Flay ’em with Fegatello

The Fegatello Attack, more commonly known as the ‘Fried Liver’ is one of the most taught openings at junior level as coaches look for quick ways for their students to become successful. It goes 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+, drawing Black’s king out into the open. A lot of these junior games actually feature an attempt to head to safety with 7…Kg8, when the reader may wish to visualize what happens, not the losing side’s tears but just the chess moves.

Personally speaking I think it’s not a good idea to wean kids on tricks like this as it fosters a belief that this is how games are won. The coaches who teach it will argue that it helps develop a young player’s tactical ability though there are other ways to do that.

As you move to higher levels almost nobody will play 5…Nxd5 and instead sacrifice a pawn with 5…Na5, 5…Nd4 or even 5…b5. Even if White is prepared for all of these there’s then 4…Bc5!? to consider or just 3…Bc5. Maybe you can try to eviscerate ’em with the Evans (4.b4!?) but if Black knows what he’s doing he can play that too. Then there are other moves such as 3…Be7 and 3…d6, both of which are perfectly playable.

Here anyway is a contemporary example of the Fegatello for which Black was doubtless prepared. Even so it did not help him:

Nigel Davies

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NigelD

Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer living in St. Helens in the UK. He works as a chess coach and author and Nigel runs the Tiger Chess Academy which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos, courses and a regular blog. His students include his 18 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: View all posts by NigelD

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