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The Vienna opening in chess is a popular opening for white. One conclusion is that the Vienna Game leads to equality with the best play by both sides although Weaver W. Adams famously claimed that the Vienna Game led to a forced win for White. Either way, the Vienna game is a very popular 1. e4 opening for white, so let’s find out how to play the Vienna opening and the moves you need to remember.
The Vienna opening in chess is a Kings’ Pawn opening starting 1. e4 e5 and 2. Nc3 – What follows is dependant on Blacks’ second move whereby the lines of Vienna should be leaned to adapt for whichever response black may give to the e4 and Nc3 moves.
Vienna Game History
The Vienna game is so-called because of its popularity in the city of Vienna during the 1890s. Viennese players such as Spielmann, Steinitz, and Tartakower, even modern-day GMs such as Kasparov and Anand have played the Vienna, providing endorsement despite a preference for other e4 openings.
The Vienna Opening didn’t even appear in terms of records until 1846 but was rarely recorded until its heydays in the late 90s and beginning of the 1900s
Learn the Vienna Opening
Vienna opening variations
- e4 e5
Now Black has several options, most commonly we will see
This move from Black opens up the option for the Vienna Gambit, or Kings Gambit continuation here, playing f4.
The beauty of this move is that black should not accept. If they do, you push the e pawn to e5 and you have an early advantage upon which to build.
If black responds by declining the gambit, look out of the decline with d6 – It is the best move they can make according to the engine.
Vienna Opening Main Line
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5
The Vienna Main Line runs 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 which leaves a centerboard standoff of two pairs of pawns.
The line continues 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Nf3 [preventing Qh4] Be7 6. d3
Vienna Opening Questions
There are more questions about the Vienna Opening than there are answers, but let’s take a look at the most common.
Is the Vienna a good chess opening?
When it comes to chess openings, the Vienna opening is quite a good 1. e4 opening for beginners to use to get to grips with the variations that can be played in any opening for white.
It may not be considered the very best or strongest opening that can be learned, and has somewhat fallen out of favor since the 1940s but is Kasparov and Anand are still liable to play it competitively from time to time then it should be good enough for any beginner.
It can b played as an aggressive opening or a steady development strategy on which to build a solid center.
Playing the Vienna gambit, if accepted is a solid gain of tempo and material and should if played well lead to a forced win.
Do Grandmasters Play the Vienna?
The Vienna is not a popular opening played by grandmasters in chess although Kasparov and Anand make the exception from time to time but not commonly. Some may argue that at grandmaster level it is very difficult to win with Vienna as if each side plays the best chess then a draw is almost unavoidable
What is the Vienna Gambit?
The Vienna Gambit is an excellent line for beginners to practice and perfect a gambit opening. After 1. e4 e5 2.Nc3 if 2…Nf6 is played by black, the Vienna gambit comes into play by white 3. f4 – Here black has options to accept the gambit at which point e4 is pushed e5 attack the knight and forcing it back, and white has a distinct development advantage.
If Black knows the move and plays d6 all you need to do is avoid a check on your king from the queen on H4 by playing Nf3
How do I learn the Vienna Gambit
The best way to learn the Vienna Gambit is to take the opening lines as described and ensure you play the gambit ONLY when black play Nf6.
For a more visual representation of what to do, watch this video, make some notes and get over to chess.com and play it over and over again.
Is the Vienna opening aggressive?
The Vienna Opening can be considered an aggressive opening should you want to play that way and in particular, in beginner games where you can play the Vienna gambit and take your opponent off guard as if they accept it, they are losing instantly. it is simply up to you to continue your development defend again check and build to an inevitable win.
How do you beat Vienna Gambit
The way to beat the Vienna Gambit is by taking advantage of the weak diagonals around the King white has created by playing f4. Playing d5 now instead of d6 will facilitate opening up the position and the center quickly.
1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 can be daunting for Black as if you are aware of the Vienna opening, you can be pretty sure your opponent has aggressive intentions in mind.
Thankfully, there are ways to defend against this, and perhaps take your white opponent by a little surprise yourself.
More info on openings for black
You should know that if you play 2…Nf6, you are going to face the Vienna Gambit as 3. f4 is played by white.
d6 to defend your e pawn is the best move according to the engine and you will see this played most often but still, this is quite well known by now, so try d5 instead of attacking the e file pawn which is key to the gambit.
This is going to open up the center, but something to look for is the white pawn moving from f4 and not defending again Qh4#, if white plays h3 to block simply Qe4# forking the rook which can be captured for free on your next move. Black now has the material advantage over white against the Vienna Gambit.
Why is it called the Vienna Game?
Previously identified as Hamppe’s Game after Carl Hamppe (1815-1876), after his passing the opening became supremely popular in the 1890s in the city of Vienna being and being played by the likes of Spielmann, Steinitz, and Tartakower all natives of the city and thus has been known ever since as the Vienna Opening.