The Punisher Opening

Simply stated, in this opening white moves out the two central pawns two spaces, and the to knights to the center of the board. If you turn the board around, you can see that the knights resemble two eyes and the two pawns resemble teeth. The idea of a skull came to mind, so I call this opening the Punisher Opening. Upon these first four moves, the opening also involves moving the king-side bishop to protect the king-pawn, then castling.

The order in which the first four pieces are moved varies depending on the moves of the opponent, yet I have found it to be the most effective to move the king pawn first and go from there. this is one of the most effective openings I use while learning more about the game, and it is easier to explore than many I have seen in books on chess.

The Punisher Opening is a variation of a four-pawn sacrifice opening explained by Kasparov in one of his books on chess. In his book, he recommends lining up bishop-knight-knight-bishop on the four central squares from c4 to f4. While this can be a highly effective technique, I have found the Punisher Opening to have its advantages, especially when playing against more advanced players or against

I have used this opening nearly every match I have played, lately, and have found it difficult to find a more preferable or efficient way to play the game. It is good for castling early in the game, as well as planning an efficient, safe attack to obtain checkmate.

The recommendations above mention six possible first moves for white. You can also usually use this opening easily as a defense when moving second, depending on the first moves made by white. While playing the Punisher Opening on the white side, plenty of moves can be made by the opposition. Such moves are easily defended against and usually can lead to winning an advantage in the game.

Two most common defensive strategies for the opening involve pinning one of the knights (or both) with a bishop on the b4 or g4 square. I recommend moving a pawn up one space on either side to attack the bishop, while the white knights are still protected by pawns. The other moves I make often with this opening are the outer pawns. Moving a pawn to a3 or h3 (or both) keeps the black knights from forming fork attacks early in the game.

After setting up power in the center of the board with this opening, it is usually best to consider the development of the bishops. The king-side bishop can be placed in front of the king or the queen for castling, or even c4. I usually move the queen-side bishop to e3 or f4. Remember to consider the two central pawns. They can be sacrificed or used for attack or both, and are usually protected by both knights and the queen. The king-side pawn, while protected by the king-side bishop ‘can’ rise some complication, because the queen is no longer able to protect the pawn in front of her if the bishop is protecting the king’s pawn. Her pawn is still protected by the knight on the right side, yet it is usually best to keep him there for defensive purposes, especially when castling on the king’s side. One way or the other, with cautious examination of possible moves, these combinations can easily lead to an early-game advantage.

I have found the Punisher Opening to be a highly effective technique and encourage you to explore it as I have. Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoy the Punisher Opening – I think of it as one of my favorite strategies.

If you would like to see an example match, one in which I won against stockfish on level four (of ten levels), break out a notation board and play out the score and score analysis below. You will notice several instances when both the computer and myself had better moves, yet the opening is played partially well, and I did win the match.

[ score:

48.Qxg6#1-0 ]
     Score Analysis:

[Event “Vs. Computer”]
[Site “”]
[Date “2017.01.16”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Guest”]
[Black “Computer Level 4”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B00”]
[CurrentPosition “8/8/6Qk/5P2/2P4p/6BP/1P6/6K1 b – – 0 48”]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 h6 3.d4 e6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bd3 Nb4 6.a3 c5 { (+0.20 → +3.56) Blunder. The best move was 6… Nxd3+. } ( 6…Nxd3+ 7.Qxd3 Nf6 8.O-O Be7 9.Bd2 O-O 10.e5 Nd7 11.Ne2 ) 7.axb4 Nf6 { (+3.50 → +6.26) Inaccuracy. A better move was 7… c4. } ( 7…c4 8.Be2 Bxb4 9.O-O Nf6 10.e5 Nd7 11.Bd2 a6 12.Nb5 ) 8.bxc5 Bd7 9.Bb5 { (+6.79 → +4.78) Inaccuracy. A better move was 9. Ne5. } ( 9.Ne5 Bc6 ) 9…Be7 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7 11.O-O b6 12.c6 Nf8 13.h3 dxe4 14.Nxe4 a5 15.Bf4 Ng6 16.c7 Qc8 17.Bg3 f5 18.Nc3 O-O 19.Nb5 f4 20.Bh2 Rf6 21.Qd3 Qd7 22.Rad1 Qc8 23.Rfe1 Qe8 24.g4 fxg3 25.Bxg3 Kh8 26.Nh2 Qc6 27.Ng4 Rf5 28.Ne5 Nxe5 29.dxe5 Rf7 30.Qg6 Kg8 31.Rd2 { (+10.90 → +5.18) Mistake. The best move was 31. Nd6. } ( 31.Nd6 Bxd6 32.exd6 e5 33.Rxe5 a4 34.Qxf7+ Kxf7 35.d7 Qxc7 ) 31…Bc5 { (+5.59 → +12.02) Inaccuracy. A better move was 31… Qxb5. } ( 31…Qxb5 32.Qxe6 ) 32.Red1 Be7 33.Rd7 Rc8 34.Rxe7 Rxe7 35.Rd8+ Qe8 { (+19.60 → +21.11) Inaccuracy. A better move was 35… Re8. } ( 35…Re8 36.Nd4 ) 36.Rxe8+ Rcxe8 37.f4 { (+30.38 → +14.10) Mistake. The best move was 37. Nd6. } ( 37.Nd6 Rf8 38.c8=Q Rxc8 39.Nxc8 Kf8 40.Nxe7 Kxe7 41.Qxg7+ Kd8 ) 37…Rc8 38.c4 Rcxc7 39.Nxc7 Rxc7 40.Qe8+ Kh7 41.Qxe6 h5 42.Qxb6 Rf7 43.Qxa5 Re7 44.e6 { (+23.08 → +14.49) Inaccuracy. A better move was 44. f5. } ( 44.f5 Rf7 45.e6 Rf8 46.Qe5 h4 47.e7 Re8 48.f6 gxf6 ) 44…Rxe6 45.Qf5+ g6 { (+127.74 → +318.00) Inaccuracy. A better move was 45… Rg6. } ( 45…Rg6 46.Qxh5+ ) 46.Qxe6 Kh6 47.f5 { (Mate in 2 → Mate in 2) Excellent. Faster mate A better move was 47. Qg8. } ( 47.Qg8 g5 48.fxg5# ) 47…h4 48.Qxg6#

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