.c3 Nf5 White has the better game with d4!?
Feb-14-06  Bobak Zahmat: <micartouse> The move 6.d6 isn't that strong. White will lose the initiative and probably the game with your continuation.
Feb-14-06  micartouse: <Bobak> True, Na5 is a great move too, I was just throwing it out there for anyone into "somewhat sound" gambits for Black.

I agree that in the Fritz, 6. c3 is the best option for White, but 6 ... b5! not ... Nf5? Then for instance, 7. cxd4 bxc4 8. dxe5 Qxd5!

White rarely knows 7. Bf1! is best, and even then Black has a little (but not enough) compensation for the pawn.

Anyone who plays the Fritz at class level will not be disappointed if they like risky sharp chess.

Feb-14-06  Bobak Zahmat: <micartouse> It is quite right that not everyone could find 7.Bf1! But if one takes enough to think it through this move should be seen, because it is actually forced.
Feb-14-06  micartouse: <But if one takes enough to think it through this move should be seen, because it is actually forced.> Not to be overly picky, but there are other moves such as 7. Bd3 that retain the pawn for White and seem more correct, and such moves are more commonly seen in practical play. So 7. Bf1 is not forced by any means.

Even after 7. Bf1, Black gets some tricky attacking options. I will let the point go though; I just think gambit lovers have a sound gambit in the Fritz and an easy one to play. Anyone under 2100, and probably a little over will find it a safe bet. :)

Feb-14-06  refutor: morozevich played 7.Bd3 Morozevich vs Timman, 1996
Mar-02-06  trumbull0042: What are the main strategies for Black, who is down two pawns, in the following line: 1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6
4. Ng5 d5
5. exd5 Na5
6. Bb5+ c6
7. dxc6 bxc6
8. Qf3 Rb8
9. Bxc6+ Nxc6
10. Qxc6+ Nd7
11. d3 Be7 ?

Thanks for your help.

Mar-02-06  trumbull0042:

click for larger view

Mar-13-06  refutor: i agree trumbull...this is one of the main reasons why i don't play the "mainline" of the two knights as Black and prefer 6. ...Bd7, which is more passive but playable
Jul-16-08  jon01: My opponent went to a trap that loses queen in the opening.

[Event "2337848"]
[Site "kurnik"]
[Date "2008.07.16"]
[Round "4"]
[White "jon01"]
[Black "lokatorki"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Time "13:15:03"]
[TimeControl "180"]
[WhiteElo "1705"]
[BlackElo "1811"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Qf3 h6 9. Ne4 Qd5 10. Nxf6+ gxf6 11. Qxd5 Be6 12. Bxc6+ 1-0

Feb-20-09  FiveofSwords: <micartouse> The fritz variation is perfectly playable for either side, for anyone with rating less than about 3500.
Feb-20-09  drkodos: trumbull0042: What are the main strategies for Black, who is down two pawns, in the following line: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6
4. Ng5 d5
5. exd5 Na5
6. Bb5+ c6
7. dxc6 bxc6
8. Qf3 Rb8
9. Bxc6+ Nxc6
10. Qxc6+ Nd7
11. d3 Be7 ?

I take black side of this ANYDAY.

Wow, here is some "comp"

12. Ne4 Rb6
13. Qa4 f5
14. Ng6 0-0
15. Nd2 Nc5

Stick that on your silicon chipset and see if it doesn't show Black is almost equal.

Now many possibilities as Black has initaive, better piece develop and a King to attack. It is winning? No it is equal with some Chess to play!

For instance,

16. Qa5 Bb7 ?!
17. Nc4? Nxd3+ !

This 'tabiya' position of the Two Knights after 10. ...Be7 is one of the most important in chess to play because it really is fantastic demonstration of positional compensation for sacrificed material when no regaining material is to be had immediately.

Learn to play this as Black and your chess will get better in many, MANY positions.

Feb-20-09  chessman95: I've never tried this before as black, but I might play it in a few Two Knights games that I play. Looks like a fairly solid option.
Oct-03-10  LDJ: Does this opening with 5...Na5 have an own name (other than Two Knights with 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5)? I know 5...b5 is the Ulvestad variation and 5...Nd4 is the Fritz variation, but what is 5...Na5 called?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 5 ... Na5 is the Polerio Defense named after Giulio Cesare Polerio as an alternative to the Fried Liver Attack (5 ... Nxd5?! 6. Nxf7!?) where Black continually gets killed (see Polerio vs Domenico, 1610 ). White's response 6. Bb5+ has the catchy name Bishop Check Line = Opening Explorer
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: <tpstar> After 5...Nxd5?, the Lolli Attack with 6.d4! is much stronger. Practically a guaranteed win. See the Opening Explorer.
Oct-06-10  LDJ: Thanks <tpstar>. I knew about the Fried liver attack. Personally I prefer 6.d4 in that line, but I think it depends on your style whether you play 6.Nxf7 or 6.d4.
Oct-07-10  morphy2010: Bobby Fischer perferred 6.d4 due to whites overwelming pressure.
Apr-06-11  LDJ: An interesting game I played yesterday at my club, ending in a nice sacrifice which should have led to perpetual check but fortunately my opponent missed a nice mate :)

Someone (1413) - Me (1299)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 <I didn't know any theory on this> Bc5 9.O-O O-O 10.a3 h6 11.Nxf7 Kxf7 12.b4 Bb6 13.bxa5 bxa5 14.Bb2 Qd6 15.Re1 Re8 16.Bc4+ Kf8 17.a4 Bb6 18.h3?! <gives back the pawn> Bxf2+ 19.Kxf2Qc5+ 20.Kf1 Qc4+ 21.d3 Qd5 22.Nd2?!

click for larger view

22...Bxh3! 23.gxh3 Qh1+ 24.Ke2??
<24.Kf2 Qh2+ 25.Kf1 leads to perpetual; 24.Kf2 Qh2+ 25.Kf3?? runs into 25...Qxh3+ 26.Kf2 Ng4+ and here white can avoid being mated by giving up his queen, but that's equal to resigning, I had seen the mate already when I sacrificed!; 24.Kf2 Qh2+ 25.Ke3? Nd5+ is mate in 10 according to Fritz, but of course I didn't see that in the game, when I sacrificed the Bishop I just thought I would have some good attacking chances after 25.Ke3>

24...Qg2+ 25.Ke3 Nd5#

click for larger view

Comments would be appreciated.

May-25-20  Chesgambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 cxb5 9.Qxa8 Qc7 (h6 or Be7 is good move )
Qf3 only move this variation is so interesting aganist Qf3
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