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The Center Game Opening — Unconventional Yet Dangerous. Underrated?

The Center Game Opening — Unconventional Yet Dangerous. Underrated?

The Center Game Opening has always been one of my favourite openings to play in blitz. It’s one of the few openings where you can get away with castling queenside and attacking the enemy king like in a lot of Sicilian positions. And if they end up knowing the theory it usually just ends up being an even position. If they don’t know the theory they can get into a lot of trouble and there’s a beautiful trap that looks natural that the opponent can very easily fall into.

The reason why it’s not played at the top level is that the Queen taking the pawn will lose tempo like in the Scandinavian Defense, however, I still think it’s worth studying as a secret weapon to throw opponents off, as proper play just leads to a draw like most openings.

What better way to illustrate the opening examples than let some of the top engines play each other? In these games, I had Leela Zero play White and Stockfish 11 play Black. The depth and time of calculation varied but I always gave Stockfish around a ~20 depth and Leela around 7 to 10. Leela usually takes longer to get higher depth so it’s pretty normal here.

I have personally played over 2000 Blitz games with this opening, so I present 6 different main variations that would be very popular and you could easily get into.

There’s also an opening trainer at the end of each game, which you can use to try out the moves you learned in the game. It is powered by Listudy.org, which is a tool to help people share puzzles/tactics on blogs.

The study which includes all 6 games is here on lichess if you need to see it. https://lichess.org/study/JClfo2IL

1. If they play their best… 🤔

⭐ Your turn. Practice makes perfect ⭐


Bb4 Variation

⭐ Your turn. Practice makes perfect ⭐


2. Exploiting the slightly inaccurate Bb4+ opening move 💯

⭐ Your turn. Practice makes perfect ⭐


3. Don’t close your position, especially against Leela 💋

⭐ Your turn. Practice makes perfect ⭐


4. The solid kingside fianchetto… or is it? 👀

⭐ Your turn. Practice makes perfect ⭐


5. They always fall for it 🙃

⭐ Your turn. Practice makes perfect ⭐


Bonus, sample game that I played online

Some inaccuracies but this illustrates how quickly the attack can come if they play a little bit passively and not knowing what to do exactly.


That’s all folks

Hope you have enjoyed learning about the Center Game from me. If you did be sure to share it with your friends and leave a comment! 🍺 It took me over 40 hours to write this so any support is appreciated.

What opening would you like to see next? Do you also think this opening is underrated? How was your success using this opening & the knowledge you gained here? Talk soon.