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Two Knights (C59)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5 6 Bb5+ c6
7 dxc6 bxc6 8 Be2 h6

Number of games in database: 723
Years covered: 1851 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 35.8%
   Black wins 38.9%
   Draws 25.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Yakov Estrin  10 games
Edmar Mednis  9 games
Karoly Honfi  9 games
Mikhail Chigorin  9 games
Efim Geller  8 games
Yuri Kruppa  7 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs A Bisguier, 1963
A Becker vs Vidmar, 1929
Bronstein vs Smyslov, 1952
Fomenko vs L Radchenko, 1967
L Belov vs R Nezhmetdinov, 1961
A H Robbins vs Showalter, 1890
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 page 1 of 29; games 1-25 of 723  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Harrwitz vs Zytogorski 0-1241851London ClubC59 Two Knights
2. S Leow vs R Franz  0-1451856BerlinC59 Two Knights
3. Anderssen vs B Suhle 0-1251859Breslau (Poland)C59 Two Knights
4. NN vs Steinitz 0-1241860Casual gameC59 Two Knights
5. Anderssen vs de Riviere 1-0621860ParisC59 Two Knights
6. Speyer vs V Knorre  0-1361860MykolaivC59 Two Knights
7. Anderssen vs NN 1-0281862BreslauC59 Two Knights
8. Hirschfeld vs Kolisch 1-0431864ParisC59 Two Knights
9. Hirschfeld vs Kolisch 0-1361864Parijs mC59 Two Knights
10. De Vere / Ranken vs Staunton 0-1241866Consultation gameC59 Two Knights
11. Anderssen vs G Neumann 1-0361866BerlinC59 Two Knights
12. Anderssen vs G Neumann 0-1411866BerlinC59 Two Knights
13. G Neumann vs S Rosenthal ½-½411867Neumann - RosenthalC59 Two Knights
14. G Neumann vs de Riviere  1-0221867ParisC59 Two Knights
15. E Schallopp vs Von Reibnitz  0-1371868Blindfold simulC59 Two Knights
16. Zukertort vs Gossip  1-0301872LondonC59 Two Knights
17. Zukertort vs J Jenkins 1-0281873SimulC59 Two Knights
18. E Alberoni vs Bird  0-1221875Alberoni - Bird Casual SeriesC59 Two Knights
19. Chigorin vs M Beskrovny 1-0401877St. PetersburgC59 Two Knights
20. A F Wurm vs I Orchard 0-1181877Orchard - WurmC59 Two Knights
21. Anderssen vs E Schallopp 0-1581877OffhandC59 Two Knights
22. J Grundy vs D Starbuck 0-1261879Casual gameC59 Two Knights
23. Chigorin vs E von Schmidt 1-0271879Petersburg (Match)C59 Two Knights
24. N Petrovsky vs Alapin  0-1381879St. PetersburgC59 Two Knights
25. V Lizel vs N Petrovsky  0-1301879St. PetersburgC59 Two Knights
 page 1 of 29; games 1-25 of 723  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-15-05  Averageguy: First!

Here is an interesting miniature I played as black in this line. The game went 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.ed Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dc bc 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 e4 10.Ne5 Bd6 11.Nc4 Nxc4 12.Bxc4 0-0 13.0-0 Bxh2+ 14.Kxh2 Ng4+ 15.Kg1 Qh4 16.Re1 (I now have a forced mate.) 16...Qxf2+ 17.Kh1 Qh4+ 18.Kg1 Qh2+ 19.Kf1 Qh1+ 20.Ke2 Qxg2# Any comments would be appreciated.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Second! :-)

<Averageguy> Very nice! I once had a similar possibility of Bxh2 in one of my games (in the Ulvestad variation), but didn't see it. I still went on to win the game, luckily. I suppose White should have played 15.Kg3, though, he would at least have lasted longer. Good job!

Jan-04-06  Benonione: Nice game. Of course 11.Nxc4? and 13.0-0? were very bad moves by white. If white plays normally it's not so easy, but black still has compensation for the pawn.
Feb-15-06  notyetagm: The C59 V Malakhatko vs G Timoshenko, 2003 ends in the brilliant 23 ... ♕xf3!!, forcing White to give up his queen to avoid a Blackburne mate.

This is a model game in playing the Black side of the Two Knights Defense. In fact, in Jan Pinski's book on this opening, this game is the very first one in the chapter on the main line 4 ♘g5 d5 5 exd5 ♘a5.

Apr-15-10  rapidcitychess: I wrote a tad about this in the C57 page. Enjoy!
Feb-28-11  LDJ: In the main line of the Two Knights (from the diagram position: 9.Nf3 e4 10.Ne5 Bd6), what is the difference in play between <11.f4 exf3 e.p. 12.Nxf3> and <11.d4 exd3 e.p. 12.Nxd3>? Are there clear differences in plans or playing styles? Is one of those lines considered superior to the other?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 9. Nf3 e4 10. Ne5 Opening Explorer

10 ... Bd6 Opening Explorer

11. f4 exf3 12. Nxf3 Opening Explorer

11. d4 exd3 12. Nxd3 Opening Explorer

<LDJ> I used to play 10 ... Bd6 until a few years ago when one of my games was published in the state magazine, and an annotator said I should have known how 10 ... Bc5 is theoretically much better than 10 ... Bd6. However I haven't played amy games in that line since then. The idea is 10 ... Bc5 (intending 11 ... Bxf2+! 12. Kxf2 Qe5+) 11. 0-0 Qd6 pointing at h2 Opening Explorer .

After 11. f4, one of my pet lines was 11 ... 0-0 12. 0-0 Bxe5 13. fxe5 Qd4+ regaining the Pawn, although this doesn't score well in the database Opening Explorer .

After 11. d4, Black typically plays ... Qc7 followed by ... Rfd8 & ... Rab8. There are Chess Cafe articles claiming that 13. b3 & 14. Bb2 is an effective line for White, making good use of the QB while clutching the extra Pawn for the endgame Opening Explorer .

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