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  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. Fried liver/two knights defence theory

Hello fellow Chess aficionados.

Am trying to learn the fried liver attack, I'm wondering, usually you expect the response from black to be e5 and then nc6.
What happens though if opponent goes into nf6 instead? Suddenly bc4 doesn't seem so great anymore, so whats the proper response from there, and is it possible to continue the fried liver attack from there?

Possibly the reason why your query has not been answered is the fact that you have not given a list of moves (chess notation for the beginning moves up to your question). Once that is given, I'm sure the Lichess.org community and I would be happy to answer!

Hope you have a great day,
Eagle5639

Hi Felix,

As a near lifelong Petroff player I can tell you that 3. Bc4 is a very respectable try against this most solid of openings! Of course Black can offer you what you want with 3...Nc6, or he can more often plunge into capturing 3...Nxe4.

From there you have some pleasant options depending on taste.
You can essay the Urusov Gambit 4. d4 which can be difficult for inexperienced defenders [and which may yield you advantage as a native of the territory].

You can also try the Boden-Kieseritzky Gambit 4. Nc3, where with best play White might struggle to get full compensation for a pawn but below Master level this is obviously irrelevant.

The position also offers more positional streams with 4. d3, which again can be tricky to meet.

I haven't ever been met with the Urusov much [and the BK has never come up]. One word of caution though, if you ever decide you want to insist on a ...Nc6 first move order [for example the Scotch Gambit], you can play 1.e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. Nf3, when ...Nf6 is not playable.

Funny you mention Urusov, that's the first gambit I've been learning :) Figured that the fried liver opening was a natural stepping stone after practicing Urusov for a while.

Thank you for your response Tlentifini!

Hi Eagle, Thank you for response too, I thought I did include enough information (i.e fried liver, and I'm only talking about the first two moves and I figured most people who know about fried liver would know what I was talking about) but next time I'll be more careful to be more verbose, didn't think 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 would need to be explained :P

Yeah.. just saying fried liver is more than enough... but just to clarify the fried liver attack is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5

After white plays Ng5 black has at least a few interesting moves (witch has stopped me from playing this opening). What I normally play as black after 4.Ng5 is d5 (mainline) followed by 5.exd5 Na5. witch completely kills the idea of the fried liver but white does still have a chance with 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6.

Now as a response to 4.Ng5 black can also play Nxe4 (I forget the name of this counter gambit) witch is alot of tricky play but basically if you capture the Knight the d pawn comes up and wins either the Knight or Bishop.. so best in this case is to to play Bxf7+

The last one ive seen but don't renumber exactly what happened is why i will probably never play that opening at a club ever again. 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4... best here is to chase the Knight on d4 off with c pawn. I did not do this in this particular club match I played 6.d6 Qxd6 7.Nxf7? Qc6 and ended up resigning pretty shortly after.

All in all the fried liver (Italian game) is definitely fun but since everyone plays it, its probably one of the more studied up openings so be careful!

After I posted I realized i left out the mainline... So what you want to happen in the fried liver attack as white is 4.Ng5 d4 5.exd4 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ witch really forces black King to the center if 7....Kg8 8.Q(B)xd5 and its soon to be mate. if 7.....Ke8 you win the Knight back (Bxd5) and have superior position. Pretty much all of this is scary for black.

If i left anything out or want me to go deeper into any of the particular lines just let me know.

KingMeTaco666 A quick note. After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 and now d5, I just want to mention that white is up a pawn after 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6. You probably already knew that, but I just wanted to mention it for others.

Add me and I will go through the lines with you in real time.

I used to play a lot as white but once you get to a certain level of opponent the opening is completely dead.

As black I would completely welcome a player playing it against me.

But it is a good opening against 1000 -1500 players.

For the Fried Liver I think is 4. Bc5! which has a lot of tricky lines. It's called the Traxler Counterattack. Its great because the attractive Nxf7 is actually a draw for black with best play after Bxf2 (see theory for sample lines). Bxf7 is known to give a small advantage for white but black gets compensation for the pawn and king safety issues and actually is easier to play. Let me know if you want some lines for continuations because engines don't pick up some winning moves for black sometimes :)