Kindred’s Special: Eaten Any Liver Lately?

The correspondence star Jon Edwards examines in a revisit to an ancient opening first witnessed in a recorded game from 1610 between Giulio Polerio against Domenico D’Arminio, Rome. In those days, Italy was a powerful chess center.

The name is as sizzling as the gambit that comes out of the Two Knights Defense, thus: 1.e4  e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bc4  Nf6 4.Ng5  eying the f7 square which I covered as an inherent weakness in one of my earlier lesson columns.  Continue here with 4…d5  5.exd5  Nxd5?!  The normal recommended moves here are 5…Nd4 or 5….Na5 and the reckless Uhlestad 5…b5.  The text allows the entry into a wild and wooley attack called: The Fried Liver.

6.Nxf7!!  Kxf7  7.Qf3+  Ke6  8.Nc3.

So far as the above mentioned game developed with 8…Nce7  9.d4! c6 10.Bg5  h6  11.Bxe7  Bxe7 12.O-O-O Rf8  13.Qe4  Rxf2  14.dxe5  Bg5+ 15.Kb1  Rd2  16.h4  Rxd1+ 17.Rxd1  Bxh4  18.Nxd5  cxd5  19.Rxd5  Qg5  20.Rd6+ Ke7  21.Rg6 Qd2  22.Rxg7+ Kf8  23.Rg8+ Ke7 24.Qh7 Checkmate.

The famous Russian opening specialist Y. Estrin suggested instead of retreating the Knight to e7 to instead defend the Knight on d5 with the risky looking  8…Ncb5 and concluded that White has 9.a3 with advantage but it was shown to peter out after 9…Nc2+ 10.Kd1  Nd4 to either a perpetual check or about an even ending.

A few scholastic games recorded tried the interesting 9.O-O!  and Edwards spent lots of time examining this idea and his story and conclusion is given in his excellent article in Chess Life, pages 32-34.

9…c6  10.d4  Kd6.

This is a move recommended by the American player, Pinkus, whom Estrin credited and gives only 11.dxe5+Kc7 12.Rd1 Be6 13.a3  Qh4.

The new move here (if any move is ever really new) 11.Ne4! is hard to answer satisfactorily. The principle here is to sustain central development and pressure. Note my theme on square-count fits this move decision for what it is worth.

At this point I close the discussion and refer those interested to the full article by Edwards in Chess Life.

In conclusion, I would like to point out that this whole line is not entirely forced because White also has The Lolli variation which begins with 6.d4  Be6 7.Nxe6 fxe6 8.dxe5 Nxe5 which is another flip of the coin to try.  Despite the brilliant effort of Jon Edwards who notes in his story a tremendous exertion and time spent on a rarely tried line in the Two Knights Defense trying to find the truth of the whole concept of the Liver. As chessplayers we must all be grateful for the stimulating investigation by this fine cc player and American chess star and also to Dr. Jeremy Adelman who, with or for his sons, brought the suggestion of 9.O-O to the attention of Jon Edwards that found life in the pages of Chess Life!


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