Move Two! Chapter 3

Returning to Move Two!, Chapter 3 is the first of a series concerning Tactics in the Openings.

Games are often decided by tactics at the start of the game. The same tactical motifs happen over and over again, not just in games played at junior level. Pattern recognition is vital: serious competitive players need to be very familiar with all these ideas. I don’t recall seeing any other books for players of this level which look at tactical ideas in this way. One of the major points of Move Two! is that it’s very much based on what actually happens in games played at this level, not at what happens in master games.

This chapter starts off with The Fatal Diagonal – the e1-h4 diagonal for White and the e8-h5 diagonal for Black. All children like to see Fool’s Mate and we present other examples of players who learn the hard way about the dangers of moving your f-, g- and h-pawns injudiciously in the opening. In recent years I’ve won more than one game against children of secondary school age who played for several years at primary school with 1. f4 e5 2. g3 exf4 3. gxf4 Qh4#.

Almost every week, if, as I do, you look at the quick wins on TWIC, you’ll find games decided by queen forks in the opening. Very often this will be Qa4/5+, forking a loose minor piece. It’s very easy to fall for this even if you’re familiar with the idea. We also look at the similar idea of Qh5/4+, again to fork a loose minor piece, and the very important idea of Qd5/4, for instance if White takes on e5 before castling in many Ruy Lopez positions. One correction in this section: in the Marshall-Chigorin game Black played on rather than resigning. I give the complete game below.

Many of us tend to think about development in the opening and only switch on our tactics brain in the middle game. Even the best are not always immune from this, as you’ll see from these games where two of the all-time greats, both renowned for being almost unbeatable at their best, fall for queen forks in the opening.

There then follows a quiz based partly on the Giuoco Pianissimo from the previous chapter and partly on the opening tactics from this chapter. The Activities section then invites the student to consider some positions with king and pawn against king which will be analysed in Chapter 4.

Masters of the Universe introduces the first official world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz and demonstrates two of his games. The first is a fun game to play through but I need to try to check the provenance at some point. My source gives it as played at rook odds while ChessBase gives it as played without odds. I’ve also seen it attributed to Morphy. (You’ll no doubt spot the notation error which will be corrected in future editions.) The second, the famous Hastings 1895 game against von Bardeleben, features an opening which will be studied in a later chapter.

Finally, please note that the individual chapters are html pages, not pdf format (as advertised on the website assuming I haven’t got round to correcting it before this is published) so you’ll need the ChessBase fonts in order to view the diagrams.

Richard James


Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy ( or and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard is currently the Curriculum Consultant for Chess in Schools and Communities ( as well as teaching chess in local schools and doing private tuition. He has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966 and currently has an ECF grade of 177. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon.